Is Saw Palmetto effective at reducing symptoms of an enlarged prostate?
Well, a couple of large studies have shown that it is. One project reviewed 21 trials including over 3,000 men aged 40-88 years old. Each subject had moderate BPH symptoms. In 13 of the studies that utilized BPH scores, it was shown to not only improve those scores but improve individual symptoms and flow measures more than the placebo. 12 of the studies also showed that it reduced Nocturia, the need to get up during the night in order to urinate, by 25% compared with the placebo.
Now, two of the studies compared Saw Palmetto with drug Finasteride. Finasteride is marketed under a number of names including:
- Finasterid IVAX
The studies showed that Saw Palmetto and Finasteride had similar positive effects on urinary symptom scores and peak urine flow and that the adverse side effects of Saw Palmetto were comparable to the effects of the placebo which were mild and infrequent.
Wilt T, Ishani A, MacDonald R. Serenoa repens for benign prostatic hyperplasia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2002;3:CD001423.
Another study comparable to the one mentioned above found similar evidence of the effectiveness of Saw Palmetto.
Gerber GS, Kuznetsov D, Johnson BC, Burstein JD. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of saw palmetto in men with lower urinary tract symptoms. Urology 2001;58:960-4.
Most of the studies utilized a dosage of 320 milligrams a day in either a single or split dose but there is no general consensus as to what the optimal dose really is. Also, there seems to be no real standardization of Saw Palmetto products in the U.S. So one product may not necessarily be comparable to another. Be sure to check out our page on Saw Palmetto Side Effects, contraindications, interactions and other cautions. Always consult with your doctor before taking any supplements.