Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier - The Best Alternative Medicine

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Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH): CAM Therapies for Specific Conditions

  • Saw palmetto, an herb, may artificially decrease PSA (prostate specific antigen) levels. A baseline PSA is suggested prior to using saw palmetto. Inform your doctor if you are using it, since it may give false readings on a PSA test. Saw palmetto is commonly used to control benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) or enlargement of the prostate. Several studies have been done that indicate the herb is effective for reducing swelling of the prostate, frequent nighttime urination, and residual urine in the bladder. It is particularly helpful for men over fifty years old. Typical preparation and dose is in 160 mg doses taken two times per day for a total of 320 mg of standard liposterolic extract. Supplements should be standardized to contain 85 percent to 95 percent fatty acids and sterols. Side effects are relatively uncommon but may include mild abdominal discomfort, nausea, dizziness, headache, and rarely male breast enlargement. Lower the dose or stop taking saw palmetto if these side effects occur.

  • A 1998 study in the special CAM issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association found that saw palmetto improved urinary flow in men with BPH. There are eighteen studies involving 2,939 men demonstrating that saw palmetto is as effective as the most frequent drug, Proscar, with fewer side effects.

  • Naturopathic medicine is used to control prostatic hypertrophy. Among the two approaches most commonly applied are herbal medicines and nutritional supplements. Studies support both approaches.

 

 

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From THE BEST ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: WHAT WORKS? WHAT DOES NOT? by Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier.
Copyright © 2000 by Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier, Inc.
Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc., New York, New York.


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