Saw Palmetto: From Prostate health to Other Uses
The fruit of the Serenoa repens tree is used to make the health supplement saw palmetto.
It is often used to treat an enlarged prostate, help the urinary system work better, and make hair grow faster. Some people also take it to increase their libido and fertility and to reduce inflammation. Lastly, saw palmetto is said to help fight cancer.
But science doesn't back up all of its uses and claimed health benefits.
This article looks at the research that has been done on the health claims of saw palmetto, including its benefits, possible side effects, and how much to take.
What is saw palmetto?
Saw palmetto, or Serenoa repens, is a small palm tree that grows naturally in the southeast of North America. It grows most often in Florida, Georgia, Cuba, and the Bahamas.
It grows in sandy soil, and its name comes from the sharp, saw-like teeth on the stalks that hold the leaves to the tree's stem. The saw palmetto tree has dark berries with a big seed inside.
Native Americans have used the saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) fruit for a long time because of its nutritional, health, cough-relieving, diuretic, sedative, aphrodisiac, and aphrodisiac properties.
Today, people eat the berries whole or dry them and use them to make tea. Saw palmetto that has been dried and ground up can also be bought in the form of capsules or tablets. It's easy to get, and you can even do it online.
Still, the most common kind on the market is an oily extract made from the berries' fattier parts.
Serenoa repens extract
Depending on how the fats were extracted, these health supplements have between 75% and 90% fats. They usually have more plant compounds that are good for you, like vitamin E and other antioxidants, than raw fruit.
May be good for the health of the prostate and treat benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) might be able to help treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a medical condition in which the prostate slowly gets bigger than it should but is not cancerous.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is very common health problem in older men; up to 75% of men in their 70s have it.
If you don't take care of the health of your prostate, it can get so big that it makes it hard to empty your bladder. It can also make you need to urinate more often and more often. This can cause you to urinate a lot at night, which can make it hard to sleep.
Lower urinary tract symptoms
Lower urinary tract symptoms usually involve the bladder, urethra, and prostate. benign prostatic hyperplasia is one of these symptoms. Lower urinary tract symptoms are not like benign prostatic hyperplasia in that both men and women can get it.
Lower urinary tract symptoms have been looked at in several studies, and the results have been mixed.
Early studies showed that saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) may help men with benign prostatic hyperplasia increase urine flow and decrease the number of times they have to go to the bathroom at night, whether it is used alone or with other prostate health treatments.
But the latest Cochrane review, which is the gold standard for evidence-based medicine, found that saw palmetto doesn't help much with Lower urinary tract symptoms.
On the other hand, two reviews say that a daily dose of 320 mg of Permixon, a specific saw palmetto extract, was more effective than a placebo at increasing urine flow and decreasing nighttime urination.
It's possible that the effects will be different depending on how strong each one is. Overall, more research needs to be done before we can come to any strong conclusions.
It May help treat male pattern baldness
Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) may help stop androgenic alopecia, a type of hair loss in men and women that is also called male and female pattern baldness.
It may work by stopping the enzyme that turns testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), an androgen-like hormone thought to cause this type of hair loss.
Increasing amounts of androgen hormones like DHT may shorten the time it takes for the hair to grow and make it thinner and shorter.
In a small study, 60 per cent of men with androgenic alopecia lost less hair when they took 200 mg of saw palmetto every day along with beta-sitosterol, which is another plant compound that is good for you.
Men with male pattern baldness were given either 320 mg of saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) per day or finasteride, which is a common hair loss drug.
At the end of the study, about a third of the people who were given saw palmetto said that their hair had grown back. However, saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) only worked half as well as regular medicine.
A small study also found that about half of the men who used a saw palmetto hair lotion saw their hair count go up by a small amount. But this lotion also had other active ingredients, so it was hard to tell just how saw palmetto worked.
Other possible health benefits
Saw palmetto extracts (Serenoa repens) is said to have more health benefits, but most of these claims are not backed up by strong science.
For example, research done in test tubes suggests that Permixon, a specific form of saw palmetto, may lower signs of inflammation in prostate cells. But it's not clear if the same thing happens with other saw palmetto supplements.
Permixon might also protect a man's libido and ability to have children. It has been shown that traditional drug therapy for Benign prostatic hyperplasia and Lower urinary tract symptoms can hurt a man's sexual function.
Saw Palmetto as a natural treatment for BPH
As a treatment for BPH and LUTS, Permixon was compared to traditional drug therapy in a review of 12 randomized controlled studies, which are the gold standard in nutrition research.
Even though both treatments made men less sexually active, the saw palmetto supplement caused less of a drop in libido and less impotence than the standard drug treatment.
Still, it's not clear if Permixon has the same effect on healthy men or if other forms of saw palmetto offer the same protection.
