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Prostate Health Frequently Asked Questions

Arginine Flaxseed Oil Molybdenum Red Clover
Bee Pollen Germanium Muira Puama Rosemary
Beta-Carotene Ginger Parsley Saw Palmetto
Beta-Sitosterol Horsetail Plant Sterols and Stanols Selenium
Boron Hydrangea Plantain Silicon
Cinnamon Iodine Pumpkin Seed Soy
Copper Juniper Pygeum Vanadium
Cranberry Lycopene Quercetin Zinc

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Frequently Asked Questions:

Get Answers to our Most Common Questions:

  • 1. I see in the Prostavar lab report it has 28mg of quercetin, and none of the other products have any. What is quercetin and why do you test for it?
  • Answer: Quercetin may be the strongest of nature’s anti-inflammatory substances. Numerous studies have shown it effective in treating a wide range of prostate related problems. A recently published study demonstrates quercetin provides long-term relief with zero side effects. Men suffering from an enlarged prostate find the swelling will go down much faster with high levels of quercetin. Undoubtedly, it is one of the key reasons Prostavar is so effective. We test for it because so many men get up multiple times at night to urinate. Quercetin can help stop this. Prostavar works fast: many men report in less than 10 days that they now can sleep through the night

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  • 2. I get up every night at least five times. It has gotten so bad my wife and I don’t sleep in the same room anymore. Avodart didn’t do anything for me. My doctor recommended I try some of the natural products but they didn’t work. Now that you have identified several that do work, I want to know how long I have to take them to feel the effects?
  • Answer: Everyone is different. A man of 45 with minor symptoms might see results in 4 or 5 days, while a man in his 80’s with a very enlarged prostate might have to go 30 days for significant improvement before he notices a big change. But men with severe problems also notice big changes pretty quick, say about within two weeks. Sometimes, because their problems are so bad, even a little improvement to their prostate can bring measurable relief pretty quick. But in general, plan on 30 days. For some men it will happen much quicker (3-5 days) with others it takes longer. The longer you take these pills, the healthier your prostate will get. You should really take them every day.

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  • 3. I was down at my drugstore and they are selling Schiff Prostate Health for only $9.99. Is this a good deal?
  • Answer: It might appear to be a good deal because Schiff is such a well-known nutritional company, having been in business 70 years. But the laboratory analysis of this product shows that it is quite deficient in the key areas most important to men's prostate health(see the lab report of the Schiff product in this guide). Just because something is low-priced doesn’t mean it is a good deal. What good does it do you to pay $10 for something that doesn’t work? You’ll still be in pain, you’ll still be getting up at night and looking for bathrooms all day long. But if you paid $50 and got a product that really worked for you and your prostate problems vanished, sure you are $40 lighter in the wallet. But your problem is solved. So save money somewhere else. Don’t sit in the cheap seats when it comes to your prostate. It is too darn important!

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  • 4. The lab reports you have done are fantastic and opened my eyes. I must say I am a little disappointed that my local health food store hasn’t done this. Why don’t health food stores conduct lab tests on their products?
  • Answer: The answer is simple: money! It costs a lot of money to do High Performance Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry testing on multiple compounds in each product, like we have done. It would cost a health food storeowner half a million dollars to conduct this kind of testing on all the products on his shelves.

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  • 5. I have heard that there is very low incidence of prostate problems in Japan. What do the men there do that we are not doing here in the United States?
  • Answer: You are right. The lowest rates of prostate related issues are found in Asia and the highest rates are found here in North America. However, for example when men from Japan, where rates are low, move to the U.S. or Canada, their risk eventually goes up. Thus, many researchers think diet is the culprit. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and plant based food is important. See our section on the 10 Steps to better prostate health and you will see what an important role diet plays and why soy (a staple of Asian culture) is also important.

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  • 6. I was thinking of buying Avodart from a Canadian Internet Pharmacy on their website. I get emails all the time and the price is cheap. Is there a website for prescription pills you recommend?
  • Answer: Don’t even think of spending 1 penny on any Internet pharmacy. They are all crooked! Not some are crooked. They are all crooked! It is illegal to sell prescription drugs over the Internet for sale into America. Plus, these pills are cheap, they don’t contain what they are supposed to contain, and are in fact extremely dangerous! It’s like playing Russian Roulette.

    The operators of these sites are outlaws and could care less about “quality control”. They get cheap pharmaceutical knockoffs from India and China. We have heard horror stories that resulted in serious consequences for men taking some pills. Over a dozen men we have heard about actually died as a direct result of illegally obtained prescription drugs. Try a good natural supplement first, and you won’t even be thinking about these Internet pharmacies.

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  • 7. What is Genistin? I heard it is a pill I should take but my pharmacist never heard of it?
  • Answer:Genistin is not a pill. It is an isoflavone found in soy protein. In Japan the daily intake of soy protein is far greater than in America and Western Europe, and the incidents of prostate and colon health problems in Japan are far less. Numerous studies suggest soy protein consumption is very important for prostate health. We agree, and rate taking 35-50mg of soy protein a day as one of the 7 Steps to a Healthy Prostate. Many famous men take soy protein every day. Remember Joe Torre when he was with the Yankees and had prostate problems? He spoke about his daily soy protein shake.

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  • 8. I am 77 years old and don’t know what to make of my PSA score. What do you think about the importance of a PSA test?
  • Answer: Men age 75 and older should not be screened for prostate problems. And younger men should discuss the benefits and harms of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test with their clinicians before being tested, according to a new recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. The recommendation and accompanying evidence summary appear in the August 5, 2009 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. The Task Force found evidence that screening for prostate problems provided few health benefits but led to substantial physical harms and some psychological harms in men age 75 and older. In men younger than 75, the Task Force concluded that current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of prostate screening. An estimated 278,890 U.S. men were diagnosed with prostate problems in 2007, and one in six men will be diagnosed in his lifetime.

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  • 9. I don’t have much money to spend on prostate pills. I want to use natural pills rather than prescription drugs that I know have killed a few of my friends. How can I do this?
  • Answer:Your best bet is to get on a monthly program. Some companies offer to send you a new supply every month at a discounted rate. Or buy a large supply at once. If you buy a 6- or 12-month supply from a company, you will get a deep discount because you are buying multiple bottles. Plus, you only pay shipping and handling costs one time rather than each time you order.

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  • 10. I heard that several natural pills have been taken off the market because they were laced with dangerous drugs and, in some instances, have actually killed some men. Can you tell me which products these were?
  • Answer: There have been numerous reports like this. First Internet Pharmacies selling prescription drugs should not be taken. They are very dangerous and there have been numerous reports of deaths related to these. On the natural front, the FDA took the herbal pill PC Specs off the market, because it was secretly laced with a prescription drug that could be deadly. Also, there have been numerous recalls by the FDA of herbal sex pills that have been secretly laced with dangerous chemicals and drugs. The products are: Zencore Tabs, Rize2, Aspire 36, and Blue Steel. We have reports of many men being rushed to the hospital after taking these illegal and extremely dangerous pills. Be careful because some of the rouge operators are still selling these pills despite the FDA recall. And these pills could literally kill you.

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  • 11. What about sexual dysfunction and the prostate. Is there any correlation between the two?
  • Answer:Yes, absolutely. The incidence of sexual dysfunction in patients suffering from Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostate, is nearly twice as high as treating physicians believe. This was shown in a new survey from the American Foundation for Urologic Diseases (AFUD) presented recently at the American Urological Association annual meeting.Lower urinary tract symptoms related to an enlarged prostate are also strongly correlated to sexual problems, including Erectile Dysfunction (ED) and Ejaculatory Dysfunction (EjD). In fact, lower urinary tract symptoms are a risk factor for ED independent of other conditions associated with ED, such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiac disease and hyperlipidemia.

    Men with severe urinary symptoms report 50% less sexual activity and 33% reduction in overall sexual satisfaction compared to men without severe lower urinary tract symptoms. "We've seen in our practices that the majority of men over age 50 consider an active sex life important," says Dr. Seftel. "Since men with BPH symptoms are already at risk for compromised sexual function, it makes sense to consider sexual side effects when treating urinary symptoms of BPH," he added.

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  • 12. One of the things that scare me about taking prescription Flomax are the side effects. The one that causes the most concern is the side effect listed as “abnormal ejaculation”. What exactly does abnormal ejaculation mean?
  • Answer:There are over a dozen side effects associated with taking Flomax, but the most common side effect is abnormal ejaculation, which occurs in almost 20% of all men who take it. Abnormal ejaculation is a term used to describe several problems with ejaculation. These problems can include: Not being able to ejaculate, decreased amounts of ejaculate, and retrograde ejaculation: wherein ejaculate enters the bladder instead of leaving the body through the penis. This problem is usually painless and harmless. And men with this problem may notice cloudy urine after sexual intercourse.

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Herbs Defined
Arginine Flaxseed Oil Molybdenum Red Clover
Bee Pollen Germanium Muira Puama Rosemary
Beta-Carotene Ginger Parsley Saw Palmetto
Beta-Sitosterol Horsetail Plant Sterols and Stanols Selenium
Boron Hydrangea Plantain Silicon
Cinnamon Iodine Pumpkin Seed Soy
Copper Juniper Pygeum Vanadium
Cranberry Lycopene Quercetin Zinc

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Arginine:

What is it?

Arginine is an amino acid that is used to make nitric oxide, a compound in the body that lowers blood pressure, increases muscle growth and relaxes blood vessels, especially those surrounding the penis. Studies have found that arginine may help with conditions that improve when blood vessels are relaxed, such as erectile dysfunction.

Other Names:

Arginine is also known as L-arginine, Arg, or R.

How Does it Work?

When consumed, arginine quickly produces nitric oxide, which relaxes and widens the blood vessels. This widening of the vessels is known as vasodilation. To produce nitric acid, a nitrogen atom must combine with an oxygen molecule in the blood. This reaction can only occur when arginine is digested. Then, the widening of the blood vessels allows blood to flow easily. This is extremely important for those suffering from ED and prostate problems. Blood vessels in the penis dilate, increasing blood flow, which helps maintain an erection. As for prostate health, arginine can increase blood flow to the prostate gland. This relieves pressure and improves circulation which can reduce symptoms of an enlarged prostate. More blood flow also lowers blood pressure. Arginine also triggers the protein-creating receptors in the body, helping to make creatine, a protein that contributes to muscle mass and strength.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

An enlarged prostate can cause reduced sexual function as well as potentially cause complete impotence (inability to get an erection or “erectile dysfunction”). Numerous studies show that arginine can reduce the severity of erectile dysfunction. According to a 2002 study reported in the Journal of European Urology, men who took arginine saw significant improvements in erectile response, with few reported side effects. A 2003 study reported in the British Journal of Urology International showed that 31 percent of men who took arginine for six weeks saw significant improvements in their sexual performance. Researchers also observed that arginine doubled their nitric oxide levels, which is believed to improve erectile function by widening the blood vessels and allowing more blood to flow. A 2004 study reported in the Journal of Nutrition indicates it significantly reduces systemic blood pressure, which may alleviate the complications associated with high blood pressure.

References:

  • 1. Murray, MT, Pizzorno J: Encylopedia of Natural Medicine 2nd ed. Prima Publishing, Rocklin, CA: 1998.
  • 2. Lebret, T., Hervéa, J. M., Gornyb, P., Worcelc, M. and Botto, H. 2002. Efficacy and Safety of a Novel Combination of L-Arginine Glutamate and Yohimbine Hydrochloride: A New Oral Therapy for Erectile Dysfunction. European Urology 41(6): 608-613.
  • 3. Gokce, N.. (October 2004). "L-Arginine and hypertension". Journal of Nutrition 134 (10 Suppl): 2807S–2811S REVIEW. PMID 15465790.
  • 4. Chen, J. et al. (1999). "Effect of oral administration of high-dose nitric oxide donor L-arginine in men with organic erectile dysfunction: Results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study." British Journal of Urology International; 83(3): 269-73.

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Bee Pollen:

What is it?

Bee pollen is sometimes called the perfect food since it contains more than 96 different nutrients, including every nutrition needed to sustain human life. It is made up of 40% protein, combines 22 amino acids, vitamin C, folic acid, B-complex, polyunsaturated fatty acids and carotene (a potent antioxidant). In addition, bee pollen also contains trace elements of iron, zinc, manganese, copper, calcium, magnesium and potassium—all minerals that have proven health benefits. Bee pollen is beneficial for memory, weight loss, digestion regulation and prostate function. It is also used to treat prostatitis and multiple sclerosis (MS).

