Saturday, June 21, 2014

Prostate Health

**This article originally published in Prime Magazine  June 2009**

Happy Father’s Day! How’s your prostate? Granted, all men are not fathers, but all men have prostates and all men will experience some form of prostate problems during their lifetimes.
I recently read where Proscar, the brand name of finasteride, is making a comeback. For what medical reason I do not  know. More than a dozen years ago studies showed Saw Palmetto extract (Serenoa repens) out- performed  Proscar. The results of a three year study showed Proscar use resulted in decreased libido, ejaculatory dysfunction or impotence as compared to the placebo group. Proscar also took longer to act (6-12 months)on fewer people (37%), only showed moderate results in treating  BPH or benign prostatic  hyperplasia  and did not block the binding of DHT(Dihydrotestosterone) at cellular binding sites.
Compare those results with the use of a standardized Saw Palmetto extract (85-95% fatty acids and sterols). Saw Palmetto saw 90% positive results in 90 days or less, inhibited the production of DHT, inhibited binding at cell sites, had no sexual side effects and cost considerably less than the prescription!
When saw palmetto is combined with other herbs such as Pygeum africanum, Nettle root, pumpkin seeds and vitamins, the results can be very impressive.

I am sure many readers will say “  I tried saw palmetto and it did not work.” Let me tell you about the after-market and standardization.  Not all saw palmetto is the same. One company I am familiar with blends several batches of  herb in order to produce a guaranteed potency extract. This ensures a consistent quality of extract. Others  companies will “spike” their herbal extracts with the minimum amount of  a particular ingredient to show it is “standardized”. Others have used the word standardized because each capsule contains the same amount of herb! In the secondary market, companies will buy up the spent product from the primary companies, and spike what is left. It is about the same as someone using a tea bag to brew tea, then the next guy takes that same bag and sells it to you while saying ‘scout’s honor, this is 100 % tea.”
 Read your labels and ask questions of knowledgeable people. Caveat emptor!