“Chances you may already have an enlarged prostate!” At least that’s what they say on the website for Prosvent, a supplement billed as “the natural answer for prostate health.” I wanted to review Prosvent because I'm a guy and because the prosvent infomercial intrigued me. Let's now look at the evidence for Prosvent and see if it works.
Who Makes Prosvent?
Prosvent is a product by Prosvent, LLC. The Prosvent website lists this address:
P.O. Box 9169 Van Nuys, CA 91409.
This is the same address that is listed on file with the Better Business Bureau website. Since this is a Post Office Box, I didn’t think this is the actual address of the company, so I called the Prosvent customer service number at (800) 743-9854 and asked them where the company was located. They gave me this address for Prosvent:
4910 Longley lane 101 Reno NV 89502.
Update: 12/3/15: The BBB now lists their address as: 14724 Ventura Blvd Fl 200, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403-3514
This is the VERY SAME address given for the sex supplement, Cyvita, which I reviewed previously. The address of 4910 Longley lane 101 Reno NV 89502 corresponds to a fulfillment company called Innotrac. This is the company that actually ships out Prosvent as well as other products.
According to the BBB, Prosvent LLC was started in 2005. While Prosvent, LLC is not a BBB accredited business, the BBB gives it a rating of A+ as of 6/29/12. See the BBB file for updates and more information.
That's good, but I'd still like to know the company that makes Prosvent.
I searched the Prosvent website (Prosvent.com) to see if there was any research showing that Prosvent helped enlarged prostate symptoms. I could not find any research.
At the bottom of the Prosvent website, there is a page called “Prostate Studies” but it doesn’t list any “studies” of the prostate —or Prosvent.
I then checked the National Library of Medicine, a database of millions of studies from around the world and searched for the words “Prosvent” and “Prosvent Prostate.”
No studies showed up. Therefore I'm forced to conclude that Prosvent— itself —has no proof that it actually works. No evidence doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t work however, so let's next look at the research on the ingredients in Prosvent.
According to the website, Prosvent.com, these are the 10 ingredients in the product:
- Saw Palmetto Extract
- Nettle Root Extract
- Pygeum Africanum
- Black Pepper Extract
- Pumpkin Seed Oil
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin D
I don't know how much of each of these ingredients are in Prosvent (the website doesn’t tell us) but their customer service tells me that each soft gel cap has 363 mg of their proprietary blend. The recommended dosage is 2 soft gels per day.
I'll assume that these ingredients are listed in order of abundance; in other words, there is more of the first ingredient (saw palmetto) and least of the final ingredient (selenium). Let's look the prostate research on each.
Several studies have noted that saw palmetto (its scientific name is Serenoa repens) may offer some help at improving symptoms of begin prostate hyperplasia (enlarged prostate / BPH). Saw palmetto does not seem to reduce PSA levels.
Symptoms saw palmetto might help includes but is not limited to:
- getting up at night to urinate
- frequent urination
- hesitant urination
- having the urge to urinate
While this is interesting, a study published in 2011 in the Journal of the American Medical Association noted that saw pametto worked no better than a placebo.
Another study, published in 2006, also found saw palmetto didn’t work. This study lasted almost 3 years and the men in this study took 320 mg of saw palmetto per day.
Studies showing improvement —and no improvement—usually use 320 mg of saw palmetto.
There are a few studies showing that saw palmetto might work better if combined with stinging nettle root. Stinging nettle root is also in Prosvent.
Nettle Root Extract
Stinging nettle root (scientific name Urtica dioica) appears to have less evidence that it helps prostate problems than saw palmetto. Most studies appear to combine stinging nettle with saw palmetto and /other supplements. I would like se see more proof that stinging nettle root— alone —helps prostate issues.
There are only a few studies of Pygeum Africanum and prostate problems but research so far seems to show it may help BPH symptoms. The scientific name of this herb is Prunus africana. It is important that the bark of the tree be used as this seems to be where the active ingredients are located.
Black Pepper Extract
Also called Piper nigrum, I searched the national library of medicine for:
- Black Pepper prostate
- Black Pepper BPH
- Piper nigrum prostate
- Piper nigrum BPH
I found no human or lab animal studies proving that this herb helps prostate problems. The only study I did locate had to do with the ability of a mixture of plant extracts (which included black pepper) to kill prostate and breast cancer cells.
Pumpkin Seed Oil
Also called Cucurbita pepo, I located two studies supporting the use of pumpkin seed oil for enlarged prostate symptoms. One study involved 2245 men and lasted 3 months. An earlier study consisted of 53 men and lasted 3 months. At least one lab rat study also has also noted that pumpkin seed oil helps prostate problems.
VitaminE is no doubt one of the most popular —and controversial —vitamins in the world. I believe that vitamin E is included because it is an antioxidant and is used to prevent spoilage of Prosvent.
Vitamin E is often added to supplements in gel cap form (like fish oil supplements) as a preservative.