Arginine is an amino acid that is used to make nitric oxide, a compound in the body that lowers blood pressure, increases muscle growth and relaxes blood vessels, especially those surrounding the penis. Studies have found that arginine may help with conditions that improve when blood vessels are relaxed, such as erectile dysfunction.

Other Names:

Bee pollen is also called maize pollen, buckwheat pollen, pine pollen pollen pini, rape pollen, typha pollen, puhuang and sonfuuafen.

How Does it Work?

Bee pollen is often referred to as one of nature’s most complete foods. It has long been prescribed by traditional health practitioners for its healing properties, and is considered an energy and nutritious tonic in Chinese medicine. Scientists have tried to create synthetic bee pollen, but have not been successful. While the synthetic bee pollen seems to be identical to natural pollen, when scientists tried to feed it to worker bees, the bees died within a week. The only way to benefit from bee pollen is through supplementation. Bee pollen has been found to help reduce the symptoms of an enlarged prostate and help enhance sexual activity. Prostate problems occur with the increase of free radicals in the seminal fluid. These free radicals cause cell damage, but bee pollen is found to slow and reverse this damage due to its high levels of zinc and antioxidants.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

Over 20 scientific studies have found that bee pollen supports men’s sexual health and can improve urinary symptoms caused by benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), better known as an enlarged prostate. According to a Swedish study conducted by Dr. Gosta Leander, men who took bee pollen experienced significantly less prostate inflammation and swelling, common symptoms of BPH. Other studies show that it may also reduce night time urination (nocturia), prostate discomfort and trouble emptying the bladder. It may also prevent incontinence, which is also caused by an enlarged prostate. A 2006 study at the Department of Urology at Queen’s University in Canada support the findings of Dr. Leander—bee pollen can treat the symptoms of BPH and prostatitis, especially patients in pain. The most comprehensive research comes from China where researchers found that chronic prostate inflammation and male infertility both result from a large amount of free radicals in the body. They found that bee pollen was the best relief for stopping the production of free radicals. In fact, bee pollen by itself was 80 percent as effective as antibiotics.

References:

  • 1. Fetrox C & Avila J: Professional's Handbook of Complementary and Alternatie Medicines. Springhouse Corporation, Springhouse, PA; 1999.
  • 2. Krivopalov-Moscvin I: Apitherapy in the rehabilitiation of patients with multipel sclerosis. J Neurol Sci 1997; 150(suppl): S264.
  • 3. Anonymous. (2007). Sunflower Organics. [Online] Health Benefits of Honey and Bee Pollen. Retrieved July 28, 2010 from www.honeybeepollen.com

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Beta-carotene:

What is it?

Beta-carotene is an organic compound of the carotenoid family, which is found in highly pigmented fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, spinach, green peppers and sweet potatoes. Beta-carotene is extremely beneficial due to its high antioxidant levels, which may reduce free radical damage in cell membranes. Some researchers suggest it may reduce the risk for prostate related issues and cataracts, due to its rich antioxidant content. Beta carotenes are considered provitamins because they can be converted to vitamin A (retinol). Beta-carotene is converted to retinol, which is essential for vision, and then converted to retinoic acid, which is used for processes that involve cell growth and separation. People take beta-carotene supplements for a variety of reasons including: prevention against prostate related issues and heart disease; slow progression of cataracts; boost immunity; protect the skin from sun damage and aging; asthma; depression; infertility; arthritis; and high blood pressure.

Other Names:

Beta-carotene is also known as gamma carotene, provitamin A, alpha carotene, carotene, A-beta-carotene and retinol.

How Does it Work?

When consumed, beta-carotene converts into retinol, an active form of vitamin A. In recent years, carotenoids including beta-carotene have received a tremendous amount of attention as potential routes to prevent age related issues. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant, protecting the body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals. Beta-carotenes consume and breakdown free radicals. Free radicals also attack the immune system so carotenoids are believed to protect and enhance immune function. An article by Nancy R. Cook and her colleagues at Harvard Medical School in the journal suggests that, under certain circumstances, giving a beta-carotene supplement reduces the risk of age related issues, including prostate problems.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

Beta-carotene’s antioxidant properties make it valuable in protecting against negative prostate conditions. Some studies show beta-carotene may reduce the risk for prostate related problems. According to a 1999 study reported in The Journal, 32 percent of men who had low levels of beta-carotene and then took beta-carotene supplements developed prostate problems less frequently compared to men on placebo. In the same study, 17 percent were also at a significantly lower risk for developing chronic stomach conditions and testicular disease. A 2000 study reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology also reported similar results. The nutrient can also be taken to improve vision, and may help relieve and improve skin disorders.

References:

  • 1. Susan D. Van Arnum (1998). Vitamin A in Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. New York: John Wiley. pp. 99–107.
  • 2. Tanumihardjo, SA (2002). "Factors influencing the conversion of carotenoids to retinol: bioavailability to bioconversion to bioefficacy". Int J Vit Nutr Res 72 (1): 40–5. PMID 11887751.
  • 3. Cook, Nancy R., et al. Beta carotene supplementation for patients with low baseline levels and decreased risks of total and prostate problems. Vol 86 (November 1) Pgs 1783-1792. 1999.
  • 4. Norris, A. E., et al. Prostate problems and dietary carotenoids. American Journal of Epidemiology. Vol 151. (January 15) pgs 119-127. 2000.

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Beta-Sitosterol:

What is it?

Beta-sitosterol is a plant sterol ester that naturally occurs in fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. It also occurs naturally in some herbs, including saw palmetto. Because its chemical makeup closely resembles cholesterol, it is commonly used to lower high cholesterol and treat heart disease. It is also used to prevent hair loss and benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), commonly known as an enlarged prostate. Beta-sitosterol has also been used to improve sexual activity.

Other Names:

Beta-sitosterol is also known as B-sitosterol, campesterol, phytosterol and Angelicin.

How Does it Work?

Beta-sitosterol enters the body and stops the production of the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, which helps convert testosterone to DHT (Dihydrotestosterone). DHT is one of the main contributing factors of BPH because it encourages prostate growth. The prostate of older men has almost four times the amount of DHT than that of a younger man. Stopping the production of enzyme 5-alpha-reductase reduces some of the symptoms caused by BPH, like trouble urinating and prostate infections.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

Numerous studies show beta-sitosterol can reduce the urinary symptoms of BPH, although it cannot actually shrink the prostate gland. According to a study published in The British Journal of Urology, men who took 130 milligrams of beta-sitosterol every day for six months experienced an increase in urinary flow output by 4.5 milliliters, with a urinary retention deduction of 33.5 milliliters.

References:

  • 1. Klippel KF, Hiltl DM, Schipp B. A multicentric, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial of beta-sitosterol (phytosterol) for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. German BPH-Phyto Study group. Br J Urol. 1997 Sep;80(3):427-32. PMID 9313662
  • 2. Duan RD. compounds and sphingolipid metabolism in the colon. In Vivo. 2005 Jan-Feb;19(1):293-300. PMID 15796189
  • 3. 1. Law MR. Plant sterol and stanol margarines and health. West J Med . 2000;173:43-

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Boron:

What is it?

Boron is a trace element that is an essential nutrient for healthy bones and proper brain function. Little was known about the relationship between boron and health until the 1980s but for centuries, salt boric acid, a compound that contains boron, was highly regarded for its ability to improve memory and coordination. Boron regulates the body’s levels of other essential minerals, including calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. These minerals are essential for bone health, meaning boron may help in the prevention of osteoporosis. Boron is found in pears, apples, raisins and tomatoes, and is found in soil and drinking water. Medicinally, boron has been indicated as a treatment for thyroid regulation, hemoglobin production and the absorption of zinc. In pharmaceutical medicines, boron is used to prevent menopausal symptoms and increase muscle growth in bodybuilders. It is also used to reduce the risk for developing prostate related issues.

Other Names:

In medical preparations, boron is sometimes called sodium borate, metaboric acid, sodium metaborate, sodium biborate, sassolite or boracic acid.

How Does it Work?

When swallowed, boron enters the bloodstream and into blood cells. It may also enter the cells of bone tissue, the prostate and thyroid gland. In some humans, boron has been reported to reduce the risk of prostate problems for men consuming an average of 1.8 milligrams of boron daily. Boron also increases male sex hormone levels. It is possible that boron may increase free testosterone levels by contributing to the release of the hormone from sex hormone binding protein (SHBP). SHBP is the protein carrier that pushes sex hormones through the blood. As men age, SHBP finds it more difficult to release testosterone, keeping it bound and inactive. Boron may increase testosterone, raising levels as much as 50%.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

Some studies suggest boron can reduce the risk of developing prostate related issues. According to a 2004 study conducted by the Department of Epidemiology at the UCLA School of Public Health, a decreased risk for prostate problems was observed in men who had the highest boron dietary intake. Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the UCLA researchers found that boron’s effects seem to be specific to prostate health. Science News reports that men whose diets had the most boron –at least 1.8 milligrams per day—had less than one-third as many prostate problems as men who at less than 0.9 milligrams daily. Boron is also essential for healthy bones and joints as it plays a role in calcium metabolism.

References:

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Cinnamon:

What is it?

Cinnamon has a long history as both a spice and a medicine. It is a fragrant spice harvested from the bark of the cinnamon tree, an evergreen tree native to Sri Lanka. In ancient China, cinnamon was used in medicines because they believed it contained healing properties. Today, cinnamon is used as a dietary spice and as part of herbal applications, often for the treatment of yeast infections, bacterial growths in the body and uncontrollable blood sugar levels. Cinnamon’s unique healing abilities come from three basic components in the oils found in its bark. These oils contain active compounds called cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate and cinnamyl alcohol.

Other Names:

Cinnamon is also known scientifically as cinnamomum verum or C. seylanicum.

How Does it Work?

Cinnamon is digested in the stomach and digestive tract, where it filters into the bloodstream and into other areas of the body. Studies have found that just ½ teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol levels. Other studies suggest that a small dose of cinnamon each day may have a regulatory effect on blood sugar, making it beneficial for those with Type 2 diabetes. Cinnamon is also widely used as a home remedy for many ailments including: digestion, diarrhea, common cold, arthritis pain, toothaches, bad breath and headaches. It is reported that drinking tea made from the bark of Sri Lankan cinnamon could be beneficial to oxidative stress.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

Cinnamon contains strong anti-microbial properties, which makes it effective for the treatment and prevention of bacterial outgrowths, such as a yeast infection. According to a 2003 study published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology, cinnamon extract added to carrot broth was able to inhibit the growth of bacillus cerus, a food-borne pathogen, for nearly 60 days. When cinnamon was omitted from this preparation, the pathogen continued to multiply. This strongly suggests cinnamon has potent anti-microbial properties. Another study reported in the June 2007 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports cinnamon, when added to food, delays digestion by 2.5 percent, which significantly lowered the risk for sudden rises in blood glucose. Other studies show cinnamon helps lessen glucose spikes caused by eating sugary foods, regardless of how much food is consumed. The combination of calcium and fiber in cinnamon is important and can be helpful for those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation and diarrhea. These health benefits are extremely important for older men.

References:

  • 1. Newall CA, Anderson LA & Phillpson JD (eds): Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. The Pharmaceutical Press, London, England; 1996.
  • 2. Ouattara B, Simard RE, Holley RA, et al. Antibacterial activity of selected fatty acids and essential oils against six meat spoilage organisms. Int J Food Microbiol 1997 Jul 22;37(2-3):155-62 1997. PMID:12270.
  • 3. Hlebowicz J, Darwiche G, Björgell O, Almér LO. Effect of cinnamon on postprandial blood glucose, gastric emptying, and satiety in healthy subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007.
  • 4. Khan A. Khattak KN, Safdar M et al: Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 2003; 26(12):3215-3218.

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Copper:

What is it?

Copper is a trace element that helps the body absorb iron and zinc. It also plays a critical role in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is used as an energy source by the body. Copper is the third most active mineral in the body and is mostly carried by the blood plasma protein, Ceruloplasmin. Copper is essential for proper health and must be included in any diet. Copper is in many food sources including meat, seafood, beans, almonds and whole grains. Oysters are the richest source of copper. As a herbal supplement, copper is known to help with arthritis, brain function, energy, anti-aging, immune function, bacterial properties, blood cell health, cholesterol, and prostate health. A copper deficiency can cause anemia, low body temperature, osteoporosis, dilated veins, irregular heartbeat, thyroid problems and elevated cholesterol levels.

Other Names:

In herbal applications, copper is also called copper sulfate, copper picolinate, copper gluconate or copper salicylate.

How Does it Work?

Copper is an essential component of many enzymes. When swallowed, copper mixes with a compound called ceruloplasmin, a protein that carries copper to protein-needing tissues. This enzyme also improves the oxidation of iron, which allows it to be absorbed into other tissues. Each of the copper-containing enzymes has a distinct function, proving that copper plays a role in a wide range of physiological processes including iron utilization, elimination of free radicals, development of bone and connective tissue, and the production of the skin and hair pigment called melanin. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is a copper-dependent enzyme that helps remove superoxide radicals from the body. Superoxide radicals are produced during normal metabolism, as well as when white blood cells attack invading bacteria and viruses. If not eliminated quickly, superoxide radicals cause damage to cell membranes. When copper is not present in sufficient quantities, the activity of superoxide dismutase is diminished, and the damage to cell membranes caused by superoxide radicals is increased. Proper cell function is crucial for optimal health, especially as one ages.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

Copper and zinc are key minerals for prostate health and must work in proper balance for optimal health. The prostate has the highest levels of zinc, more than any other organ in the body. This shows that zinc is extremely important for prostate health. Since zinc and copper are similar in atomic structure, they actually compete with one another for absorption. When your body’s intake of zinc is higher than copper, the excess zinc interferes with enzyme activity, which depends on copper to function. Therefore, a high intake of zinc, without proportionate levels of copper, can hurt the prostate. It is estimated that 15-35 percent of adults over the age of 60 do not get enough copper and zinc. Studies also show that copper is involved in the formation of red blood cells, plays an important role in metabolism, stimulates the immune system to fight infections and neutralizes free radicals which can cause severe damage to cells and support thyroid glands in keeping them healthy.

References:

  • 1. Murray, MT: Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements. Prima Publishing, Rocklin, CA; 1996.
  • 2. Chandan K. Sen, Savita Khanna, Mika Venojarvi, Prashant Trikha, E. Christopher Ellison, Thomas K. Hunt, and Sashwati Roy. Copper-induced vascular endothelial growth factor expression and wound healing. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol, May 2002; 282: H1821 - H1827.
  • 3. Borkow G, Gabbay J, Zatcoff RC. Could chronic wounds not heal due to too low copper levels? Med Hypotheses. 2008;70(3):610-3.

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Cranberry:

What is it?

Cranberry is native to colder regions of the northern hemisphere, such as the US, Canada and Europe. Cranberries have long been valued for their medicinal properties and have very high antioxidant properties. Centuries ago, sailors used them as a source of vitamin C to prevent scurvy. In the 18th century, it was used in Native America to stop wounds from bleeding. Today, medical professionals recommend cranberries for its numerous, powerful health benefits. They have even gained the commercial status of a “superfruit”. Cranberries have also been valued for their ability to prevent and treat urinary tract infections, promote gastrointestinal health, prevent kidney stones, lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, raise HDL (good) cholesterol and even help prevent certain diseases.

Other Names:

Cranberry is also called the American cranberry, bog cranberry, vaccinium macrocarpon, bear berry, black cranberry and low cranberry.

How Does it Work?

When consumed, the cranberry's antioxidant properties attack free radicals in the body that cause cell damage. Cell damage is the cause of many health problems such as heart disease. Cranberries also prevent urinary tract infections—a common occurrence for men with enlarged prostates. Cranberry juice produces hippuric acid in the urine which acidifies the urine and prevents bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder. Cranberries also contain quinic acid, which prevents the combination of calcium and phosphate ions to form kidney stones. Studies show that the antioxidant content of cranberries is five times that of broccoli. In addition, a comparison with 19 other common fruits proved that the berry has the maximum amount of antioxidants. This is very important and also helps lower bad cholesterol levels (LDL cholesterol).

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

There is sufficient evidence cranberry contains antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. According to a 2008 study reported in Colloids and Surfaces, cranberry juice alters the "attaching" ability of harmful bacteria, preventing it from attaching to healthy cells. It also helped increase the level of surface free energy, increasing the protective barrier between healthy cells and bacteria. A 2006 study conducted by the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) also indicates cranberry juice can inhibit E. coli bacteria, preventing infection. This is very important for men suffering from enlarged prostates as they are more prone to urinary tract infections.

Cranberry may also contain important compounds that may reduce the symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). According to a 2002 study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, cranberry juice contains a phenolic called quercetin, which has been shown in several studies to reduce the severity of urinary symptoms caused by BPH, including urgent nighttime urination (nocturia), incomplete bladder emptying and incontinence.

References:

  • 1. Hughes B & Lawson L: Nutritional content of cranberry products. Am J Hosp Pharm 1989; 46:1129
  • 2."Cranberry juice creates energy barrier that keeps bacteria away from cells, study shows". Eurekalert.org. 2008-07-21. Retrieved 2009-11-13.
  • 3. Duthie SJ, Jenkinson AM, Crozier A, et al. (March 2006). "The effects of cranberry juice consumption on antioxidant status and biomarkers relating to heart disease in healthy human volunteers". Eur J Nutr 45 (2): 113–22. doi:10.1007/s00394-005-0572-9. PMID 16032375.
  • 4. Zheng W, Wang SY (January 2003). "Oxygen radical absorbing capacity of phenolics in blueberries, cranberries, chokeberries, and lingonberries". J Agric Food Chem. 51 (2): 502–9. doi:10.1021/jf020728u. PMID 12517117.

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Flaxseed oil:

What is it?

Flaxseed oil is a fatty oil derived from the seeds of the linum usitatissimum (flax) plant, a plant native to the Middle East. Flaxseed is commonly used as a dietary supplement because it contains 50-60% omega-3 fatty acids in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which has been shown to increase the amount of good cholesterol in the body. It is also used medicinally to treat heart disease and inflammation of the colon. Some reports also indicate it could possibly prevent prostate related problems.

Other Names:

Flaxseed oil is also called linseed oil, Grain de Lin, Flachs, flax or Lini semen.

How Does it Work?

When consumed, the omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed oil converts into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). This helps lower inflammation and bad cholesterol buildup in the arteries. It may also act as a protective barrier against a variety of illnesses. Flax seed plays three primary roles in nutrition. First, the seed--powdered or ground--is rich in dietary fiber, both soluble and insoluble, making it a useful digestive aid. Second, it is one of the best source of lignans, a nutrient with antioxidant properties. Third, the seed contains a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are termed "essential" because they are necessary for survival yet cannot be produced by the body. Among the essential fatty acids, omega-3 is the type that the mainstream American diet lacks the most.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

Erik Castle, M.D., a urologist for the Mayo Clinic, says there is some evidence flaxseed oil may reduce the risk of prostate related disease. Some studies have shown flaxseed oil can reduce the levels of prostate-specific antigens (PSA). A lower PSA level usually indicates the the disease is being effectively treated.

There is sufficient evidence flaxseed oil can treat and prevent cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease. According to a 2006 study published in the Journal of Atherosclerosis, higher consumption of omega-3 fatty acids led to a significant decrease in triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels, with moderate improvements in HDL, or good cholesterol. Other studies, including a 2008 study reported by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, report flaxseed oil can alter the fatty acid composition of red blood cells, which can reduce cholesterol buildup. A 2000 study reported in the same journal also reports omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseed oil can reduce the severity of inflammatory bowel disease.

References:

  • 1. Blumenthal, Busse, Goldberg et al: Flaxseed. The Complete German Commission E monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines, The American Botanical Council, Austin, TX; 1998.
  • 2. Arjmandi BH, Khan DA, Juma S, et al: Whole flaxseed consumption lowers serum LDL-cholesterol and lipoprotein (a) concentrations in postmenopausal women. Nutr Res 1998;18(7):1203-1214.
  • 3. Balk EM, Lichtenstein AH, Chung M et al. Effects of omega-3 fatty acids on serum markers of cardiovascular disease risk: A systematic review. Atherosclerosis. 2006 Nov;189(1):19-30.
  • 4. Barceló-Coblijn G, Murphy EJ, Othman R, Moghadasian MH, Kashour T, Friel JK. Flaxseed oil and fish-oil capsule consumption alters human red blood cell n-3 fatty acid composition: a multiple-dosing trial comparing 2 sources of n-3 fatty acid. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Sep;88(3):801-9.
  • 5. Belluzzi A, Boschi S, Brignola C, Munarini A, Cariani C, Miglio F. Polyunsaturated fatty acids and inflammatory bowel disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;71(suppl):339S-342S.
  • 6. Castle, Erik. Flaxseed: Does it affect risk of prostate problems? The Mayo Clinic. Retrieved July 28, 2010 from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/flaxseed/AN01712.

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Germanium:

What is it?

Germanium is a type of mineral that naturally occurs in the environment, mostly in plant-based foods. Shortly after its discovery in 1869, scientists began using germanium as a treatment for disease. One of the main functions of germanium is to increase the use of oxygen by the body's tissues, which stimulates the cells to produce energy. This makes it an important immune system booster.

Other Names:

Germanium is also known as germanium-132, organic germanium, germanium sesquioxide, Ge-132, vitamin O, sanumgerman and germanium lactate citrate.

How Does it Work?

Germanium may allows the body to change its response to diseased tissue, which has therapeutic benefits. Germanium does not directly attack diseased tissue, but stimulates the body's immune system, making it effective in the treatment of degenerative diseases. Dr. Otto Warburg, a Nobel prize-winning researcher found that germanium facilitates the movement of oxygen across cellular membranes to deliver oxygen into the cells.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

In scientific studies, regular use of germanium as a dietary supplement has been proven to help promote a healthy prostate and can even help reduce tumor size. Germanium also helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Patients that suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic and very painful conditions reported through the course of several studies that taking regular germanium supplements seemed to lessen the pain and stiffness that they felt from their conditions. Germanium has been shown to help your body "fix" itself when normal body functions have gone out of balance because of illness, medication, diet or other reasons. Doctors found that patients treated with germanium had less cellular abnormalities and free radical damage than people who didn't take regular supplements of germanium. This is probably the single most important benefit of taking germanium, and the benefit that has doctors the most excited.

References:

  • 1. Higuchi I, Izumo S, Kuriyama M et al: Germanium myopathy: clinical and experimental pathological studies. Acta Neuropathol 1989; 79:300-304.
  • 2. "Germanium". American Health Society. Retrieved 2008-08-31.
  • 3. Jao, Shu-Wen, Lee, Wei, Ho, Yat-Sen (1990). "Effect of germanium on 1, 2-dimethylhydrazine-induced intestinal disorder in rats." Diseases of the Colon & Rectum. 33(2); 99-104. DOI: 10.1007/BF02055535.

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Ginger:

What is it?

Ginger is an herb traditionally used in Asian, Indian and Arabic medicine. It contains phenol compounds called gingerols and shogaols, which have been shown to treat numerous medical conditions, including inflammation, heart disease and nausea. Historically, ginger has a long tradition of being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal problems. In herbal medicine, ginger is regarded as an excellent carminative (a substance which promotes the elimination of intestinal gas) and intestinal spasmolytic (a substance which relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract). Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects.

Other Names:

Ginger is also called ginger extract or Zingiber officinale.

How Does it Work?

When digested, the gingerols get released into the gastrointestinal tract. It contains analgesic and antibacterial properties, which can help soothe the stomach. It has also been found that people suffering from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis experience reductions in their pain levels and improvements in their mobility when they consume ginger regularly. In two clinical studies involving patients who responded to conventional drugs and those who didn't, physicians found that 75% of arthritis patients and 100% of patients with muscular discomfort experienced relief of pain and/or swelling.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

Ginger has been clinically shown to reduce nausea caused by pregnancy, chemotherapy or seasickness, and may reduce inflammation caused by osteoarthritis. According to a 2000 report published in the British Journal of Anesthesia (BJA), several studies show that ginger repeatedly causes antiemetic activity in pregnant women and people suffering from seasickness, which significantly reduced the frequency and severity of nausea. It also inhibited nausea when nausea was induced by drugs, such as cisplatin and cyclophosphamide. People who took ginger while on chemotherapy treatment also reported fewer instances of nausea or nausea-like symptoms.

According to a 2001 study reported in the Journal of Arthritis and Rheumatism, patients with arthritis who took a ginger extract twice daily reported a significant reduction in knee pain while standing or walking.

