By: Mark A. Moyad, MD, MPH | Posted on: 23 Aug 2017
What kind of cruel joke is nature playing on us men? As we age, everything with our bodies seems to get smaller (or shorter) except for our stomachs and prostate gland! Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is the most common male-specific health condition in the United States.
I believe the most successful BPH supplements work by lowering cholesterol, which improves your heart health. Cutting your cardiovascular disease risk can make a difference with all kinds of health conditions, from BPH to varicose veins.
Supplements can be used with normal BPH treatment options, but all patients are different and you should talk to your doctor before taking a new supplement. The following supplements might be helpful:
- Beta-sitosterol and other plant sterols. 60 to 195 milligrams a day in divided doses (or up to 2,000 to 3,000 milligrams a day in divided doses potentially).
- Pygeum africanum. 75 to 200 milligrams a day in divided doses.
- Flaxseed and SDG. 300 to 600 milligrams a day.
- Pumpkin seed (cucurbita pepo) oil. 320 milligrams a day.
As an honorable mention, I'd include Cernilton (a pollen extract mixture) on this list above. Cernilton has been shown to improve quality of life and reduce pain in men with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome.
BPH supplements that do not have a lot of evidence to support their effectiveness include DHEA, which could increase the size of the prostate. Zinc is also very popular as a BPH supplement, yet it has no better evidence than a placebo to support its effectiveness. Some of the older and better preliminary studies suggest that higher supplemental dosages (more than 100 mg/day) could actually increase the risk of aggressive prostate cancer.
Heart healthy = prostate healthy. Pretty much every lifestyle change found to be heart healthy has been shown to reduce the risk or growth of BPH. Keep a normal blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol level along with a healthy weight and waist size.
Drinking in moderation is also vital to lowering the risk of BPH and reducing the symptoms tied to BPH. Of course, this doesn't mean you should start drinking alcohol if you already don't drink! Alcohol in moderation has been associated with a lower risk of BPH and in excess could reduce the efficacy of BPH drug therapy.
Make sure to work up a sweat. Exercise on a regular basis to prevent BPH or reduce the growth of it, is to exercise regularly. Try to exercise at least 30-minutes per day. In a famous Harvard study, regular physical activity was even associated with a lower risk of getting surgery for BPH!