Super Beta Prostate Reviews

Curious about Super Beta Prostate, eh? Well, there are certainly a lot of people that are loving this, and it does make a lot of sense, mainly because we, as men, tend to ignore our prostate, mainly because we usually don’t think about it until the problem is very serious.

super-beta-prostate-bottleSerious means you’re in bed with your lady, and there’s suddenly “no life below”. Serious also means you’re getting up to hit the john 10 times a night. It can mean a lot of things, frankly, but almost every man, at some point in his life, is going to experience this. Which is why “preventative” is worth its weight in gold, without a doubt.

Prostate cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers out there, and it has affected men in all corners of the world. Hospitals around the world register new cases of prostate cancer every week. Several forms of cure are readily available if the disease is diagnosed early, but as men, we often leave our personal health matters until last. Most men will face complicated problems post treatment, just because of this negligence.

However, Super Beta Prostate is the kind of preventative supplement that can keep symptoms from re-emerging. Certainly, SBP is far from a cure-all, but many users report superb results from just one month of use. Paired with an improved diet and some exercise, Super Beta Protein can really change the way you feel about yourself, and your prostate.

Who Should Take This?

Well, it certainly isn’t a cure-all, as I mentioned. Instead, it’s more of a preventative. So, as an example, if you’re diagnosed with something like Prostatitis like I was, it’s a step in a good direction. Prostatitis is one of the least recognized male-ailments out there, and for good reason. Who really wants to talk about their prostate? Probably no one.

I know I didn’t. But, I was smart enough to get to a doctor once I realized the symptoms were getting a little too much to handle. Now, I take it every day and it’s been pretty fantastic for me. It really doesn’t take long to feel the difference, and many readers tell me that they found a huge difference after about a month of use.

Super Beta Prostate Side Effects

When I first read some of the documentation behind Super Beta Prostate, I was a little freaked out. It was a lot like those crazy pharmaceutical commercials, with things like “heartburn”, “nausea” and “constipation” being named. I’ll admit, at that point all they had to add to it was “don’t operate heavy machinery while on Super Beta Prostate”, and I would have run for the hills! But I didn’t.

One of the things you have to realize about Super Beta Prostate side effects is that they tend to be super rare. I found that, as with most supplements, if you take Super Beta Prostate with food, it’s very unlikely you’ll ever see any kind of stomach upset at all. I’m not a doctor, of course, but if you have a very sensitive stomach or are taking other stomach-grinding medications, you may at least want to be alert.

But bottom line – negative Super Beta Prostate side effects are VERY RARE.

SBP And Your Doctor

I will admit that my doctor didn’t really know anything about Super Beta Prostate, but after looking over the ingredients, he said that there really shouldn’t be a problem with it (naturally, like any lawsuit-avoiding doctor, he didn’t flat out RECOMMEND IT). He did seem surprised when I started to see decreased prostatitis symptoms after using it for only one month.

Sometimes, you just have to give it a shot, I guess. Click here for the official site, or check out the discount link above!

Prosvent Reviews

This Prosvent review is one you’re not going to love if you’re a huge fan of the product. Why do I say this? Well, compared to Super Beta Prostate, Prosvent is lacking.

Lacks A Key Ingredient

The reason why I say this? Selenium is the key ingredient. Which is fine and dandy, except for the fact that Super Beta Prostate has one key benefit that doctors are saying are key to good prostate health – it contains Beta Sitosterol. The issue we have with Selenium is that if it indeed is the key ingredient, then why wouldn’t you just buy it at your local Walmart/Target/Insert Discount Store here? Selenium is a very available mineral that can be taken in either pill form, or in its tastier form, as Brazil Nuts. In fact, the funny thing about the active ingredients list for Prosvent is that it contains the following:

Pygeum Africanum, Saw Palmetto, Lycopene, Nettle Root Extract, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Vitamin E and D, Zinc, Selenium

Now, let’s go through those. First, we have Pygeum Africanum, which is basically the extract from an African Prune Tree. What does this mean to you? Well, there are actual studies that show that Pygeum Africanum does actually aid in “improving symptoms and urodynamics in symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia” (the study is here). So, maybe it’s not so bad after all? In fact, many of the users of Prosvent do say that it does offer real effectiveness for solving some of the Prostatitis symptoms that seem somewhat insurmountable. This is a good thing. But…

What About Those Other Ingredients?

Yep, exactly. Well, first of all we have Saw Palmetto, which studies have shown time and time again may offer some help with benign prostate hyperplasia. This is a herb that people have used for years to combat frequent urination, and the fact that it’s still around speaks volumes.

The downside here? Again, this is probably available at your local GNC.

And as for the rest of the ingredients? Well, here we go: Lycopene? Eat a tomato. Yep. That’ll do.