References:

  • 1. Arfeen Z, Owen H, Plummer JL et al: A double-blind randomized controlled trial of ginger for the prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting. Anaesth Intensive Care 1995; 23(4): 449-452.
  • 2. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A et al (eds): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council, Austin, TX; 1998.
  • 3. Altman RD, Marcussen KC. Effects of a ginger extract on knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 2001;44(11):2531-2538.
  • 4. Bertolucci LE, DiDario B. Efficacy of a portable acustimulation device in controlling seasickness. Aviat Space Environ Med. 1995;66(12):1155-1158.
  • 5. Lee SH, Cekanova M, Baek SJ. Multiple mechanisms are involved in 6-gingerol-induced cell growth arrest and apoptosis in human colorectal cells. Mol Carcinog. 2008;47(3):197-208.
  • 6. Mahady GB, Pendland SL, Yun GS, et al. Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) and the gingerols inhibit the growth of Cag A+ strains of Helicobacter pylori. 2003;23(5A):3699-3702.
  • 7. Ernst, E.; & Pittler, M.H. (1 March 2000). "Efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials" (PDF). British Journal of Anesthesia 84 (3): 367–371. PMID 10793599. Retrieved 2006-09-06.

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Horsetail:

What is it?

Horsetail is an herb primarily used to treat fluid retention, including fluid retention caused by edema and benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). Medicinally, horsetail has also been indicated as a treatment for osteoporosis because of its high silicon content, which has been shown to strengthen bone tissue. In ancient times, Romans and Greeks used horsetail to stop bleeding and improve the healing time of ulcers and open wounds.

Other Names:

Horsetail is also known as equisetum arvense, its scientific name. Other names for horsetail include bottle brush, horse willow, Paddock-pipes, shave grass, Toadpipe, Pewterwort, Mexican horsetail and Giant horsetail.

How Does it Work?

When consumed, horsetail encourages the body to eliminate excess fluids, including urine. This increases the urgency to eliminate fluids. Horsetail also delivers silicon to bone tissue, thus strengthening bone.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

There is some evidence horsetail can speed up the elimination of urine, which can benefit men suffering from benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). Several animal studies conducted in the 1990s show horsetail induces diuresis, or an increased production of urine, even in limited amounts.

References:

  • 1. Anon: Horsetail. In: DerMarderosian A (ed): The Lawrence Review of Natural Products. Facts and Comparisons, St. Louis, MO; 1991.
  • 2.Jellin JM, Gregory P, Batz F et al: Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 3rd ed. Therapeutic Research Faculty, Stockton, CA; 2000.
  • 3. Perez Gutierrez RM, Laguna GY & Walkowski A: Diuretic activity of Mexican equisetum. J Ethnopharmacol 1985; 14(2-3):269-272.
  • 4. Corletto F. [Female climacteric osteoporosis therapy with titrated horsetail (Equisetum arvense) extract plus calcium (osteosil calcium): randomized double blind study]. Miner Ortoped Traumatol 1999;50:201-206.
  • 5. Graefe EU, Veit M. Urinary metabolites of flavonoids and hydroxycinnamic acids in humans after application of a crude extract from Equisetum arvense. Phytomedicine 1999;6(4):239-246.

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Hydrangea:

What is it?

Hydrangea is a flowering plant of the Saxifragaceae family, native to the northeastern United States. Although it is commonly used as a decorative plant, its stalks are sometimes used in medicinal supplements to improve bladder function, treat urinary tract disorders, and relieve infections in the kidney and bladder.

Other Names:

Hydrangea is also named hydrangea arborescens, mountain hydrangea, seven barks, smooth hydrangea and wild hydrangea.

How Does it Work?

Holistic doctors claim its sterols enter the bloodstream, where it filters into the kidneys and bladder. The sterols reportedly contain anti-inflammatory activity, which soothes infections and inflammation.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

Preliminary evidence suggests hydrangea can inhibit bacteria colonization in the urinary tract. According to a 2005 study led by Dr. Rabih Darouiche, 21 patients who were inoculated with a solution containing hydrangea were 50 percent less likely to develop a urinary tract infection compared to the placebo group, which developed a urinary tract infection 90 percent of the time. Researchers from New Mexico State University name hydrangea as a possible treatment for urinary tract infections, including those affecting the kidneys. Those suffering from enlarged prostates or BPH can benefit from hydrangea since urinary tract infections are quite common.

There is sufficient evidence hydrangea can reduce the severity of autoimmune disease, including multiple sclerosis (MS). According to a 2009 study conducted by Harvard Medical School, halofuginone, a molecule unique to the hydrangea plant, inhibited the multiplication of TH17 cells--white blood cells that contribute to numerous autoimmune diseases. The participants in the study, laboratory rats, developed multiple sclerosis more slowly and less severely than mice on placebo. Although researchers stress this is a preliminary study, the results are promising for people dealing with an autoimmune disease.

References:

  • 1. Anon: British Herbal Pharmacopoeia. British Herbal Medicine Association, Keighley, UK; 1983.
  • 2. Newall CA, Anderson LA & Phillipson JD: Herbal Medicines. A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. Pharmaceutical Press, London, UK; 1996.
  • 3. Duke JA: Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL; 1985.
  • 4. Michell J & Rook A: Botanical Dermatology. Greengrass, Vancouver, BC; 1979.
  • 5. Gilpin, A., Brown, H. and Huerta, S. (2004). "Urinary Tract Infections." Retrieved from http://medplant.nmsu.edu/Diseases/uti/uti.HTML on August 4, 2010.
  • 6. Sundrud MS, Koralov SB, Feuerer M et al. Halofuginone Inhibits TH17 Cell Differentiation by Activating the Amino Acid Starvation Response. Science 2009; 324:1334-1338.

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Iodine:

What is it?

Iodine is a trace element that regulates normal thyroid production in humans. Because of its effect on the thyroid, iodine is commonly included in medications designed to treat thyroid disorders. It has also been indicated as a possible treatment for wound healing.

Other Names:

Iodine is also known as sodium iodide, povidone iodine and potassium iodide.

How Does it Work?

When consumed, iodine filters into the bloodstream, where it is drawn into the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 during the synthesis of thyroid hormones. When the demand grows for higher thyroid production, more iodine is drawn out.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

There is evidence that iodine sufficiency can reduce the risk for breast, prostate and ovarian related problems. According to the National Health and Nutritional Survey (NHANES), a 50 percent decrease in iodine consumption was associated with an increased risk for breast, prostate and ovarian problems. Although there isn't direct evidence showing iodine deficiency can cause these problems, anecdotal evidence is strong. According to several studies, iodine can also reduce a person's risk for goiters, which are brought on by iodine deficiency. Thyroid problems, such as hypothyroidism, have also been successfully treated with iodine supplementation, and are commonly used in thyroid medications to regulate thyroid production.

References:

  • 1. Delange F & Lecomte P: Iodine Supplementation: benefits outweigh risks. Drug Safety 2000a; 22(2):89-95.
  • 2. Ghent WR, Eskin GA, Low DA et al: Iodine replacement in fibrocystic disease of the breast. Can J Surg 1993; 36:453-460.
  • 3. Hintze G, Emrich D, Kobberling J et al: Treatment of endemic goitre due to iodine deficiency with iodine, levothyroxine or both: results of a multlicentre trial. Eur J Clin Invest 1989; 19:527-534.
  • 4. Gaitan E. Goitrogens in food and water. Annu Rev Nutr 1990;10:21–39 [review].
  • 5. Ingenbleek Y, De Visscher M. Hormonal and nutritional status: critical conditions for endemic goiter epidemiology? Metabolism 1979;28:9–19 [review].
  • 6. Lamberg BA. Endemic goitre—iodine deficiency disorders. Ann Med 1991;23:367–72 [review].

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Juniper:

What is it?

Juniper is a small, evergreen shrub prized for its aromatic, succulent berries, which serve as the base for numerous alcoholic beverages, including gin. Traditionally, Native Americans used juniper berries as a treatment for diabetes and to prevent pregnancy. Modern usage of juniper includes the treatment of bladder disorders, diuresis (increased urine output) and arthritis.

Other Names:

Juniper is also known as Zimbro, Juniperus Communis, Genievre, Wacholderbeeren and Baccae Juniperi. It may be referred to as juniper berries or stems.

How Does it Work?

Terpinene-4-ol, an alcohol found in juniper, releases into the kidneys, where it improves its filtration rate. This reportedly increases urine output, making it easier to urinate.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

Research suggests juniper can increase urine output, relieving some of the urinary symptoms associated with benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). According to Herbs of Choice: The Therapeutic Use of Phytomedicals, the alcohols present in juniper have been clinically shown to increase urine output, due to its effect on kidney function. This helps decrease the urine load in the body caused by BPH. It has also been indicated as a possible treatment for edema because of its ability to eliminate excess fluids in the body. The German Commission E recently approved juniper's use for diuresis, citing sufficient evidence that it can enable the body to eliminate excess fluids without any serious adverse effects.

References:

  • 1. Anon: British Herbal Pharmacopoeia. British Herbal Medicine Association, Keighley, UK; 1983.
  • 2. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD: Herbal Medicines. A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. Pharmaceutical Press, London, UK; 1996.
  • 3. Chevallier, A: The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. DK Publishing Company, New York, NY; 1996.
  • 4. Tyler VE. Herbs of Choice: The Therapeutic Use of Phytomedicinals. Binghamton, NY: Pharmaceutical Products Press, 1994, 76-7.
  • 5. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al (eds). The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 155-6.
  • 6. ESCOP. Juniperi fructus. Monographs on the Medicinal Uses of Plant Drugs. Exeter, UK: European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherpay, 1997.
  • 7. Lamberg BA. Iodine deficiency disorders and endemic goitre. Eur J Clin Nutr 1993;47:1–8 [review].

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Lycopene:

What is it?

Lycopene is a carotenoid found in human serum and skin, as well as the liver, adrenal glands, lungs, prostate and colon. (A carotenoid is a naturally occurring pigment in certain fruits and vegetables that has high levels of antioxidants and helps promote healthy immune function). Lycopene has been found to possess antioxidant properties in animal and lab studies. A high intake of lycopene foods or lycopene serum are directly related to a reduced incident of heart disease and eye diseases. Patients diagnosed with BPH or enlarged prostates are at an increased risk of developing more serious prostate problems and may benefit from taking lycopene supplements or supplements with lycopene as a main ingredient. The body cannot produce lycopene so it’s important to eat foods rich in lycopene to benefit from its antioxidant powers.

Other Names:

Lycopene is also called rhodopurpurin, non-provitamin A carotenoid and tomato extract.

How Does it Work?

According to The American Health Society, lycopene blocks free radicals from damaging the DNA matter in cells, preventing malformation. It is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to neutralize free radicals, especially those made from oxygen, thus protecting the body from prostate problems, breast problems and heart disease. Oxygen-produced free radicals are the most toxic chemicals and are formed naturally in the body during cellular metabolism. As an antioxidant, lycopene has two times the ability of beta-carotene (vitamin A) and 10 times the ability of vitamin E to fight oxygen free radicals. Lycopene is the most predominant carotenoid in the human plasma, which means it is one of the best defenders of the immune system. Research shows that lycopene can be absorbed most efficiently after it has been processed into juice, sauce or ketchup. In fresh fruit, lycopene is found in the fruit tissue; therefore, only a partial amount of lycopene is absorbed.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

In a 1995 Harvard University study conducted with 47,894 men, researchers found that eating 10 or more servings a week of tomato products was linked to reduced risk of prostate problems by as much as 34 percent.

Other researchers also say people in countries that typically consume a high tomato-based diet, such as Italy, have lower incidences of prostate disease, which can be contributed to lycopene. New research suggests a potential benefit for bone and skin health, as well as male fertility.

More recent research suggests that lycopene, like beta-carotene, may play an important role in keeping vision healthy, by preventing cataracts and Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).

Lycopene may also prevent heart disease. In 1997, a major European study showed that men who ate the most lycopene were only half as likely to have a heart attack then those who ate less lycopene. It was also found that lycopene can help reduce LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol).

References:

  • 1. Lininger S (ed): The Natural Pharmacy. Prima Health Publishing, Rocklin, CA; 1998.
  • 2. Giovannucci E, Ascherio A, Rimm EB et al: Intake of carotenoids and retinol in relation to the risk of prostate problems. JNCI 1995;87:1767-1776.
  • 3. Mills PK, Beeson WL, Phillips RL, Fraser GE: Cohort study of diet, lifestyle, and prostate problems in Adventist men. Health 1989; 64:598-604.
  • 4. Hsing AV, Comstock GW, Abbey H et al: Serologic precursors of health problems. Retinol, carotenoids, and tocopherol and risk of prostate problems. JNCI 1990;82:941-946.
  • 5. Levy J Bosin E, Feldman B et al: Lycopene is a more potent inhibitory of human cell proliferation than either beta-carotene (SIG). Nutr 1995;24:257-266.
  • 6. Nahum et al.(2001) p.3428-3436.

