Answer:

Interestingly, the supplements most commonly used to treat the symptoms of an enlarged prostate (also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH), do not reduce the overall size of the prostate. As discussed in the Prostate Supplements Review, these two supplements are beta-sitosterol and saw palmetto.

Most studies of beta-sitosterol have found significant improvement in perceived symptoms of BPH and in urine flow rate. In addition, benefits seem to persist for months after treatment, according to a follow up study that looked at men one year after treatment. Like the BPH drug finasteride (Proscar), beta-sitosterol may inhibit 5-alpha-reductase activity in the prostate. (Beta-sitosterol is also found in Cholesterol-Lowering Supplements, but the dosing is quite different for that use, so be sure take a product specifically formulated for prostate symptoms.)

The other common supplement for BPH is saw palmetto. It shrinks the inner epithelium of the prostate, but not the prostate's overall size. It was initially believed that saw palmetto dietary supplements provided mild to moderate improvement in symptoms of prostate enlargement. However, the evidence of saw palmetto's benefit is conflicting and recent studies have failed to show any benefit over placebo.

Other ingredients which may help to reduce symptoms of BPH include Pygeum bark, pumpkin seed and stinging nettle root. (Interestingly, certain colors of maca root have been reported to decrease prostate size in an animal study, but there do not appear to be studies in men to support this.)

For more information about these ingredients, including evidence and dosage, plus ConsumerLab.com tests, reviews, and comparisons of marketed products, see the Prostate Supplements Review >>

Also see the Encyclopedia article about Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia.

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3 Comments

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Michael9827
June 19, 2016

What about Pumpkin Seed Oil ?

ConsumerLab.com
June 20, 2016

Hi Micheal - Pumpkin seed oil is sometimes promoted for this use; however, the evidence is quite preliminary - see the Encyclopedia article about pumpkin seed for more about this: https://www.consumerlab.com/tnp.asp?chunkiid=111795

SIMON8454
February 17, 2016

There is some limited evidence of the benefit of Quercertin for BPH/Prostatitus Symptoms. I hope CL will one day make a review of this supplement.

ConsumerLab.com
February 18, 2016

Hi Simon - Yes there is some very preliminary evidence for quercetin; you can find more information about this in the Encyclopedia article about quercetin: https://www.consumerlab.com/tnp.asp?chunkiid=21847 and in this CL Answer: https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/_/Quercetin/

Dan20938
September 16, 2020

On these studies with for example, Stinging nettle root, how do you know if you should take it with food or on an empty stomach?

ConsumerLab.com
September 25, 2020

We include information about how to take saw palmetto, beta-sitosterol, stinging nettle, and other ingredients in the What to Consider When Using section of our Prostate Supplements Review: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/prostate-supplements-beta-sitosterol-phytosterols-saw-palmetto/sawpalmetto/#using.

For stinging nettle, specifically, it has been taken with or without meals in clinical studies, but many products recommend taking the supplement with food or water.

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