Getting up time after time to go to the bathroom at night is a major issue for many men and their relationships.
A new way of tackling an embarrassing problem suffered by 90% of men as they get older who need to pee frequently in the night has been revealed in a published research paper last week that could transform the lives of millions.
In the UK the condition was highlighted earlier in this year when BBC TV and radio celebrity Chris Evans told millions of listeners about his plight on his Breakfast show. In Australia Derryn Hinch did the same thing.
Now doctors reviewing 67 research studies from around the world, have found that a nutrient called lycopene which gives tomatoes their red colour, is a potentially effective treatment for the peeing problems suffered by many.
With age most men suffer an unexplained expansion of the prostate, the gland which makes semen and which is wrapped around the urinary tract.
The prostate constricts the tube and may block it altogether causing a condition called benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), which means peeing is slow, difficult or impossible.
Professor Hiten Patel, an expert in men’s health from the University of Tromso in Norway, who is also a clinical senior lecturer at Bart’s and the Royal London Hospital, led the team which reviewed the research, now published in the journal, Oncology and Cancer Case Reports.
“We knew lycopene seems to slow down the development of prostate cancer, but now it seems it can slow down the enlargement of the prostate and development of BPH as well,” he said.
One of the problems highlighted whilst researching the paper was that lycopene is not easily absorbed into the blood unless processed in some way. The exception he found was a novel formulation LactoLycopene. It is only marketed in Australia under the brand Ateronon.
Studies at Cambridge University have shown LactoLycopene doubles the body’s take up of lycopene. Professor Patel has investigated its efficacy and says it could “significantly improve BPH symptoms.”
Lycopene supplementation is also recommended by Professor Roger Kirby, Britain’s leading prostate specialist who is himself a prostate cancer survivor. ‘”I have been giving prescriptions for it for some years,” he says.
Dr Athene Lane, a researcher at Bristol University, has investigated the effect of diet on prostate cancer risk and has co-authored a study of almost 14,000 men showing that those who ate the most tomatoes had an 18% reduced risk of prostate cancer.
Studies on Ateronon are continuing, as it is such a successful supplement.