Pygeum africanum is an evergreen tree native to Africa. An extract made from the dark-brown to gray bark
of the trunk has been well-studied in the promotion of a healthy prostate. Over 30 clinical studies, including
a dozen double-blind studies, have shown Pygeum extract to be effective in improving nighttime urinary
frequency, difficulty in starting urination and incomplete emptying of the bladder. Pygeum extract has also been
shown to increase prostatic secretions and improve the composition of the seminal fluid in men with decreased
prostatic secretion.
Problems with Current Prostate Cancer Treatments
Current treatment of prostate cancer often involves the use of antiandrogens – synthetic compounds that block
the action of testosterone. These compounds have numerous side effects and are of limited long-term benefit.
They work by inhibiting the human androgen receptor (AR). Currently used synthetic AR antagonists bind to
the AR and damage it, but it is still transferred to the nucleus. Typically, antiandrogen treatment is effective
only for about 16–24 months, after which the prostate cancer cells becomes androgen-independent. Different
mechanisms seem to be involved in this process, but one thing that often occurs is that because of the damage
caused by the antiandrogen, the AR mutates and in the process the antiandrogens can promote prostate
cancer progression.
New Data
Pygeum may emerge as a significant protector against prostate cancer as Pygeum extract and components
(e.g., atraric acid and N-butylbenzene-sulfonamide) inhibit the transfer of the human androgen receptor to the
nucleus – a different mechanism than what is seen with synthetic antiandrogens. Both in vitro and animal studies
show Pygeum components inhibit the nuclear transport of AR, inhibit prostate-specific antigen (PSA ) expression
and efficiently repress the growth of both the androgen-dependent and some types of androgen-independent
prostate cancer cells.

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