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Pumpkin Seed Extract for Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH)

8/27/2019 2:32:14 PM
pumpkin oilBenign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH) affects one in 2 men between the ages of 51 and 60 and increases in prevalence with age. As a result of BPH, about half of all men over the age of 80 report lower urinary tract symptoms, which can be measured by the validated International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS). When symptoms are mild-to-moderate, watchful waiting with annual evaluation is the norm. This period is an opportune time to use nutritional or herbal interventions.

Pumpkin oil, pumpkin seed, other formulations examined

Clinical data suggest that pumpkin seed extract (Cucurbita pepo) improves urinary symptoms of BPH. Typical pumpkin seed preparations include seed powders, seed oil, or whole-seed ethanol extracts. The current study evaluated a proprietary oil-free hydroethanolic pumpkin seed extract (EFLA®940; Frutarom Switzerland Ltd., Wadenswil, Switzerland). This extract has been found to reduce prostatic 5-alpha-reductase in vitro and in an animal model but had previously not been evaluated in clinical trials of BPH.
The current study was an open-label and single-arm pilot study of 60 men (aged 50-75) with symptomatic BPH, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) < 4 ng/mL, IPSS ≥ 8 at baseline (moderate to severe), and nocturia at least 1.5 times per night. The study duration was 3 months with evaluations every 4 weeks. The intervention was EFLA®940 taken as one tablet before bed (500mg of extract, corresponding to 350mg native extract and equivalent of 10g of pumpkin seeds per tablet).

Pumpkin products improve BPH symptoms

Results showed progressive improvements in symptomatic BPH over the course of 12 weeks—as assessed by the IPSS questionnaire, a bladder diary, and postvoid volume. From baseline to 12 weeks, there was an average reduction of IPSS score of 30%, with the greatest effects seen for endpoints of “incomplete emptying” and “frequency of micturition.” Nocturia decreased significantly by ~0.5 episodes per night. Postvoid urinary volume also decreased significantly. Symptom reductions significantly improved quality of life at 8 and 12 weeks.  Most participants (79%) reported an overall improvement in BPH symptoms at the end of the 12-week intervention, expressed primarily as less nocturia, less frequency of voiding, and less urgency.
This pilot study provides preliminary clinical evidence for the benefit of an oil-free pumpkin seed extract in relieving lower urinary tract symptoms and supporting a better quality of life in men with BPH.
Leibbrand M, Siefer S, Schön C et al. Effects of an Oil-Free Hydroethanolic Pumpkin Seed Extract on Symptom Frequency and Severity in Men with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: A Pilot Study in Humans. J Med Food. 2019; 22: 551-559.