By Bonnie Jenkins
Live long enough and you’ll have trouble with your prostate.
That’s what men have been hearing for years from mainstream media and even their doctors. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
The source of prostate misery for many men as they age is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Benign means it’s “not cancer” and hyperplasia means “excessive growth.” But, while BPH doesn’t increase your chances of getting cancer, the symptoms for both can be similar—and vexing.
As the gland swells, it acts like a clamp, putting pressure on the urethra and interfering with the normal flow of urine. Aside from the seemingly constant need to urinate, BPH can cause difficulty starting urine flow and dribbling after urination ends. The size and strength of the urine stream may decrease and you may feel that your bladder isn’t empty, even after you’ve just gone.
While no one has totally dialed in on the cause of BPH, one of the most prevalent theories focuses on the level of a type of testosterone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the prostate. When DHT levels rise, cell growth is stimulated and the prostate enlarges.
While modern medicine has several solutions for men with BPH, most are riddled with potential side effects. Drugs designed to lower DHT levels can also lead to loss of sex drive, erectile dysfunction and a decrease in the volume of ejaculate. In rare instances, it can also cause breast enlargement and tenderness in men.
For those men with an extremely large prostate, your doctor might recommend surgery. The up side of surgery for BPH is that your urinary problems will disappear. The down side is that, because this surgery traumatizes the tubes that carry semen to the urethra, retrograde ejaculation is common. In other words, instead of sending semen out of the penis, the semen travels backward into the bladder. More seriously, you may be left with permanent erectile dysfunction and a greater risk of heart attack.
While it’s true that these conventional approaches can work for some men, it’s far better to sidestep prostate problems to begin with. And Mother Nature has provided several safe and effective ways to do just that.
One effective way to prevent and relieve the symptoms of BPH is by taking supplemental beta-sitosterol. Research shows that beta-sitosterol may inhibit 5-alpha-reductase activity, which is responsible for producing DHT. As a result, beta-sitosterol shrinks the prostate.1 Another study found that, among 200 men with BPH, those given beta-sitosterol showed significant improvements in urinary difficulties. In contrast, those men given a placebo reported no relief at all.2 Take 60 to 130 mg. of beta-sitosterol divided into two to three doses daily on an empty stomach.
Taken orally, rye grass pollen extract also improves symptoms, including urinary frequency, nighttime urination, urgency, decreased urine flow rate, dribbling, and painful urination in patients with mild to moderate BPH. The extract seems to relax the sphincter muscles that control the bladder. A study published in the British Journal of Urology found significant improvement in 69% of the men taking the rye grass pollen compared to a placebo.3 Take 126 mg. three times daily.
If you don’t yet have prostate problems, you may be able to avoid them with a healthy lifestyle and a daily dose of beta-sitosterol. But even if you already suffer from urinary symptoms, combining these two supplements can ease and maybe even reverse BPH.
- Cabeza M. Effect of beta-sitosterol as inhibitor of 5 alpha-reductase in hamster prostate. Proc West Pharmacol Soc. 2003;46:153-155.
- Berges RR. Randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial of beta-sitosterol in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia. Beta-sitosterol Study Group. Lancet. 1995;345:1529-1532.
- Buck AC. Treatment of outflow tract obstruction due to benign prostatic hyperplasia with the pollen extract, cernilton. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study. British Journal of Urology. 1990;66:398-404