Nettle Root Extract? Not a lot of science or study behind this as a real aid to men with prostate problems. There are anecdotal things, of course, but that’s about it.

Ok. So now the ingredient list gets really easy, really fast. Pumpkin Seed Oil… well, I think you can hazard a guess at how you would get this. The rest, namely Vitamin E, D, Zinc and Selenium are all available at GNC or other fine health stores. None have been specifically linked to helping with Prostatitis, but hey… they’re certainly not going to hurt you, either.

So What Do We Have With Prosvent?

Well, we have a supplement with a lot of ingredients that do point the way to some alleviated BPH symptoms. This is a good thing. Certainly, it isn’t such a bad thing that Prosvent offers a “free trial”, either. This part is certainly worth a shot. Their guarantee seems simple: “love it or return it”. Which is basically a nice way of saying, this has a 30 day return policy. As with most of these deals, it does NOT refund your shipping and handling, so if you’re one of those guys who like to “get freebies”, this isn’t a totally free one.

Our Verdict

Well, it certainly isn’t Super Beta Prostate, which is a lot more proven, and again, contains an active ingredient that has demonstrated again and again that it does solve prostate issues. But, with a free trial, the best we can say about Prosvent is simply, “hey. It’s free. Give it a try and see what happens.”

Of course, if you’re in considerable distress and need help that we know is proven, just go with Super Beta Prostate. It just makes sense.

Have a Prosvent Review of your own? Leave a comment here!

Need to know more: Watch their video:

Prostacet Reviews

I hate to be too unique among the massive amount of Prostacet Reviews out there, but I really question this product right off the hop. One of the biggest things I have to say about prostate supplements (also known as “Natural prostate health supplements”) is that they all tend to have a similar list of ingredients. Look for yourself: typically, if you’re buying any kind of prostate supplement, I’ll bet you that nine times out of ten you’re going to get “Saw Palmetto”.

 

My problem with this? You can get Saw Palmetto EVERYWHERE! Without a doubt, this is one of the most common herbs available at your GNCs, your health food stores, and frankly, your Walmarts! While not the absolutely best named herb (I reserve that for Horny Goat Weed, naturally), there are some good effects. For years this herb has been recommended, and may help reduce the size of the prostate. Certainly, I’m no doctor, but taking it helps, and helped me in the past.

BUT…

Why would we pay for something like Prostacet when one can easily head down to the local nutrition store and pick up some Saw Palmetto for $10? Again, this is the same question I had with Prosvent, albeit at least Prosvent has some experimental incredients (Pygeum Africanum, to be specific). One of the things that you should know if you’re looking for prostate supplements is that hey, YOU NEED A SPECIFIC INGREDIENT if you’re going to pull out your wallet.

What I’m saying is that honestly, it’s hard to tell the difference between Prosvent and Prostacet. It’s as simple as that. Neither contain the ABSOLUTE KEY INGREDIENT for BPH or Prostatitis sufferers: Beta Sitosterol. This is, fortunately, the key ingredient in Super Beta Prostate (my review is here) which is why I recommend this product in the first place!!!

But again, I look at the ingredients in Prostacet and see a bunch of things that I would probably put in a curry, BUT NOT NECESSARILY A PROSTATE SUPPLEMENT. I’m talking  Lycopene (science-speak for the good stuff in Tomatoes), Cranberry Powdered Extract (uh, really), Cayenne Pepper (wha?) and Echniacea (well, at least you won’t get a cold while taking it!!).

If you have BPH or Prostatitis, you’re probably a little freaked out. Probably a LOT freaked out if you’re feeling anything like I was when I was diagnosed. But don’t get so freaked out that you start dropping big dollars on every white bottle you see. Don’t start taking some kind of crazy cocktail of expensive pills. Just deal with the fact that you’re experiencing something a lot of men experience, and then go with what works:

Beta Sitosterol. It just works.

So why bother with this particular Prostacet review? Well, it’s more of a public service, frankly. These prostate supplements are starting to look a little the same to me, as it seems as if almost anyone could create their “proprietary formulas” by popping a few regular over-the-counter herbs they bought at the local Target store.

So do I recommend Prostacet? No I don’t I don’t see the point. I have no Prostacet complaints, except that it’s the same snake oil that pretty much 90% of prostate supplements are trying to push. I don’t buy this stuff, especially because there are a lot of people out there that are really scared about their prostate issues. Why waste time with hocus-pocus like this when you can actually get help and get help now!

Take a look at my Super Beta Prostate review here.

Have a Prostacet review of your own? Leave a comment!

Bicycling And Prostate Problems

Done improperly, even casual cycling can cause problems ranging from temporary penile numbness to infertility.

