Red Clover May Be Best Alternative Therapy for Treating Enlarged
CT, 30 January 2003
Review Found Red Clover Isoflavones Relieve BPH Symptoms
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.
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
Problems Very Common
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.
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.
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.
Favors Red Clover
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
Katz reported that scientific evidence exists to support the claim
that isoflavones relieve the symptoms of BPH. Red clover, in the
form of Trinovin®, 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. Trinovin®
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.
is manufactured by Novogen, Limited (www.novogen.com).
National Cancer Institute, "What You Need to Know About Prostate
Cancer," NIH Publication No. 00-576; updated September 16, 2002.
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.
Proscar(R) package insert 2001.
Flomax(R) package insert 1999.
Hytrin(R) package insert 1996.
Estimated cost of Finasteride is $200 for 90 tablets.
Graversen PH, et al, Controversies about indications for transurethral
resection of the prostate, Journal of Urology 1989;141:475-81.
Adlercreutz, H, et al, Plasma concentrations of phytoestrogens in
Japanese Men, Lancet 1993; 342:1209-10.
Jacobson, BK, et al, Does high soy milk intake reduce prostate cancer
incidence?, Cancer Causes Control 1998;9:553-7.
Morton MS, et al, Lignans and isoflavonoids in plasma and prostatic
fluid in men: samples from Portugal, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom,