For PROSTATE ENLARGEMENT, the vitamin E family helps slow the growth of an enlarged prostate by correcting prostaglandin synthesis. This results in improved bladder emptying, less frequency and urgency, less overnight urination, and thus better sleep. In addition, the family of Vitamin E tocopherols and tocotrienols are antioxidants for cholesterol, which if oxidized is potentially damaging to the prostate. The vitamin E family members are important antioxidants that reduce peroxides from forming and damaging prostatic tissues. Also, the Vitamin E tocotrienols reduce inflammation and decrease levels of C-reactive protein and cytokines in organs including the prostate. The vitamin E family also stabilizes any atherosclerotic plaques that may form, improving prostate blood flow. In these many ways, the vitamin E family is a key remedy for benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH.
Prostaglandins are communication molecules that are found in high concentrations in prostate tissue and secretions. Studies demonstrate that specific prostaglandins may either stimulate or calm prostate cell growth by affecting levels of the hormone testosterone and its potent breakdown metabolite dihydrotestosterone (DHT), both of which can lead to hypertrophy or overgrowth of prostate cells. The vitamin E family helps to maintain an optimal balance of prostaglandins in cells of the prostate gland.
Researchers have found that men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) may have lower levels of vitamin E including alpha-tocopherol in their bodies than men without BPH. This indicates that the vitamin E family has a protective effect against BPH. The mixed natural vitamin E family is a potent antioxidant without which prostate tissues would be very vulnerable to free radical damage. Vitamin E in general, and gamma-tocopherol in particular, are helpful for both BPH and prostatitis. Although the exact mechanism of action needs further study, the vitamin E family is found to have effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties for men who suffer with these prostate conditions.1
The naturally-occurring Vitamin E family includes eight major constituents that fall into two chemically related categories, the tocopherols and tocotrienols: These are alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocopherols, as well as alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocotrienols. The vitamin E family has numerous benefits for men with prostate disorders: While the natural tocopherols have documented health benefits as hormone modulators, antioxidants, and immune supporters, alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocotrienols bring additional hormone balancing, nerve, and blood sugar balancing benefits. Alpha-tocopherol alone, without the other tocopherols and tocotrienols, is weak with little or no benefit. Men taking vitamin E in supplement form should include both alpha- and gamma-tocopherols, since research has shown that these two forms of vitamin E work synergistically for prostate health, reducing bladder obstruction, increasing urine flow, and reducing nighttime urination. Studies that showed little effect from vitamin E supplementation were often lacking the important tocopherols and tocotrienols, and used only limited alpha-tocopherol.
The biological activities of tocotrienols are receiving increasing attention. A 2017 study observed human prostate tissue given a tocotrienol mixture for 8 weeks. The tocotrienol vitamin E treatment was associated with inhibition of prostate growth by suppressing cell proliferation.2 This is important in treatment of BPH as overgrowth or proliferation of prostate cells is one of the causative factors in prostate enlargement.
In a 3-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 144 men with BPH, vitamin E significantly reduced symptoms, including poor stream and incomplete bladder emptying. The addition of saw palmetto, grass pollen extract, and beta-sitosterol magnified the benefits of vitamin E for prostate health.3
Ninety percent of all men show signs of prostatic enlargement by the age of 80. Fortunately, the vitamin E family is one of many safe, natural options available that have solid scientific backing. Because the vitamin E family is an antioxidant for the LDL “bad” cholesterol molecule, it protects LDL from oxidative damage where it becomes jagged or “sticky”, reducing damage to artery linings. If cholesterol is less sticky, it has less risk of affecting prostate blood vessels, as well as reducing risks of heart attacks and strokes.
This antioxidant effect on cholesterol has the additional benefit of reducing cholesterol’s toxicity. If oxidized it is toxic and carcinogenic to the prostate. The prostate synthesizes cholesterol at rates equivalent to the liver and an age-dependent shift in cholesterol homeostasis allows cholesterol to accumulate in the prostate at high levels in older individuals. Research into the topic of the role of cholesterol and prostate disease has been ongoing for many years, although the relationship is complex. In the 1940s, researchers believed, “the balance of evidence is in favor of cholesterol’s playing at least some part in the growth of benign enlargement of the prostate” although the mechanism of action is poorly understood. The most important takeaway from decades of research is that since high levels of cholesterol can cause cytotoxicity, in large part due to the propensity of cholesterol to become oxidized, a mixed natural vitamin E exhibits a critical protective effect for men.4
In our clinic, we recommend only the mixed natural form of vitamin E that includes all eight of the tocopherols and tocotrienols as they occur in nature. The vitamin E family, also known as mixed natural vitamin E, has eight different important antioxidants: d-alpha, d-beta, d-gamma and d-delta tocopherols, and the alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocotrienols. D-alpha tocopherol is one of the more active members of the vitamin E family.
With our patients, we see the best results for BPH and other health conditions with mixed natural vitamin E, including all the tocopherols and tocotrienols that work synergistically together, as they occur in nature. Regarding occasional media reports, our view is that if there are any safety concerns for ‘vitamin E’ these would apply solely to the synthetic dl-form, e.g. dl-alpha. This dl-form does not exist in nature, it is a ‘fake’ mirror image of naturally occurring vitamin E. This unnatural isomer may actually block the beneficial natural d-form from entering cells. We recommend only the eight-constituent mixed natural form, preferably with generous enough amounts of the tocotrienols to be effective. We look for a guaranteed non-GMO formula in an absorbable and gentle natural base such as sunflower oil.
Recommendation: 400 IU of mixed natural Vitamin E, including d-alpha tocopherol 400 IU, d-Gamma tocopherol 100mg, d-Beta and d-Delta tocopherol 40mg once daily. Ideally also with Tocotrienols 20mg, comprising gamma tocotrienol 12 to 14 mg, alpha tocotrienol 5 to 8 mg, beta and delta tocotrienols 2 to 4 mg. Take one or two times daily, with meals, or as directed by your physician.
- Aryal M et al. Oxidative stress in benign prostate hyperplasia. Nepal Med Coll J 2007 Dec; 9(4): 222-24.
- Huang, Ying, et al. “A naturally occurring mixture of tocotrienols inhibits the growth of human prostate tumor, associated with epigenetic modifications of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors p21 and p27.” The Journal of nutritional biochemistry 40 (2017): 155-163.
- Enlargement, Prostate. “Benign prostatic hyperplasia.” Bethesda, Maryland: The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (1996).
- Solomon, Keith R., and Michael R. Freeman. “The complex interplay between cholesterol and prostate malignancy.” Urologic Clinics 38.3 (2011): 243-259.
- Barella, Luca, et al. “Identification of hepatic molecular mechanisms of action of alpha-tocopherol using global gene expression profile analysis in rats.” Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)-Molecular Basis of Disease 1689.1 (2004): 66-74.
- Sikka, Suresh C. “Role of oxidative stress response elements and antioxidants in prostate cancer pathobiology and chemoprevention–a mechanistic approach.” Current medicinal chemistry 10.24 (2003): 2679-2692.