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Does Prostavar Work?
Prostavar is a dietary supplement for improving prostate health. It contains herbs such as saw palmetto and stinging nettle; antioxidants such as lycopene and quercetin; and amino acids too. How effective is this combination of natural remedies? Read on to find out.
Prostavar is a prostate health supplement formulated to treat prostate and urinary problems. Prostavar is advertised by its manufacturer, Superbalife International, as a safer and more effective alternative to prostate prescription drugs.
According to the product label and information from the product’s official website, Prostavar can improve prostate health, shrink an enlarged prostate, reduce PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels, relieve urinary difficulties and treat prostatitis.
This herbal supplement contains a patented blend of herbs and nutrients proven to be beneficial to prostate health. One of these active ingredients is saw palmetto, a popular and clinically proven herb for improving the symptoms of prostate enlargement in men.
Besides saw palmetto, Prostavar contains stinging nettle, another well-known herb renowned for its therapeutic effects on the prostate and urinary tract.
In addition to these herbs, other ingredients such as zinc, vitamin E and vitamin B6 are also found in the product. While zinc is included because it is preferentially stored in the prostate, vitamin E and B6 are only included in the supplement to support the therapeutic actions of other active ingredients.
Prostavar is sold in bottles, each containing 90 capsules. The suggested daily dosage is 3 capsules preferably taken with meals and lots of water. Therefore, a bottle provides 30-day worth of Prostavar.
As with other herbal supplements and drugs, users respond differently to this product. While some users may experience immediate relief after a few days of use, others may have to wait for a few weeks before symptoms improve.
Although the manufacturer of Prostavar claims it is completely free of side effects if used as directed, this is an implausible claim.
This is because the active ingredients of the supplement have been shown in multiple studies to be associated with some mild side effects. As a result, users may experience some minor side effects when using Prostavar.
While some of the adverse effects are actually preventable to an extent, others may take some time to resolve.
For instance, the gastrointestinal side effects of saw palmetto and stinging nettle (two of the active ingredients of Prostavar) can be prevented by taking the supplement with a meal. In addition, sweating and loss of body fluids are other side effects that can be prevented by drinking lots of water when using the herbal supplement.
Alternatively, some users may experience dizziness and headache when using the product. These side effects may reoccur for a while until the body becomes tolerant of the supplement’s active ingredients.
Due to lack of safety studies in pregnant and lactating women, these groups of women should avoid taking Prostavar. In addition, children under the age of 18 should also avoid taking the supplement for the same reason.
Because it contains stinging nettle, which is known to increase the flow of urine, users with kidney problems should stay off the supplement as it may cause serious complications.
Furthermore, there are concerns that beta-sitosterol (included in Prostavar) can increase the risk of heart disease in men who have formerly suffered from heart attacks. Therefore, Prostavar is contraindicated in this group of people.
Some of the active ingredients of Prostavar can interact with some medications. Therefore, taking the product alongside such medications is not recommended. Some of the medications to avoid when taking this herbal product are listed in the table below.
Over the years, saw palmetto has become a common ingredient in prostate supplements and patients suffering from prostate problems generally prefer a supplement containing this herb.
This is because saw palmetto has been extensively studied and proven to improve the symptoms of prostate enlargement in men.
Saw palmetto fruit extract contains active chemicals that work as 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. 5-alpha reductase is an enzyme required for the conversion of testosterone to DHT (dihydrotestosterone) in the prostate.
Therefore, by inhibiting this enzyme, saw palmetto reduces the action of DHT (the androgen hormone chiefly responsible for prostate enlargement) on the prostate.
The other means by which saw palmetto relieves symptoms of prostate problems include: preventing DHT from binding to androgen receptors and contracting the smooth muscles of the urethra sphincter to ease urinary problems.
Pygeum refers to a tree native to the Sub-Saharan region of Africa. Extract from the bark of this tree is known to possess various therapeutic benefits.
Among its various medicinal uses, pygeum is popularly used in the treatment of urinary and prostate problems. According to the information on the label of Prostavar, pygeum bark extract constitutes about 12.5% of the herbal supplement.
Pygeum extract contains 4 groups of potent phytochemicals that work differently, but complement one another, to improve prostate and urinary health in men.
While some of its active chemicals target androgen action on the prostate, some reduce the amount of androgens reaching the prostates and others reduce prostate inflammation (prostatitis). Therefore, pygeum is particularly effective for shrinking enlarged prostates.
Beta sitosterol is one of the sterols found only in plants. In fact, it is also found in saw palmetto and pygeum and has even been identified in numerous studies as one of the major bioactive chemicals responsible for relieving the symptoms of prostate enlargement in these herbs.
Beta sitosterol acts as a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor just as it does in the herbs mentioned above. It therefore decreases the activities of DHT in the prostate which, in turn, slows down the growth of prostatic cells.
Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) belongs to the group of plants referred to as nettle. It is included in Prostavar because it has been proven to improve prostate health.
Stinging nettle contains five groups of bioactive phytochemicals that work differently, but complement one another, to improve prostate health.
One of the unique ways by which stinging nettle improves prostate health is by blocking the binding of testosterone to sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). SHBG is a glycoprotein that transports sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) from the plasma to their receptors in target organs including the prostate.
This inhibitory action reduces the amount of testosterone and DHT in the prostate thereby effectively controlling and relieving the symptoms of prostate enlargement in men.
Muira puama refers to two species of flowering plants native to the amazon forest. It belongs to the Ptychopetalum genus.
This plant is popular among the locals where it grows as a strong medicinal herb and it is commonly used to treat gastrointestinal problems, neuromuscular problems, and rheumatism.
However, it is now popular in the US as an aphrodisiac and for improving erectile dysfunction. Although, there are no sufficient studies to establish these claims, anecdotal evidences from users attest to its efficacy.
It contains active chemicals that increase the flow of blood to the pelvic region and also promote the production of sex hormones in men and women.
This herb is included as an ingredient of Prostavar to relieve the sexual problems that may arise as symptoms of prostate problems.
Epimedium extract is another ingredient included in Prostavar to boost sexual functions.
Epimedium refers to a group of perennial plants native to China and some parts of Europe and Asia. These plants are notably popular as powerful aphrodisiacs.
Icariin, an active ingredient of epimedium, is known to be responsible for its therapeutic effects. This chemical has been shown in some studies to increase penile blood pressure in animal models. Extracts made from this herb are standardized by this chemical (between 5% and 60%).
Green Tea is one of the most beneficial herbs for general health. It is one of the most popular herbs used in Chinese traditional medicine.
It possesses diuretic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, it can prevent oxidative stress in the prostate and urinary tract as well as reduce inflammation in the prostate.
Its antioxidant property has also been linked to a reduction in the risk of prostate cancer.
However, its action on the prostate is minimal compare to those of the other active ingredients of Prostavar. It is more likely that green tea is included in the product to improve the general health of users rather than directly improve prostate health.
Ginger is a powerhouse of nutrients. It contains very powerful antioxidant nutrients such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, zinc and iron. All these nutrients protect prostatic cells from destruction by breaking down free radicals in the body.
By stimulating the immune system, ginger can also protect the prostate and urinary tract form bacterial infection and inflammation.
Specifically, ginger inhibits the cytokines that are involved in the inflammatory process in the body.
According to Human Biochemistry and Disease, ginger contains bioactive chemicals that inhibit the enzyme involved in the growth of malignant prostate tumors. By inhibiting this specific enzyme, the active compounds of ginger can disrupt the process that leads to prostate cancer in men.
Although the three amino acids (L-Alanine, L-glutamic acid, L-glycine) are believed to be involved in the normal functioning of the prostate, their roles in this organ have not been properly explored in clinical studies.
Therefore, these nutrients are likely included as ingredients in Prostavar to support the actions of the other active ingredients.
These two ingredients are included for their antioxidant properties. They can protect the cells of the prostate from destruction by mopping up harmful free radicals and reactive oxygen species in the body.
Quercetin has demonstrated some anti-cancer properties in some studies. According to the Mayo Clinic, quercetin can slow down the spread of prostate cancer by inhibiting the proliferation of androgen-independent prostatic tumor cells.
Lycopene increases the production of regulatory proteins in the prostate and, by this means, it brings the growth of the prostate under control. In addition, lycopene inhibits growth factors and prevents them from stimulating the kind of accelerated cell growth that causes prostate enlargement and prostate cancer.
Prostavar contains a long list of natural products proven to be effective in the treatment of various prostate problems. However, many users are not too impressed with the product.
Although users’ testimonies from the product’s official website were very encouraging, the feedback from independent and third party reviewers was not positive.
There was a general discontent with the product’s parent company, Superbalife International. Many users complained of being charged more than the price listed for the product and requests for refunds were not answered.
In addition, some users claimed that Prostavar was ineffective. It is most likely that the manufacturer’s claims about the Prostavar’s rapid onset of action may be exaggerated. Therefore, users may expect dramatic and quick improvements in symptoms while taking the supplement.
Such failed promises can only lead users to stop taking the supplement after a few days.
Furthermore, the fact that some users were charged more than the listed price will likely make them lose faith in the product and believe it is a scam.
Lastly, muira puama, an ingredient of Prostavar, can actually reverse the gains from the major active ingredients of the supplement. For instance, it promotes the production of sex hormones and these hormones are also responsible for prostate enlargement.
This contradiction demonstrates that the product was formulated without giving attention to important details. Such sloppiness is probably the strongest reason to believe Prostavar is a scam even though it claims to contain the right herbs and supportive nutrients for relieving prostate problems and improving urinary functions.
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