The well-being of the prostate

Dott. Simone Gabbanini

What is the prostate?

The prostate is an exocrine gland of the male reproductive system. It is a small organ about the size of a chestnut found in the pelvis, at the base of the bladder, and surrounds the upper part of the urethra, the thin channel that allows urine and sperm to escape from the penis.

The main function of the prostate is to produce seminal fluid, an alkaline fluid that serves to nourish the spermatozoa (produced in the testicles) together with which it makes up the sperm.

Due to the anatomical position and functions performed, the prostate is closely related to the processes of urination, erection and ejaculation, and it is precisely an alteration of these functions that portends a disorder affecting the gland. About 25% of men aged 55 and over have prostate problems. This percentage reaches 50% by the age of 70.

What are the main disorders associated with the prostate?

The three most common forms of prostate disease are:

  1. Inflammation or prostatitis
  2. Prostate cancer
  3. Non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate or benign prostatic hypertrophy

What is prostatitis? What are the symptoms?

Prostatitis can affect men of any age, but is more common in the 30-50 age group. It is an inflammation of the prostate gland often associated with swelling and pain of the same.

Symptoms caused by prostatitis can also be transmitted to the perineal floor, penis, testicles and groin. The most common form is of bacterial origin and is closely linked to lifestyle (diet, smoking, alcohol, sedentary lifestyle), the presence of gastrointestinal disorders (prolonged constipation, hemorrhoids) and sexual habits (unprotected intercourse, prolonged abstinence).

4 types of prostatitis can be distinguished:

  • Acute bacterial
  • Chronic bacterial
  • Chronic abacterial
  • Asymptomatic inflammatory

Bacterial prostatitis in most cases is acute and patients with this disease have the typical signs of genitourinary infection such as: fever, chills, increased frequency of urination, burning or pain when urinating.

It is usually caused by a sexually transmitted infection and is also considered the easiest to diagnose and treat effectively by administering antibiotic therapy.

The chronic form occurs when bacteria create biofilms inside the prostate which antibiotics cannot penetrate, making conventional therapy ineffective. In these cases it is necessary to act by administering specific antibiotics for longer times.

Prostatitis can also be of non-bacterial origin and, in this case, we must distinguish between chronic abacterial prostatitis and asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis.

The first is the most common form of prostatitis, but the most difficult to cure.

It generally occurs after the age of 25 and the onset of symptoms is apparently not linked to specific causes since pathogenic bacteria are not isolated in the urine, sperm and urethral swab. For this reason, chronic abacterial prostatitis is often classified as Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome which indicates a very wide range of painful symptoms often associated with urination and / or sexual problems. The disease can arise for the most varied causes, including a real previous prostatitis or a series of proctological diseases such as fistulas, fissures and hemorrhoids.

Asymptomatic inflammatory prostatitis is usually diagnosed late as it causes no symptoms and therefore is discovered accidentally during evaluation for other prostate diseases, elevated PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen whose blood level is associated with prostate disease) or when looking for causes of infertility. This type of prostatitis does not need any treatment.

What is prostate cancer? How does it manifest itself?

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer that affects adult males. While some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may require little or no treatment when confined to the gland, other types are aggressive and can spread rapidly and therefore need to be treated promptly.

Like all cancers, even prostate cancer, if detected early, has a better chance of being treated successfully.

Advanced prostate cancer can cause symptoms such as:

  • Difficulty urinating
  • Decreased strength in the urine stream
  • Blood in the urine
  • Blood in the semen
  • Erectile dysfunction

However, these symptoms are also common to prostatitis or other disorders of the uro-genital system, so, in the presence of some of them, it is advisable to contact your doctor. It is not clear what causes prostate cancer, however it is well known what the risk factors are.

For example, studies confirm that the probability increases over the years; Autopsy exams show prostatic neoplasms in 15-60% of men between the ages of 60 and 90, with an incidence increasing with age. A family history of prostate cancer is another reason for testing after age 50. Obesity, alcohol consumption, smoking and a diet rich in animal fats are also predisposing factors.

What is benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH)?

Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) is a disorder following which the prostate gland increases in size and can press against the urethra, causing a series of urinary symptoms; however, it is not taken for granted that all men with an enlarged prostate will experience symptoms. The term benign implies that the increase in the size of the gland does not indicate the presence of a tumor. BPH generally occurs after age 50, possibly due to an increase in the ratio of estrogen to testosterone in the blood. BPH is not associated with an increased risk of cancer, although the two conditions can occur simultaneously.

Symptoms of BPH include weak or slow urinary flow, inability to urinate or difficulty starting urination, frequent urination, urinary urgency, nocturia (need to urinate during a night’s rest), and feelings of incomplete emptying of the bladder after urination. In the presence of painful or annoying symptoms it is necessary to contact a doctor to rule out more serious pathologies (tumor).

