Saw Palmetto for Prostate Health
Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines including diagnosis, advice, and treatment.
Although saw palmetto is used to treat various health conditions such as hair loss, pelvic pain, low sex drive, and migraines, the use of saw palmetto for prostate health is the most popular among them. Saw palmetto seems to help the prostate and its associated conditions in many ways. Wanna know how? Keep reading to learn in a bit of detail.
In this article, we’ll be exploring the benefits of using saw palmetto for prostate health along with recommended dosage and possible side effects. But before we get into how saw palmetto can help with prostate disorders, it’s worth understanding the basics of the prostate gland and its associated conditions a little bit more first. So, let’s get started.
Table of contents
- Understanding prostate and its related conditions
- What is saw palmetto?
- Benefits of saw palmetto for prostate health
- How to use saw palmetto supplements
- Final words
Understanding prostate and its related conditions
The prostate is a small walnut-sized gland in the men’s reproductive system that is situated between the penis and the bladder and is responsible for making and maintaining seminal fluid or semen as well as sperm cells.
Though there are various types of prostate conditions, mainly three among them are the most common - Benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH or prostate gland enlargement (non-cancerous), prostate inflammation or prostatitis, and prostate cancer. These prostate conditions are often accompanied by various urinary symptoms such as difficulty starting the flow of urine, painful urination, post-void dribbling, and others.
Prostate conditions may affect men of all ages, but they are more likely to develop when men get older, typically over the age of 55. A man might have one or more prostate conditions at the same time.
What is saw palmetto?
Saw palmetto, also known as the American dwarf palm tree or Serenoa repens, is a small shrub-like palm species that is endemic to coastal regions of southeastern America. It produces a lot of berries that contain several phytonutrients such as polysaccharides, flavonoids, fatty acids, and plant sterols, all of which have been shown to have multiple pharmacological properties including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, aphrodisiac, diuretic, and others.
Saw palmetto has historically been used by Native Americans for a wide range of health conditions including problems with men's and women's reproductive systems and coughs caused by various diseases. Nowadays, saw palmetto is widely used for various prostate health conditions including BPH, prostatitis, and urinary symptoms commonly associated with prostate conditions.
Benefits of saw palmetto for prostate health
The benefits of saw palmetto for prostate health seem to come from the berries of the American dwarf palm tree. Saw palmetto and the pharmacologically active ingredients it contains have been shown to have beneficial effects on different prostate conditions ranging from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) to prostatitis to prostate cancer.
Although the use of saw palmetto has been in medicine throughout history and its benefits are traditionally proven, some studies have also substantiated the effectiveness of saw palmetto for treating various health conditions including prostate health and its associated diseases.
Let’s have a look at some of the most common benefits of saw palmetto for prostate health:
Benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH
Saw palmetto is most commonly used in managing and preventing issues related to BPH or benign prostatic hyperplasia. Studies have demonstrated that saw palmetto seems to have similar effects to that of medications used to treat BPH such as tamsulosin and finasteride.
A 2020 systematic review and meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Men’s Health revealed that saw palmetto has the same effects compared with prescription medication tamsulosin for the treatment of BPH in terms of international prostate symptom score (IPSS), post-void residual volume (PVR), and quality of life (QoL), but it is better tolerated in terms of showing adverse effects, especially with respect to libido decrease and ejaculation disorders.
Prostate inflammation or prostatitis
Saw palmetto and the active ingredients it contains have been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the prostate as a safer alternative compared to prescription medication.
A 2015 study published in Prostate showed that saw palmetto extract possesses significant anti-inflammatory activities that can decrease several inflammation markers in the whole prostate and thus, can help treat inflammatory conditions of the prostate in BPH.
Some animal studies suggest that saw palmetto can help block the growth of tumor cells and therefore, raises hopes that it has the potential to treat prostate cancer. But more research is needed to confirm this effect.
Saw palmetto can help with easing multiple urinary symptoms commonly associated with prostate conditions.
A 2019 multicenter, double-blind, randomized controlled trial (RCT) published in Urology concluded that saw palmetto extract is effective in improving various urinary symptoms such as urinary flow associated with prostate disease.
How to use saw palmetto supplements
Although there is no established recommended oral dose of saw palmetto extract so far, most clinicians recommend a dose range of 320 mg to 960 mg per day. However, the exact dose might differ from person to person and this is the reason why it is important to consult with a naturopathic healthcare professional before taking any saw palmetto supplements.
Saw palmetto is a medicinal palm tree and its berry can benefit prostate health in several ways. The use of saw palmetto has been proven to help in easing symptoms associated with various prostate conditions including enlarged prostate, prostatitis, and even prostate cancer. It’s always best to consult with a naturopath or healthcare provider prior to taking saw palmetto supplements to determine safety precautions and doses.
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