The prostate gland is surrounded by muscle fibers, which contract and force the prostatic fluid out into the urethra. The prostatic fluid protects the sperm during ejaculation.
The prostate is divided into three zones—from the innermost to the outermost—and these are known as the transition zone, the central zone and the peripheral zone, respectively.
Prostate Health Problems
Enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia, is a common heath problem in men over the age of 50. Urinary symptoms such as frequent urination or issues with urine flow are common because there is an increase in volume in the transition zone of the prostate, which pushes against the urethra and the bladder.
An enlarged prostate is benign and is therefore not considered a health issue. However, this condition can affect sleep due to the frequency in needing to urinate through the night. Therefore, this health issue can cause physical and mental health problems from poor sleep quality.
Prostate cancer however is a serious health problem in ageing men and is a leading cause of death over the age of 50. The symptoms can often be the same as benign prostatic hyperplasia and these include sudden urges to urinate, poor urine flow, and frequent urination.
Prostate cancer is typically caused by a multitude of factors associated with poor lifestyle choices such as smoking, fatty diets and lack of exercise. Age is a major risk factor too as is family history, ethnicity, and geographical location.
In the prostate, the androgen receptor for testosterone plays an important role in the growth and development of prostate cancer and is a popular drug target for cancer treatment.
By blocking the action of the androgen receptor in the prostate, the cancer can be inhibited from growing and metastasizing (spreading around the body).
Prostate Supplements Health Benefits
Prostate supplements are natural substances that are complimentary to a healthy lifestyle and diet. Prostate supplements can help maintain optimal health of the prostate as well as reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.
Lycopene is a carotenoid compound that has been shown to be a potent antioxidant with potential anti-cancer properties. Although there is conflicting evidence, lycopene intake has been demonstrated to reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men due to poor diet and lifestyle choices, environment, and genetics. High intake of processed meats, fried food, and refined carbohydrates are also associated with a higher risk of developing prostate cancer.
Increased fruit and vegetable intake can reduce cancer risk and tomatoes have shown to be a great source of lycopene. However, it is difficult to accurately estimate how much lycopene is present in the average Western diet and therefore supplemental lycopene can offer an effective way to increase lycopene levels in men.
Lycopene’s action is through its anti-proliferating action and suppression of tumor neoangiogenesis, which describes how a tumor can make the body form new blood vessels in cancer tissue. Analysis of the scientific literature shows that supplemental lycopene can reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer
The pomegranate fruit (Punica granatum L.) has been used for thousands of years by many religions as a sacred symbol and as a treatment for a variety of diseases. In particular, pomegranate was often used to help treat parasitic infections.
Studies into the pomegranate fruit show it to be enriched in antioxidants as well as other simple organic components that have significant therapeutic use. In particular, pomegranate extracts have been observed to have more antioxidants than red wine or green tea.
Pomegranate has been observed in clinical trials to be a natural suppressor of cancer growth. In particular, studies on prostate cancer have shown that pomegranate also has an inhibitory effect on prostate cancer progression and differentiation.
Pomegranate has a complex array of different bioactive compounds that together have been shown to possess anti-tumorgenic properties in a range of cancers including: colon, cervical, breast and prostate cancer.
Curcumin, or turmeric, is a natural yellow spice that is extracted from the perennial Curcuma longa plant and is used as an ingredient in many Asian curry dishes. Curcumin has also been used for centuries as a potent Ayurvedic medicine and as a topical application to combat the signs of skin ageing.
In Ayurveda medicine, curcumin has traditionally been used to help support the immune system, circulatory system, liver, and the gastrointestinal tract. It is suggested to have a cleansing potency that invigorates and gives energy to the whole body.
More recently, research has shown that curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that protects the tissues and cells of the body from ROS and the damage they cause. Early research also suggests that curcumin has anti-cancer properties against several types, including, prostate, breast and colon cancer.
Curcumin has been shown to be a natural compound that is specifically preventative against the development of prostate cancer. Curcumin reduces the proliferation of androgen-dependent cancer cells through its impact on the androgen-regulated growth mechanisms of these types of cancers.
The initiation and progression of prostate cancer is a result of fatty diets, oxidative stress and inflammation. In laboratory tests, curcumin is a promising and non-toxic substance that inhibits the formation of prostate cancer and helps to maintain a healthy prostate.
The Boswellia Serrata tree produces a resin that is used to make frankincense, a traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Frankincense is a natural resin that has been used for centuries to make an incense that produces an aromatic and curative smoke. In this context, frankincense is used in many cultural and ritualistic ceremonies.
