Does Saw Palmetto help with enlarged prostate?

Kate Harris
Trainee Herbalist, Reflexologist, Yoga Teacher, Writer & Product Trainer

06 December 2021

Does Saw Palmetto help with enlarged prostate?

Saw Palmetto is shown to help with an enlarged prostate/benign prostate hyperplasia by reducing inflammatory DHT, and prostate cell growth. This helps clear up symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate. Research indicates that Saw Palmetto extract is as effective as drug medication for mild to moderate symptoms of BPH.

How Saw Palmetto helps an enlarged prostate

DHT is an androgen (male hormone) metabolised from testosterone in the prostate gland. When in balance, DHT helps to maintain the health of the prostate. As always, though, you can have too much of a good thing.

As men age, DHT begins to accumulate, and has an inflammatory effect on the prostate tissue. This causes the prostate to enlarge and creates a narrowing of the space available for urine to pass through. This explains the symptoms of BPH: frequent and incomplete urination, night time urination, and infection of residual urine.

When these symptoms are due to prostate enlargement or benign prostate hyperplasia, Saw Palmetto helps in several ways:
• It stops testosterone from becoming inflammatory DHT.
• It reduces prostate cell growth.
• It reduces the inflammatory process in the prostate cells.
However, it is important to remember that Saw Palmetto will only help when the reason behind the symptoms is, in fact, BPH. Other conditions like prostatitis have similar symptoms but won't be alleviated by Saw Palmetto.

How to take Saw Palmetto?

Saw Palmetto is a palm-type tree native to south-eastern America. As a supplement, it can be purchased as tablets, soft gels, drops and dried tea, either online or from health food shops and pharmacies.
The Saw Palmetto tree's dark berries provide the most effective part of the plant for treating BPH. Look for products that are made from the berry of the tree rather than the bark or root.

The oily quality of the berry is important and really needs to be maintained for it to work. For this reason, it's best to purchase Saw Palmetto in a soft gel capsule rather than tablet format. It may take up to 8 weeks for results to be seen.

Safety considerations

Saw Palmetto has no known drug interactions and reported side effects are minor and rare. But as always, follow the manufacturer's instructions and recommendations on dosage. It's best to take tablets or capsules alongside food for best results. (1)

Research into Saw Palmetto

Previous research has shown that Saw Palmetto extract is as effective as drug medication for mild to moderate symptoms of BPH. (2)

A 12-month trial using Saw Palmetto capsules for men with lower urinary tract discomfort due to BPH found the efficacy and safety of the Saw Palmetto supplement to be excellent. International Prostate Symptom Score figures and Uroflow measurements improved within the first 6 months of treatment, and continued to improve through the following 6 months. There was no further prostate growth during the treatment period. The therapy was well-tolerated and without the negative side effects often experienced while using pharmaceutical treatments for the same issue. (3)

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