Dietary supplements for benign prostatic hyperplasia: an overview of systematic reviews

Maturitas. 2012 Nov;73(3):180-5. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2012.07.007. Epub 2012 Aug 9.


Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a common chronic condition in older men. The aim of this overview of systematic reviews (SRs) is to summarise the current evidence on the efficacy and adverse effects of dietary supplements for treating BPH with lower urinary tract symptoms. We searched 5 electronic databases and relevant overviews without limitations on language or publication status. Six SRs of 195 articles were included in this overview. Serenoa repens was reviewed in 3 studies and no specific effect on BPH symptoms and urinary flow measures was observed. However, β-sitosterol, Pygeum africannum and Cernilton were reviewed in one study each, and significant improvement was observed for all three. All the included compounds have mild and infrequent adverse effects. SRs on β-sitosterol, Pygeum africannum and Cernilton have not been updated since 2000, thus an update of reviews on these compounds will be necessary in the future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Supplements* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / complications
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / drug therapy*
  • Prunus africana* / adverse effects
  • Secale / adverse effects
  • Serenoa* / adverse effects
  • Sitosterols / adverse effects
  • Sitosterols / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urologic Diseases / drug therapy
  • Urologic Diseases / etiology


  • Plant Extracts
  • Sitosterols
  • gamma-sitosterol
  • cernilton