Fifty percent of men over 50´s have benign prostatic hyperplasia

Benign prostatic hyperplasia is a tumor that grows in 50% of men aged over 50. It is a prostatic adenoma. It is not a malign tumor, but affects the people’s quality of life, causes discomfort when passing water, or frequent urination, makes patients to get up at night, causing a series of problems leading to decreased quality of life, indicated Dr. Gustavo Gonzales Rengifo, dean of the Faculty of Science and Philosophy of Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia.

He indicated that as age increases prostate grows naturally. The disease is associated to the testosterone hormone, this hyperplasia has been sometimes associated to prostate cancer, but they are different diseases.

The treatment is frequently surgical, prostate is removed, but some people have reported discomfort, such as sexual function problems. Therefore, research to find drugs capable of mitigating this affection is underway. And during the last years, there is an intense searching among medicinal plants, indicated the doctor.

In the United States, there is a plant called Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), that grows in the swamps of Florida and is very frequently acquired for prostatic hyperplasia, both, in its natural state and processed.

“In Peru, annatto has been widely used. However, a study carried out in Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia by doctors Luis Zegarra Montes and Abraham Vaisberg proved that it only produces the benefit of a placebo effect.” Nevertheless, annatto is marketed as a plant for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. In the entire world, one of the families of plants known by its antitumoral effects is cruciferae, among which there are broccoli, cabbage and sprouts. They are widely used because of a substance that inhibits tumor growing. Maca -Lepidium meyenii- belongs to the cruciferae family. It grows mainly in areas of great altitude.

Dr. Gonzales Rengifo, who has been granted the Campodonico Prize for his contribution to medicine, indicated that the advantage of this plant for the country lies in the fact that although the seeds had been taken to several countries, the hypocotyl, which resembles a tuber with nutritional and medicinal properties, has been impossible to be reproduced. “It had been sowed in cold areas such as the Czech Republic, Russia and Germany, but the resulting product is small and does not grow same as in Carhuamayo.” Junin, Ondores, Ninacoca and Carhuamayo are the main and oldest production places regarding maca growing.

This plant has various varieties and colors, from white to black, however, the yellow one is the most requested. The specialist reported that Universidad Cayetano Heredia has studied if the various types of maca produce the same biological effect, and it has been proved that they have diverse effects. Yellow, red and black maca have been studied and the black one has proved to have a greater effect on fertility, improving sperm production; yellow maca has an intermediate effect and red maca has no effect.

“On the contrary, when studying red maca, we found out that it reduces prostate weight, and reduces or prevent hyperplasia, therefore, it would be useful to treat people with hyperplasia.”

He said that reduction is spectacular, thus, prostate weight is almost returned to the control value, which is a very favorable effect. “This brings into the light a plant that has not been mentioned before, not even in the conquest chronicles; consequently, there is no historical reference to this plant. Nevertheless, scientific studies have proved this property, which we deem of great importance for patients as well as for the communities that will be able to grow this specific type of plant.”

Effect

The doctor indicated that when studying the three varieties of maca using infrared spectroscopy, it has been observed that the profiles produced from infrared are diverse. First red, then yellow and finally black, that is, that chemicals proportion varies, it means that certain chemicals that may probably be good to reduce prostatic growth are mostly found in a variety than in others. And on the other side, substances that favor growth are present in other varieties, thus increasing sperm production.

He stated that the following phase of study will be to find out where the effect is taking place, if it is at the recipient level, or in the intracellular growth factors. “Those action mechanisms will be the subject matters of our next studies. For this reason, we have signed some agreements with the Institute of Medicinal Plant Development of China, to jointly prove where maca action lies in, and then seek the active principles or compounds responsible for this property.”

Nevertheless, Dr. Gonzales said he deems important to defend the comprehensive use of the plant, instead of seeking specific active principles. “When active principles are developed, the original product is left aside. There are other plants in the world such as Korean ginseng, about which more than 5 thousand publications exist. Many studies have been done, but there is no active principle of ginseng; it is sold as an integral product.” He said that maca may be composed by many active principles that are interacting with each other and that the whole interaction produces the final effect. And if we try to isolate them, we would probably deprive people from some healing or nutritional components.

China

The doctor indicated that when studying the three varieties of maca using infrared spectroscopy, it has been observed that the profiles produced from infrared are diverse. First red, then yellow and finally black, that is, that chemicals proportion varies, it means that certain chemicals that may probably be good to reduce prostatic growth are mostly found in a variety than in others. And on the other side, substances that favor growth are present in other varieties, thus increasing sperm production.

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