Now hold on. Before all the color drains from your face, keep in mind that simple precautions prevent many of these problems, and most others are easily resolved. Cycling and sex aren’t oil and water. In fact, scientists (and many happy cyclists) believe that spinning your wheels can improve your sex drive.

Bicycling can be hard on your prostate.

Bicycling can be hard on your prostate.

Before we celebrate this fact–and you can be sure we will–let’s look at 6 of the most common cycling-related problems in the male reproductive system.

PENILE NUMBNESS

To understand this, and most of the other problems we’ll discuss, you must understand the prostate. This walnut-shaped gland has a few purposes.

The prostate has muscles that contract to help squirt 2-4 milliliters of semen (containing 100-600 million sperm) out of the penis during ejaculation. It also helps the sperm swim and keeps them safe by producing lubricating fluids that neutralize vaginal acidity. This secretion and others produced by various organs contain sugars and nutrients for the sperm. They comprise most of the volume of semen (less than 10% is sperm).

The gland lies between the scrotum and anus–the area that has most contact with the saddle. “The prostate is just a finger’s width away when you sit on a bike seat,” says H.R. Safford III, M.D., a Denver urologist.

Constant proximity to the saddle can “bruise” the prostate, says Wayman Spence, a Waco, Texas, M.D. who did just that 8 years ago in the Spenco 500 ride. When this happens, the prostate swells and puts pressure on the nearby perineal, dorsal and pudendal nerves, which feed into the penis. Numbness occurs.

If you stay off the bike, the condition usually disappears within a week with no aftereffects “other than a mild loss of enthusiasm before the next ride,” says Jeffrey York, an M.D. in the division of urology at Ohio State University.

The simplest way to avoid this situation is to stand on the pedals more while riding, or shift your weight around on the saddle. Doing this at least every 30 minutes should minimize the pressure that inflames the prostate. If this doesn’t work, try one of the remedies in the “Quick Fixes” sidebar on page 59.

Also beware of the forward position fostered by an aero bar. If you’re just beginning to use such a model, ease into it. Ride 15-25 minutes (or less) in the aero position, then the same amount in your normal posture before switching back. Even experienced aero bar riders should sit up at least once every hour.

URINARY COMPLICATIONS

Cyclists who traumatize their prostate might also suffer from urine flow that is frequent, infrequent, bloody, terminally dribbling, or which causes a burning sensation (thankfully not all at once, though).

These symptoms usually arise when the prostate is irritated beyond bruising to full-blown infection, or prostatitis. The infection interferes with the prostate’s ability to monitor the reproductive system’s fluid output, and strange things begin happening. The cure is simple: antibiotics and time off the bike. Two weeks of each is usually enough.

Bloody urine also occurs in endurance events. The kidneys can bleed because they “just work too hard” reabsorbing water, filtering blood, and excreting waste, explains Spence.

And during jarring activities such as mountain biking, the walls of an empty bladder can bump against each other and bleed, says York. (One more reason to stay well hydrated.) Also make sure that when you catch big-time air you don’t catch big-time saddle. In ’86, the New England Journal of Medicine reported a case of “Huffy-Bike Hematuria.” A 13-year-old cyclist had bloody urine because during his BMX jumps he’d bang against the seat, harming his prostate.

Scary as these problems appear, they’re usually harmless displays–smoke bombs as opposed to hand grenades–created by the body to get your attention and warn you to stop an activity that could lead to permanent damage. But these symptoms can also be caused by ailments (such as kidney infection or bladder cancer) that are far more dangerous, even life-threatening. For this reason, it’s best to assume that urinary problems aren’t caused by cycling. See a doctor. If the diagnosis blames your bike, be glad. The only immediate danger is that you’ll get bored because you can’t ride.

If your forced vacation from cycling begins to seem unbearable, just think about how riders used to solve this problem.

Prostate “massage” was one of the primary jobs of pre-World War I urologists. Some folks thought a neglected prostate harbored “bad humors” that built up and contributed to (besides urinary difficulties and numbness) arthritis and even epilepsy. We recognize this as quackery now, yet medical journals of that era advertised self-massaging machines. These devices were similar to stationary bicycles, only with a 4-inch “dildo” on which a person would sit, says York. Pedaling caused the device to massage the prostate through the rectum wall.

Ouch.

INADVERTENT DISCHARGES

BICYCLING occassionally receives letters from guys who, in roundabout and somewhat tentative language, ask if our medical experts know of any condition that might cause male cyclists to ejaculate while riding.

Is there such a condition, or do these guys love cycling more than the rest of us?

York says that the motion of the legs and hips during pedaling can sometimes create an indirect form of prostatic massage. When this happens, the gland is “milked” and emits fluid. It’s not ejaculation (no sperm is delivered from the testicles), just a sticky discharge of the prostate’s lubricating liquid.

