Sunday, July 22, 2012

Does Super Beta Prostate work?

Does Super Beta Prostate work?
What is in Super Beta Prostate?
Is Super Beta Prostate one of those supplements like saw palmetto that has been proven in randomized controlled clinical trials not to help?
Or is it like raspberry ketones, a supplement promoted by a prominent physician on TV even though there is no scientific evidence for benefit in humans?

Well it turns out that Super Beta Prostate contains a substance from plants called beta-sitosterol. Beta-sitosterol has a chemical structure very similar to cholesterol.

Beta sitosterol (from Chemblink)

Cholesterol (from Chemblink)

Beta-sitosterol is found in our diet in small amounts.   Plants do not contain cholesterol but they do contain other sterols such as beta-sitosterol. Typically when sold as a dietary supplement, beta-sitosterol comes from soybeans.

Beta-sitosterol is one of many plant sterols that have been added to margarines like Smart Balance. When taken in sufficient amounts, at least 800 milligrams per day, such plant sterols can lower serum cholesterol up to 10%. Plant sterols work to lower cholesterol by making it more difficult for dietary cholesterol to get absorbed.
The effect of plant sterols on serum cholesterol has been known for over 50 years.

Okay, but how about Beta-sitosterol and the prostate?
Beta-sitosterol has been studied as treatment for symptoms from benign prostate enlargement. Most studies were fairly short but were randomized and placebo controlled. The two largest studies treated men for 6 months. One included 200 men; the other 177 men. 38 men continued treatment for up to 18 months

Overall a significant improvement in symptoms related to enlarged prostate were seen. There was reduced urinary frequency and improved flow and an expected decrease in the International Prostate Symptom Score, a standard measure of symptoms related to prostate enlargement.
Beta-sitosterol appears safe unless, of course, you have the disorder called sitosterolemia. Sitosterolemia also called phytosterolemia is probably not as rare as was previously thought but it sure is not common. One of my physician attendings during endocrinology fellowship has it.

So, if beta-sitosterol helps, how does it work?
It may work like finasteride (Proscar) but thus far studies are inconclusive.

The doses used appear to be around 60-130 milligrams a day.
And it is not clear if higher doses are more helpful for prostate symptoms.

Beta-sitosterol is the only active ingredient in Super Beta Prostate.
The rest of those ingredients do nothing for the prostate and you are better off without them.

If you decide to take beta-sitosterol, you can find a lot lower cost supplement than Super Beta Prostate. The product CholestOff contains beta-sitosterol. One pill a day of CholestOff is plenty if you are using for its prostate benefit.

 Keep in mind that you never know for sure exactly what you are getting in dietary supplements since they are not regulated like prescription drugs.

Be well. 

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