|Image 1: High or too low DHT levels? Nature has the cure for both. Lower your DHT levels with rice bran or safflower flower extracts or raise it with a crude extract from Sorghum bicolor seeds.|
In view of the fact that DHT appears to play a role in the etiology of prostate cancer, as well the results of test-tube studies on the effects of rice and safflower extracts on the 5a reductase in human DU-145 prostate cells Warintorn Ruksiriwanich and his colleagues present in their latest paper in The Journal of Supercritical Fluids, could well hold the key to natural alternatives to the currently available pharmacological 5a-reductase inhibitors finasteride and dustasteride (Rukisiriwanich. 2011).
Rice and safflower extracts are potent 5a-reductase inhibitors
In their initial experiment the researchers had determined that of the 10 edible plant crude extracts they had prepared by either supercritical carbon dioxide fluid (scCO2) low temperature treatment or ethanolic maceration, the rice (Oryza Sativa L.) and the Safflower (Carthamus tinctorus L.) which had been prepared by the scCO2 method yielded the largest amount of unsaturated fatty acids (cf. figure 1):
|Figure 1: Fatty acid composition (left) and total polyphenol content (right) of the ten edible plant extracts after scCO2 processing (data adapted from Rukisiriwanich. 2011).|
|Figure 2: 5a-reductase activity of essential fatty acids, pharmacological agents and rice, safflower and sorghum extracts and respective fractions (data adapted from Rukisiriwanich. 2011).|
|Image 2: If you look like this, you better go |
get some sorghum bicolor extract, right away ;-)
Moreover, nature appears to be similarly aware of the fact that ridicolously low levels of the male hormone par excellence are likewise undesirable for men - pseudohermaphroditism, an extreme case of which you can see in image 2 is one of the common consquences of low / lack of 5ar in men (cf. Sinnecker. 1996). I mean how else would you explain that she invented Sorghum bicolor, a grass species that originated in northern Africa, and is now cultivated widely in tropical and subtropical regions turns out to increase 5a-reductase activity by at least 54%?
How does this work? I mean is there finasteride in rice?
These astonishing results raise the question what exactly is responsible for these non-negligible effects of the plant extracts. To answer this question the scientists performed one of their "dreaded" correlation analysis (you know that is what the American Heart Health Association sponsors to then confuse correlation with causation and tell us that cholesterol causes heart disease ;-) and came up with a whole bunch of highly correlated variables (Pearson coefficients >0.9). Of the 10 tested variables, the linoleic and total unsaturated fatty acid content of the crude rice, as well as the same ingredients in fraction #3 of the crude rice extract were yet the only ones which showed a significant (p < 0.05, crude extract) and highly significant correlation (p < 0.01, fraction #3) with the 5ar activity of the respective compounds.
The fact that these statistical shenanigans did not yield significant correlations for any of the ingredients of the crude safflower extract and its inhibitory effect (which by the way was within one standard deviation identical to the one of the rice extract!) on 5a-reductase makes me question the validity, or I should say "significance" *rofl* of this analysis. After all, their own analysis, as well as previous studies (e.g. Pham. 2002) clearly show that on a mg/ml base gamma linoleic acid (GLA) is a much more potent inhibitor of 5a-reductase activity than linoleic acid... but hey, why even bother? I mean, if nature knows best, anyway, let's just trust her and rely on the crude extracts - or should I say "nature's proprietary blends". I guess, if Oryza sativa bran or Carthamus tinctorus flower extracts prevent your hair from falling out and your prostate from carcinogenic growth, or a crude extract from Sorghum bicolor seeds effectively restores your virility, you probably won't care if it was the LA, the GLA or whatever else nature has packed into the bran, flower and seeds that was responsible for these effects - the only caveat is in vivo human data is still lacking ;-/