The remedy for this leaking, says Safford, is to reduce the fluid pressure inside the prostate with more “masturbation or intercourse.” Tough medicine.

TESTICULAR TRAUMA

Most males are surprised yet grateful the testicles don’t get traumatized more often in cycling.

Each of these complex organs comprises 275 yards of delicate coiled tubes that make sperm. These seminiferous tubules lead to the epididymis, a 20-foot coiled structure behind each testicle in which sperm mature. The spermatic cord ascends from this coil to the urethra (the tube running from the bladder), through the prostate, and out the penis. The cord contains blood vessels and the vas deferens, the tube that transports sperm (and the one that’s cut in a vasectomy).

Despite the fact that cycling buffets these free-hanging and sensitive organs between pumping thighs, and bounces them on the bike seat, they aren’t harmed. Credit some of this safe passage to bicycle shorts. Like jock straps, they provide some protection by compacting and containing the package.

But in a crash, this same tightness can work against us. Because the scrotum can’t swing freely on impact, it might be more susceptible to injury.

York had a patient whose problem was predictable and mercifully rare. During a crash, one testicle became trapped between saddle and bone. The testicle ruptured, and part of it had to be removed.

No doubt this hurt as much as we imagine it did, but even here the news is relatively good. Losing one testicle in a wreck won’t make you infertile. The other can often supply enough sperm to compensate.

PENILE INJURY

Accidents can damage the reproductive system in other ways. Because the penis extends from the body, it can be hurt during a crash.

York has treated 2 cyclists who fell on their handlebars and damaged the blood vessels in the penis, resulting in the ability to have only a partial erection. An erection happens when these vessels fill with blood and widen. It is maintained by muscles that contract and trap the blood.

In York’s patients, blood entered the vessels but leaked through the damaged artery wall into adjacent veins and back out the penis. This caused partial limpness. After York blocked the damaged artery, the remaining ones worked fine to produce an erection.

IMPOTENCY AND INFERTILITY

This is the big one, the grandaddy of all fears: Can cycling sap your sexual prowess?

Yes, especially if you consider the broadest definition of impotency, which is the “inability to maintain an erection that’s mutually satisfactory for both partners,” says York. In a heterosexual relationship, this wide-ranging term can be applied any time the man either doesn’t get it up or keep it up long enough for intercourse. So technically, any of the problems we’ve discussed could lead to impotency.

This condition affects most men sometime in their lives, says York, but cycling is one of the least-common causes. It’s usually psychological in origin (from stress, anxiety, guilt, depression), or caused by such physical complications as diabetes, alcoholism, or certain medications. Impotency is treatable and almost always temporary.

Infertility is different. It refers to the inability to conceive (15% of couples of childbearing age are infertile). Among the many things that can contribute to male infertility are infections, injuries, a general failure to produce enough sperm, and, yes, cycling.

Evidence is sketchy, but scientists know that under certain conditions cycling, like other endurance sports, can reduce testosterone levels.

Testosterone, a hormone produced in cells between the seminiferous tubules, is responsible for sperm development and male characteristics such as growth of sex organs, distribution of body hair (including baldness), lowering the voice, and muscle growth.

In a study in the August ’91 Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Ruddy Dressendorfer, Ph.D., measured testosterone in marathoners who doubled their regular mileage during 15 days of racing. The levels fell 31%. This is consistent with older research involving cyclists, rowers, runners, and swimmers that showed a 20-30% drop in testosterone after intense and prolonged (more that 2 hours) exercise.

Scientists are also beginning to suspect that, aside from sudden training increases, long-term participation in sports such as cycling might also lower testosterone.

In a study to be published this year in Fertility and Sterility, Mary Jane De Souza, Ph.D., checked sperm quality and testosterone in established runners (60-plus miles a week), weight trainers (2-plus hours, 4-plus days a week), and a control group of average men.

In both exercise groups testosterone levels were about 25% lower than the controls. In the runners, sperm count, motility and its ability to penetrate the cervical mucus were lower, and there were more immature sperm cells.

Why such differences? “We don’t know,” says De Souza, who works at the University of Connecticut Health Center. The jarring that occurs during exercise may negatively affect testicle cells. Others theorize that anxiety and stress may influence the part of the brain that regulates the production of testosterone.

One extra problem for cyclists may be that our testicles are hampered inside hot shorts. Testicles need a cool environment to thrive. This is why males have scrotums–to keep testicles cooler than the inner body temperature.

In a follow-up study, Dressendorfer devised what he calls an “antifreeze diaper,” a nylon liner containing a coolant. It keeps things cool throughout an hour of exercise. But even with this twist, testosterone levels still dropped, he says.

