Prostate health is one of those things that patients may hear about from their doctors, but think they are too young of too fit for it to be much of an issue for them. The truth is, maintaining a healthy prostate should be at the top of every man’s list of health goals, because issues with the prostate are affecting a growing number of men every year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 180,000 men are diagnosed each year with prostate cancer annually, making it the second most common cancer in the nation. Another non-cancerous condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, where the prostate becomes enlarged, occurs even more regularly. Some studies indicate that the condition affects men progressively as they age, and 90 percent of men will experience one or more symptoms of the condition before their 90s.
Why Use Nettle Root Extract?
The plant known as the stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) has been used for hundreds of years as a medicinal herb to treat joint ailments, urinary problems, bleeding disorders, diabetes, and as an astringent. More recently, health-conscious individuals have realized that roots of the plant are particularly helpful for prostate health. Consider the following main ways that nettle root extract and prostate health may be connected.
1. Restrict Overall Growth
Numerous studies have been conducted and show that stinging nettle roots may have the ability to help modulate androgen hormone activity within the prostate gland. Androgens can have a large impact in the growth of tissue in the body, so keeping these hormones in check is essential to preventing problems in any organ. The root does this by inhibiting certain additional hormones that are usually responsible for growth from binding together, reducing the incidence of abnormal growth and easing symptoms. The root extract may also have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that can be used to treat and prevent benign prostate hyperplasia through restricting the growth of prostate tissue.
2. Reduce Cancer Cell Growth
Other studies have aimed to determine just how much nettle root extract can help prevent the growth of cancer, and the results largely indicate that the medicine does have an effect on the proliferation of cancer cells within prostate tissue. While further studies need to be performed, preliminary studies indicate that lectins in the root block certain enzymes, or key molecules, that are required for cancer cells to rapidly divide and spread. Moreover, the lectins also show a higher affinity for cancer cells, so they are more likely to affect the growth of these cells and leave healthy prostate tissue intact.
3. Fights the Effects of Estrogen
While many other herbs can have an effect on how androgens work in prostate tissue, nettle root is unique in that it may be one of the only ones that also effects estrogen. This female sex hormone is thought to be one of the greatest causes of benign prostatic hyperplasia. When there is too much estrogen in prostate tissue, it can worsen men’s prostate growth and thus their symptoms. Estrogen does this by blocking the breakdown of dihydrotestosterone, which then causes an abnormal increase in levels of this precursor to testosterone within the gland. Heightened levels of dihydrotestosterone have been shown to have a significant impact on the stimulation and subsequent enlargement of the gland. Nettle root extract targets the problem at the source. Researchers believe that the medicine may directly block the synthesis of estrogen within fat by blocking certain enzymes from properly working, thus stopping the hormone from negatively affecting the prostate gland.
4. Blocking Synthesis of DHT
Some experts believe that the phytochemicals within the root may also have an effect on the levels of dihydrotestosterone in additional ways. While this chemical can be converted to testosterone, it can also be created from testosterone molecules coming together. Since dihydrotestosterone may induce the unchecked growth of tissue within the prostate, it is essential for prostate health that this be prevented so testosterone levels remain high and dihydrotestosterone levels are kept to a minimum. This is particularly important because benign prostatic hyperplasia may turn into malignant prostate cancer without warning.
5. Used In Conjunction With Pygeum
The power of nettle root extract seems to only increase when it is paired with other natural remedies. Pygeum bark extract is often considered the most beneficial herb for this use, and prostate sufferers may see significant increases in the efficacy of these herbs when combined. Researchers in Poland have studied the combination and found that all patients within the study group who used both herbs showed a significant lessening of their symptoms after just 50 percent of the study was completed.
Whether patients choose to use nettle root extract alone or in conjunction with another herb, they may be surprised at just how well the medicine can work to help relieve their symptoms of prostate enlargement, whether due to cancer or benign growth. Even if patients do not have currently have either condition, nettle root extract may help prevent them from becoming an issue in the future.