– Although it's only the size of a walnut, the prostate gland plays an important role in the male reproductive system. It's here that fluids are produced to nourish sperm, and the squeezing of the prostate is what powers ejaculation. The prostate can also pose a major health concern for men, particularly as they age. While there are many interventions that help promote prostate health, many researchers believe that supplements can contribute greatly to the proper functioning of the gland. read more about prostate health » | find answers to your vitamins questions »
Prostate enlargement or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a very common problem that affects roughly 60 percent of men in their 70s. The condition is marked by swelling of the prostate that typically begins around middle age. Men who suffer from BPH typically experience urinary symptoms, such as difficulty starting or maintaining a stream of urine.
Does Saw Palmetto Help Prostatitis?
Saw palmetto is a traditional remedy for BPH that scientists are currently studying. So far, results of these studies have conflicted with one another. In 2004, a pair of researchers at the Section of Urology, Department of Surgery at the Pritzker School of Medicine of the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, reviewed the existing literature and evidence surrounding the use of saw palmetto to address symptoms of BPH. They concluded that there was evidence that using a supplement could lessen the severity of urinary symptoms related to prostate enlargement.
A 2006 study at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine of the Department of Medicine of the University of California, San Francisco did not confirm the researchers' findings. During their study of 225 men who were 49 years of age, saw palmetto did not perform better than a placebo at relieving urinary symptoms; however, some researchers believe that this was due to the relatively young age of the participants. While more research is needed, many doctors and natural practitioners still recommend saw palmetto to patients with BPH.
How Common Is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is another serious medical concern that involves the prostate. Each year, more than 235,000 cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed, and there are roughly 29,000 deaths from the disease. One out of every six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lives, and the disease is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men.
Vitamins and Prostate Cancer
Some researchers believe that certain essential minerals help to protect the prostate and lessen the risk of prostate cancer. A 2012 review of 12 previous studies conducted at the Department of Nutrition at Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, found that there was promising evidence that increasing levels of selenium in the body made men less likely to develop prostate cancer.
Reviews of existing literature done at both the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at the Linus Pauling Institute of Oregon State University in Corvallis and the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the Dental School of the University of Maryland in Baltimore revealed that zinc may also play a protective role, decreasing the likelihood of prostate cancer. More research is needed to confirm these results, but some doctors already suggest zinc and selenium supplements to their patients based on these and other findings.
Supplements For Prostate Health
drugstore.com carries a wide range of supplements for prostate health that may be useful for you. Before trying anything in our collection, be sure to consult your doctor for advice on which product is the safest for you to take and what dosage is most likely to benefit your body.