A super ingredient in tomatoes already dubbed the ‘elixir of life’ has been found to have yet another health benefit – stopping men getting up in the night to spend a penny.
Enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is known to affect millions of men in the UK causing discomfort, pain and lost sleep.
Astonishingly less than a quarter of sufferers get treatment, but that may be about to change.
Studies have shown that using lycopene (common in fruits such as tomatoes) can reduce the effects of BPH.
Lycopene – an antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red colour – has been identified as preventing cardiovascular disease and stroke and reducing prostate cancer in men.
New research has shown that it also reduces age-related enlargement of the prostate and pressure on the bladder – helping stop the need to wee in the small hours.
Now a Cambridge biotech company is looking to confirm these benefits by looking for volunteers to take part in an observational study overseen by top London urologist, Professor Hiten Patel.
“We think that taking a lycopene supplement, which has little of no side effects compared with traditional drugs, may have some additional benefits.
“Often men over 60 complain of prostate problems, they are given a pill to to try to relax the prostate and shrink it.
“But the type of pill used in this study is natural and contains LactoLycopene, which is gentle and very easily absorbed into the blood stream.
Prof Patel said the ‘tomato pill’ did not have any of the side effects associated with traditional drugs such as sexual dysfunction.
“We hope this study will show that quality of life can be significantly improved,” he added.
CamNutra, the company who manufacture Ateronon XY, are looking to recruit a 100 volunteers who suffer from BPH to see if it’s unique LactoLycopene formulation can help.
They will be asked to take Ateronon XY daily for two months and monitor how often they wake up in the night to go to the loo.
Chief Executive, Adam Cleevely said: “We have had several reports from customers claiming benefits of our LactoLycopene product, Ateronon XY and this study will help us see for ourselves.
“We are a science based company and being able to replicate these sorts of studies is important.
“Hopefully this will lead to improvements in the symptoms of enlarged prostate for a lot of men.”
Customer, Anthony Shorter, who has had an enlarged prostate for 15 years, started taking Ateronon two years ago. He knew lycopene was supposed to help with prostate problems and after searching online discovered Ateronon had been successfully studied at Cambridge University.
After he started taking it he measured, in great detail, the improvements in flow, volume and frequency over a period of two months and found his symptoms were greatly improved.
The 77 yr old used to visit the loo around 12 times in the day and three to five times at night.
“It was life changing,” he said. “The benefits of having a whole nights sleep after years of being disturbed by needing the loo, have made my life bliss.
“I’ve got more energy, patience and my wife gets a proper rest too!”
Research on Ateronon presented by Cambridge University scientists at the prestigious American Heart Association showed it had a unique effect in improving blood vessel flexibility and reducing hardening of the arteries.
Ian Wilkinson, director of Cambridge University clinical trials unit, is confident that similar benefits will be shown in reducing risk of prostate cancer, as well as preventing the advance of the disease in men who have already been diagnosed.
“We think Ateronon could be more beneficial than natural lycopene as a prostate treatment because of the fact it is more easily absorbed by the human body,” Wilkinson said.
“We are in the process of designing a trial to prove that.”
To volunteer for the study, visit ateronon.com/BPHtrial
A 2008 study published in The Journal of Nutrition is the most quoted paper on the effect of lycopene on the progression of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
In this study, 40 patients suffering from BPH, without prostate cancer but with high risks of the cancer, were recruited.
At the end of the six months, the result of the study showed that:
Plasma lycopene concentration was increased in the patients receiving lycopene but not in the placebo group
The serum levels of PSA (prostate-specific antigens) were reduced in the lycopene group but not in the placebo group
Ultrasonography and rectal examinations showed that the prostate glands of the patients in the placebo group grew larger but the prostate glands of the lycopene group was not enlarged
This study showed that lycopene may prevent BPH from progressing into prostate cancer.