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Molybdenum:

What is it?

Molybdenum is a trace mineral necessary to maintain the health of the nervous system, the kidneys and energy production in cells. As a dietary source, molybdenum is commonly found in legumes, grains, leafy green vegetables, liver and nuts, but is also available in supplement form. Proponents of molybdenum claim it can prevent anemia, gout and erectile dysfunction (ED). There is also some evidence molybdenum may prevent some disease, including gastroesophageal, breast and prostate problems.

Other Names:

Molybdenum is sometimes referred to as sodium molybdate, etrathiomolybdate or Mo. 42.

How Does it Work?

When consumed, molybdenum acts as a co-factor for sulfite oxidase, xanthine oxidase and aldehyde oxidase. This enables the metabolism of methionine and cysteine, sulfur-containing amino acids, helps form uric acid and enables the metabolism of other drugs and toxins.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

There is anecdotal and scientific evidence that molybdenum may prevent certain disease, including gastroesophageal, breast and prostate disease. According to a 2008 study on molybdenum dietary consumption reported in Health Research, people who lived in areas where molybdenum intake was characteristically low, which included parts of Iran and China, had significantly more cases of gastroesophageal disease compared to areas with moderate molybdenum intake. A 2006 study reported in Oncology also shows increased molybdenum intake inhibited the growth of advanced prostate disease, although it was not able to reverse some of its more dangerous complications. A 2003 study reports similar results--when patients were given tetrathiomolybdate, a form of molybdenum, 80 percent of the patients' tumors stopped growing.

References:

  • 1. Murray, MT: Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements. Prima Publishing, Rocklin, CA; 1996.
  • 2. Yang CS: Research on esophageal disorders in China: A review. Health Res 1980;40:2633-2644.
  • 3. Nouri, Mohsen; Chalian, Hamid; Bahman, Atiyeh; Mollahajian, Hamid; Ahmadi-Faghih, Mohammadamin; Fakheri, Hafez; Soroush, Ahmadreza (2008). "Nail Molybdenum and Zinc Contents in Populations with Low and Moderate Incidence of Esophageal Problems". Archives of Iranian Medicine 11: 392.
  • 4. Hassouneh B, Islam M, Nagel T, Pan Q, Merajver SD, Teknos TN. Tetrathiomolybdate promotes tumor necrosis and prevents distant metastases by suppressing angiogenesis in head and neck problems. 2007;6:1039-1045.
  • 5. Henry NL, Dunn R, Merjaver S, Pan Q, Pienta KJ, Brewer G, Smith DC. Phase II trial of copper depletion with tetrathiomolybdate as an antiangiogenesis strategy in patients with hormone-refractory prostate problems. Oncology. 2006;71:168-175.
  • 6. Pan Q, Bao LW, Kleer CG, Brewer GJ, Merajver SD. Antiangiogenic tetrathiomolybdate enhances the efficacy of doxorubicin against breast carcinoma. 2003;2:617-622.
  • 7. Campbell JK, Canene-Adams K, Lindshield BL, Boileau TW, Clinton SK, Erdman JW Jr. Tomato phytochemicals and prostate problems risk. J Nutr. 2004; 134:3486S-3492S.

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Muira Puama:

What is it?

Muira puama is an extract derived from the Ptychopetalum tree, native to the Amazon river basin in Brazil. Traditionally, muira puama was used as an aphrodisiac in Brazilian medicine, and has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Modern use of muira puama includes the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED), sexual dysfunction in women and poor energy levels.

Other Names:

Muira puama is also called potency wood, ptchopetalum uncinatum, ptychopetalum olacoides, and muira puama root.

How Does it Work?

Alternative health practitioners claim the oil in muira puama, which is currently unnamed, encourages more blood flow to the corpus cavernosum (sponge-like region of the penis where most of the blood goes during penile erection), which reduces the severity of erectile dysfunction (ED).

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

Several small studies have indicated it may be beneficial for people suffering from erectile dysfunction or a low libido. According to a 1994 study reported in the American Journal of Natural Medicine, 52 percent of patients who took muira puama extract reported improvements in erectile function, with 62 percent reporting increased desire as a result of taking the extract. According to a similar study conducted just a year later, 66 percent of couples who took muira puama extract reported an increased frequency in sexual intercourse. Also, 55 percent of men cited improvements in maintaining erections during intercourse, with less fatigue noted. There is also scientific evidence muira puama acts as a mild anxiogenic, which improves energy levels without compromising coordination.

References:

  • 1. Gruenwald J, ed. PDR for Herbal Medicines . 2nd ed. Montvale, NJ: Thomson Medical Economics; 2000: 531-532.
  • 2. Schultes R, et al. The Healing Forest: Medicinal and Toxic Plants of the Northwest Amazon. Portland, OR: Dioscorides Press,1990, p. 343.
  • 3. Bucek E, et al. Volatile constituents of Ptychopetalum olacoides root oil. Planta Med 1987;53:231.
  • 4. Waynberg J. Male sexual asthenia - interest in a traditional plant-derived medication. J. Ethnopharmacol 1995.
  • 5. Murray M. Yohimbine vs. muira puama in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Am J Nat Med November 1994.

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Parsley:

What is it?

Parsley is a herb commonly used as a spice in European, American and Middle Eastern cuisine. As a medicinal herb, parsley is often used to treat edema, nausea, urine infections and itching associated with mosquito bites. There is also some evidence parsley can induce diuresis, or forced urine expulsion.

Other Names:

In herbal applications, parsley is sometimes referred to as persil, persely, Hamburg parsley, garden parsley or common parsley.

How Does it Work?

When eaten, parsley inhibits the Na+ and K+-ATPase pump in the kidneys, which increases sodium and water excretion. It also improves potassium and manganese absorption, which reduces electrolyte loss and increases bone density.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

According to a 2002 study reported in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, parsley caused the participants to eliminate significantly more urine compared to placebo--or in this case, water. Evidence suggests parsley inhibits pumps in the kidneys that lead to increased urine loss, which can reduce the pain of edema and benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). Parsley also contains a range of antioxidant-rich vitamins, including vitamin C. These vitamins have been shown to reduce free radical damage, a leading cause of health problems.

References:

  • 1. Newall CA, Anderson LA & Phillipson JD (eds): Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. The Pharmaceutical Press, London, England; 1996.
  • 2. Kreydiyyeh, Sawsan Ibrahim; Julnar Usta (March 2002). "Diuretic effect and mechanism of action of parsley". Journal of Ethnopharmacology 79 (3): 353-357. doi: 10.1016/S0378-8741(01)00408-1. Retrieved 2010-06-29.
  • 3. Ensminger AH, Esminger M. K. J. e. al. Food for Health: A Nutrition Encyclopedia. Clovis, California: Pegus Press; 1986 1986. PMID:15210. Fortin, Francois, Editorial Director. The Visual Foods Encyclopedia. Macmillan, New York 1996.
  • 4. Grieve M. A Modern Herbal. Dover Publications, New York 1971. Hirano R, Sasamoto W, Matsumoto A et al. Antioxidant ability of various flavonoids against DPPH radicals and LDL oxidation. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2001 Oct;47(5):357-62 2001.

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Plant Sterols and Stanols:

What is it?

Plant sterols and stanols are a group of phytochemicals that naturally occur in plants. Small quantities are found in many fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, cereals and vegetable oils. Most people do not get enough sterols in their diet, since they eat mostly processed foods. A diet rich in unprocessed plant foods will supply 200-300mg of sterols, while a diet rich in processed foods might be as low as 40mg a day. Sterols also appear in many medicinal plants including saw palmetto, pygeum africanum, milk thistle and gingko biloba. Sterols may be responsible for most of the medicinal value of those plants. The most common types of sterols include campesterol, stigmasterol and beta-sitosterol. Because many plant sterols and stanols are chemically similar to cholesterol, it is commonly used to reduce cholesterol absorption, which in turn lowers high cholesterol levels. There is also some evidence it can lower a person's risk for heart disease and alleviate some symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), better known as an enlarged prostate.

Other Names:

Supplements may reference specific types of plant sterols and stanols. Names for these types of stanols and sterols include beta-sitosterol, beta-sitosterin, sitosterol, benecol, campestonol, campesterol, phytostanol, stiostanol, 24-methyl-cholesterol, cholestatin, stigmasterol and brassicasterol.

How Does it Work?

Studies show that phytosterols are effective in relieving symptoms of BPH, also known as an enlarged prostate. It assumed that this is due to the phytosterols preventing the nuclear estrogen receptors of the prostate gland, as well as strongly stopping the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by inhibiting an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. DHT is one of the main contributing factors to BHP because it encourages prostate growth. The prostate of older men has almost four times the amount of DHT than that of a younger man. Stopping the production of enzyme 5-alpha-reductase reduces some of the symptoms caused by BPH, like trouble urinating and prostate infections.

Sterols also have an effect on cholesterol levels. Sterols work by blocking absorption of cholesterol in the small intestine. This lowers the low density cholesterol (LDL or “bad” cholesterol) by 6-15% without lowering high density cholesterol (HDL or “good” cholesterol). An effective amount of plant stanols is usually around 2-3 grams per day. The National Cholesterol Education/Adult Treatment III program guidelines recommend plant sterols/stanols as part of a heart healthy eating plan. Eating a healthy diet low in fat that includes fruits, vegetables and whole grains, along with exercise can reduce the risk of heart attack.

Sterols are found to help the immune system by balancing out the levels of T-helper1 and T-helper2 cells. When the body is trying to fight a cold or virus, T-helper2 cells respond with too much activity. Sterols help the body produce more T-helper1 cells so the body can fight the cold, and even serious viruses like HIV and hepatitis C.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

A U.S. study found that higher intakes of plant foods containing phytosterols are associated with decreased prostate problems. LDL (“bad”) cholesterol gets deposited into the prostate, causing BPH and possible non-bacterial prostatitis. It is also believed that the body uses cholesterol to produce male hormones which have been linked to the onset of prostate problems. Stanols are found to reduce cholesterol levels in the prostate and might also work as an anti-inflammatory. The results of two double-blind studies published in The Lancet, have reported that men with BPH who took stanols had substantial improvements in symptoms, including improved urine flow, reduced prostate size and subjective feelings of an improvement in their prostate health.

An enlargement of the prostate often puts pressure on the urethra, resulting in difficulty urinating. A study reported in the British Journal of Urology reports patients who took 130 milligrams of beta-sitosterol each day saw drastic improvements in urinary symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate, which was comparable to the BPH drug Proscar. In another study reported by Life Extension Magazine, beta-sitosterol improved urinary flow rates by 33.5 milligrams, with significant reductions in the volume of residual urine.

Specific sterols and stanols provide a range of cardiovascular and disease-preventative benefits. According to a 2003 study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, phytosterols helped reduce cholesterol absorption in the intestines, which in turn lowered the amount of bad cholesterol present in the body. The reduction of absorption makes the liver remove harmful LDL cholesterol from the blood. This is crucial to heart health because LDL causes cholesterol to be deposited in the arteries, causing a plaque buildup along the artery walls. This buildup restricts blood flow and increases the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.

References:

  • 1. Ostlund RE, Racette, SB, and Stenson WF (2003). "Inhibition of cholesterol absorption by phytosterol-replete wheat germ compared with phytosterol-depleted wheat germ". Am J Clin Nutr 77 (6): 1385–1589.
  • 2. Patel MD, Thompson PD (May 2006). "Phytosterols and vascular disease". Atherosclerosis 186 (1): 12–9. doi:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2005.10.026. PMID 16325823.
  • 3. Klippel KF, Hiltl DM, Schipp B. A multicentric, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial of beta-sitosterol (phytosterol) for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. German BPH-Phyto Study group. Br J Urol. 1997 Sep;80(3):427-32.
  • 4. Wilt T, Ishani A, MacDonald R, Stark G, Mulrow C, Lau J. Beta-sitosterols for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000;(2):CD001043.
  • 5. McCann SE, Freudenheim JL, Marshall JR, Brasure JR, Swanson MK, Graham S. Diet in the epidemiology of endometrial problems in western New York (United States). 2000;11(10):965-974

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Plantain:

What is it?

Plaintain is a perennial herb mainly prized for its broad, narrow leaves, which contain anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine and diuretic activity. Plantain is commonly used topically to soothe bites and sores, and is purported as a treatment for snakebite. It is also used to treat the common cold, bronchitis, asthma and constipation.