Recent studies show that frankincense contains many anti-inflammatory compounds for the treatment of arthritis and respiratory diseases. These compounds are known as boswellic acid, the most potent of which is called 3-acetyl-11-keto-B-boswellic acid (AKBA).
Boswellic acids have been found to suppress pro-inflammatory substances that are associated with auto-immunity and inflammation. Furthermore, research shows that boswellic acids have anti-tumorgenic properties whereby it can activate cell death in tumor cells.
Boswellic acid, or more specifically, AKBA, has been shown to have the potential to inhibit angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels) and tumor growth in cases of prostate cancer. This research is suggestive of a role in cancer therapy as well as offering a natural solution to maintaining prostate health.
The prostate contains high concentrations of zinc because zinc is a necessary component of the prostatic fluid. During the development of malignant prostate cancer, there have been observations of a deficiency in zinc in the prostate. Scientists believe that zinc levels may be a risk factor for maintaining a healthy prostate.
Multiple observational studies have shown that men who have diets that are low in zinc are more at risk of developing prostate cancer and have higher mortality rates. Inclusion of zinc supplements in these studies has shown that there are significant reductions in prostate cancer risk.
Although the mechanisms of zinc supplementation is unclear, scientist have found that zinc plays an important role in how prostate cells control energy production and the generation of reactive species. Although more research is required, it is likely that zinc levels are an important factor in prostate health.
Green tea comes from harvesting the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The leaves are then processed and made into tea, which has been used for centuries as a tonic against various medicinal ailments.
There are many health-promoting components in green tea, which has been suggested to have anti-diabetic, anti-obesity, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-cancer abilities. Most of these properties are due to the presence of a green tea catechin known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
The green tea catechin, EGCG, is a potent antioxidant that has been shown to have many health-promoting effects, including that of the prostate. There is a significant amount of research that shows that EGCG effectively inhibits the growth and proliferation of prostate cancer cells.
EGCG has also been shown to bind to androgen receptors, which are responsible for carrying out the action of the male sex hormone, testosterone. The action of the androgen receptor is an important step in both the early and late stages of how prostate cancer begins and progresses.
Green tea consumption is favorably associated with a reduced risk of developing prostate cancer. Although prostate cancer rates are on the rise in Western countries, in the Far East—where green tea is a popular beverage—prostate cancer rates are particularly low.
Studies show that the amount of EGCG a man consumes is directly related to how much protection is received. Therefore, green tea supplements, which have a standardized level of EGCG content, are a fast and convenient way to maintain prostate health and help prevent the risk of developing prostate cancer.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids required for the healthy functioning of your heart, brain, and skin. Omega-3 fatty acids primarily include eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), both of which have been scientifically proven to be of benefit to help maintain optimal health and vitality.
Omega-3 supplements are well known to reduce the risk of a heart attack as well as protect the skin against UV damage. However, omega-3 fatty acids are also believed to support the immune system and have anti-cancer properties. In one study, omega-3 fatty acids were shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Rhodiola rosea is a flowering plant that grows in the mountains of Europe, Asia and Russia and has been used for centuries to naturally increase endurance and physical strength. There are over 200 recognized species of this plant for which 20 are used in traditional folk medicine.
Today, studies show that Rhodiola has biologically active components that are linked with resistance to stress, protection of the cardiovascular system, and anti-tumorigenic. Many of these features are related to the polyphenol compounds that are present in these plants and are well known to be potent antioxidants.
Rhodolia has also been shown to naturally assist in prostate health through normalizing of prostatic fluid and enhancing sexual potency.
Who Should Use Prostate Supplements?
Prostate health supplements naturally help protect the prostate from age-related dysfunction.The health benefits of prostate support supplements are useful for:
- All men over the age of 50
- Men who have a high risk of developing prostate health issues
Prostate Supplement Side Effects and Risks
Most prostate support supplements are likely to be safe and non-toxic when taken at the recommended dosage.The following list specifies known side effects and risks:
- Pomegranate may lower blood pressure which is a concern for people who already have low blood pressure
- Consuming excessive amounts of zinc can be unsafe as it may cause problems with copper and iron absorption
Prostate Supplement Interactions
Zinc may prevent the absorption of some antibiotics (quinolone antibiotics) and other medications such as cisplatin and penicillamine
Why Take Prostate Supplements?Men take prostate support supplements for the following reasons:
- To maintain optimal prostate health
- To protect against age-related benign prostatic hyperplasia
- To protect against age-related prostate cancer
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