Despite the undeniable dive in this important hormone, it’s important to remember that no clear-cut evidence links moderate cycling to infertility.

Also keep in mind that the decreases caused by increased riding seem to be temporary. Testosterone levels return to normal with a week of rest or reduced training. Anyway, the drop-off may not matter. Even with lower testosterone levels, most cyclists are still fertile. Only men whose sperm count is normally low face possible infertility from a further drop.

“It’s important not to send an alarming message,” says Dressendorfer, director of the exercise science laboratory at New Mexico Highlands University. “You can do very heavy training and still be fertile.”

NOW TAKE A DEEP BREATH

And relax. After all the dire warnings, it’s time for perspective.

Although no definite numbers are available, researchers and doctors estimate that only a small percentage of male cyclists ride long or hard enough to paralyze their penises, become impotent, or suffer any of the other horrors we’ve discussed.

And even the few studies issuing warnings to the hammerheads seem to be inconclusive and outweighed by anecdotal evidence indicating the opposite effect. The Dutch study, for instance, was quickly disputed by pro cycling’s medical commissions and racers. (In one of the more acid comments, Franceso Moser, world hour-record holder, told the Italian La Gazzetta dello Sport that, “I would like to meet the wives of these two doctors.”)

The best news is that moderate cycling can improve your sex drive. Loren Cordain, a Ph.D. in the department of exercise and sports science at Colorado State University, says, “There is no doubt that when a sedentary person takes up moderate exercise, libido is enhanced.”

Compared with sedentary sorts, exercisers usually have better circulation, sleep, diets and flexibility, and can elevate their endorphins (one of the hormones that make us feel pleasure) to higher levels. These are pluses for sexual pleasure. Exercisers also tend to have less fat. York says fat contributes to the production of estrogen (a feminizing hormone). A high level can depress sex drives in men by countering the masculinizing effects of testosterone.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of exercise on libido is to the mind. In his book, The Exercise Habit (Leisure Press, Champaign, IL; $13.95), James Gavin, Ph.D., cites surveys that found that people are more aroused after exercise, wanted (and got) more sex the more they exercised, and maintained sexual activity longer into old age.

A big reason is that “exercise gets you to live in your body, not just on top of it with your mind,” says Gavin, a sports psychologist at Concordia University in Montreal. “Hundreds of studies show that exercise improves self-esteem,” which improves sex. In plainer words, he says, “If you feel like shit, you don’t feel sexy.”

So ride with confidence. Cycling helps not only your head and overall health, but also your sex life. Just remember to respect your reproductive system. Take care of it, and when the time comes it will take care of you.

Prostate Health Supplements – Problems And Symptoms

Why does the prostate grow? “Good question. We don’t really know,” says Robert P. Huben, M.D., chief of urologic oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. Dr. Huben and other experts believe the gland’s tendency to swell may have something to do with the male hormone testosterone. Eunuchs don’t get BPH. For the rest of the male population, however, the condition is extremely common. In fact, it affects as many as 60 percent of men over the age of 50 and 15 percent over age 40.

prostate-picPerhaps because the condition is so prevalent and creeps up so slowly, many middle-aged men don’t realize that something’s wrong. They figure it is an inevitable change that they have no control over. But the fact is, particularly in the early stages of BPH, there’s much you can do to improve. Here are the best tips for reducing symptoms of prostate trouble:

* Don’t hold it in. If you need to urinate frequently, logic may tell you to train your bladder by waiting as long as you can. Logic has been wrong before, and it’s wrong here. “You may actually harm yourself by waiting too long,” says Patrick Walsh, M.D., chairman of urology at Johns Hopkins University. “When urine backs up too far, it can damage the kidneys.” Better to urinate as soon as you feel the need.

* Ejaculate regularly. Tough medicine, we know. But doing so may keep prostatic ducts from getting clogged and backed up. “It can only help,” says Men’s Health advisor Kenneth Goldberg, M.D., founder and director of the Male Health Center in Dallas.

* Don’t drink too much. Avoid all liquids after 6 or 7 P.M. if your sleep has been interrupted frequently (say, two or more times a night) by the urge to pee. Especially don’t drink alcohol, a central nervous system depressant that reduces muscle tone throughout the body, including in the bladder, causing it to retain urine. Day or night, limit drinks containing caffeine. These make you urinate more and increase stress on the bladder, causing it to feel full even when it isn’t.

* Limit spicy foods. Like alcohol, spicy foods may increase bladder irritability.

* Eat more vegetables. Male hormone levels drop on a vegetarian diet, and that may explain why, for example, BPH is rarer in certain Oriental cultures that are largely vegetarian.

