Regular prostate check-ups are crucial as men get older, to identify any problems at an early stage. There are several things that can go wrong with this walnut-sized organ, which secretes seminal fluid, but the most common problems are prostate cancer and benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), or prostate enlargement.
One man in eight gets prostate cancer during his lifetime. But many die with the disease rather than from it, since most cancers start late in life and are slow-growing. And, while BPH won’t kill you, if you’re in your sixties, there’s a 50:50 chance you already have some symptoms, which can make life miserable. For instance, you could find it difficult to start to pee, or to stop, and you may need to get up during the night to visit the toilet.
Understandably, men with prostate cancer might think removing the offending organ or zapping it with radiotherapy is their best option. But undergoing one of these procedures could easily leave you impotent and with no control over your bladder and bowels.1
The outlook for men taking medication for BPH is no better. The commonly-prescribed drugs finasteride (Proscar) and dutasteride (Avodart) don’t help around a quarter of the men taking them, according to a study from Boston University School of Medicine. But they could lead to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, erectile dysfunction, depression, anxiety and cognitive problems.2
So, it makes good sense to focus on prevention rather than cure. And that’s where Prostate Optimizer, from US company Jarrow Formulas, steps into the limelight. This complex of eight amazing herbs and nutrients provides comprehensive support for the prostate and could slash your risks of both BPH and prostate cancer.
Prostate Optimizer contains saw palmetto, pollen extract and stinging nettle, to support normal bladder function and urinary flow. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids and boswellia reduce inflammation, while phytosterols, vitamin D3 and lycopene help prevent cancerous changes.
Saw palmetto, pollen and nettle help reduce prostate size, improve urine flow and cut night-time toilet trips
Saw palmetto, a palm-like shrub, is a popular herbal remedy for BPH. Its berries are rich in fatty acids and compounds called phytosterols – and one of these, beta-sitosterol, has been shown in several clinical trials to improve the symptoms of BPH.3
Although the causes of BPH are still unclear, scientists believe it may be related to long-term exposure of the prostate to a strong form of testosterone called DHT. One action of saw palmetto is to block the conversion of testosterone to DHT.4 Saw palmetto is also anti-inflammatory and slows the multiplication of prostate cells by inhibiting the action of growth factors (compounds that stimulate cell division).5
The pollen extract used in Prostate Optimizer is called Cernitin. A 2012 review concluded it is safe and effective for the treatment of lower urinary tract symptoms resulting from prostate enlargement, particularly in terms of easier urine flow and fewer night-time bathroom trips.6 In addition, a German study found Cernitin pollen extract reduced pain and improved quality of life in men with chronic prostatitis, a condition in which the prostate becomes swollen, tender and inflamed.7
Stinging nettle root also contains several natural compounds that help prevent or treat BPH. In a large, placebo-controlled clinical trial in Iran, men taking nettle extract for six months saw significant improvements in their BPH symptoms.8 Urine flow rate increased by an average of 77 per cent, bladder emptying was improved and prostate size reduced. And these improvements were long lasting, for at least 12 months after the end of the treatment period.
The ability of saw palmetto, pollen extract and nettle root to relieve BPH symptoms is thought to be largely due to their content of phytosterols. These compounds are also natural prostate cancer fighters that improve the immune system’s ability to recognise and destroy cancerous cells. They also help inhibit hormone-dependent tumour growth, induce cancer cell death and help prevent cancer spread (metastasis).9 In addition to the three herbal ingredients, Prostate Optimizer contains a potent complex of natural phytosterols.
Natural nutrients and herbs could slash your risk of prostate cancer
Each daily dose of Prostate Optimizer provides omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, from fish oil. In animal studies, these fatty acids reduced inflammation, clinical symptoms and metabolic markers of BPH.10 And fish oil could also protect against prostate cancer. Research links higher consumption with a reduced risk of the disease, and shows omega-3 fatty acids can help sabotage the growth of prostate tumours in several ways.11
Boswellia, also known as Indian frankincense, further boosts the anti-inflammatory effects of Prostate Optimizer for BPH and helps block prostate cancer proliferation, by causing cancerous cells to self-destruct.12 Boswellia also inhibits new blood vessel growth (angiogenesis) around prostate tumours, depriving malignant tissues of the nutrients and oxygen they need.13 Prostate Optimizer uses a special boswellia extract called AprèsFlex, which is 52 per cent more bioavailable than others.
Vitamin D3 has multiple health benefits and several studies have demonstrated its anti-cancer properties. Men who are deficient in this vitamin are at increased risk of prostate cancer and researchers have recently discovered that vitamin D3 helps block the progression of early-stage prostate tumours to more aggressive stages, in animal models, at least.14
Lycopene, the red pigment in tomatoes, can also help stop cancer in its tracks. A large study by Harvard University, involving more than 50,000 men, has linked a higher intake of lycopene with lower incidence of prostate cancer, and a reduced risk of death from the disease.15 Like boswellia, lycopene starves cancer tumours by inhibiting angiogenesis.
What to take for best results
The recommended dose of Jarrow Formulas Prostate Optimizer is three softgel capsules a day, with food.
Prostate Optimizer is intended for use by adult men only. If you have a medical condition or are taking medication, you are advised to consult your doctor before taking it.