Prostate Awareness Foundation

Prostate Self Help

Monthly Bulletin

September 2009

BPH – What Can You Eat To Reduce the Symptoms?

The benign enlargement of the prostate gland effects 50% of men over 60 years of age and 90% of men by age 85. It is estimated that this problem affects over 16 million men in the United States. No wonder we are seeing so many commercials for FloMax and other BPH medications. The risk of BPH increases approximately 4% per year over the age of 55, with Afro-Americans and Hispanics apparently more at risk. Asian men seem to be at decreased risk compared to Caucasian men. ((Dietary Patterns, Supplement Use, and the Risk of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, Kenneth Poon, MD and Kevin McVary, MD, University of British Columbia – Current Urology Reports 2009, Volume 10) The good news is that BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia) does not appear to lead to prostate cancer, although many men with prostate cancer also have BPH. The bad news is that the symptoms in many cases, especially when advanced, can be much more severe that those associated with prostate cancer. (To determine if you have BPH and how severe your condition is please see the February, 2009 monthly bulletin on BPH, Many men use FloMax, Terazosin or a number of the other pharmaceutical prescription medications to reduce the symptoms of BPH.

The PAF receives many calls from men inquiring about what foods and or supplements offer symptom relief from BPH. Sorry to say, there does not appear to be any foods or supplements that one can take that can reduce the symptoms of BPH for all men. We have had reports that that some supplements like saw palmetto, beta-sitosterol, crinum latifolium and some reputable men’s health formulas seem to have an impact. When it comes to foods, there is more information about what to avoid than what to emphasize. Below are some guidelines and suggestions on reducing BPH symptoms from the above mentioned clinical study and also The Harvard Men’s Health Watch Newsletter, The Johns Hopkins Prostate Bulletins plus the accumulated experience of over ten years of speaking with men with BPH on the PAF hotline:

Reduce Your Fat Intake:

A high fat intake, especially polyunsaturated fats has been associated with a higher incidence of BPH.

Reduce Your Intake of Butter and Margarine:

A 1999 Greek study linked both butter and margarine to an increased risk of BPH.

Avoid Caffeine Drinks:

Including coffee, caffeinated soft drinks and caffeinated tea. Or at least be especially conscious of not using any of these products late in the day to reduce the need for frequent nocturnal urination.

Increase Your Vegetable Intake:

Especially the carotenoids like carrots and colored vegetables

Increased Intake of Vitamin C from Foods:

Seems to have an impact on reducing the symptoms of BPH

Avoid Smoking:

According to A Harvard Men’s Health Watch study, men who smoked an average of 35 cigarettes per day had a 50% more likelihood of developing BPH. This supports the results of a similar study done in Finland.


The Health Professionals Study linked abdominal obesity with BPH. Those men with waistlines over 43” were 2.4 times more likely to have BPH.


The Harvard Study linked regular exercise of 17 to 25 minutes per day to a 25% reduction in the risk of BPH.


The Health Professionals Study found that men who are moderate drinkers (less than 3 drinks per day) had a lower risk of BPH than teetotalers. Some men have reported to PAF that beer seems to increase their BPH symptoms. Consider drinking red wine because of recent good reports on the benefits of resveratrol.

Virus Linked To Prostate Cancer, Testing For the XMRV virus may help determine more aggressive cancers:

A recent study (published in the 9/09 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) conducted jointly by the Cleveland Clinic and UC San Francisco Medical Center has strengthened the possibility that there is a link between the XMRV (xenotropic murine leukemia) virus and prostate cancer. The study’s lead researcher Dr Ila Singh at the University of Utah says that “there are probably multiple causes of prostate cancer, but for the first time we have analyzed prostate cancer and normal tissue and found cancers, especially aggressive tumors are much more likely to have this virus.”

The study involved 300 prostate cancer specimens and found that 27% of them carried the virus. They found an even higher volume of the virus (45%) in the most aggressive cancers. It is hoped that this test for the XMRV virus might help better determine which patients need aggressive treatment and which patients would find active surveillance to be a better course of action.

Cannabis Chemicals Stop Prostate Cancer Growth in A Laboratory Test:

According to a recently published study in the British Journal of Cancer, The University of Alcala in Madrid, Spain has shown promising results using a cannabinoid found in marijuana to stop prostate cancer cell growth. The scientists found that this cannabinoid “parks” on a cell receptor site called CB2 and stopped prostate cancer cells from multiplying. The study’s head, Professor Ines Diaz-Laviada said: “Our research shows that there are areas on prostate cancer cells which can recognize and talk to chemicals found in cannabis called cannabinoids. These chemicals can stop the division and growth of prostate cancer cells and could become a target for new research into potential drugs to treat prostate cancer.” Of course this research is very early stage and needs further study.

Prostate Awareness Foundation

2166 12th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94116 / 415-675-5661 /