Both Saw Palmetto and Astaxanthin are beneficial for the prostate and prostate cancer

February 03, 2006

One of the reasons that Saw Palmetto Berry is beneficial for prostate health is that it inhibits the conversion of the male hormone testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). By inhibiting this enzyme you help prevent swelling of prostate cells that cause the symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). To do this the herb inhibits 5-alpha reductase; the enzyme which is responsible for the conversion of testosterone to DHT. Inhibiting this enzyme may also aid the treatment of prostate cancer. Studies also indicate that carotenoids such as lycopene also are beneficial for prostate cancer.

In this study the carotenoids Astaxanthin and Saw Palmetto Berry were investigated for their effects on 5-alpha reductase and on prostate cancer (prostatic carcinoma cells). The Astaxanthin powerfully inhibited 5-alpha reductase (up to 98% inhibition at a concentration of 300mcg/ml). Adding Astaxanthin to Saw Palmetto improved its ability to inhibit 5-alpha reductase. The higher the concentration of Astaxanthin added to the prostate cancer the greater the inhibition of the growth of the cancer cells. Saw Palmetto Berry also inhibited the growth of the prostate cancer cells. The study is published in the recent issue of the Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy.

Hopefully none of us will encounter an agent as destructive as mustard gas, but it is good for us to note that these particular antioxidants are very lung friendly and that available oral supplement levels have shown protective activity in research.

Free radical damage is a major culprit in causing blood vessel dysfunction (blood vessels cease to open and close properly) and a major contributor to hardening of the arteries. Plant berry pigments known as polyphenols are powerful antioxidants that decrease inflammation in blood vessel walls and help restore natural vascular function. In this study scientists compared the ability of a polyphenol rich extract from Aronia Berry, Bilberry, and Elderberry. Isolated coronary arteries were exposed to chemicals in the lab that prevent them from relaxing or opening properly. Out of the three berry extracts, Aronia berry was the most powerful for relaxing blood vessel walls and only Aronia Berry or Bilberry extracts produced vasorelaxation in coronary arteries and Elderberry extract had no effect. The berry extracts rich in anthocyanins (Aronia extract and Bilberry Extract) improve the function of the endothelial cells lining blood vessel walls, improve the function of blood vessels, and protect them from free radicals. These extracts could have significant beneficial effects in vascular disease according to these researchers. The study was performed at the Indiana University School of Medicine, in Fort Wayne and is published in the December 8th, 2005 issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology.