If you come to my clinic with an ear infection and I say to you, “Let’s wait to see if it gets worse. Or, I can remove your ear so it won’t get infected again,” you’d tell me I’m crazy.
But this is similar to what many men experience when they see their doctors about a swollen prostate.
The American Urological Association, in their most recent treatment guidelines for enlarged prostate (benign prostatic enlargement, or BPH), recommends that your doctor either does nothing and waits, or sends you for surgery.1
To us non-surgeons, the surgical option appears extreme. In my view of medicine you treat the problem, not the part of your anatomy that the problem is affecting. And there are natural, safer alternatives that keep your prostate healthy.
In fact, recent discoveries prove that some of the best ways to treat BPH have been available for centuries. Technology is showing us that many natural traditional treatments shunned by modern medicine really did work.
Now we can isolate the active ingredients in herbs and use them as more powerful medical treatments. And there is no better example than beta-sitosterol, a natural treatment that’s not on modern medicine’s radar screen.
The AUA’s guidelines lead many doctors to turn to the 2 major prostate treatment categories which are:
Watchful Waiting: Many doctors will suggest that a man take no action if his BPH symptoms are moderate. What’s worse is that some doctors tell elders to watchfully wait just because of their age.
This means that the prostate will continue to swell with no intervention. Watchful waiting usually leads to another extreme option: surgery.
Surgery: The AUA boasts that surgery is an appropriate initial option for BPH. Whether a doctor suggests removing the prostate, or shaving pieces off of it, surgery should be your last option.
Surgery has a range of side effects including infection, incontinence, and sexual dysfunction.
I would advise nearly the exact opposite of these two extremes.
Because the truth is that it is much easier to prevent enlargement of your prostate than it is to reverse it. It’s also easier to halt or reverse existing enlargement if you catch it early.
The earliest symptom of an enlarged prostate is usually waking at night to urinate. You may also have weak urine flow.
So how can you reverse these symptoms naturally and keep your prostate healthy and well-functioning?
Most prostate swelling is in reaction to a substance called DHT. Block the production and action of DHT and you prevent your prostate from growing.
The most effective, natural way to do this is with beta sitosterol. It is a plant sterol that blocks DHT.
What makes this plant nutrient, or “phytosterol,” so potent? For one, it helps maintain the health of your prostate gland’s cell membranes.
Phytosterols are also potent antioxidants. They can reduce inflammation and improve blood flow. So beta sitosterol helps maintain healthy tissue in your prostate and urinary tract.
In one review of many clinical trials, beta-sitosterol helped men with BPH improve urinary flow and volume in every study.2
Beta sitosterol is a cousin to the healthy fats in meat. The native tribes living in Florida before European settlement recognized the benefit of plants containing beta-sitosterol. One of them is saw palmetto.
It grows naturally here and my home state provides 80% of the world’s supply. Surprisingly, we use only a small percentage in the US. We export the vast majority to Europe and Asia – with good reason. Years of clinical evidence point to the potency of the beta-sitosterol within.
Today the world also gets beta-sitosterol from Hypoxis rooperi, or the African potato. In fact, I filmed a clip of myself and my colleague Dr. Josiah Kizito in South Africa talking about this incredible plant. We are collaborating on some new formulas with African herbs and you can watch this short video to learn more about hypoxis.]
Other traditional plants and herbs have high concentrations of beta sitosterol,3 including
- Pumpkin seeds
- Stinging nettle
- African plum (pygeum africanum)
- Maca root
You can also get beta sitosterol through diet. Here are a few foods rich in it:
Food (200 cal serving)
Beta sitosterol (mg)
Of course, today’s food supply isn’t as good as it used to be. To ensure you get the full benefit, supplements are a better way to go.
You can get a pure beta sitosterol supplement. Around 300mg a day is best.
But for full relief of BPH, look for a prostate formula that has beta sitosterol, saw palmetto, pygeum bark, pumpkin seed extract, and maca so that you don’t have to take so many pills every day.
1. "Guideline on the Management of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)." American Urological Association. www.auanet.org. Retreived Feb 4, 2013.
2. Wilt T, Ishani A, MacDonald R, Stark G, Mulrow C, Lau J. "Beta-sitosterols for benign prostatic hyperplasia." Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000;(2):CD001043.
3. PLoS ONE 2012;7(6): e39332. 4.Schleich S, Papaioannou M, Baniahmad A, Matusch R. "Extracts from Pygeum africanum and other ethnobotanical species with antiandrogenic activity." Planta Med. 2006 Jul;72(9):807-13.