The prostate is a critical organ for men’s reproductive health, and it is subject to the effects of one’s lifestyle as well as the aging process. Certain supplements can help prevent and mitigate common conditions that affect the prostate.
What Does the Prostate Do?
The prostate is a small organ that is unique to men. The prostate plays a critical role in reproductive health by producing prostatic fluid. This fluid combines with fluids produced in the adjacent seminal vesicles, as well as sperm produced by the testicles, to form semen. The prostate is located beneath the bladder, and directly anterior to the rectum.
Why Prostate Health Matters
There are a couple of different conditions that can affect the prostate. It is rather common for men to experience at least one of these issues at some point in their lives. Infection is a common factor in the occurrence of these issues, as is a man’s age. However, lifestyle habits in the long term are also a significant determinant.
One condition is prostatitis, which is inflammation of the prostate. Symptoms include painful urination and fever/chills. There are two types. First, there is acute prostatitis, which is usually produced by an infection. Then there’s chronic prostatitis, which causes pelvic pain and pain during urination & ejaculation. It is a result of chronic inflammation.
Another condition of the prostate is benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This is excessive growth in size of the prostate, and usually occurs after age 50. This condition is so common that it is considered fairly normal for aging men. About half the cases of BPH produce no symptoms; in some cases, men can experience problems with urination. The primary contributing factor is age, but a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, high blood pressure, and diet are also relevant factors.
Supplements for Prostate Health
The following supplements each have the potential to support prostate health and mitigate the effects and/or the chances of developing a prostate condition. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor before taking any of these for the first time.
Beta-sitosterol is a compound that occurs naturally in some fruits and vegetables, and is available as an oral supplement. It can help reduce prostate swelling, as well as mitigate the symptoms of BPH, such as improving urine flow.
Lycopene is a naturally occurring antioxidant compound that can help reduce inflammation associated with prostate conditions.
Pygeum is a plant-based extract that has been shown to reduce BPH symptoms. It is thought to do so by reducing testosterone levels in the prostate, which, when too high, can contribute to an enlarged prostate if levels.
Saw palmetto extract can have a modest effect on reducing BPH symptoms. This means a reduction in constant need to urinate, and a weak urine stream.
Vitamin D has been shown in at least one study to prevent prostate cell proliferation that leads to enlarged prostate. Taking vitamin D is believed to be a worthwhile preventative measure against prostate conditions.
Zinc in the body tends to accumulate in the prostate and can affect prostate function. Some studies suggest that zinc deficiency contributes to an enlarged prostate. Studies on the benefits of zinc supplementation for the prostate are mixed.
If you or a male family member want to preserve one’s prostate health, consider the above supplements. Next to a healthy diet and lifestyle, these can be useful in preventing or mitigating unwanted prostate conditions.