In addition to the above mentioned possibilities involved in the growth of the prostate gland, a number of growth factors previously mentioned have a role to play in BPH. These include epidermal growth factor (EGF), fibroblast growth factor (FGF), and others. SP may play a role in the function of these growth factors.
And More Ways
There may be other ways that extracts from SP could influence the prostate gland. These include:
Preventing the action of the hormone prolactin from stimulating prostatic growth. Prolactin is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain. It is best known for stimulating the secretion of milk and possibly, during pregnancy, stimulating breast growth. Preventing inflammation of prostate cells by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins and arachidonic acid. Prostaglandins are a class of biologically active substances present in many tissues (first found in genital fluids and prostate gland, hence the name) that mediate inflammatory and immune reactions. Arachidonic acid is a precursor to prostaglandins and is involved in inflammation. These factors may be of importance since it is believed that inflammation of the prostate sometimes precedes the hormonally induced proliferation of prostate tissue. In one study conducted on rodents, a lipid extract from SP was able to have relaxing effects on the rat uterus. It is interesting to note that, in the 1800s, some women were given SP berries for certain gynecological problems, including painful periods. Painful periods can sometimes result from spasms of the uterine muscle tissue. Is there a connection? How this information can be translated into practical human terms is currently unknown. Since part of the symptoms of prostate enlargement are due to muscle spasm around the bladder neck, decreasing the flow from the bladder, could reducing the spasms improve the flow of urine? This possibility is purely theoretical and based on minimal evidence. However, it's interesting to keep in mind that perhaps, in the future, we will find SP extracts to have other medical benefits in both men and women. Compounds within SP may have other influences on our physiology that we currently are not aware.
Dr. Jerry McLaughlin, from Purdue University, has another thought. He tells me, "We have found that certain monoacylglycerides in SP have the ability to be incorporated into cell membranes and break open the cell membrane, thus killing the cell. Since many of these monoacylglycerides are specific for prostate cells, could [the] shrinking of the prostate gland be due to [the] destruction of prostate cells [by the monoacylglycerides in SP]?"
Men's Health Erectile Dysfunction

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