If sneezing, a runny nose and other allergy symptoms are the first things you think of when you hear the word “pollen,” let me introduce you to a new way to look at what you may now see only as an irritant. In fact, pollen can improve your health — specifically, prostate health.
Pollen is a powdery substance that contains the cells of seed plants that play a critical role in pollination. But when this substance is made into a pollen extract, you now have a supplement with potent anti-inflammatory abilities and one that can cause the bladder to contract while also relaxing the urethra. These properties make pollen extract helpful in managing two common prostate problems that affect millions of men: an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, BPH) and prostatitis.
Pollen extracts can come from various sources and are known by a variety of names, including bee pollen, flower pollen, rye grass pollen and cernilton. Among the most studied of the pollen supplements is cernilton, a flower-pollen extract that combines standardized extracts of corn pollen, rye pollen and timothy pollen. Cernilton has been used with great success for decades in Europe to manage common prostate problems; you can use it, too.
A word of caution is necessary, however, as pollen extract may not be a wise choice if you are allergic to grasses, flowers or other plants. Therefore, consult your healthcare provider before you begin taking pollen extract.
Pollen And Enlarged Prostate
At least half of all men in their 50s and 80 percent of those in their 80s have symptoms of an enlarged prostate, which can include a frequent and/or urgent need to urinate, dribbling, difficulty starting urination, the need to urinate during the night (nocturia), and painful urination, among others. Pollen can help relieve these symptoms. Where’s the proof?
- A study published in the British Journal of Urology  reported on 53 men with an enlarged prostate who were assigned to take either pollen extract or placebo daily for six months. Symptoms improved in 69 percent of the men who took the pollen but in only 30 percent of those who took placebo.
- A Japanese study  of 79 men with an enlarged prostate involved taking about 380 mg of pollen extract daily for more than 12 weeks, with some men taking the extract for more than one year. Overall, 85 percent of the men said they experienced symptom relief, with the most improvement seen in urinary urgency and painful urination.
- A meta-analysis  of four studies involving 444 men with BPH reported that pollen extract was better than placebo in improving urinary symptoms. The reviewers noted that pollen “modestly improves overall urologic symptoms including nocturia.”
Pollen And Prostatitis
Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate that causes swelling, urination problems (e.g., urinary urgency and frequency, painful urination, nighttime urination), erectile dysfunction and general feelings of fatigue. Approximately 50 percent of men will develop prostatitis during their lifetime, and the majority of cases are chronic.
Pollen may take the sting out of prostatitis symptoms. Here are a few examples of successful management of prostatitis with pollen:
- In the journal European Urology,130 men with chronic prostatitis took either pollen extract (70 men) or placebo (60) daily for 12 weeks. Men who took pollen reported significant improvements in pain, total symptoms and quality of life compared with men in the placebo group.
- Sixty men with chronic prostatitis were assigned to take either pollen extract or placebo daily for six months in a double-blind trial. Men who took pollen reported either a significant improvement or complete elimination of symptoms after six months, and the authors noted that pollen was “superior to placebo in providing symptomatic relief.”
If you suffer with an enlarged prostate or prostatitis, pollen extract could provide relief from annoying, even debilitating urinary symptoms. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider before starting pollen extract or any supplement program for prostate health.
 A pollen extract (Cernilton) in patients with inflammatory chronic prostatitis-chronic pelvic pain syndrome: a multicenter, randomized, prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 study.
 Effects of pollen extract preparation Prostat/Poltit on lower urinary tract symptoms in patients with chronic nonbacterial prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.