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Essential fatty acids for benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Nineteen men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) received 1.95 g per day of an essential fatty acid (EFA) preparation (source not specified) that contained linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, and other fatty acids. After three days, the dose was reduced to 1.3 g per day for several weeks, then to 0.65 g per day. After an unspecified period of time, all patients had a decrease in postvoid residual urine volume, and in 12 of the 19 patients this parameter became normal. The prostate size, as determined by palpation, decreased in all 19 patients.

Comment: EFAs are precursors to prostaglandins, a group of hormonelike compounds that were so named because of their presence in high concentrations in prostatic secretions. Prostaglandins are believed to modulate the effect of testosterone (or dihydrotestosterone) on prostate cell growth. It has been hypothesized that prostaglandin synthesis by the prostate becomes less efficient with advancing age, resulting in an exaggerated effect of testosterone (or dihydrotestosterone) on prostate cell growth. The distribution of prostaglandins in prostate tissue has been found to differ between men with and without BPH. Prostaglandins [A.sub.1], [A.sub.2], [B.sub.1], [F.sub.2[alpha]], and Y (an unidentified prostaglandin) were present in hyperplastic prostates but absent in normal prostates. In contrast, prostaglandins [E.sub.2] and X (another unidentified prostaglandin) were present in normal prostates but absent in BPH samples. While the significance of these findings is not clear, they raise the possibility that altering prostaglandin levels by supplementing with EFAs could be beneficial for men with BPH.

The study described above is not well known, because it was written in 1941 and never published in a medical journal. However, in my experience and in the experience of other practitioners, EFA supplementation often improves symptoms in men with BPH. My usual recommendation is 1 tablespoon of oil per day, alternating flaxseed oil with sunflower or safflower oil. Because increasing intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids (as are found in these oils) increases the requirement for vitamin E, patients taking EFA supplements should take 50 to 100 IU per day of additional vitamin E.

Hart JP, Cooper WL. Vitamin F in the treatment of prostatic hypertrophy. Report #1, Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research November 1941.

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Title Annotation:Literature Review & Commentary
Author:Gaby, Alan R.
Publication:Townsend Letter
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2010
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