Hey Guys: How’s Your Prostate?

Hey Guys: How’s Your Prostate?

June is National Men’s Health Month. That makes this the perfect time to talk about the prostate gland.

The prostate gland sits at the base of the bladder and is only the size of a walnut, weighing in at about one ounce. While the gland is small, keeping it healthy is a big deal.

The prostate’s main function is to produce fluid that mixes with sperm cells from the testicles along with other fluids to make semen and ensure that the semen is properly expelled during intercourse.1 The fluids produced in the prostate also provide proteins and enzymes to nourish sperm.2

As a man ages, the prostate gland can become enlarged which is problematic because it is located so close to the bladder.3 Other issues can occur with the prostate as well, so that’s why it’s important to focus on keeping the gland healthy.

Recommended Age for First Prostate Exam

To help ensure the prostate gland remains healthy, men should consider getting a prostate exam, which includes a physical exam and a PSA blood test.4 PSA stands for prostate-specific antigen, a protein that needs to remain low for optimal prostate function.4 Avoiding an elevated PSA is the goal. 

For men in their 60s, a normal prostate PSA test is 4.0 ng/ml or lower, and for men in their 40s and 50s, the PSA should be below 2.5 ng/ml.5 Most men should have their first prostate exam by age 50, however, in some cases, men may need to get the exam by age 45.4

Saw Palmetto to Support Prostate Health

Saw palmetto (serenoa repens) is a shrublike palm plant that produces berries which, in clinical studies, have been shown to support prostate health.6 The berries are chock-full of important fatty acids, herbal compounds, and other nutrients that help support the function of the prostate gland.7

Saw palmetto extract is the best dietary supplement for prostate health. When choosing a saw palmetto extract supplement, look for a berry extract standardized at 45% so you are sure to get the fatty acids and other nutrients found in the berries. Standardization also helps create consistency from one capsule to the next.

If you need extra prostate support, especially as you age, consider taking a saw palmetto berry extract daily.

References

  1. InformedHealth.org. In brief: how does the prostate work? 2022;Sept 15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279291/
  2. Singh O, Bolla S. Anatomy, abdomen and pelvis, prostate. StatPearls. 2023;July 17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK540987/?report=reader#_NBK540987_pubdet_
  3. National Institutes of Health. Aging changes in the male reproductive system. MedlinePlus. 2022;July 21. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/004017.htm
  4. Cleveland Clinic. Prostate exam. 2022;April 4. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/22764-prostate-exam
  5. Pavlovich CP. Prostate cancer: age-specific screening guidelines. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Accessed 2024 May). https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/prostate-cancer/prostate-cancer-age-specific-screening-guidelines
  6. Nickel JC, Chughtai B, De Nunzio C, et al. Rethinking the role of saw palmetto extract for men with lower urinary tract symptoms in North America. Uro. 2022;2(3):137-150. https://www.mdpi.com/2673-4397/2/3/17
  7. Liu M, Yin H, Tian Y, et al. The therapeutic potential of saw palmetto extract in urological disorders. Natural Products Communications. 2021;16(11). https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1934578X211059635