Other Names:

Other names for plantain include common plantain, plantago, plantago lanceolata, blond plantago, broadleaf plantain, buckhron, flea seed, Indian plantage, lanten, Narrowleaf plantago seed, ribwort, ripplegrass, tract plant, White Man's Foot, wild plantain, wild saso and snakeweed.

How Does it Work?

The seeds of the plantain may have a bulking effect in the stomach, which speeds up fecal evacuation.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

There is some evidence plantain can treat some skin conditions, bronchitis and constipation. According to several Bulgarian studies, plantain was shown to reduce the severity of bronchitis, and in some cases, reverse the illness completely. According to another study reported in the American Journal of Pharmacology, petroleum jelly containing ground plantain sped up wound healing caused by inflammatory skin disorders. There has also been numerous anecdotal evidence plantain can improve wound healing caused by poison ivy. According to several European studies, plantain can reduce the severity of constipation in elderly patients. The study, where a plantain seed extract was consumed by 40 elderly patients, reported there was a reduction in severity of passing of stools, the solidness of stools and intestinal cramps.

References:

  • 1. Blumenthal, Busse, Goldberg, et al: The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. The American Botanical Council, Austin, TX; 1998.
  • 2. Anon: British Herbal Pharmacopeia. British Herbal Medicine Association, Keighley, UK; 1983.
  • 3. Plantain. Review of Natural Products. factsandcomparisons4.0 [online]. 2005. Available from Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Accessed April 19, 2007.
  • 4. Koichev A. Complex evaluation of the therapeutic effect of a preparation from Plantago major in chronic bronchitis. Probl Vatr Med 1983;11:61-9.
  • 5. Matev M, Angelova I, Koichev A, et al. Clinical trial of Plantago major preparation in the treatment of chronic bronchitis. Vutr Boles 1982;21:133-7 [In Bulgarian].
  • 6. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin: American Botanical Council and Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 186-7.
  • 7. Weiss RF. Meuss AR (trans). Herbal Medicine. Gothenberg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum and Beaconsfield: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd., 1985, 198-9.

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Pumpkin Seed:

What is it?

Pumpkin seed is an edible, bitter seed taken from the common pumpkin squash, prized for its high protein and polyunsaturated fatty acid content. The seeds are commonly harvested and used in medicinal supplements to treat anxiety disorders, high cholesterol and some types of kidney stones. Extracting the oil yields higher benefits--the oil, not the seed, appears to reduce the severity of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), better known as an enlarged prostate. Pumpkin seeds contain important nutrients for overall health, including 52% of the daily value of manganese and high amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper, vitamin K, zinc and protein.

Other Names:

Pumpkin seed is also called pepita, cucurbita pepo, semen peponis, kurbissamen, Graine de Pepon, Graine de Courge, Autumn squash, Summer Squash, Winter Squash, and Graine de Ditrouille.

How Does it Work?

Benign prostatic hypertrophy, or BPH commonly affects men 50 years of age. One of the factors that contribute to BPH is overstimulation of the prostate cells and its conversion into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Stopping the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) occurs by inhibiting an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. DHT is one of the main contributing factors to BHP because it encourages prostate growth. The prostate of older men has almost four times the amount of DHT than that of a younger man. Stopping the production of enzyme 5-alpha-reductase reduces some of the symptoms caused by BPH, like trouble urinating and prostate infections. Components in the pumpkin seed oil appear to block the multiplication of testosterone and DHT.

The carotenoids and the omega-3 fatty acids found in pumpkin seeds have also been studied for their potential prostate health benefits. Carotenoids, like beta-carotene, are a powerful antioxidant, protecting the body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals. Carotenoids consume and breakdown free radicals. Free radicals attack the immune system so carotenoids are believed to protect and enhance immune function. Men with higher amounts of carotenoids in their diets have less risk of BPH.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

Pumpkin seed may reduce the symptoms of an enlarged prostate because research shows it inhibits the production of DHT, which is believed to cause, and sometimes aggravate, this condition. Pumpkin seed is also a good source of zinc, which was observed in a study conducted by the University of Oregon to inhibit the escalation of prostate problems. It also keeps certain hormones from damaging prostate cells, which helps reduce risks of more serious problems.

Pumpkin seed may reduce the symptoms of an enlarged prostate because research shows it inhibits the production of DHT, which is believed to cause, and sometimes aggravate, this condition. It also keeps certain hormones from damaging prostate cells, which helps reduce prostate problems.

Pumpkin seeds are a natural source of many beneficial nutrients, including carbohydrates, amino acids and unsaturated fatty acids (“good” fats). They also have most of the B vitamins, along with vitamins C, D, E and K. Minerals include calcium potassium and phosphorus. Pumpkin seeds contain L-trytophan, which is beneficial in battling depression.

Other studies have found that pumpkin seeds can improve bladder and urethra function, and help stop the formation of kidney stones.

According to a 2008 study conducted by the University of the West Indies, pumpkin seed may also lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The study, which was conducted on female rats who were fed pumpkin seed oil, showed continuous pumpkin seed oil supplementation resulted in lower triglyceride and HDL, or bad, cholesterol levels compared to rats who were fed corn oil. Their diastolic blood pressure levels were also significantly lower compared to the corn oil group.

References:

  • 1. Gossell-Williams M, Lyttle K et al. Supplementation with pumpkin seed oil improves plasma lipid profile and cardiovascular outcomes of emale non-ovariectomized and ovariectomized Sprague-Dawley rats. Phytotherapy Research. 2008 Jul;22(7):873-7.
  • 2. Bisset NG, Wichtl M (eds): Herbal and Phytopharmaceuticals: a handbook for practice on a scientific basis. Medpharm Scientific Publishers, CRC Press, Stuttgart, Germany; 1994.
  • 3. Blumenthal, Busse, Goldberg, et al: The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. The American Botanical Council, Austin, TX; 1998.
  • 4. Ensminger AH, Esminger M. K. J. e. al. Food for Health: A Nutrition Encyclopedia. Clovis, California: Pegus Press; 1986 1986. PMID:15210.
  • 5. Fortin, Francois, Editorial Director. The Visual Foods Encyclopedia. Macmillan, New York 1996.
  • 6. Hyun T, Barrett-Connor E, Milne D. Zinc intakes and plasma concentrations in men with osteoporosis: the Rancho Bernardo Study. Am J Clin Nutr, Sept. 2004:80(3):715-721. 2004. PMID:15321813.
  • 7. Weiss RF. Meuss AR (trans). Herbal Medicine. Gothenberg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum and Beaconsfield: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd., 1985, 198-9.

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Pygeum:

What is it?

Pygeum is an extract taken from the African Plum tree, a tall evergreen found in central and southern Africa. Its bark has been used as a medicinal healer for thousands of years. Traditional African healers have used the bark to treat bladder and urination problems, particularly symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), or an enlarged prostate. European doctors have been prescribing the bark for years to help protect prostate health and promote a man’s overall wellbeing. In Asia, Africa and India, phytotherapeutic medicine (a form of treatment using plants and trees) is used for drugs for the treatment of BPH. Pygeum contains three compounds that combat the symptoms of BPH, including beta-sitosterol, pentacyclic terpenes and ferulic esters. Beta-sitosterol interferes with the formation of prostaglandins that cause inflammation and swelling in the prostate. Pentacyclic terpenes also reduce swelling. Ferulic esters help rid the prostate of any cholesterol deposits that usually cause the prostate to grow.

Other Names:

Pygeum is also called the African plum, pygeum africanum or prunus africana.

How Does it Work?

Pygeum bark contains phytosterols such as beta-sitosterols, which have anti-inflammatory properties that inhibit the production of prostaglandins in the prostate. Prostaglandins are natural chemical compounds that are present in most tissue and organs. It functions similarly to a hormone in that it affects other cells. Prostaglandins activate pain, inflammation and fever so that is why it’s important to control them, especially in the prostate.

Most prostate problems begin around age 40, when the prostate beings to grow due to increased levels of DHT, a potent form of the male hormone testosterone. Testosterone is produced by the testicles and adrenal glands, and starts to accumulate in the prostate, causing prostate cells to rapidly multiple. Pygeum is found to inhibit the production of DHT by controlling the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, which combines with testosterone to create DHT. Therefore, a lower level of DHT will reduce the onset of an enlarged prostate or reduce symptoms of those suffering from BPH.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

Pygeum helps to reduce inflammation, reduce prostate size, promote normal urination and rids the prostate of cholesterol deposits that can occur with BPH.

According to a 1999 study reported in the Journal of Urology, 44 percent of men who took pygeum twice daily reported their quality of life was improved, which included reductions in urinary pain, nocturia and anxiety related to issues urinating. According to a 2000 study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Medicine, men who took pygeum extract displayed a 19 percent reduction in reported episodes of nocturia, or an increase in urges to urinate during the night. Residual urine flow was also reduced by 24 percent and urine flow increased by 23 percent. A review of 18 controlled clinical trials including 1,562 men were analyzed and reviewed in the 2004 edition of the Cochrane Review. The studies ranged from 30-122 days. The review found that when compared to a placebo, pygeum greatly improved urine flow, and concluded pygeum is a useful treatment option for men with lower urinary symptoms associated with BPH.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently gave pygeum an A for its efficacy against BPH, claiming numerous studies showed it could moderately improve BPH symptoms without any serious adverse effects. This includes pain relief, frequency of urination, hesitation and emptying of the bladder.

Pygeum also helps men with sexual dysfunctions. An Italian study tested pygeum on 18 patients who had sexual disorders, as well as chronic prostatitis and BPH. The patients received 200mg of pygeum per day, resulting in significant improvements in sexual function without an negative side effects.

References:

  • 1. Lininger S (ed): The Natural Pharmacy. Prima Health Publishing, Rocklin, CA; 1998.
  • 2. Andro MC, Riffaud JP: Pygeum africanum extract for the treatment of patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia: A review of 25 years of published experience. Curr Ther Res 1995; 56:796-817.
  • 3. Pygeum. Review of Natural Products. factsandcomparisons4.0 [online]. 2005. Available from Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Accessed April 19, 200
  • 4. Ishani A, et al. Pygeum africanum for the treatment of patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia: a systematic review and quantitative meta-analysis. Am J Med 2000;109:654-64.
  • 5. Brackman F, et al. Comparison of once and twice daily dosage forms of Pygeum africanum extract in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia: a randomized, double-blind study, with long-term open label extension. Urology 1999;54:473-8.

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Quercetin:

What is it?

Quercetin is a type of plant-based chemical, or phytochemcial, known as a flavanoid believed to contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Plants containing flavonoids are used as a traditional medicine in many cultures. Good sources of quercetin include apples, onions, teas and red wines. Many men suffering from prostate problems can benefit from quercetin since it is found to reduce swelling of the prostate gland. It is also a natural antihistamine that may relieve allergic symptoms and asthma symptoms. The anti-inflammatory properties may reduce pain associated with arthritis. It is also found to reduce symptoms of fatigue, depression and anxiety.

Other Names:

Quercetin may also be called sophretin, meletin or bioflavanoid.

How Does it Work?

Quercetin is quickly broken down when digested, but it is not found in the bloodstream. The compounds that are created by the digestion of quercetin have been shown to be beneficial to the treatment of a number of physical problems including prostate problems, asthma, heart disease and is even looked at for its anti-ageing possibilities.

Quercetin contains powerful antioxidants, which protect the all the body’s cells from free radical damage. When toxins enter your body (chemicals from food, pollutants in the air, alcohol and cigarette smoke) or when cells naturally use oxygen, your body produces “free radicals.” Free radicals cause oxidative damage—the chemical reaction that weakens and damages the body’s cells. Every muscle, organ and bone in the body is made of cells, so if the cells are not functioning properly, a serious health issue could arise. Antioxidants are substances and nutrients in food that slow, prevent and reverse this cell damage to keep the body as healthy as possible. That includes keeping the metabolism moving at a steady pace, your energy at a consistent level, and your immune system strong.

Quercetin as an antioxidant has been shown to have significant anti-tumor, anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory effects, and can potentially help decrease risk for more serious prostate problems.

For allergies, quercetin might work by inhibiting the release of histamine, which leads to common symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

Since quercetin has potent antioxidant powers, it is beneficial for the treatment of numerous ailments and health problems:

  • Chronic prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate)
  • Heart disease
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Anti Ageing including wrinkles, fine lines and dry skin
  • High Cholesterol
  • Cataracts
  • Diabetes
  • Hardening of Arteries

According to a 1999 study reported in the Journal of Urology, 82 percent of men who took 500 milligrams of quercetin twice daily reported at least a 25 percent improvement in symptoms caused by prostatitis, including pelvic pain. During the study, none of the men experienced any negative side effects from taking quercetin. A 2007 study reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology reports smokers who took quercetin daily also developed pancreatic issues less often compared to smokers who did not take any flavanoid-enhanced supplements. The University of Maryland also names quercetin as a possible alternative treatment for Interstitial cystitis because several studies show it reduces urgent urges to urinate, which are caused by the disease. This is also a common symptom of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) or enlarged prostate.