* Lower your cholesterol. Cholesterol is converted to male hormone in the body. It’s been observed that enlarged prostate tissue is very high in cholesterol. Some doctors claim an improvement in symptoms, if not in prostate size, by getting patients to lower cholesterol.

* Get enough zinc. Concentrations of zinc tend to be low in men with prostate disease. Hence the thinking that increasing zinc intake to normal levels may help. Foods that are rich in zinc include oysters and herring. Oatmeal, wheat bran, milk, peas and nuts also contain the mineral.

* Don’t sit for too long. That’s your prostate you’re sitting on all day. Get up regularly and walk around.

* Get some exercise. No, there’s no prostate-specific workout. Rather, many physicians have observed that men in good shape, with good body tone, are less likely to have prostate trouble than sedentary men are.

If your symptoms are more severe, and none of the above methods provides adequate relief, two medications can help. The first of these is Hytrin, which relaxes the nerve endings of the bladder neck and prostate to de-stress muscles in the region. James H. Gilbaugh, Jr., M.D., clinical instructor in urology at Oregon Health Sciences University, reports that one-third to one-half of BPH patients treated with Hytrin get some relief with this method. FDA approval for Hytrin’s use in treating BPH is pending.

The other drug is Proscar, much ballyhooed as the first nonsurgical way to actually shrink the prostate gland. In the past, the trouble with a drug approach has been that you can’t block testosterone without affecting potency. Proscar works by reducing a hormone related to testosterone that is specifically responsible for prostate enlargement. There is no effect on testosterone levels bodywide, and side effects are rare. A recent study of 895 men with BPH reported in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the drug reduced the size of the prostate by about 20 percent on average, enough to boost urine flow by 23 percent. Potency problems were reported in about 5 percent.

Because these two drugs act in different ways, there are currently several studies underway to see if using them in combination would be better than using them separately. Though the results aren’t yet available, many doctors are already prescribing both, hoping for a one-two punch.

Herbs For Your Prostate

The trouble is that as a man ages, the prostate often swells up. Unfortunately, the prostate is wrapped around the urethra, the tube that carries urine. The fire hose of youth now performs like it’s trapped under the wheels of the fire truck. Voiding is slow, incomplete, sometimes even painful. The residual urine may create an urgency to “go” with precious little warning.

This is what Saw Palmetto looks like naturally.

This is what Saw Palmetto looks like naturally.

All this aggravation and discomfort sends men to urologists in droves, where most will be diagnosed with benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), which means their prostates are overgrown but not because of cancer. The doctor, of course, will try to rule out any more serious cause of the problem, but if common BPH is found, there is surgery, the relatively new drug finasteride, or in less serious cases, learning to live with it.

Good Options

But there is another alternative these days–an herbal formulation made from a plant called saw palmetto. Growing wild in the American southeast, and long used as a folk remedy here, it’s now cultivated and the berries shipped to Europe.

There, the berries are processed by pharmaceutical firms into a standardized product with guaranteed potency. European men take it in droves. Many doctors there prescribe it. The German “Commission E,” which evaluates natural therapeutic agents, has given its blessing to saw palmetto. The United States has nothing comparable to Germany’s “Commission E.” As far as our Food and Drug Administration is concerned, the lack of American research with the herb makes it ineligible for any kind of approval.

In Europe, though, there’s been lots of research, much of it carried out in a very careful manner.

One of the earliest studies, by a French group, looked at the effect of saw-palmetto extract on 94 men with the usual BPH symptoms. Actually, only half got the herb; the others received a look-alike placebo to rule out the power of suggestion.

After a month, the doctors interviewed and evaluated the men, without being aware of what group they were in–the herb or placebo. What they found was that the herb takers reduced the number of times they had to get up at night by nearly half, increased their flow rate by the same amount, and lessened residual urine by 42 percent. The placebo group fared much worse; their residue, for instance, actually increased by 9 percent (British journal of Clinical Pharmacology, volume 18, 1984).

An Italian study published in Urologia in 1988 found much the same. With saw palmetto (which they refer to by its Latin name, Serenoa repens), nighttime bathroom visits decreased from an average of just over 4 per night to about 1.5 after three months. The placebo group saw no improvement.

Prevention herbal advisor Varro Tyler, Ph.D., reports that good studies on 2,000 BPH patients in Germany confirm the effectiveness of saw-palmetto extract.

If you’re wondering how a berry can be so good for the prostate, scientists have a pretty good idea of how it works.

What triggers prostate growth is a kind of mutated form of the male hormone testosterone. It’s called DHT (for dihydrotestosterone), and when it gets to an older man’s prostate cells, it makes them think they’re going through puberty again, and the gland begins packing on the beef.

