What Are Prostate Health Supplements?
The supplement industry is worth billions of dollars. Unsurprisingly, there’s a supplement for everything and anything these days, including prostate health supplements.
The prostate is a small gland that is part of the male reproductive system. Located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum, this gland contributes to the creation of semen, which helps carry sperm from the testicles.
For most men, the prostate enlarges with age. In fact, this happens to 8 out of 10 men. Yet, the prostate can become so enlarged that issues arise, such as difficulties urinating. Thus, as you age, it’s important that you pay attention to the health of the prostate - or at least, take action toward supporting it. In this article, we discuss prostate supplements, their benefits, types of prostate supplements, and more.
In addition to an enlarged prostate, many other health issues can arise relating to this gland. Three main problems that are common include:
- Prostatitis: This condition happens when the prostate becomes inflamed or infected.
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH): This condition is what was described above and is where the prostate becomes enlarged. This typically happens as men age.
- Prostate cancer: This is the most common type of cancer in men.
Supplements in no way cure, treat, or prevent these issues. In fact, there’s very weak evidence supporting the effectiveness of prostate supplements.
At the same time, prostate supplements can help support general prostate health. Again, they should in no way, shape, or form be used to prevent, cure, or treat prostatitis, BPH, or cancer.
So, why take prostate supplements in the first place?
Generally, prostate supplements may help make some prostate issues more comfortable, as well as potentially support the prostate’s health. Again, there is limited evidence supporting these claims. With that in mind, it’s likely a good idea to discuss your options with your family doctor before you begin taking any supplements for any reason.
Different Types of Prostate Supplements
There are various different types of prostate supplements. Yet, the following offers a brief overview of the common ingredients in many of these.
Saw palmetto leads the pack when it comes to prostate supplements. In fact, it’s one of the most common ingredients you’ll find in these types of supplements.
A 2015 study demonstrated how saw palmetto improves prostate scores and urinary flow in men after taking the supplement for 12 weeks. Researchers have gathered that saw palmetto may help relieve symptoms relating to an enlarged prostate. However, more research is needed.
Beta-sitosterol is a naturally occurring steroid that has been associated with a wide range of health benefits. Interestingly, it has even been found to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Some studies have shown its efficacy at reducing urinary issues relating to the prostate. Yet again, more research is needed here.
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Flower Pollen Extracts
Flower pollen extracts are starting to gain attention when it comes to treating prostatitis. In fact, one study indicated how pollen extract combined with vitamin B improved prostatitis symptom scores after three months of use.
Nettle root is another common ingredient in prostate supplements. It is known for its antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Similar to other ingredients, nettle root is thought to help reduce urinary symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate.
Vitamin E is also frequently listed as an ingredient in prostate supplements. It’s thought that its antioxidant properties may help prevent harm or issues arising pertaining to the prostate. Again, more research is needed.
The Pros and Cons of Prostate Supplements
All in all, the world of prostate supplements likely needs a bit more scientific research and exploration. The following provides a brief overview of the pros and cons of prostate supplements. You’ll notice there are quite a few more cons than pros.
- May help with urinary symptoms relating to enlargement of the prostate.
- May promote good health of the prostate.
- More definitive research is needed to clarify such claims.
- Prostate supplements can’t treat or cure prostate issues.
- Prostate supplements containing vitamin E and/or zinc may pose some adverse health effects and actually harm the prostate.
- Can be expensive.
- Many men notice no benefit at all from taking these supplements.
Should You Take Prostate Supplements?
The answer to this question is completely up to you. However, we recommend discussing your needs and health with your family doctor prior to purchasing or consuming any supplementation. Prostate supplements can pose some harm, especially when taken incorrectly or alongside other medications.
Ultimately, it seems as though more research needs to be done about prostate supplements to fully prove and solidify their efficacy.
- WebMD (What is the Prostate? What's Normal?)
- Healthline (Prostate Health and Supplements: Know the Facts)
- Pub Med (Efficacy and safety of Saw Palmetto Extract Capsules in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia)
- NCBI (The Clinical Efficacy of Pollen Extract and Vitamins on Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome Is Linked to a Decrease in the Pro-Inflammatory Cytokine Interleukin-8)