Several natural supplements have proven to be very effective for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia, the prostate disorder that affects more than half of all men in their lifetime. Some of the best known and most effective are saw palmetto berry, pygeum, nettle root, rye pollen and beta-sitosterol. New research is adding flaxseeds as a new natural supplement that might help. . . . 

This double-blind, placebo-controlled study gave sixty men between the ages of forty-five and seventy-five who had been newly diagnosed with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlarged prostate, either a placebo or 500mg or 1000mg of flaxseed hull extract. The study lasted eight weeks.

At the end of eight weeks there was no significant difference between the placebo group and the flax group. The researchers attributed the lack of significant difference to the large placebo effect, the low number of men in the study and the shortness of the duration of the study.

But the study was promising for three reasons.

First, there was greater relief in the flaxseed group than in the placebo group for several important symptoms, including bladder emptying, stopping and starting while urinating, weak force of urination and straining. All of these symptoms improved significantly by the end of the eight week study.

Second, unlike drugs for BPH, the flaxseed was completely safe: it was as safe as the placebo.

Thirdly, and importantly, the study revealed an important mechanism by which the flaxseed might be doing its work. BPH is caused, at least in important part, from the increased conversion of testosterone into the more powerful dihydrotestosterone (DHT). In this study, testosterone and DHT continued to rise in the men in the placebo group; in the flaxseed group, while testosterone continued to increase, DHT went down, suggesting that flaxseed might inhibit the conversion of testosterone into DHT. This abililty would be an important contribution to safely treating BPH.

J Med Food 2015;18:233-40


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