Studies have also shown that quercetin may also be a potential solution to cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of death in the United States. The study focused on the effects of quercetin on overweight people with high cardiovascular risk. Quercetin was tested on a group of 93 overweight and obese people ranging from 25-65 years old. Each individual was given only 150mg of quercetin per day, while regular quercetin capsules are weighted at 500mg and can be taken up to three times a day. Over the six-week trial period of taking quercetin in smaller doses, the capsule was found to lower blood pressure and significantly prevent damage to LDL cholesterol. Since only damaged LDL cholesterol causes plaque build up, quercetin was shown to prevent cardiovascular disease overall.

Other health benefits include quercetin’s ability to block an enzyme that leads to the accumulation of sorbitol, which has been linked to nerve, eye, and kidney damage in those with diabetes.

References:

  • 1. Murray, MT: Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements. Prima Publishing, Rocklin, CA; 1996.
  • 2. Shoskes, DA et al. (1999). "Quercetin in men with category III chronic prostatitis: a preliminary prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial". Urology. 54 (6): 960–3. doi:10.1016/S0090-4295(99)00358-1. PMID 10604689.
  • 3. Ute Nöthlings, Suzanne P. Murphy, Lynne R. Wilkens, Brian E. Henderson3 and Laurence N. Kolonel (2007). "Flavonols and Pancreatic Health Risk". American Journal of Epidemiology 166 (8): 924–931. doi:10.1093/aje/kwm172. PMID 17690219.
  • 4. Boots AW, Haenen GR, Bast A. Health effects of quercetin: from antioxidant to nutraceutical. Eur J Pharmacol. 2008;582(2-3):325-37.
  • 5.Boots AW, Li H, Schins RP, Duffin R, Heemskerk JW, Bast A, Haenen GR. The quercetin paradox. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2007;222(1):89-96.

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Red Clover:

What is it?

Red clover is a wild, leafy plant commonly used to detoxify the blood by inducing diuresis, or increased urine expulsion. It also reportedly cleanses the liver and may help treat whooping cough, skin infections or inflammations and breathing problems.

Other Names:

Red clover is also called cow clover, meadow clover, purple clover, trefoil, trifolium pratense, beebread and milk vetch.

How Does it Work?

Red clover contains compounds called isoflavones, which help the body produce estrogen. This helps improve the functioning of the reproductive system, especially in middle aged women.

References:

  • 1. Newall C, Anderson L & Phillipson J: Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. The Pharmaceutical Press, London, England; 1996.
  • 2. Kowalak JP & Mills EJ: Professional Guide to Complementary and Alternative Therapies. Springhouse Co, Springhouse, PA, 2001.
  • 3. Baber RJ, Templeman C, Morton T, et al. Randomized, placebo-controlled trial of an isoflavone supplement and menopausal symptoms in women. Climacteric. 1999b;2(2):85-92.
  • 4. Howes JB, Sullivan D, Lai N. The effects of dietary supplementation with isoflavones from red clover on the lipoprotein profiles of postmenopausal women with mild to moderate hypercholesterolemia. Atherosclerosis. 2000;152(1):143-147.
  • 5. Husband A. Red clover isoflavone supplements: safety and pharmacokinetics. Journal of the British Menopause Society. 2001;Supplement S1:4-7.
  • 6. Stephens FO. Phytoestrogens and prostate problems: possible preventive role. MJA. 1997;167:138-140.

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Rosemary:

What is it?

Rosemary is an herb traditionally used to treat upset stomach, indigestion and other ailments affecting the gastrointestinal tract. Holistic doctors also recommend its use for relieving pain, including headaches, sore muscles and joint pain. The herb is used medicinally in powder or liquid form, and can be consumed or used topically to alleviate pain and inflammation.

Other Names:

Rosemary is also called compass plant, compass weed, incensor, Old Man and rosmarinus officinalis.

How Does it Work?

Carnosic acid, a compound found in rosemary oil, acts similarly to antioxidants, preventing free radical damage in cell membranes. This may have a beneficial effect for a variety of health problems and chronic conditions caused by free radical damage.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

According to a 2007 report by the Burnham Institute for Medical Research, rosemary may be beneficial for the brain. The report, which was posted on Science Daily, an online science magazine, says carnosic acid was shown to prevent some free radical damage, reducing the risk of strokes, Lou Gehrig's disease and Alzheimer's disease. According to another study, rosemary also contains other compounds that may improve joint, heart and prostate health, including caffeic acid, ursolic acid, rosmaridiphenol and rosmanol.

Rosemary may also contain diuretic properties. According to a 2000 study reported in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, liquid rosemary extract helped improve kidney function, which aided in the release of more urine. The study's leading researcher, Dr. M. Halaoui, also notes that rosemary did not eliminate essential minerals when it induced diuresis, which conventional diuretic tablets do, causing an electrolyte imbalance. Not only is rosemary effective at eliminating excess urine, it does so safely, with few indicated side effects.

References:

  • 1. Chevallier, A: The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. DK Publishing Company, New York, NY; 1996.
  • 2. Anon: British Herbal Pharmacopoeia. British Herbal Medicine Association, Keighley, UK; 1983.
  • 3. Anon: Biologicals, 11th edition. Merck, Rahway, NJ; 1989.
  • 4. Newall CA, Anderson LA & Phillipson JD: Herbal Medicines. A Guide for Health-care Professionals. Pharmaceutical Press, London, UK; 1996.
  • 5. Burnham Institute for Medical Research (2007, November 2). Rosemary Chicken Protects Your Brain From Free Radicals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 2, 2007, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071030102210.htm.
  • 6. Halaoui M et al. J Ethnopharmacol 2000; 71(3):465-472.

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Saw Palmetto:

What is it?

Saw palmetto is an extract taken from the Serenoa repens fruit, which primarily thrives in the southeastern United States. Saw palmetto's active ingredients include fatty acids, plant sterols, and flavonoids (antioxidants that are found in almost every plant). The berries also contain high amounts of polysaccharides (sugars), which may reduce inflammation and strengthen the immune system. Historical use can be traced back to the Mayans who used it as a tonic and to the Seminoles that used it as a n antiseptic. In the early 1900s, men used the berries to treat urinary tract problems, and even to increase sperm production and boost libido.

Today, the primary use of saw palmetto is to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), an enlargement of the prostate gland. Saw palmetto extract is a licensed product in several European countries, where they widely use it to treat symptoms of BPH. A number of studies suggest that the herb is effective for treating frequent urination, trouble starting or maintaining urination, and needing to urinate during the night. The urethra, the tube that empties urine from the body, runs through the prostate gland in men; when the prostate gland is enlarged, men may have trouble urinating.

Some studies show that saw palmetto is as effective in treating symptoms as finasteride (Proscar) without side effects such as loss of libido. Other studies suggest that saw palmetto may actually shrink the size of the prostate gland.

Other Names:

Saw palmetto is also known as serenoa, serenoa repens, cabbage palm, scrub pam, dwarf palm tree, sabal or palmetto.

How Does it Work?

Saw palmetto extracts reduce the amount of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in prostate tissue. One of the factors that contribute to BPH is overstimulation of the prostate cells and its conversion into DHT. Stopping the conversion of testosterone into DHT occurs by inhibiting an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. DHT is one of the main contributing factors to BHP because it encourages prostate growth. The prostate of older men has almost four times the amount of DHT than that of a younger man. Stopping the production of enzyme 5-alpha-reductase reduces some of the symptoms caused by BPH, like trouble urinating and prostate infections.

Saw palmetto also has the ability to reduce the action of insulin-like growth factor (IGF) on prostate tissue. With regard to prostate issues in particular, IGF has been shown to stimulate the growth of prostate cells. A health study at the Department of Pediatrics in Portland, Oregon found a link between high circulating serum IGF levels and the risk of later developing advanced prostate problems. Due to these findings, there is a therapeutic advantage of taking saw palmetto to reduce the risks of prostate problems.

There has been some evidence that saw palmetto could reduce the risk of prostate problems by lowering prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. PSA is produced by the prostate gland and found in semen. It is normal and healthy for men to have a low level of PSA in their blood, but PSA levels increase as a man ages. As the PSA levels increase, so does a man’s chances of getting an enlarged prostate. Therefore the use saw of palmetto supplements can have a beneficial effect on PSA levels and thus reduce the risk of prostate problems.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

According to a 2007 report by the Burnham Institute for Medical Research, rosemary may be beneficial for the brain. The report, which was posted on Science Daily, an online science magazine, says carnosic acid was shown to prevent some free radical damage, reducing the risk of strokes, Lou Gehrig's disease and Alzheimer's disease. According to another study, rosemary also contains other compounds that may improve joint, heart and prostate health, including caffeic acid, ursolic acid, rosmaridiphenol and rosmanol.

Several studies show saw palmetto can inhibit the urinary symptoms of BPH. According to a 2002 study reported in the Cochrane Database System Review, men who consumed saw palmetto reported a decrease in nocturia, or an increased urge to urinate while sleeping. They also reported an increase in ease of releasing urine, a decrease in bladder pain and little to no side effects. Additional studies, including a 2008 study reported in the Journal of Urology, also confirmed these effects were consistent and continuously occurred during saw palmetto supplementation.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) gave saw palmetto an A rating for its effectiveness against BPH, claiming it was as effective as the prescription drug Proscar for the treatment of BPH symptoms.

According to a 2000 study at the Minneapolis VA Center for Chronic Diseases Outcome Research, saw palmetto can provide extraordinary benefits for prostate health. An analysis of 2,939 men with symptomatic BPH found that those taking saw palmetto extract reported greater improvement of urinary tract symptoms and urinary flow measures compared to control subjects. In addition, the experimental group saw a decrease in episodes of nocturia (nighttime urination) and an improvement in peak urinary flow.

Saw palmetto is used for other conditions including hair loss, chronic pelvic pain, bladder disorders, decreased sex drive and hormone imbalances.

References:

  • 1. Newall C, Anderson L & Phillipson J: Herbal Medicines. A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. Pharmaceutical Press, London, UK; 1996.
  • 2. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A et al.: The Complete German Commission E Monographs. American Botanical Council, Austin, TX; 1998.
  • 3. Plosker GE & Brogden RN: Serenoa repens (Permixon). A review of its pharmacology and therapeutic efficacy in benign prostatic hyperplasia. Drugs Aging 1996; 9:379-395.
  • 4. Champault G., Patel JC & Bonnard AM: A double-blind trial of an extract of the plant Serenoa repens in benign prostatic hyperplasia. (letter). Br. J Clin Pharmacol 1984, 18:461-462.
  • 5. DiSilverio F, D'Eramo G, Flammia GP et al: Pharmacological combinations in the treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy. J Urol (Paris) 1993; 99(6): 316-320.
  • 6. Markowitz JS, Donovan JL, Devane CL, et al. (December 2003). "Multiple doses of saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) did not alter cytochrome P450 2D6 and 3A4 activity in normal volunteers". Clin. Pharmacol. Ther. 74 (6): 536–42. doi:10.1016/j.clpt.2003.08.010. PMID 14663456.

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Selenium:

What is it?

Selenium is a trace mineral that is essential for good health, but is only required in small amounts. Selenium blends with proteins to make selenoproteins, which are important antioxidant enzymes that help prevent cell damage from free radicals. Free radicals are natural by-products of oxygen metabolism that may contribute to chronic diseases such as heart disease. Observational studies have found that people with higher selenium intake are less likely to get prostate problems.

Selenium also helps regulate thyroid function and plays a key role in keeping the immune system healthy. Plants and soil are the largest sources of selenium, with the highest concentration found in northern Nebraska and the Dakotas. Selenium can also be found in some meats, seafood and nuts. People with selenium deficiencies often suffer from severe gastrointestinal problems such as Crohn’s disease, and are more prone to inflammation and infection.

Some studies show that saw palmetto is as effective in treating symptoms as finasteride (Proscar) without side effects such as loss of libido. Other studies suggest that saw palmetto may actually shrink the size of the prostate gland.

Other Names:

Selenium is also called selenite, selenate and selenocysteine.

How Does it Work?

