Male patients are likely concerned about their prostate health, and should be if they are not.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) collected data on cancer rates from 2007 to 2011 in the U.S. They found prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among American men, ranking just behind skin cancer.1 Even more alarming, in 2011 alone, over 200,000 men in the United States were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and nearly 28,000 men died from the disease.2
It is vital for chiropractors to be aware of the latest trends in vitamins and supplements and potential problem signs to promote patients’ prostate health.
Signs for concern
Some symptoms for prostate cancer include frequent urination, weak urine flow, or blood in the urine or semen.3 These symptoms are similar for the more commonly occurring conditions prostatitis and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Men under the age of 50 are most likely to suffer from prostatitis, or an inflamed or irritated prostate, and men over the age of 50 are more likely to have BPH or prostate cancer.4
Common supplements for symptoms
Beta-sitosterols are probably the best-known of the supplements for prostate health. In a 2000 meta-analysis, the authors reviewed a number of small studies on this topic, in order to find commonalities across the findings. The health outcomes of a total of 519 men with BPH, from four studies, were examined. The researchers note, “the evidence suggests non-glucosidic B-sitosterols improve urinary symptoms and flow measures.”5 An added benefit, oral beta-sitosterols has shown to lower cholesterol by 10 to 15 percent.6
Pygeum, also known as African plum extract, pygeum may reduce nighttime urges to urinate, as well as improve urine flow.
The authors of a 2002 meta-analysis found that men who took pygeum had nearly a 20% reduction in nighttime urges to urinate and over a 20% increased peak urine flow. They concluded: “A standardized preparation of Pygeum africanum may be a useful treatment option for men with lower urinary symptoms consistent with benign prostatic hyperplasia.”7
Saw Palmetto is the most promising supplement for addressing prostate cancer. It is extracted from a small palm tree that is native to the southeastern U.S. Although saw palmetto can also be used to treat BPH, there has been some recent research into its ability to slow the growth of prostate cancer.8
A 2007 study tested a saw palmetto extract on lab mice with prostate cancer. They found that saw palmetto induced apoptosis, or cellular death, in the prostate tumors. They concluded: “These results indicate that Saw Palmetto might be useful for the treatment of individuals with prostate cancer.”
Research appears to be active in this area and we should see new information on these and other supplements for men’s health. Biological changes are inevitable as the body ages. Men will likely see these changes in areas including their prostate health. Fortunately, there are currently supplements to help improve symptoms or even prevent them from worsening.
1 National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. ”What I need to know about prostate problems.” Published July 2014. Accessed August 2015.
2 Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. “Prostate cancer statistics.” Published September 2014. Accessed August 2015.
3 Prostate Cancer Foundation. “Prostate Cancer Symptoms”. Accessed August 2015.
4 Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. “Basic information about prostate cancer.” Published December 2013. Accessed August 2015.
5 Wilt T, Ishani A, MacDonald R, et al. Beta-sitosterols for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000;(2):CD001043.
6 Cholesterol-lowering margarines, Med Lett Drugs Ther. 1999 18;41(1055):56-8.
7 Wilt T, Ishani A, MacDonald R, Rutks I. Pygeum africanum for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002;(1):CD001044.
8 Yang Y1, Ikezoe T, Zheng Z, et al. Saw palmetto induces growth arrest and apoptosis of androgen-dependent prostate cancer LNCaP cells via inactivation of STAT 3 and androgen receptor signaling. Int J Oncol. 2007 Sep;31(3):593-600.