Another possibility may have to do with a study noting that there may be an association between low vitamin E levels and BPH. That doesn’t mean prostate problems are linked to low vitamin E levels. As such, I remain unconvinced until I see better studies.
Vitamin D and Zinc
While there is some evidence that links lack of sun exposure to prostate cancer that doesn’t necessarily mean the two are connected.
There is also research hinting that vitamin D is not related to prostate growth. Vitamin D is very important nutrient, but when it comes to helping prostate problems, this is best discussed with a urologist.
Prosvent likely has very little zinc so I doubt it does anything bad but talk to your urologist if this is a concern.
Here is a study where saw palmetto, lycopene and selenium helped BPH more than saw palmetto alone. Prostate problems and low levels of selenium also appear related. Chicken and fish are good sources of selenium and most people in the US are not deficient in this mineral.
Prosvent vs Super Beta Prostate
Here is my review of Super Beta Prostate that contains a side by side comparison of their ingredients.
Can It Help Prostate Cancer?
Prosvent is a supplement marketed to help issues related to enlarged prostates only. I see no proof that Prosvent helps prostate cancer.
How Much does It Cost?
A bottle of Prosvent costs 34.95 plus $9.95 shipping and handling. There is a 30 day trial, where people pay only the $9.95 shipping and handling fee. Keep in mind if you do the 30 day trial option, you will automatically get a 30 day supply of Prosvent for $39.95 every month until you cancel.
To compare prices, here is Prosvent on Amazon.
How To Return Prosvent
The Prosvent website boosts a “love it or return it” guarantee where people have 30 days to return the unused portion of Prosvent to get a refund (minus shipping and handling charges). To return Prosvent call their customer service at (800) 743-9854.
The Prosvent Terms and Conditions page stipulates that if people order Prosvent, and have any problems, that they waive their rights to a court trial if they keep Prosvent longer than 14 days. Instead, people must go through arbitration. Here is some of what is said on the terms and conditions page:
“THIS ARBITRATION AGREEMENT (“AGREEMENT”) AFFECTS YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND REMEDIES BY PROVIDING THAT DISPUTES BETWEEN YOU AND THE SELLER OF THIS PRODUCT (“COMPANY”) MUST BE RESOLVED THROUGH BINDING ARBITRATION, RATHER THAN IN A COURT.”
Tip. I also noticed this stipulation of waiving legal rights when I reviewed the natural erection supplement, Cyvita.
Who is Dr Larry May?
Dr Larry May is listed as the creator of Prosvent. According to the website HealthGrades.com his specialty is internal medicine and he has been a physician for over 30 years, practicing in California.
His Wikipedia page indicates that Dr May was a former chairmen of the Herbalife medical advisory board.
Who is Barbara Niven?
Barbara Niven is the women who interviews Dr. Larry May during the Prosvent infomercial. According to the Prosvent infomercial, Barbara Niven is listed as a “Consumer Health Advocate.”
Her website (BarbaraNiven.com) lists her as an “Actress, Motivational Speaker, Presentation Coach” and that “She’s one of Hollywood’s busiest actresses, and served on the National Board of Directors for the Screen Actors Guild.” Her page on the internet movie database shows her TV and infomercial credits.
How Long Until Prosvent Works?
At 9 minutes into the to the Prosvent infomercial I saw, Dr. May states that “Many men will see changes within 2 weeks but most men will experience benefits within 30 days.”
Prosvent Side Effect?
I'm not aware of any side effects from using Prosvent and I suspect that if there are any, that they might be few and far between. That said, here are some studies and case reports of people who have used some of the ingredients in Prosvent in the past. How relevant these are to Prosvent, I do not know so see your doctor first if you have any health problem.
There are 3 case reports that seem to link saw palmetto to an inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) —a very serious condition. The first report occurred in 2006 in a 55 year old man who was a reformed alcoholic.The next report occurred in a 2010 in a 65 year old man who was a diabetic with other issues. The third case occurred in 2011 in a 61 year old man.
Saw palmetto has a blood thinning effect, similar to aspirin. This may be a problem for people who take blood thinner medications.
Lab rat studies suggest that stinging nettle may lower blood pressure.
Men with prostate cancer need to see their doctor before using lycopene supplements. Some disturbing preliminary human research hints that lycopene might make prostate cancer worse.
Black pepper might interact with beta blockers use to treat high blood pressure and heart disease.
Vitamin E can interact with blood thinner medications and cholesterol lowering drugs (statin drugs).
Does Prosvent Work?
This, is the big question. While I can't be totally sure, looking at the ingredients in Prosvent, as a whole, several of the ingredients seem logical. I think the evidence seems strongest for saw palmetto, stinging nettle root, pygeum africanum and pumpkin seed oil. I don't know if the proprietary blend of ingredients in Prosvent would work better than these 4 ingredients at helping prostate symptoms. Since Dr May said in the Prosvent infomercial that most men should see improvements in prostate problems within 30 days, men should know soon enough if it's working.
Here is Prosvent on Amazon for those who want to see what others are saying.
What do you think?