The prostate, located just below the bladder in the male anatomy, plays an important part in many different functions of the body. When it’s not in tip-top form, it can cause serious discomfort and disruption to a man’s everyday life.
One of the most common challenges, usually faced by men over the age of fifty, is an enlarged prostate. Symptoms of this uncomfortable condition can include a weak urine stream, trouble urinating, frequent or urgent need to urinate, frequent nighttime urination, and not feeling that all urine has been emptied after a trip to the restroom.
It’s easy to see how this could really make a guy miserable between all the bathroom trips during the daytime and the interrupted sleep at night!
Though surgery and hormones are readily available options to treat these symptoms, there are natural options that are much safer and, often, just as effective. They also don’t come with a long list of dangerous side effects. One of the many benefits of treating health challenges naturally is that most supplements can target specific symptoms, but usually carry benefits for overall health, as well. You get a two-in-one!
Pygeum, the extract of the African prune tree, is another viable option to treat prostate health issues. A 2002 study looked at eighteen qualifying trials using pygeum to treat enlarged prostate. The conclusion was that it “provided a moderately large improvement in the combined outcome of urologic symptoms and flow measures”. In English, it means that pygeum helped improve urine flow and the other various symptoms that come with an enlarged prostate. Also, the men who took pygeum during this study reported an improvement in overall symptoms. Adverse effects were “mild and comparable to placebo”. That’s great news! 
Pumpkin seeds, or pepitas as they are known, are yet another way to treat enlargement of the prostate. Pumpkin seed oil is also sometimes used. In a 2006 study involving male rats, pumpkin seed oil was shown to reduce the size of the enlarged prostate. The phytochemicals (chemical compounds produced by plants) in pumpkin seed oil are thought to have an effect on testosterone production. Testosterone is believed to have a role in prostate enlargement, but experts are not exactly sure how. Studies have shown that pumpkin seeds used in conjunction with pygeum are especially effective. It is important to note that pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, which is essential for normal prostate function. One way to be sneaky about consuming pumpkin seeds if you don’t love them is the option of adding pumpkin seed oil to smoothies or as a dressing for salad or other vegetables. [2, 3]
Zinc is a well-known mineral that is essential for many functions of the human body. It’s probably most well-known for boosting overall immunity. Because it is needed to properly complete so many bodily functions, it makes sense that it is crucial for the prostate to function normally, as well. As a matter of fact, the prostate has the highest levels of zinc in the body. A 2011 study revealed that prostate cancer tissue and tissue from men with enlarged prostates had significantly lower levels of zinc than their healthy counterparts. The human body does not store zinc, so it is important to consume enough on a daily basis. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc and a few handfuls a week will help with healthy zinc levels. 
Stinging nettle, an herb used for medicinal purposes since ancient times, gets its prickly name for good reason. Its leaves have tiny hair-like projections that can, when coming into contact with the skin, create a burning sensation, itching or swelling. However, once it is processed through drying, freeze-drying or cooking, it can be safely consumed without any ill effects. Animal studies show that stinging nettle may help prevent the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone which is a more potent form of testosterone that is believed to be involved in the enlargement of the prostate. When this conversion is interrupted, symptoms will subside. On a side note, stinging nettle has been shown to be a good rival to conventional allergy medication, so if you are having prostate issues and also suffer from hay fever, this herb just may give you great relief from both conditions. [5, 6]
If you or someone you love is dealing with prostate challenges, you now have some ideas to consider to get back on the road toward better health including fewer bathroom breaks and a better night’s rest. And that makes the rest of life just a little bit sweeter.
- Pygeum africanum for benign prostatic hyperplasia – PubMed (nih.gov)
- Pumpkin Seed Oil and Phytosterol-F Can Block Testosterone/Prazosin-Induced Prostate Growth in Rats – Abstract – Urologia Internationalis 2006, Vol. 77, No. 3 – Karger Publishers
- Effects of pumpkin seed oil and saw palmetto oil in Korean men with symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia (nih.gov)
- Zinc status of patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate carcinoma (nih.gov)
- Ameliorative effects of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) on testosterone-induced prostatic hyperplasia in rats – PubMed (nih.gov)
- 5alpha-reductase: history and clinical importance – PubMed (nih.gov)
The information provided here is for educational purposes only. None of the research or evidence presented here is intended as a substitute for consulting an appropriate healthcare professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products offered here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you believe that you may have a disease condition, please consult your healthcare practitioner before using this or any other dietary supplement.