Research has found that selenium works as an antioxidant, selenium can help protect the body from free radicals—the naturally occurring compounds that damage healthy cells. As cells are killed off, the body is more susceptible to chronic diseases. Free radicals also affect the immune system by weakening its ability to fight off germs and viruses. Selenium may also prevent or slow tumor growth by enhancing immune cell activity and stopping the formation of blood vessels to the tumor.

Initial research finds that selenium is beneficial for maintaining a low level of prostate specific androgen (PSA) levels. PSA is produced by the prostate gland and found in semen. It is normal and healthy for men to have a low level of PSA in their blood, but PSA levels increase as a man ages. As the PSA levels increase, so does a man’s chances of getting prostate problems or an enlarged prostate. According to the American Association for Health Research, eating foods high in selenium or taking a selenium supplement can lower PSA levels, thus reducing the risk of prostate problems and an enlarged prostate.

In regards to heart disease, studies have found that a lower intake of antioxidants resulted in a greater incidence of heart disease. Evidence also shows that oxidative stress from free radicals may cause heart disease. One of the leading causes of heart disease is blocked arteries. Selenium may help limit the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which promotes plaque buildup in coronary arteries.

For people suffering from arthritis, selenium is found to help relive symptoms such as pain, stiffness, swelling and loss of join function.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

Some studies have reported that a low dietary selenium intake is associated with increased risk of prostate problems. A 2008 case-control study at the National Health Institute with 181 healthy men and 181 men diagnosed with advanced prostate problems found that the men that took an average of 159mcg a day of selenium had a 65% lower risk of advanced prostate problems, compared to those with an intake of 86mcg per day.

A 2000 study at the Kuakini Medical Center in Hawaii with 9,000 Japanese American men found that the risk of developing prostate problems was 50% less in men with high selenium levels compared to those in the lower percentile.

An earlier 1989 study reported by the medical journal MedScape says 200 micrograms of selenium per day is ideal for reducing prostate problem risk. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there is sufficient evidence selenium supplementation may reduce a person's prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, and may be beneficial for men who want to lower their prostate problem risk. PSA is released into a man’s blood by his prostate gland. Healthy men have low amounts of PSA in the blood but the amount increases as a man’s prostate gland enlarges with age. PSA may increase because of inflammation of the prostate gland.

The effect of selenium supplementation on the recurrence of different types of skin problems was studied in seven dermatology clinics in the U.S. from 1983 through the early 1990s. Taking a daily supplement containing 200 micrograms of selenium did not affect recurrence of skin disease, but significantly reduced the occurrence and death from some disease. The incidence of prostate problems, colorectal problems, and lung problems was notably lower in the group given selenium supplements.

Selenium is also found to help people with Keshan disease, a heart disease only found in areas of China. Preliminary research reports that selenium may help improve asthma symptoms and may increase the rate of healing, especially burn wounds.

References:

  • 1. Anon: Recommended Dietary Allowances, 10th ed. National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, DC; 1989.
  • 2. Anon: Drug Facts and Comparisons. Facts and Comparisons Inc, St. Louis, MO; 1998:167-169.
  • 3. Fan AM and Kizer KW, Selenium: Nutritional, toxicological and clinical aspects. West. J Med. 1990; 153: 160-167.
  • 4. Clark LC, Combs GF Jr, Turnbull BW, et al. Effects of selenium supplementation for optimal health in patients with skin disorders. A randomized controlled trial. Nutritional Prevention Study Group. JAMA. 1996;276:1957-1963.

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Silicon:

What is it?

Silica is a trace element needed to maintain bone and tissue health. It also helps the body synthesize vitamin B1, an antioxidant-rich nutrient. As a medicinal supplement, silicon is commonly used to strengthen bones, prevent hard plaque formation in the arteries, increase immunity and prevent sagging skin.

Other Names:

Silicon is also called silica, silicic acid, sodium metasilicate and colloidal silicic acid.

How Does it Work?

When consumed, silicon is absorbed by the nails, skin and hair. The rest is deposited into the urine, where it is eliminated by the body.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

According to a recent French study, rabbits fed silicon had a significantly lower amount of plaque buildup compared to rabbits on a placebo, suggesting it can prevent plaque from attaching to the artery walls. Another American study also shows silicon stimulates the production of collagen, the basis for creating bone and skin tissue. People with high collagen levels typically have tighter skin and stronger bones compared to those lacking this essential mineral. Other claims made about silicon are purely anecdotal and have not been scientifically proven to be accurate.

References:

  • 1. Murray MT: Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements. Prima Publishing, Rocklin, CA; 1996.
  • 2. Lassus A: Colloidal silicic acid for oral and topical treatment of aged skin, fragile hair and brittle nails in females. J Int Med Res 1993; 21:209-215.
  • 3. Seaborn, C. et. al.: Silicon deprivation decreases collagen formation in wounds and bone, and ornithine transaminase enzyme activity in liver. Bio Ele Res 2002; 3:247-258.

What is it?

Soy is a subtropical plant, native to southeastern Asia. It is a member of the pea family and grows one to five feet tall, and forms clusters of pods. Soy has been a dietary staple in Asian countries for at least 5,000 years. During the Chou Dynasty, fermentation techniques allowed soy to be prepared in more easily digestible forms. Soy was introduced to Europe and the U.S. in the 1800s and continues to be a healthy protein alternative. Soy is rich in fiber, protein and isoflavones, which promote heart and bone health. It contains all the essential amino acids, and is an excellent source of lecithin. Dietary soy may decrease the risk of prostate problems. Soy isoflavones and lecithin have been studied for their benefits in terms of cardiovascular disease, weight loss and brain function.

Other Names:

Soy is also called soya, soybean, daidzein, genistein or glycine max.

How Does it Work?

UK researchers say a vegan diet cuts the risk of prostate problems (soy is considered vegan). An earlier study of Seventh-Day Adventist men in California found that those who drank soymilk at least once a day had a 70% reduced risk of developing prostate problems. Similar results show up for Japanese men living in Hawaii who ate tofu.

Soy benefits may apply to men already in treatment for prostate problems. According to Dr. Kenneth Pienta, a Detroit-based prostate researcher, high concentrations of a soy-isoflavone—an antixoidant called genistei—can prevent prostate problems from spreading to other part of the body. Raymond C. Bergan, MD, at Northwestern University, also backed this study.

Numerous human studies report that adding soy protein to the diet can moderately decrease LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

According to a 2008 study reported by Health Research, soy may inhibit the spread of prostate problems. Raymond C. Bergan, M.D., the study's lead investigator, credits this finding to genistein, an antioxidant commonly found in soybeans.

Other studies indicate soy may be beneficial for women diagnosed with menopause. According to a 2005 study reported by the Archives of Internal Medicine, increased soy intake was associated with a significantly lower risk of fracture in menopausal and post-menopausal women. Post-menopausal women benefited the most--soy seemed to have a more protective effect, limiting bone damage. According to another Japanese study, women who consumed foods containing soy daily were one-third less likely to report menopausal symptoms.

References:

  • 1. Cassidy A, Bingham S & Setchell KDR: Biological effects of a diet of soy protein rich in isoflavones on the menstrual cycle of premenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr 1994; 60(3):333-340.
  • 2. Donovan GK & Torres-Pinedo R: Chronic diarrhea and soy formulas. Am J Dis Child 1987; 141(10):1069-1071.
  • 3. American Association for Nutritional Research (2008, March 17). Soy Compound May Halt Spread Of Prostate Problems. ScienceDaily.
  • 4. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Health and Examination Survey III (1988-94), Osteoporosis: www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes.htm
  • 5. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Health and Examination Survey III (1988-94), Osteoporosis: www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes.htm
  • 6. Horivchi T, Onouchi T, Takahashi M, Ito H, Orimo H. Effect of soy protein on bone metabolism in postmenopausal Japanese women. Osteoporosis Int., 11(8):721-4, 2000.

Vanadium:

What is it?

Vanadium is a trace mineral typically found in grain products, fungi and seafood that may improve diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity. Vanadium may also reduce the risk for colon problems, although these benefits have only been replicated in animals, not humans.

Other Names:

Other names for vanadium include vanadate, vanadyl, metavandate, orthovanadate, bis-glycinato oxovanadium and panchromium.

How Does it Work?

Scientists believe vanadium may affect the buildup and growth of bone tissue.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

Vanadium may display antidiabetic activity. According to a 1994 study reported in the Journal of Hypertension, vanadium helped significantly lower plasma insulin and blood pressure in rats diagnosed with high blood pressure, common symptoms that occur in type 2 diabetes. According to a 1995 study, vanadium also improved insulin sensitivity, which may also reduce some of the symptoms present in type 2 diabetes.

References:

  • 1. Badmaev V, Subbalakshmi P & Majeed M: Vanadium: a review of its potential role in the fight against diabetes. J Altern Complement Med 1999; 5(3): 342-348.
  • 2. Fawcett JP, Farquhar SJ, Walker RJ et al: Oral vanadyl sulphate does not affect blood cells, viscosity or biochemistry in humans. Pharmacol Toxicol 1997; 80(4): 202-206.
  • 3. Cunningham JJ: Micronutrients as nutriceutical interventions in diabetes mellitus. J Am Coll Nutr 1998; 17(1): 7-10.
  • 4. McNeill JH, Yuen VG, Hoveyda HR et al: Bis (maltolato) oxocanadium (IV) is a potent insulin mimic. J Med Chem 1992; 35(8): 1489-1491.
  • 5. French RJ & Jones PJH: Role of vanadium in nutrition, metabolism, essentiality, and dietary considerations. Life Sci 1993; 52(4): 339-346.
  • 6. Samanta S, et al. Protective effects of vanadium against DMH-induced genotoxicity and carcinogenesis in rat colon: removal of O(6)-methylguanine DNA adducts, p53 expression, inducible nitric oxide synthase downregulation and apoptotic induction. Mutat Res. 2008;650(2):123-31.
  • 7. Bhanot S, McNeill JH. Vanadyl sulfate lowers plasma insulin and blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Hypertension. 1994;24:625-632.
  • 8. Brichard SM, Henquin JC. The role of vanadium in the management of diabetes. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 1995;16(8):265-270.

What is it?

Zinc is a trace mineral needed to maintain immune, skin and cellular health. As a dietary supplement, zinc helps improve wound healing time, reduce infections and improve tissue growth during adolescent and childhood development. Zinc has been indicated as a cure for many health conditions, including sexual dysfunction (low libido), the common cold, diarrhea and prostate problems.

Other Names:

Zinc is alternatively called zincum, zinc picolinate and zinc gluconate.

How Does it Work?

When consumed, zinc helps the body create T-lymphocytes, which improve the body's immunity against diseases and infections. It also helps maintain the strength of mucousal membranes responsible for wound healing, prevent free radical damage in prostate cells and inhibits the rhinovirus, which causes the common cold.

Prostate Health Why is it Beneficial?

There is some evidence zinc may reduce the spread of prostate problems. According to a 2005 study conducted by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), cells with low zinc levels were more likely to become problematic, suggesting zinc supplementation may reduce a person's prostate problem risk. A 1995 study reported by the Journal of the National Health Institute shows men who took up to 100 milligrams of zinc per day were at a far lower risk of developing prostate problems compared to men who took over 100 milligrams. It appears taking too much zinc can cause prostate problems, whereas moderate levels of zinc can actually lower this risk.

Some studies also suggest it can fight the common cold. According to a 2004 study reported in the Journal of the American Pharmacological Association, zinc was able to inhibit the rhinovirus, the virus that causes the common cold. A follow up 2007 study also shows it prevents the rhinovirus from spreading, significantly reducing the duration of the illness.

References:

  • 1. National Research Council: Vitamin E. Recommended Dietary Allowances, 10th ed. National Academy Press, Washington, DC; 1998.
  • 2. Anon: Drug Facts and Comparisons. Facts and Comparisons Inc, St Louis, MO; 1998.
  • 3. Product Information: Galzin(TM), zinc acetate. Gate Pharmaceuticals, Sellersville, PA; 1997.
  • 4. Reynolds JEF (ed): Martindale: The Extra Pharmacopoeia (electronic version). Micromedex Inc, Englewood, CO; 1996.
  • 5. Mossad SB, Macknin ML, Medendorp SV et al: zinc gluconate lozenges for treating the common cold: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Ann Intern Med 1996; 125:81-88.
  • 6. Hulisz D. Efficacy of zinc against common cold viruses: an overview. J Am Pharm Assoc (2003) 2004;44:594-603.
  • 7. Caruso TJ, Prober CG, Gwaltney JM Jr. Treatment of naturally acquired common colds with zinc: a structured review. Clin Infect Dis 2007;45:569-74.

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