The prostate is a small gland, about the size of a walnut, and is situated just below the male bladder. It produces fluid which binds with semen aiding in the motility of sperm. Although many problems related to the prostate gland produce symptoms of a urinary nature, it is nonetheless considered to be an organ of reproduction. There is a high incidence of enlarged prostate in men over the age of 50. The majority of prostate problems are due to a condition called benign prostatic hypertrophy, or BPH, caused by an elevation of the powerful androgen dihydrotestosterone (DHT ) and oestrogen in prostate tissue.
It is common for the prostate gland to enlarge with age. This places pressure on the urethra, triggering the need to urinate more frequently. Many men are forced to get up several times during the night. Other symptoms include difficulty in beginning urination and dribbling at the end. The enlargement of the prostate gland also causes incomplete emptying of the bladder, and if the bladder is not emptied, a bacterial infection is more likely to develop.
Inflammation of the prostate can occur suddenly with severe symptoms, or over a longer period of time in which symptoms are not so significant.
The best nutritional advice for any man concerned about the prostate is to eat plenty of nuts and seeds, especially pumpkin seeds which contain a lot of zinc. Essential fatty acids from good quality oils such as flax or hemp oil are of benefit. Nettle leaf is beneficial to the prostate and particularly helps to empty the bladder to minimise the chance of infection.
Perhaps the most important of all natural supplements is the saw palmetto berry. It is available in drops and capsules. The active fatty acids and sterols in saw palmetto have been found to inhibit DHT’s transport and binding to cell receptors, as well as reducing the enzyme needed for oestrogen production and for the conversion of testosterone to DHT. Incidentally, elevated levels of DHT is a contributory factor in male pattern baldness.
Saw palmetto should not be taken alongside hormone therapy. It is important for men over 50 to have a check-up with their GP at least once a year as early detection may prevent a more serious problem later on.
For further information contact Susan in Au Naturel, Payne’s Lane, Irishtown, Athlone on (090 ) 6487993.