Naturopathic Treatment for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (Enlarged Prostate)
The goal of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) treatment is to reduce excessive cell growth by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone into the more potent hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and by preventing estrogen from attaching to receptors in prostate tissue. From a naturopathic viewpoint, this is accomplished through nutrition and the use of supplements and herbs.
Nutrition and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), Enlarged Prostate
- Eat whole, fresh, unrefined, and unprocessed foods. Include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, soy, beans, seeds, nuts, olive oil, and cold-water fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, halibut, and mackerel). Eating organic food helps reduce exposure to hormones, pesticides, and herbicides.
- Avoid refined sugar and flour, dairy products, refined foods, fried foods, junk foods, hydrogenated oils, alcohol (particularly beer), and caffeine.
- Eliminate food sensitivities. Use an elimination and challenge diet to determine food sensitivities.
- Drink 50 percent of your body weight in ounces of water daily (e.g., if you weigh 150 lbs, drink 75 oz of water daily).
Supplements and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), Enlarged Prostate
Supplements are intended to provide nutritional support. Because a supplement or a recommended dose may not be appropriate for all persons, a physician (i.e., a licensed naturopathic physician or holistic MD or DO) should be consulted before using any product. Recommended doses follow:
- Amino acids – The combination of glycine, alinine, and glutamic acid (200 mg of each daily) reduces urinary urgency, urinary frequency, and delayed micturition (initiation of flow).
- Beta-sitosterol – 120 mg daily in 3 divided doses may help reduce symptoms. Beta-sitosterol also lowers cholesterol (a higher dose of 500 mg 3 times daily is required), which is important since high cholesterol levels can cause prostatic hyperplasia.
- Flaxseed meal – Grind and eat 2-4 tbsp daily. An alternative is to take 1 tbsp of flaxseed oil daily. Flaxseed oil is a good source of the essential fatty acid (EFA) alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid).
- Flower pollen – Follow product directions. It has been used in Europe for over 25 years to treat BPH. Flower pollen is not the same as bee pollen.
- Zinc picolinate – 30–50 mg daily. Zinc competes with copper for absorption; therefore, when supplementing long term with zinc, copper should also be supplemented. There are supplements available that contain both zinc and copper.
Herbal Medicine and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), Enlarged Prostate
Herbal medicines usually do not have side effects when used appropriately and at suggested doses. Occasionally, an herb at the prescribed dose causes stomach upset or headache. This may reflect the purity of the preparation or added ingredients, such as synthetic binders or fillers. For this reason, it is recommended that only high-quality products be used. As with all medications, more is not better and overdosing can lead to serious illness and death.
These herbs may be used to treat BPH:
- Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) Inhibits the conversion of testosterone to DHT in the prostate, has an antiestrogenic effect, and helps improve all symptoms of BPH. Recommended dosage is 320 mg of extract (standardized to contain approximately 85% fatty acids and sterols) daily.
- Pygeum (Pygeum africanum) – Reduces BPH symptoms. Recommended dosage is 100-200 mg of extract (standardized to 14% triterpenes) 2 times daily.
- Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) – The concentrated extract reduces symptoms. Recommended dosage is 120 mg daily.
Hydrotherapy to Treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), Enlarged Prostate
- Cold sitz bath and other hydrotherapy options