As men get older it's more common for them to suffer from an enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostate hypertrophy or BHP. This causes bladder obstruction and a weak urinary stream, with symptoms manifesting as nightly bathroom visits, trouble starting a stream of urine, an intermittent flow, leaking or dribbling. However, hope for sufferers has arrived in the form of Pycnogenol as results of a new trial has suggested that it may help manage these symptoms.
Pycnogenol is a powerful antioxidant
Previous studies, already mentioned on this blog, have shown Pycnogenol to reduce inflammation - one study showed it reduced leg swelling after long haul flights and another showed it improved circulation among older adults whom suffered from deep vein thrombosis. The researchers therefore felt it logical to see if an enlarged prostate would respond to the extract.
The problem currently faced by those suffering from an enlarged prostate is that the medical treatment is limited - the researchers argue that the majority of studies focus on interventional and surgical possibilities that bring with them higher profits but are actually considered poor options by patients and specialists. Studies on drug interactions are also limited and unsatisfactory to date.
It is therefore hoped that Pycnogenol supplementation will provide a preventative alternative to remedies currently in use.
The study was published in the journal Minerva Medica and involved 75 healthy men with symptoms of early stage BHP. The participants were divided into three groups:
- Control group - used only standard management which meant following a low sugar, low salt and low caffeine diet coupled with regular exercise.
- Pycnogenol group - did the same as the control group but also took 150mg of Pycnogenol every day.
- Pharmaceutical group - took the drug dutasteride and/or finasteride.
Pycnogenol supplementation reduced night time bathroom visits
After 8 weeks the participants were monitored using ultrasound to assess prostate size as well as being asked to fill in a self-evaluation form for prostate health. They found that daily supplementation with Pycnogenol had improved a number of outcomes:
- The participants who took the supplement had reduced frequency of waking up in the night to go for a wee.
- It reduced intermittency of urine flow by 31% compared to 9% in the control group.
Pycnogenol is the extract from the bark of the maritime pine tree and its use in scientific research is on the increase. Because of its high flavonoid content Pycnogenol is increasingly hailed as one of the most powerful antioxidants and this study as well as a much previous research shows that supplementing may offer significant health benefits, especially as we get older.
A healthy balanced diet is the best way to consume all the nutrients we need. Sometimes however this isn't possible and then supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying any supplements or herbal medicines.