The prostate gland produces and secretes alkaline fluid to protect sperm integrity. The prostate is tiny – about the size of a walnut. It is located just below the bladder, in front of the rectum, and wrapped around the urethra. An increase in prostate size can disrupt the flow of urine and impact ejaculation. There is no self-examination for prostate health, so people who have prostates should talk to their health care providers and get regular check-ups, especially if there is any family history.
While there’s no magic bullet for improving prostate health, there is sound research to suggest that some supplements can be good for your prostate health. If your prostate health is a concern for you, you should talk to your doctor about whether supplements can be part of the solution.
When it comes to vitamins and supplements that boost prostate health, there’s quite a list to choose from. The thing is, not all of these vitamins and supplements have been researched equally for their impact on prostate health. Still, the list below is a good place to start. Always work with your healthcare provider to determine what’s best for your health.
Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble nutrient that is associated with benefits like improved immune health, bone health, and overall well-being. The prostate gland has receptors for vitamin D so it may be important for prostate health. Research findings suggest there may be a link between lack of sun exposure or vitamin D deficiency and the potential for prostate issues. Aiming for an adequate vitamin D status should be a priority for all ages to support prostate and overall wellness.
Dairy-derived calcium has long been a concern when it comes to prostate health. However, long-term research shows that high phosphate intake, which is found in dairy products and many other foods, has a stronger association for negative effects. Ultra-high calcium intakes may also have downsides for prostate health, but when consumed in moderation, it supports other aspects of health, like healthy bones and teeth. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for calcium is 1,000 mg per day for adults born male up through age 70. It increases to 1,200 mg per day for 71 and older. Long-term studies have shown that calcium intakes above 2,000 mg per day may have negative effects.
Beta-sitosterol is an herbal supplement that contains sitosterols, one of the main subcomponents of a group of plant sterols known as phytosterols. Sitosterols are very similar in composition to cholesterol and have antioxidant properties. They can be found in rice bran, wheat germ, peanuts, corn oil, olive oil, walnuts, raw almonds, avocados, and soybeans. High levels are also found in botanicals such as saw palmetto, ryegrass pollen, pygeum, and stinging nettles, which have been studied for potential benefits for prostate health.
A Cochrane review found that beta-sitosterol can support bladder health and urinary flow, but does not really have a direct impact on the prostate.
Ryegrass pollen is made by microbial digestion of pollen, leaving an extract that is rich in nutrients. Ryegrass pollen contains 21 amino acids in addition to enzymes, sterols, trace elements, vitamins, and alpha-linoleic acid. Researchers are not fully sure how it works, but it is likely that it supports bladder health by supporting normal relaxation of the urethra and other urogenital muscles. Ryegrass pollen may also support healthy zinc status, which is a nutrient that is vital for prostate health. Human clinical trials are lacking in ryegrass pollen. An older Cochrane review concluded that it’s generally safe and may be effective for supporting overall urological health. Always check with your doctor before starting supplements to support prostate or bladder wellness, since they may interact with other supplements, medicines, or health conditions.
Saw palmetto is a dietary supplement made from the Serenoa repens fruit native to Florida. The palmetto plant was originally used by indigenous people in North America to help with a number of ailments including indigestion, respiratory, sleep support, and urinary issues.
Saw palmetto is often recommended to support prostate health and urinary function. It has also been promoted as a libido booster and fertility aid. Unfortunately, clinical evidence does not support the nature of all the claims. While saw palmetto may have some potential benefits, including properties that support healthy cellular, hormone, and immune system responses, studies demonstrate mixed results. This is likely because there’s not a standardized formula. Here’s what we know:
While saw palmetto has mixed levels of performance in clinical studies, it does tend to outperform placebo. More research is needed to determine the best formulation, as well as the specific mechanisms. Saw palmetto is generally considered to be safe, and while it is not likely to cause major interactions, you should still consult a healthcare professional before supplementing with this or anything else.
Selenium is an essential mineral that plays an important role in thyroid function, metabolism,. It also boosts your immune system and has been reported to help with age-related cognitive decline.
There’s not much research directly linking selenium to prostate health. However, epidemiological studies that look at potential associations between specific nutrients and health conditions in large groups of people definitely show that those who eat more selenium have better overall health. This includes overall urinary, prostate, and bladder health in people born male.
The best dietary sources of selenium are oysters, fatty fish, shellfish, Brazil nuts, walnuts, chicken breasts, and mushrooms. The body only needs a small amount of selenium, which can usually be attained with a healthy, varied diet. If you intend to supplement, it is important to be aware of the possibility of overconsumption. As always, check with your healthcare provider first.
Green tea extract is made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis, the common kind of tea leaves that are consumed by many people every day. Green tea extract is rich in polyphenols known as catechins, which exhibit antioxidant-like properties. Many studies have investigated the potential benefits of green tea extract. Some case-control studies have found slight, but not statistically significant, benefits for prostate health. Others have shown more clear benefits.
Prospective studies have demonstrated more promising results for green tea extract, although meta-analyses aren’t able to demonstrate a strong conclusion. Overall, green tea, and green tea extract supplements, may broadly support urinary, bladder, and prostate health, but there’s not a direct way to know how much. It’s likely that the differences come down to genetics, other health factors, and the strength and type of green tea extract formulation, but only larger studies will be able to determine this for sure.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for human health. The body cannot make them. Omega-3s are needed for many things, from neurological wellness to eye health to normal cellular function all throughout the body. It’s not directly known how omega-3s specifically impact prostate wellness, although studies demonstrate a possible association between a higher intake of omega-3s and having better bladder, urinary, and prostate health.