Also, more studies say that a possible side effect of taking saw palmetto supplements is a lower libido. This means that more research is needed to confirm this.
Lastly, research done in test tubes suggests that saw palmetto may kill or slow the growth of some cancer cells, including prostate cancer cells. Even though some studies show promise, not all of them do, and more research is needed.
Even though the findings on saw palmetto extracts (Serenoa repens) and hair loss are limited, it is promising. Until strong conclusions can be made, more research needs to be done.
Saw Palmetto for urinary tract symptoms
In 2014, 225 men with lower urinary tract symptoms and BPH took part in a randomized study to compare the effectiveness and safety of combination therapy with saw palmetto, lycopene, and selenium plus tamsulosin to single therapy.
The results suggest that combination therapy with saw palmetto, lycopene, selenium, and tamsulosin seems to be more effective than single therapies at improving the International Prostate Symptom Score and increasing the maximum urine flow rate. It was found that after 6 months of treatment, combination therapy improved significantly symptom scores compared to a single therapy and that from 6 to 12 months, combination therapy significantly improved urine flow rate compared to tamsulosin alone.
No treatment-related side effects were reported to be caused by combination therapy.
Saw Palmetto and Testosterone
Saw palmetto can help with BPH by affecting testosterone levels in addition to reducing inflammation around the prostate. Patrick Fratellone, MD, an integrative doctor, cardiologist, herbalist, adjunct professor of naturopathic medicine at the University of Bridgeport, and vice president of the American Apitherapy Society, says that it stops testosterone from breaking down into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which makes the prostate bigger.
For example, the BMC Urology study revealed that saw palmetto oil helped to keep testosterone levels steady. In August 2014, another study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that testosterone levels went up in men who took a supplement with saw palmetto.
Saw Palmetto and Cholesterol
Saw palmetto is a great source of fatty acids and sterols that come from plants, especially beta-sitosterol, which is the key to many of the benefits of saw palmetto. A diet high in plant sterols not only helps promote prostate health, but it also makes it harder for the body to absorb cholesterol. This helps keep LDL (bad) cholesterol levels low. Saw palmetto comes in many forms including extracts, which have higher levels of sterols.
How safe is it?
Saw palmetto berries have been eaten raw and dried for hundreds of years, but their safety hasn't been directly studied.
Still, studies show that most people can take saw palmetto supplements for their health safely. Some people may experience side effects such as: diarrhoea, headaches, tiredness, less libido, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. But most of the time, they are mild and can be fixed.
Some people have had more serious side effects, like liver damage, pancreatitis, bleeding in the brain, and even death. But sometimes it's not clear if saw palmetto was the cause.
Two case studies also show that young girls got hot flashes when they were given saw palmetto supplements to treat hair loss or hirsutism, a condition that causes women to grow hair in a male pattern.
Also, some people worry that saw palmetto may be linked to birth defects and might even stop male genitalia from developing normally.
Because of this, children and women who are pregnant or nursing should not use it.
Also, labels and marketing materials for this supplement say that people with prostate problems or cancers that depend on hormones should talk to their doctor before taking it.
They also say that saw palmetto may interact with other medicines, but more research hasn't shown this to be true.
Saw Palmetto and Libido
When you take saw palmetto to help your prostate, your sexual function gets better, which is a nice bonus. One group of men who took supplements for 24 weeks found that positive effects were seen when participants could achieve an erection much more easily, which made them feel better about their quality of life. Scientists don't know why this benefit happens, but they have found that supplements with the most beta-sitosterol have the most positive effects on sexual health.
How much Saw Palmetto should I take?
There are many ways to take saw palmetto.
When the berries are eaten whole or made into tea, there isn't a lot of research on how much to take.
Serenoa repens extract
Saw palmetto or (serenoa repens extract) seems to work best when taken in doses of 160–320 mg per day as a dried supplement or as an oily liquid extract.
Still, most studies have only been done on men, so it's not clear if the same doses are right for men and women.
Always talk to your doctor before taking saw palmetto treatment to make sure you are safe and taking the right amount.
Our Saw Palmetto extract containing approximately 90% free fatty acids
Prior to taking any supplement or treatment, it is recommended that you consult your physician and also do your own research
Ingredients: Saw Palmetto (90% Fatty Acids), Microcrystalline Cellulose, Dextrin
Directions: 1-2 Tablets per day or as directed by your health care provider.
Storage: Store in a cool dry place
Saw Palmetto should not be substituted for a prescription medication supplied by your doctor. For the treatment of any chronic disease always speak with your doctor prior.
FCN makes no therapeutic use claims. Therapeutic is defined by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) as:
FCN-SHOP does not accept any responsibility for losses, damages, costs, injuries and/or other consequences resulting directly or indirectly from the use of products, information or other material available from this seller.
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