The prostate gland is or should be the concern of every man over the age of 50. With each passing decade the prostate becomes more susceptible to physiologic changes that can lead to discomfort and inconvenience. It is said that about 75% of men over the age of 60 experience some functional prostate difficulties.
The biochemical locus of these changes appears to be in the testosterone derivatives, particularly dihydrotestosterone (DHT), on the prostate. DHT alone appears to be responsible for the undesirable age-related changes in prostate function.
The most common age related change that occurs in the prostate is enlargement know as benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). Signs an symptoms include:
- Progressive urinary frequency
- Excessive urination during the night
- Decreased urinary stream and force
- Sensation of incomplete emptying
- Dribbling after urinating
DHT is produced from testosterone by the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. This reductase is, like most enzymes, subject to inhibition, and the study of 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors has been a subject of great interest in andrology research. One inhibitor has been the subject of great medical and popular interest since it was approved by the FDA, this is finasteride, commonly known as Proscar. Proscar, however, requires a prescription from a physician.
There exists in the botanical and nutritional kingdoms several substances with potential for inhibiting 5-alpha-reductase, and thereby preventing or treating BPH. Saw Palmetto provides a complex of the best-documented and most economical of these factors. Regular use of Saw Palmetto Extract, over time, can correct nutritional deficiencies and improve the biochemical environment of the prostate, thus building prostate health and opposing the development of age-related prostate imbalances.
Saw Palmetto Extract.
Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) or dwarf palm is native to the southeastern U.S. and was used as a food by some native Americans. The lipids of saw palmetto berries (SPL) contain a peculiar mix of fatty acids, phytosterols and alcohols that appear to have a special influence on prostate health. SPL have been used in extensive clinical testing overseas, and have become popular domestically. SPL inhibits 5-alpha-reductase and thus lowers DHT levels. Additionally, SPL appears to inhibit nuclear receptors for both androgens and estrogens. (Though it was not mentioned above, estrogen may play a negative role like DHT in prostate health.)
The mainstream Medical Literature has recently taken a close look at Saw Palmetto in the treatment of BPH. Because the mechanism of action is to block the formation of DHT, Saw Palmetto may prove effective not only in the treatment of BPH, but more importantly in the prevention of BPH as well. An equally exciting thought concerns hair loss.
Low dose finasteride (Propecia) is the newest of the hair loss remedies and has been shown to be effective in many people. Since the mechanism of action of finastride and Saw Palmetto is similar, one might speculate that Saw Palmetto may in the future prove to be beneficial in preventing hair loss.