As men age, many experience prostate gland enlargement. This condition is known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) which is quite common in older men. In fact, the condition impacts about 50% of men between the ages of 51 and 60. When the prostate gets bigger, it can squeeze or partially block the urethra, which leads to problems urinating.
Now, experts say that pomegranate seed and in combination with Avodart (dutasteride), the conventional anti-BPH medicine is potential functional food for ameliorating an enlarged prostate gland. This ensures a significant reduction in prostate weight, prostate volume and prostate-specific antigen (PSA), according to Nigerian Tribune.
Various types of medicines are currently in use for the treatment of BPH, including alternative herbal-based therapies. However, there is currently no drug that can completely cure BPH. Whereas the use of drugs has been associated with serious adverse effects, the use of surgery could be life-threatening, thus highlighting the need for alternatives.
Although many men with BPH have no symptoms, others show signs, most commonly, urinary and sexual difficulties. They can range from mild and barely noticeable to serious, but the amount of prostate enlargement is not directly related to the severity of the symptoms. Because BPH cannot be cured, the treatment focuses on reducing the symptoms.
The combined use of different herbal products has been observed among consumers, but little is known about the simultaneous use of prescribed medications with herbal medicine for supposed “enhanced therapeutic effect”.
While pomegranate is best known for heart health, additional studies on pomegranate seed reveal its potential to help guard against cancer. Some researchers have reported that certain substances in pomegranate can deter cancer formation and progression. Some of the substances in pomegranate also circumvent changes involved in benign and malignant cell formation and transformation.
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The researchers investigated the antitumour effect of pomegranate seed extract in Wistar albino Rats made to develop BPH under laboratory conditions. They also assessed its effect on prostate parameters, including the prostate size and weight as well as the prostate-specific antigen (PSA).
The 2021 study is in the Asian Journal of Research and Reports in Urology involving U. A. Obisike, E. O. Nwachuku and N. Boisa, all at the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
Seventy adult albino Wistar rats were used for this study. They were divided into 12 groups of 5 rats each that were further divided into 5 rats for each group and fed with a commercial rat diet and clean drinking water ad libitum.
Water and ethanol extracts of pomegranate seed were prepared. Benign Prostate Hyperplasia was induced in rats. Rats were treated with specific amounts of aqueous or ethanol extracts of pomegranate seed, dutasteride or in combination.
At the end of 30 days, the level of serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in their blood samples were assessed. Also, the weight and size of their excised prostate gland were measured.
It was also observed that extracts of Punica granatum seed administered ameliorated BPH in rats, by decreasing prostate size and weight, prostate index and prostate-specific antigen levels in treated rat groups compared with the BPH model group. Both doses of the two plant extract individually and in combination with dutasteride also markedly reduced prostate parameters over the thirty days period.
There are nearly 1500 documented interactions between drugs, herbal medicines, and dietary supplements and these interactions could enhance the therapeutic efficacy of the mixture or may antagonize the effect of each other.
The researchers added, “It is interesting to mention that this study also revealed that the combination of higher doses of ethanol extracts of pomegranate with dutasteride had more BPH reducing effect than dutasteride administered alone.”
Previously, research evidence said that prostate-specific antigen (PSA) concentrations significantly decreased with men daily including pumpkin seed extract into their diet as well as other food items like cocoyam tubers, watermelon rind and juice, fluted pumpkin leaf and bitter leaf.
Other food items protective of the prostate are Dacryodes edulis fruit (local pear), Moringa oleifera, clove, tomatoes, citrus fruits, Avocados, Soursop (Annona muricata), soya beans, cornsilk tea and chilli pepper.
In addition, medicinal plants identified to be helpful include Pygeum africanum (African plum tree or bitter almond) is called ‘emi’ or ‘olowomefa’ in Yoruba, ‘ka’danya’ in Hausa and ‘osisi’ in Igbo. Urtica dioica (nettle, big string nettle, common nettle, stinging nettle) is called ‘agbara’ or ‘akuwa’ in Igbo and ‘ewe esinsin’ or ‘esisi’ in Yoruba.