Rectal palpation of the prostate is the most suitable examination, possibly followed by instrumental investigations such as ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging. Doctors usually do not treat BPH, unless the symptoms cause discomfort or cause infections. In these cases, some medications may be prescribed. Some drugs relax certain parts of the prostate and bladder to improve urine flow, others help reduce prostate volume. If the drugs do not work, it may be necessary to resort to surgery to reduce the size of the prostate.

Can food supplements help keep the prostate healthy?

Prostate health depends above all on prevention. Lifestyle and eating and hygiene habits influence the occurrence or otherwise of some prostate pathologies. Adopting healthy habits such as carrying out regular physical activity, not abusing alcohol, following a varied diet rich in fiber, fruit and vegetables, avoiding cigarette smoking, certainly represents a good starting point for delaying the appearance of prostate disorders and preserving more of it. long functionality.

It is common to use food supplements and over-the-counter products to treat disorders related to the prostate, and, more generally, to the uro-genital system. In fact, numerous scientific studies have shown that certain active ingredients present in plant extracts, as well as some minerals and vitamins, have a beneficial effect on the prostate and its related functions.

Nutritional supplementation is often used to balance an increasingly unregulated diet due to the frenetic pace that modern life imposes, in other cases supplementation is made necessary due to gastro-intestinal disorders (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease ) which make it difficult to assimilate certain nutrients.

For example, zinc [1] is an indispensable mineral as it affects the metabolism of androgens by inhibiting the activity of the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme which converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, an androgenic hormone, the latter causing development excessive prostate gland (BPH).

Habitual alcohol consumption leads to a chronic zinc deficiency in the body, since the enzyme necessary to metabolize ethanol, alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), is zinc-finger, which means that it requires zinc to function; smoking is also the enemy of this precious mineral.

In fact, the combustion of tobacco generates cadmium, a toxic element, which interferes with the body’s ability to absorb zinc. Some vegetable ingredients have proved to be a real panacea for the well-being of the prostate, for example the extract of Serenoa repens (Saw palmetto)[2], Nettle [3]and Pumpkin seeds [4]. These extracts are rich in fatty acids and phytosterols capable of producing anti-androgenic effects through the inhibition of 5-alfa-reduttasi.

BeC’s contribution to the well-being of the prostate and urogenital system

BeC has been taking care of your health for over 40 years by implementing a series of nutritional supplements with the aim of assisting the treatment of numerous ailments.

Eu Prost is a formula extremely rich in components specially formulated to maintain the physiological well-being of the prostate and to prevent and alleviate any problems related to the incorrect functioning of this gland.

Completely of natural origin, it exploits the synergistic effect of some plant extracts, thus, Echinacea with immunostimulating properties and capable of inhibiting the attack by pathogens; this last action is completed by Cranberry (Blueberry of Marsh), also characterized by an excellent antioxidant activity, which provides a soothing effect, blocking oxygenated free radicals known to mediators of inflammatory processes.

The effectiveness of the extracts is enhanced by the presence of vitamins (vitamins E and C) with known antioxidant properties and minerals such as zinc, copper and selenium, which play an important role at the enzymatic level and counteract oxidative stress.

The natural well-being of the prostate and urinary tract is also stimulated respectively by the presence of vitamins B6 and B9.


[1]Costello LC, Franklin RB. A comprehensive review of the role of zinc in normal prostate function and metabolism; and its implications in prostate cancer. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2016 Dec 1; 611:100-112.

[2]Tacklind J, Macdonald R, Rutks I, Stanke JU, Wilt TJ. Serenoa repens for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Dec 12;12(12):CD001423.

3]Cicero AFG, Allkanjari O, Busetto GM, Cai T, Larganà G, Magri V, Perletti G, Robustelli Della Cuna FS, Russo GI, Stamatiou K, Trinchieri A, Vitalone A. Nutraceutical treatment and prevention of benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer. Arch Ital Urol Androl. 2019 Oct 2;91(3).

[4] Medjakovic S, Hobiger S, Ardjomand-Woelkart K, Bucar F, Jungbauer A. Pumpkin seed extract: Cell growth inhibition of hyperplastic and cancer cells, independent of steroid hormone receptors. Fitoterapia. 2016 Apr 110:150-6. 

Cyclooxygenase, lipoxygenase and the inflammatory process

Cyclooxygenase and lipooxygenase are the two families of enzymes that are commonly involved in the inflammatory process, through a complex of reactions which is called arachidonic acid cascade. This complex of reactions develops as follows: a first enzyme, a phospholipase cleaves the phospholipids of biological membranes, releasing arachidonic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid with 20 carbon atoms (eicosa-5Z,8Z,11Z,14Z-tetraenoic acid ; C20:4; ω-6). The arachidonic acid is then transformed by two parallel enzymatic pathways, that is, by two families of enzymes: the cyclooxygenase which transforms it into prostaglandins and thromboxanes and the lipooxygenase which transforms it into hydroperoxides which in turn transform into leukotrienes .
There are two cyclooxygenase isoforms indicated with type 1 and type 2, briefly COX-1 and COX-2. COX-1 is the enzyme present in most cells (except red blood cells), and is constitutive, that is, it is always present. COX-2 is an inducible cyclooxygenase isoform: it is constitutively present in some organs such as brain, liver, kidney, stomach, heart and vascular system, while it can be induced (i.e. developed if necessary) following inflammatory stimuli on the skin, white blood cells and muscles.
There are various types of lipooxygenase that lead to different products, the most important in the inflammatory process is 5-lipooxygenase, 5-LOX.

