Prostate Supplements: Pharmaceutical VS Herbal

Prostate supplements offer hope. For the treatment of enlarged prostate glands, some employ herbs. Stinging nettle, flaxseed, and prickly pear cactus are some of the most common of these. A typical dose of such natural medicines is probably safe, but whether or not they work is yet unknown to science. Some prostate products, such as the popular saw palmetto, may work - or they may not. Others such as zinc may actually place a person at greater risk of developing benign prostatic hyperplasia, (BPH).

Advice Before Taking Prostate Supplements

Before taking any remedy for BPH, it’s best to consult your doctor. Prostate products can interact with other drugs you may be taking. While the FDA does regulate these kinds of supplements, it treats them the same way it treats other food items. The manufacturers of natural supplements are not held to the same standards that drug makers are. They don’t have to prove that they are safe or work as advertised.

If your doctor gives you the OK to take one of these substances, it’s best to wait a few weeks to see if symptoms subside on their own. Try another supplement after trying your first choice for a few weeks and compare the response to both. Keep in mind that these herbal remedies may not change your symptoms. In the end, it may turn out that a BPH drug will provide more relief.

A caucasian doctor with his white medical coat on with a stethoscope over his shoulders.Before taking anything for BPH, it's best to consult with your doctor first.

Prostate Drugs Most Likely to Help

Beta-sitosterols:

This may help to relieve the restriction to your urethra resulting in less distress to your bladder. This substance may be especially helpful for those with high cholesterol. Beta-sitosterols are derived from a plant and react with your body the same way cholesterol does. They are also commonly used in margarine. The recommended dose is 60 to 130 mg per day.

Pygeum:

Known also as African plum extract, Pygeum may cut down on the number of times you need to get up at night to urinate. It can also improve the flow of urine. Pygeum may not be as effective as other standard treatments such as alpha-blockers (a prescription drug). Begin by taking 75 to 200 milligrams per day.

Prostate Supplements that May Help

Studies have shown that the extract of rye grass pollen may cause the muscles of the urethra and the bladder to relax, allowing for eased urination. This may result in less embarrassing dribbling after urination, and less frequent need to go to the toilet. Some researchers argue that rye grass pollen extract can shrink the size of the prostate, but there is little data to support this. The recommended dose is between 126 milligrams three times a day for up to six months.

According to some older research, Harzol, an African potato extract, can also ease urinary tract symptoms. Harzol is rich in beta-sitosterols which may explain this to some extent. Harzol may also lower blood sugar, and is therefore ill-advised for use by individuals with diabetes (it may go to low). Those who do use this and similar prostate supplements are advised to monitor their blood sugar closely.

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