Will Taking Supplements Improve My Prostate Health?
You may have heard that taking supplements like saw palmetto, zinc, lycopene and vitamin E promotes prostate health. Do they really work? Here’s the Short Answer from a urologist.
A: Because supplements do not have to go through clinical trials or get FDA approval, we have very little data on many of them.
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Saw palmetto is probably the most common supplement used to promote prostate health. Most people take 320 milligrams per day. But while it may help with mild voiding difficulties, European studies have not shown a lot of benefits.
Many studies have also looked at zinc, but zinc has fallen out of favor — it doesn’t do a whole heck of a lot.
At one time, lycopene (released in cooked tomato products) was thought to decrease prostate cancer risk and possibly help with voiding. But those findings were later refuted.
Vitamin E was also believed to hold benefits for prostate health. This has also been refuted. Also, we now know that vitamin E has negative cardiovascular effects, so we strongly advise against taking excess vitamin E.
The bottom line: While some prostate supplements may show mild benefit, many men will see no benefit whatsoever from them.
—Urologist James Ulchaker, MD