Beta-sitosterol for Prostatitis
What Is Beta-sitosterol?
Beta-sitosterol is a type of phytosterol (a plant-derived, cholesterol-like substance) that is found in a number of plants, including saw palmetto, rice bran, soybeans, pumpkin seed, peanuts, and pecans. Even though beta-sitosterol has a structure similar to cholesterol, it does not act like cholesterol.
Beta-sitosterol appears to act like the prescription drug Proscar (finasteride), which inhibits activity of 5-alpha-reductase. Proscar is used to treat enlarged prostate due to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and is sometimes used to treat urinary symptoms of chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS). Patients like that beta-sitorsterol is a natural approach to prostatitis and urinary health, especially since drugs like Proscar have many negative side effects such as erectile dysfunction and other sexual problems. Beta-sitosterol works in a similar way, but it does not cause these undesirable side effects.
When beta-sitosterol is taken at high doses and along with other sterols, it has been shown to reduce levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol by reducing the amount of cholesterol the body absorbs, which in turn may inhibit the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). There is also some evidence that beta-sitosterol may boost immunity.
Beta-sitosterol for Prostatitis—Does It Work?
Beta-sitosterol can help men manage prostatitis symptoms, including urinary symptoms such as urinary frequency, urinary urgency, and urine flow. Beta-sitosterol has many studies on helping men with BPH improve their urinary symptoms and their urine flow measures. Beta-sitosterol can bind to the prostate to help reduce swelling and inflammation. Knowing how beta-sitosterol works for urinary symptoms can help doctors and patients apply that information to men who are experiencing the same symptoms with CP/CPPS.
- A 2000 review of four randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind studies that involved over 500 men with BPH showed that beta-sitosterol improved urinary symptom scores, residual volume, and peak urine flow (Wilt)
- Another study involving 200 men with BPH was published in The men took either 20 mg of beta-sitosterol or a placebo three times a day for six months. At the end of the study the placebo group did not have any changes, but the beta-sitosterol group increased their urine flow rate and decreased their residual urinary volume (the amount of urine left in their bladder after going to the bathroom) (Berges).
Uses and Side Effects of Beta-sitosterol
When purchasing beta-sitosterol, you want to make sure the supplement label clearly states the amount of beta-sitosterol in the product. While there is not a standard dose for taking beta-sitosterol for prostatitis, men typically take 60 to 135 mg per day. If beta-sitosterol is just one of several plant sterols in the supplement, the beta-sitosterol should make up at least half of the total amount of sterols in the product.
Take beta-sitosterol for prostatitis on an empty stomach to increase its absorption. Typically it takes about two to three weeks before the effects of beta-sitosterol are apparent. You can decrease the dosage once symptoms improve. Potential side effects include nausea, gas, and diarrhea.
References for Beta-sitosterol for Prostatitis:
Berges RR, Kassen A, Senge T. Treatment of symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia with beta-sitosterol: an 18-month follow-up. BJU Int 2000 May; 85(7):842-6.
Wilt TJ et al. Beta-sitosterol for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: systematic review. BJU Int 1999 Jun; 83(9): 976-83