Prostaglandins, Thromboxanes, and Leukotrienes

Prostaglandins, Thromboxanes, and Leukotrienes are chemical messengers or mediators, that is, molecules that bring a message to specific cells and activate or deactivate metabolic responses in these cells. They, therefore, have a function similar to hormones, only that, unlike what hormones do, the chemical message is carried only at a short distance, that is, only to the cells that are in the vicinity of the place where the mediators were produced. There are different prostaglandins, different thromboxanes and different leukotrienes that carry specific messages. In many cases these act as mediators of the inflammatory process , therefore they trigger all the events that are involved in inflammation:
– vasodilation with consequent blood supply (redness),
– increased capillary permeability with consequent fluid exudation (swelling or edema),
– stimulation of nociceptive nerve signals (pain),
– on-site recall of immune system cells that attack a possible invader (chemotactic action)
– activation of the biosynthesis of fibrous tissue to strengthen or repair the affected part (even if there is no need)
– generations of free radicals that can chemically destroy an invader (but also damage our tissues, i.e. they just “shoot in the middle”).
Prostaglandins and thromboxanes, however, also play important physiological roles in normal conditions, i.e. in the absence of inflammation. For example, they regulate the secretion of mucus that protects the walls of the stomach, they regulate the biosynthesis of cartilages and synovial fluid in the joints, they regulate vasodilation, hence the correct flow of blood in the various local districts, and more.


Triglycerides are the main components of most oils and fats. These are heavy, non-volatile and little polar molecules, insoluble in water, made up of glycerol (or glycerin) esterified with three molecules of fatty acids: therefore, it is a tri-ester of glycerin, from which the name derives. Each fatty acid contains 8 to 22 carbon atoms (commonly 16 to 18) and can be saturated, mono-unsaturated or poly-unsaturated. The size of the fatty acids and their saturation determines the physical and sensorial properties of the triglycerides, which can appear as oils (liquids at room temperature) or fats (solid or semi-solid) and can have greater or less greasiness and smoothness on the skin. Unsaturated triglycerides or with shorter fatty acids are more fluid and have greater flowability.

Fatty acids (saturated, mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated)

The name fatty acids is commonly used to indicate those organic acids that are found in the composition of lipids, that is, in animal and vegetable oils and fats, both in the free form and in the form of esters with glycerol (e.g. in triglycerides), or they are esterified with “fatty” alcohols, that is, long chain alcohols, to form waxes. Fatty acids are carboxylic acids (formula R-COOH) which have a long carbon chain (R), unlike common organic acids such as acetic acid and propionic acid, which have 2 or 3 carbon atoms in total, respectively. Fatty acids are defined as saturatedif they do not have double carbon-carbon bonds, (called “unsaturations”), they are defined mono-unsaturated if they have only one, they are defined mono-unsaturatedpoly-unsaturated if they have two or more double bonds (see figure). The term omega-3 (ω-3) or omega-6 (ω-3), refers to the position of the first double bond starting from the bottom of the chain of carbon atoms: if the first double bond is encountered after 3 carbon atoms the fatty acid is classified as omega-3 , if after six carbon atoms omega-6 , as shown in the figure. The most common saturated fatty acids are palmitic acid (16 carbon atoms and no double bond, C16: 0) and stearic acid (18 carbon atoms, 18: 0), the most common mono-unsaturated is the oleic acid, typical of olive oil (18 carbon atoms and 1 double bond in position 9, C18: 1; ω-9), while the most common poly-unsaturated are linoleic acid and linolenic acid, progenitors respectively omega-6 and omega-3 (see figure).

Terpenes and terpenoids

Terpenes or terpenoids are a large family of natural molecules, typically containing 10 to 30 carbon atoms, which are biosynthesized from a common “brick”, isopentenyl pyrophosphate (IPP), containing 5 carbon atoms (see figure). The discovery that the repetitive brick consists of 5 carbon atoms is relatively recent, while it was once assumed that the entire family was created by repeating a brick of 10 carbon atoms, which was called “terpene”. Therefore, the molecules with 10 carbon atoms (such as limonene, see figure) were called mono-terpenes, i.e. composed of a single brick, diterpenes those with 20 carbon atoms (e.g. the cafestol that gives the aroma to the coffee), triterpenes those with 30 carbon atoms (e.g. beta-carotene). Since molecules made from 15 carbon atoms were also found (such as bisabolol), it was thought they contained a terpene and a half, and were called sesquiterpenes (from the Latin semis = half + atque = and). Today it is known that the repetitive unit is composed of 5 carbon atoms, therefore it is easy to understand how mono-terpenes contain two (see figure), sesquiterpenes three, diterpenes four, triterpenes six.