Does Saw Palmetto Really Work for The Prostate?

Does Saw Palmetto Really Work for The Prostate?

Many middle-aged men and most senior men have urinary symptoms from Benign Prostate Hyperplasia(BPH), commonly known as prostate enlargement. This is why men frequently look to non-toxic nutritional supplements to relieve their symptoms.

I have seen several consumer medical websites claiming that Saw Palmetto is ineffective for relieving BPH symptoms. When I have reviewed the studies they cited, I noticed they were outdated. 

More modern research has concluded benefits for Saw Palmetto and BPH

In a 2018 paper conducted a Saw palmetto systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized control trials and observational studies of men with BPH. The data included a total of 27 studies. Researchers found that Saw palmetto extract reduced nocturia and improved maximum urinary flow compared to placebo. As well, Saw palmetto extract had a similar benefit to the drug tamsulosin and a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor in relieving lower urinary tract symptoms. There was no adverse effect on sexual function or PSA levels. There was a slight decrease in prostate size (volume). The authors concluded that Saw palmetto extract “appears to be an efficacious and well-tolerated therapeutic.”

Several positive studies with Saw palmetto for reducing lower urinary tract symptoms from BPH have not been done with hexane and supercritical CO2 extracts. Other extraction techniques would not yield the same type of active constituents. Often published meta-analysis used a broader range of products with different compositions of various substances based on different extraction techniques. This correlated with a recent article published in Food Science and Biotechnology that found the efficacy of Saw palmetto extract depends on the type of standardized formula. In other words, how the product is manufactured and extracted, and the resulting concentration of bioactive constituents seems to be especially important.

The authors noted that free fatty acids at a level of greater than 80 percent provided more consistent results. Also, free fatty acids (lauric acid) were effective in inhibiting 5-alpha reductase, and beta-sitosterol reduced prostatic inflammation. Therefore, the proper standardization of multiple bioactive components of Saw palmetto extract seems necessary for good and consistent outcomes in the alleviation of BPH symptoms. It is essential that the Saw palmetto berries extracted are properly ripened and have had proper methods and standardization according to United States Pharmacopeia (USP) and/or European Pharmacopeia monographs.

So you can be confident that modern research does conclude that Saw palmetto is beneficial for BPH!

References; Kwon, Youngjoo. “Use Of Saw Palmetto (Serenoa Repens) Extract For Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia”. Food Science And Biotechnology 28, no. 6 (2019): 1599-1606. doi:10.1007/s10068-019-00605-9.

Vela-Navarrete, Remigio, Antonio Alcaraz, Alfredo Rodríguez-Antolín, Bernardino Miñana López, Jesús M. Fernández-Gómez, Javier C. Angulo, and David Castro Díaz et al. “Efficacy And Safety Of A Hexanic Extract Of Serenoa Repens (Permixon®) For The Treatment Of Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms Associated With Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (LUTS/BPH): Systematic Review And Meta-Analysis Of Randomised Controlled Trials And Obser”. BJU International 122, no. 6 (2018): 1049-1065. doi:10.1111/bju.14362.