The company is seeking to develop the ingredient for men's health supplements and has also launched research into the effects of the natural product on hair loss.
It is thought that LinumLife Extra, a flax lignan extract containing a standardized level of 20 per cent SDG (secoisolariciresinol diglucoside), inhibits enzymes that play a key role in hormone balance.
BPH is a non-malignant enlargement of the prostate gland that causes urinary obstruction and other uncomfortable symptoms among middle-aged men.
In the study on Wistar rats, scientists compared two LinumLife Extra dosages with a negative control group and a placebo group. Prostate growth was induced in all but the negative control group.
"The rats fed with LinumLife Extra in their diet had significantly smaller prostates compared to the rats with induced BPH on a diet without LinumLife," said Marian Verbruggen, R&D manager of www.acatris.comAcatris.
"The model has been validated for its relevance for humans. Therefore we might expect similar observations for the human situation," she added.
She told NutraIngredients.com that while previous studies had suggested a benefit to prostate health, this animal study was the first proof of concept.
"This is the first proof that the extract is actually active on the prostate."
Acatris is planning the first human trial to test this concept further, scheduled to start this year.
It will also test for hair loss after a pilot study on the same extract generated positive results. Ten Asian men aged from 20 to 70 years old took 250mg of the extract per day for six months. At the end, eight men reported modest improvement of their hair loss.