As for where this troublemaker comes from–well, from an instigator enzyme called 5 alpha reductase, which causes normal testosterone to switch into the hopped-up DHT.

Saw palmetto seems literally designed to tackle this mess because what it does is:

1. Deactivate the instigator enzyme

2. Prevent DHT from acting on prostate cells, and

3. Serve as a mild anti-inflammatory on the troubled prostate gland.

The basic mechanism here turns out to be the same as in the prescription drug finasteride. Pretty good for a dumb plant, huh?

Good Advice:

Now, a few points.

First, any man with prostate symptoms needs to see a doctor. The problems could signify a treatable cancer.

Second, saw palmetto doesn’t “cure” the prostate. Its reported effects are on symptoms only.

Side effects? Reports we’ve seen say they are rare and nonspecific. Still, if and when you use herbs of any kind, be cautious and watch for unexpected reactions.

Can you make a tea from saw palmetto? No, it won’t do anything for your prostate because the active ingredients are not soluble in water. All the research we’ve seen was done with standardized extracts made in Europe (now sold here, too), with a daily dose of 320 milligrams a day (two 80 mg. capsules, twice daily).

Keep in mind that saw palmetto is not approved by the FDA for any use in the United States. Anyone taking it should check with his physician.

Supplementing Yourself To Good Health

In regards to such basics as serving sizes and supplementation levels, there are likely to be significant differences since, for example, generally, men are larger than women (and thus may require greater amounts of a particular nutrient), and since men and women have differences in metabolism, and other functional areas.

First, let’s consider some common female health problems and the natural approaches to treatment.

Female health concerns

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMS is one of numerous challenges which natural supplementation and therapies can address in order to reduce discomfort and improve indicators of overall health and quality of life. Unwillingness of the male-dominated medical profession to accept the reality of PMS, for example, caused generations of pre-menopausal women to go through untold discomfort and suffering.

Relative to PMS, many women endure one or more of these symptoms: anziety, bloating, breast-swelling, cramps, food cravings (for chocolate, sweets, or salty foods), crying spells, depression, fluid retention, headaches, irritability, and, among others, inability to sleep properly.

A nationally-recognized authority on PMS, Vicki Georges Hufnagel, M.D., an obstetrician-gynecologist, warns: against strict dieting, which steals essential nutrients, or eating junk foods, a stressor of body and mind which increases the need for B-vitamins.

Hufnagel urges women to eat a minimum 50 g of protein daily — a couple of ounces — and increase their intake complex carbohydrates: cereals, fruits, legumes, vegetables, and whole grains. Her secret weapon against PMS is a cup of unsweetened yogurt with a small amount of brewer’s yeast, which contains glutamic acid, a brain fool which raises depressed spirits.

She also recommends a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack to keep blood sugar levels stable and advises against alcohol, caffeine, and chocolate. Various PMS experts suggest nutritional supplements, regular exercise, and improved stress management as a multi-faceted approach to managing this condition.

Andrew Weil, M.D., best-selling health writer and a believer in integrated medicine, recommends the herb dong quad for PMS and other female disorders: “Dong quad is commonly available in this country in the form of encapsulated extracts. I prescribe it frequently for such problems as irregular or difficult menstruation, PMS, menopausal symptoms, and weakness in childbirth.”

Another promising supplement that helps prevent or ease PMS is evening primrose oil. At St. Thomas Hospital in London, one of the world’s largest clinics for PMS, M.G. Brush, M.D., administered two capsules of evening primrose oil three times daily to 70 women who could gain no relief from one to two other kinds of treatment. Sixty-seven percent of the participants gained full relief, while twenty-two percent derived partial relief.

Two homeopathic remedies have a good track record for helping women cope with PMS: belladonna and magnesia phosphorica.

Another treatment that specifically helps to lessen cramps is a combination of zinc and vitamin E. Several studies show that magnesium with 50 mg of vitamin B-6 serves as a diuretic to relieve bloating and kills a craving for chocolate.

Oral contraceptives. Many individuals who take contraceptive pills are unaware of the possible negative complications.

Noted for depleting B-complex vitamins — particularly B-6 and folic acid — “the pill” may cause an elevation of low-density lipoproteins (the harmful cholesterol) and triglycerides.

Menopause. Furthermore, in oral contraceptives, or taken on its own, the extra estrogen to relieve symptoms of menopause presents the dangers of breast or cervical cancer. There appears to be a divided vote in favor of and against estrogen replacement therapy.

In Preventing and Reversing Osteoporosis, Alan R. Gaby, M.D., writes, in regards to minimizing common symptoms of menopause — hot flashes, vaginal inflammation or itching, and depression: “Soybeans contain certain natural substances, phytoestrogens, that have estrogen-like activity; they may account for the rarity of menopausal symptoms in countries such as Japan, where large amounts of soy products are consumed.