You can get omega-3s from foods like coldwater fish (salmon, herring, mackerel). You can also get essential omega-3 fats from fish oil supplements.
Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant found in most red and pink foods, including tomatoes. It is also found concentrated in the prostate. Studies show that lycopene may have a protective effect on the prostate, and that those who eat more tomatoes tend to experience better health than those who do not. More studies are needed to establish a causative relationship, though.
The best way to increase the amount of lycopene in your body is through diet. Sun-dried tomatoes pack the most wallop in terms of lycopene content, though tomato puree, fresh cooked tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, and cooked sweet red peppers are also great sources. Lycopene is tightly bound to the walls of fresh tomatoes so it is always best to cook them. Lycopene is also available in supplement form. Consult your physician before adding it to your regimen as it may interfere with some medications, including those that affect coagulation and circulation.
Pumpkin seeds are powerful and nutrient-dense, rich in antioxidants that have been linked to healthy fertility, sleep, energy level, mood, immune function, and more. They may also help with overactive bladders. Pumpkin seeds are packed with zinc and healthy fatty acids, which is important for normal prostate function. Animal studies and in vitro research has found that pumpkin seed oil supports healthy prostate size and tissue health. Human studies are needed to confirm these effects.
Pumpkin seeds are easy to add to your diet, and a beneficial source of fiber. Many doctors recommend just a handful a day to start reaping the benefits.
Zinc is an essential mineral that is needed for healthy skin, cellular, immune, and hormone balance. It’s especially noted to support healthy prostate, sperm, and semen parameters.
Zinc is found in many foods like chicken, red meat, fortified grains, and breakfast cereals. Supplements are available in capsule form or lozenges. While most people probably get enough zinc from their diet, those who have malabsorption issues or who follow a vegan diet may not consume or absorb enough of this vital mineral.
Pygeum is an herbal supplement derived from the Prunus africana, or African plum tree. There’s some research to suggest that pygeum supports a healthy prostate. However, subsequent studies haven’t provided strong evidence to support this claim. Much more research is needed, particularly double-blind placebo-controlled trials, to determine whether pygeum is an effective prostate support. Most research uses 75-200 mg of pygeum per day, but you should consult your doctor before taking it.
Stinging nettle is an herbal supplement with a long history of use for prostate health, joint comfort, scalp health, skin health, and circulatory wellness. Its bioactive compounds include sterols and flavonoids. A review of clinical trials reveals that stinging nettle can indeed support prostate health, with 91% of participants reporting greater urinary wellness after 6 months of use. Stinging nettle also performed well compared to a placebo.
Stinging nettle may be more effective with longer-term use, with some studies noting benefits after 18+ months. It’s considered safe for long-term use, but you should always talk to a medical provider about whether any supplement is right for you. If you do take stinging nettle, take it apart from other supplements and medications, since it can sometimes interfere with your body’s ability to absorb minerals and other compounds.
Boron is a trace mineral that may have an impact on reproductive health, energy metabolism, immune system function, and hormone function and balance. The main food sources of boron are prune juice, avocado, raisins, peaches, grape juice, apples, pears, peanuts, beans, and oranges. Existing research shows generalized long-term benefits of boron supplementation on prostate health. Because of insufficient data, there’s no recommended daily allowance for boron, but the World Health Organization suggests that the acceptable safe range for adults may be 1-13 mg per day.
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid that’s naturally found in some fruits and vegetables, with the highest concentration found in apples and onions. It’s notable for its antioxidant activity. While it’s still early to say for sure, there is reason to believe quercetin can have prostate benefits. Both in vivo and in vitro studies suggest that quercetin may support healthy prostate cells. Quercetin has also been found to support healthy cell communication, antioxidant activity, and immune system function. Quercetin has a GRAS – or “generally recognized as safe” – status as a supplement, but you should still check with your doctor before you start taking it.
Reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum) are a type of medicinal mushroom. When it comes to their effect on prostate health, more human clinical trials are still needed. That said, they do have antioxidant properties, helping to promote a healthy immune system and healthy cell function. Reishi mushrooms are often consumed as a powder supplement made from dehydrated mushrooms. Check with your doctor before starting. People who have any conditions relating to the immune system should not take Reishi or other mushroom supplements unless their doctor says otherwise.
To support prostate health, a healthy lifestyle and regular medical checkups are necessary. There are a number of steps you can take to make sure you’re taking good care of yourself and your prostate.
Diet and lifestyle are important for overall health, include prostate wellness. A study found that increased regular exercise, dietary modifications, and nutritional supplementation favorably influenced prostate health.
There are some common symptoms and triggers of prostate issues. These can include a frequent urge to urinate, dribbling of urine, and blood in the urine or semen. Should you experience any of these symptoms – or others – be sure to go talk to a medical professional right away.
Regular screenings are an essential part of wellness, especially when it comes to the prostate. There’s no way to do self-checks for prostate health, so keeping your regular medical appointments is important.
Prostate-related issues are not uncommon as people age. Maintaining prostate health now may lower your risk of problems later on. A healthy lifestyle is key. As for supplementation, opinions vary and some clinical data is inconclusive. Always check with your physician before taking supplements for prostate health. Most importantly, get screened regularly.