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Red Clover: Best Therapy For Treating Enlarged Prostate?
Stamford CT, 30 January 2003

Science-based Review Found Red Clover Isoflavones Relieve BPH Symptoms

A review article published in the current issue of Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (volume 8, number 6) finds that based on current scientific evidence, isoflavones from red clover extract appear to be the best alternative treatment for prostate health. Alternative therapies are known to be less expensive than conventional prescription treatments for problems such as enlarged prostate, or benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), which affects most men in their senior years.

The article's author is Aaron Katz, M.D., Director, Center for Holistic Urology, New York Presbyterian Hospital and Assistant Professor of Urology, Columbia University School of Medicine. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine is peer-reviewed and published monthly.

Prostate Problems Very Common

As men age, problems affecting the prostate become more common. More than half of the men in the United States between the ages of 60 and 70 and as many as 90 percent between the ages of 70 and 90 have symptoms of BPH(i), which include problems urinating, difficulty emptying the bladder, and frequent urination. The American Urological Association recommends that all men over 50 and all African American men over 40 have their prostates checked annually.

BPH is a non-cancerous growth of the prostate gland. Despite the availability of conventional medicine and surgery for BPH, many men are turning to natural alternatives because some of the medications take several months to work or do not work at all(ii), have side effects in a large percentage of patients(iii)(iv)(v), or are expensive(vi). Surgery is not always indicated(vii) but when it is, many men are reluctant to undergo the procedure for fear of impotence or other potential side effects.

Why Phytotherapy?

According to the review, men in Eastern countries have much healthier prostates than men in Western countries. The increased prevalence of BPH and prostate cancer among Western men may be the result of Western men not eating enough isoflavone-containing foods(viii)(ix)(x). By comparison, Japanese men are known to have higher plasma levels and urinary excretion of plant-based ("phyto") isoflavones(viii). Researchers believe this difference in dietary intake is a main cause of prostate health issues in Western men.

Conclusion Favors Red Clover

To better understand the science behind alternative botanical approaches to the treatment of prostate-related health concerns, Dr. Katz reviewed the epidemiological data and published studies supporting five popular herbal treatments (curbicin, saw palmetto, soy, red clover, and pygeum africanum).

Dr. Katz reported that scientific evidence exists to support the claim that isoflavones relieve the symptoms of BPH. Red clover, in the form of Trinovinr, was said to be particularly effective, because it is the only supplement found to have all four of the isoflavones shown to be promising in treating prostate symptoms (genistein, formononetin, daidzein, and biochanin). These same isoflavones are found in abundance in the Asian diet in a variety of foods. Trinovinr was also the only prostate supplement found in a National Institutes of Health funded study to meet its label claims for containing isoflavones in the most beneficial form.

Trinovinr is manufactured by Novogen, Limited (www.novogen.com).

References

i) National Cancer Institute, "What You Need to Know About Prostate Cancer," NIH Publication No. 00-576; updated September 16, 2002.

ii) Nickel JC, et al, Efficacy and safety of finasteride therapy for benign prostate hyperplasia: results of a 2-year randomized controlled trial, CMAJ 1996;155:1251-9.

iii) Proscar(R) package insert 2001.

iv) Flomax(R) package insert 1999.

v) Hytrin(R) package insert 1996.

vi) Estimated cost of Finasteride is $200 for 90 tablets.

vii) Graversen PH, et al, Controversies about indications for transurethral resection of the prostate, Journal of Urology 1989;141:475-81.

viii) Adlercreutz, H, et al, Plasma concentrations of phytoestrogens in Japanese Men, Lancet 1993; 342:1209-10.

ix) Jacobson, BK, et al, Does high soy milk intake reduce prostate cancer incidence?, Cancer Causes Control 1998;9:553-7.

x) Morton MS, et al, Lignans and isoflavonoids in plasma and prostatic fluid in men: samples from Portugal, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom, Prostate 1997:32:122-8.

SOURCE: Novogen, Limited.

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