“Calcium, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin E, and bioflavonoids, have also been recommended to prevent or treat menopausal symptoms….”

To alleviate hot flashes, Weil recommends two herbs to his patients: dong quad and damiana.

Osteoporosis. A sad physical occurrence during menopause is osteoporosis, honeycombing and weakening of bones, often accompanied by hip, ankle, or spinal fractures. Hormone replacement therapy, once thought to be the best way to stop bone deterioration, has lost some support.

Although the accent is put on increasing the intake of calcium to stop or reverse osteoporosis, this is just part of the story.

Jonathan Wright and Gaby, leading researchers in this field, have found other nutrients of key importance in stopping or reversing osteoporosis: magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, boron, silica, zinc, and vitamins A, C, D, and K.

Supplements containing microcrystalline hydroxyapatite — minute crystals of bone — are easily absorbed and contain important nutrients needed for building and rebuilding bone.

Although many more women than men develop osteoporosis (since women establish less bone mass than men at peak maturity), men wanting to forestall its development or progression can also benefit from bone-building complexes.

Bladder infections. Another serious female-dominated health problem is bladder infection (cystitis), which gives the bladder a feeling of fullness even when it is almost empty and necessitates frequent urination. Because antibiotics kill friendly organisms as well as the unfriendly, many women have found relief from some products at the natural foods store, such as sugarfree cranberry juice (also in capsules), fresh cranberries, cherries, raw garlic, or odor-controlled garlic supplements.

Alternative physician, Gary Gordon, M.D., recommends a half cup of cranberry juice every two hours, day and night; this works for most women. Fresh garlic or garlic supplements can help, too.

Yeast infections. Another serious problem that women deal with is vaginal infection — yeast (Candida albicans) overgrowth, easy to come by and hard to dispel. However, Eileen Hilton, M.D., of Long Island Jewish Medical Center, found a treatment program to manage this condition: Every day, over a 12-month period, she had 11 patients eat a cup of Lactobacillus acidophilus-rich yogurt, which reduced the patients’ incidence of vaginitis by three times. Also crucial to this equation are supplements of active bacterial cultures and FOS (fructooligosaccharides).supplementary

Heart disease. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. And yes, that includes women, too. In fact, statistics from the Partnership for Women’s Health at Columbia University, New York, show that, each year, 478,000 women die of cardiovascular disease, compared with 453,000 men. And, after menopause, this risk rises.

In addition to following a low-fat diet. with appropriate exercise and stress control, there are certain nutrients which have shown to have a protective effect on the heart, in particular, the antioxidant nutrients beta carotene, vitamins C and E, and selenium.

Male health concerns

Now, let’s look at a few common male-dominated health problems, and review the natural treatment options available.

Male yeast problems. According to William G. Crook, M.D., in his book, The Yeast Connection Hand-book, “[Although] women develop yeast-related problems more often than men, and premenopausal women appear to be especially susceptible,” men are not immune to yeast-related health problems.

Crook goes on to say, in his book, The Yeast Connection and the Woman, that, “These problems are especially apt to occur in men who: 1) have taken repeated or prolonged courses of broad spectrum antibiotic drugs…; 2) are troubled by persistent `jock itch,’ athlete’s foot, or fungus infections of the nails; [...] 3) are bothered by recurrent digestive problems, including constipation, bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.”

Unsweetened cranberry juice has been helpful for men coping with bladder infections, while yogurt is beneficial for C. albicans overgrowth.

Prostate health. A real misery of male aging is the possibility of prostate problems, accompanied by such symptoms as increased need to urinate; difficulty urinating; burning, painful voiding of the bladder; and inability to empty it completely, in addition to disturbed sleep due to the need to urinate many times nightly.

Orthodox doctors prescribe certain drugs to solve these problems, and to help prevent benign prostate hyperplasia from evolving into prostate cancer. The best natural treatments, which can be used safely in conjunction with conventional therapies, seem to be saw palmetto, zinc, pumpkin seeds, and essential fatty acids from fresh oils.

Heart disease. As noted earlier, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. In her book, Super Nutrition for Men, Ann Louise Gittleman, M.S., says that by age 60, one in every five men will have suffered a heart attack. She recommends a “heartsmart” nutrition plan that includes plenty of essential fatty acids, the B vitamin niacin, the B-like vitamin choline, and the minerals chromium and magnesium. A two-to-one ratio of calcium-to-magnesium is often recommended.

Another important risk factor for heart attacks in men is where they store their fat — in the mid-section. Excess fat in this area is associated with increased frequency of heart attacks. Fortunately, once this weight is lost — and kept off — the risk of heart attack decreases.