Life Extension Magazine®

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Maintain Youthful Urinary Flow

European men utilize plant extracts documented in clinical trials to reduce urinary discomforts and improve prostate function.

By Chancellor Faloon.

Prostate problems are widespread as men age.

Benign prostate enlargement and associated urinary difficulties adversely impact sleep and overall life quality.1

Researchers have identified nutrients that can improve prostate function and circumvent urinary discomforts.

Most impressive are clinical data showing benefits in response to combinations of standardized plant extracts.

Consequences of an Aging Prostate

Pictures of Saw Palmetto, Stinging Nettle and Pumpkin seeds in their natural form

The prostate is a walnut-size gland located just below the bladder in men.1

Prostate cancer is prevalent in aging males2 but non-malignant prostate disorders are more widespread.1

Benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) affects about 8% of men in their 40s and gradually worsens to more than 80% as men age past 79 years.3

Those afflicted with BPH may experience lower urinary tract symptoms, including the sudden need to urinate, frequent urination, waking often during the night to urinate, difficulty urinating, and similar symptoms.4

Medications are available to alleviate BPH, but many men do not tolerate their side effects.

Several nutrients have been shown to reduce urinary symptoms without side effects.

Saw Palmetto and Beta-Sitosterol

Saw palmetto is a plant native to Florida and has long been used as a drug in Europe to alleviate urinary symptoms associated with BPH.5

A systematic review published in 2020 compared saw palmetto extract with the drug tamsulosin in over 1,000 men with BPH.6

After at least six months of treatment, saw palmetto showed comparable benefits to tamsulosin (with the exception of prostate volume), but without the common side effects of tamsulosin, like ejaculation disorders and decreased libido.

Saw palmetto’s effects may be enhanced when its active component, beta-sitosterol, is extracted and taken with it. Beta-sitosterol is a compound that is believed to reduce levels of the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT),7 which at high levels is linked to an enlarged prostate.8

In a randomized, controlled trial, men with BPH who took 500 mg of beta-sitosterol-enriched saw palmetto oil daily for 12 weeks had significantly improved symptoms and reduced PSA (prostate specific antigen) levels.9 High PSA levels can indicate an enlarged prostate or possible prostate cancer.10

In another trial, patients with chronic prostatitis who took saw palmetto daily for 12 weeks had significantly improved urinary health scores, including reduced pelvic pain and discomfort.11

Prostatitis , or inflammation of the prostate is frequently caused by bacterial infections. It may cause similar urinary symptoms, along with fever, sexual dysfunction, and pelvic pain.1,12

Nettle Extracts

Extracts of the dwarf and stinging nettle plants can provide a range of prostate benefits.13

Nettle extracts exert anti-microbial effects to reduce prostatitis risk.14 They also enable some reduction in prostate size, improvement in urinary flow, and reduced residual urine in the bladder.15,16

In a clinical trial, 60 men with benign prostate hyperplasia took either stinging nettle root extract or a placebo daily for 12 weeks. Those taking the nettle extract had reduced inflammation and improved urinary health scores.17

An evaluation was done of four randomized controlled studies of 922 patients with moderate-to-severe prostate symptoms. Findings from this analysis showed significantly more men responded positively to the combination of saw palmetto and nettle extracts, compared to placebo. The majority of those who responded experienced a reduction of one urination episode per night.18

A combination of saw palmetto and nettle extracts is popular in European medicine to improve urinary symptoms in aging men.19

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Relief for Prostate Problems

  • Benign prostate hyperplasia and prostatitis are common diseases of the prostate gland that are frequent causes of urinary problems in men.
  • Multiple plant extracts and compounds have been shown to prevent and relieve symptoms of these diseases, without side effects that may come with medications, and may even reduce risk of prostate cancer.



Pumpkin Seed

Pumpkin seeds have been used to promote urinary health around the world for centuries.20

In one controlled clinical trial, the combination of pumpkin seed and saw palmetto oils resulted in an over 40% reduction in PSA levels, compared to baseline. The improvement was evident after three months and continued throughout the one-year trial.

In this trial, supplementation with either pumpkin seed or saw palmetto oils or both, resulted in improvement in quality-of-life scores.21

Pygeum Africanum

The bark of Pygeum africanum, the African prune tree, contains compounds that support prostate and bladder health.

In a rigorous meta-analysis of 18 controlled trials, men taking Pygeum were more than twice as likely as placebo users to report an improvement in BPH symptoms.22

In a clinical trial of men with BPH, taking Pygeum extract twice daily for two months, compared to baseline, resulted in a:

  • 40% improvement in prostate symptoms score,
  • 31% improvement in quality of life, and
  • 32% reduction in nocturnal urinary frequency.23

Pygeum has been used in Europe for decades as a medication to improve urinary symptoms in men with BPH.22


Boswellia serrata, also known as Indian frankincense, has been used for centuries in traditional Indian medicine to treat inflammatory conditions.

Preclinical research has shown that it can:

  • Induce death in prostate cancer cells,24,25
  • Decrease formation of androgen receptors that many prostate cancers require to survive, and26
  • Inhibit the growth of blood vessels that tumors need to metastasize.27

Clinical studies are needed to evaluate how these beneficial functional effects may impact prostate cancer risk and outcomes in aging men.

Flower Pollen

Pictures of Pygeum, Boswellia and flower pollen in their natural form

Research suggests that flower pollen benefits the prostate by relaxing smooth muscle tissue in the urinary tract and potentially alleviating lower urinary tract symptoms.28,29

One study found that a ryegrass pollen extract worked as well as six different drugs commonly used for benign prostate hyperplasia.30

In a preclinical study, flower pollen extract reduced harmful activity of altered prostate cells, which suggested it could benefit prostatitis and have a possible prostate cancer preventative effect.31

Norway Spruce

Research has shown that increased dietary intake of lignans, polyphenols found in many plants, correlates with reduced prostate cancer risk.32-34

The Norway spruce contains particularly high amounts of lignans.

In preclinical studies, Norway spruce lignans reduced prostate tumor volume and increased the death of cancer cells. Other Norway spruce extracts reduced lower urinary tract symptoms in a model of chronic prostatitis.35,36

In the body, lignans convert into a compound called enterolactone,37 which may promote hormonal changes associated with lower prostate cancer risk.38,39

An epidemiological study found that those with the highest enterolactone levels were 60% less likely to have prostate cancer than those with low levels.33


Pictures of Norway Spruce, Boron and Lycopene in their natural form

Boron is a mineral with benefits throughout the body.40

Preclinical research in mice found that boron can decrease the size of existing prostate tumors.

In addition, a large survey showed that the risk of prostate cancer was 52% lower in those whose daily boron intake averaged 1.8 mg compared to those who consumed 0.9 mg or less.40


Lycopene is a carotenoid found in many plants, including tomatoes.41 One meta-analysis found that higher lycopene intake was associated with reduced risk of prostate cancer.42

Other research has found that increased lycopene intake is associated with decreased prostate size,41,43 and reduced risk for prostate cancer development and progression.43,44


Many men over age 40 deal with persistenturinary discomforts mostly caused by benign prostate hyperplasia and sometimes prostatitis.

A large volume of published scientific data demonstrates benefits in response to certain nutrients individually.

Even more impressive is evidence showing significant results when these plant extracts are taken in combination.

Some of these nutrients possess mechanisms that may help protect against prostate cancer development.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.


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