Prostate Supplements

Saw Palmetto: Benefits, Side Effects, Dosage

Herbal supplements and remedies are becoming increasingly popular. Millions of people are turning to these products to treat common ailments. Sometimes more serious conditions are also addressed with the use of natural substances.

There are a number of supplements that people can choose from. Determining which is the best prostate supplement starts by looking at what needs to be treated. 

Saw Palmetto is a natural extract that has become very popular. A lot of men turn to these supplements. This extract may hold several medicinal properties. This may help to improve health. There are also some conditions that may be treated with Saw Palmetto supplements. 

In this post, we take a closer look at Saw Palmetto. We will consider what the supplement is.

We also look at how the supplement may help men. Additionally, the post will also provide an overview of potential side-effects that Saw Palmetto supplements could cause. 

What Is Saw Palmetto?

We will start by looking at what Saw Palmetto is. A lot of people have heard about the supplement before.

It is gaining increased recognition among both men and women. There seems to be a particular interest in Saw Palmetto from the male population. 

Saw Palmetto is a natural plant. It forms part of the palm plant family. It is generally considered to be native to the Southeastern regions of the United States. The scientific name is Serenoa repens

Berries grow on the Saw Palmetto plant. The berries from the plant are widely used for their medicinal properties. This is also the part of the plant that is processed for inclusion in natural supplements.

Saw Palmetto berries are often promoted for their ability to potentially balance hormones and improve the health of the male prostate. There are other health benefits associated with these berries too. For example, some studies show that Saw Palmetto extract is useful for people with lower urinary tract problems1. 

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What Are The Benefits Of Saw Palmetto?

There are several reasons why men take Saw Palmetto supplements. Men often take a look at Saw Palmetto’s benefits.

These products have been used for quite some time to promote a healthier prostate among men. This is not the only reason why men decide to give Saw Palmetto supplements a try. 

In this section, we take a look at the benefits that Saw Palmetto may offer. All of the benefits we list here are based on scientific research. We will provide details on any studies done on the subject too. This helps people understand what to expect from the plant extract. 

1) May Benefit Prostate Health

One of the most common benefits associated with Saw Palmetto relates to prostate health in the male body. A lot of men who use the supplement take it to help improve the well-being and functioning of their prostate.

Some men also take these supplements to help with the treatment of an existing prostate condition. A lot of men take it for prostatic hyperplasia

The prostate gland has a critical role to play in reproductive health. It helps with the production of healthy semen. Sperm is combined with a fluid that the prostate makes. It then forms semen. When the prostate’s function is impaired, a man’s fertility may be adversely affected. A swollen prostate can cause lower urinary symptoms too. Problems with the prostate can also lead to sexual dysfunction.

There are a few studies have shown that this herb is useful for promoting a healthier prostate. Several studies also show that extracts from a Saw Palmetto berry can reduce the severity of some prostate-related illnesses. 

One study2 looked at how Saw Palmetto extract affects men with prostate problems. The male participants had been diagnosed with benign prostatic hyperplasia. This condition is also known as an enlarged prostate. The prostate enlargement causes the gland to push against the bladder and the urethra

The study focuses on how this natural remedy helped with symptoms that affect the urinary tract. There was a reduction in symptoms associated with benign prostatic hypertrophy in the male patients who took the Saw Palmetto extract. This study showed that the natural remedy does have the potential to be used in the treatment of BPH symptoms

It also seems like Saw Palmetto is useful in the fight against prostate cancer. This is a relatively common condition in men. In most cases, prostate cancer will not cause a man to die – as it often remains localized. There are still a lot of men who experience metastatic prostate cancer. In this case, cancer spreads throughout the body. It leads to fatal complications. 

One test-tube study3 was able to show evidence of this potential benefit. The study looked at how Saw Palmetto berry extract affected cancer cells. Prostate cancer cells were used in the study.

There was a reduction in the growth of these cancer cells when they were exposed to the Saw Palmetto berry extract. This shows that the supplement might hold the potential to reduce the spreading of cancer in the body. It also shows that Saw Palmetto could possibly help to reduce the growth of prostate cancer tumors and cells. 

2) May Improve Urinary Function

A palmetto supplement also seems to be a potent natural option for men and women that experience problems with their lower urinary tract. This is especially beneficial among men who have benign prostatic hyperplasia.

A prostate enlargement causes pressure to be applied to the lower urinary tract. In turn, this can cause certain urinary symptoms to develop. A man may find that he starts to experience urinary incontinence. There may also be an increase in nighttime urination, along with other urinary tract symptoms. Frequent urination is also common. 

The use of Saw Palmetto could potentially help to reduce these symptoms. It may be instrumental in symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Some studies have provided evidence of these benefits. 

In one study4, a total of 85 men were considered. All of these men were older than 45. They had benign prostatic hyperplasia. The male participants also complained about urinary symptoms. A 160mg dose of Saw Palmetto was provided two times every day to these men. They were asked to continue using the supplements for a period of six months. 

Several improvements in urinary symptoms were noted among the men who took the Saw Palmetto supplement. Urine flow significantly increased among these men. There was also a noticeable improvement in the average quality of life among the men who participated in the study. 

There are several reasons why the use of Saw Palmetto as a herbal remedy might be useful for men with lower urinary tract symptoms. This particularly applies to men with benign prostatic hyperplasia.

The chemicals in the plant extract may help to reduce the size of the enlarged prostate. When this happens, the prostate puts less pressure against the urethra and bladder. In turn, the symptoms the man experience may start to improve. 

3) May Reduce Male Pattern Baldness

Another common reason men tend to opt for Saw Palmetto supplements is to see if the natural plant extract might prevent and stop hair loss.

Male pattern baldness is a very common issue among men. It is also known as androgenetic alopecia. There are several reasons why men may experience hair loss. In a lot of men, the underlying cause comes down to an imbalance in his hormones. 

Testosterone is known as the male androgen hormone, but another hormone also plays a role in several features of the body. This hormone is called dihydrotestosterone. While it plays several crucial roles in the male body, when dihydrotestosterone levels are too high, it can lead to hair loss. It has been found that DHT attaches to hair follicles. This is how it causes a slowing of hair growth.

Studies have shown that Saw Palmetto may act as a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. This means the compounds in it may block the activity of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme. The enzyme is responsible for converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. 

It has also been found that Saw Palmetto reduces the rate at which the DHT hormone attaches to hair follicles. This further reduces the risk of male pattern balding. Men with existing hair loss may find that they no longer experience a worsening of the condition. 

4) May Decrease Inflammation

There is evidence that Saw Palmetto may also hold potential as a powerful anti-inflammatory compound. There are two potent antioxidants found in Saw Palmetto. These are called methyl gallate and epicatechin. 

The two compounds have been shown to help reduce cellular damage in the human body5. It also has the ability to assist in protecting a person against certain chronic diseases. In addition to these findings, studies also show that the two antioxidants hold antioxidant capabilities. 

It seems like the anti-inflammatory effects of Saw Palmetto is especially useful in cases where men develop an enlarged prostate. One study6 showed that the prostate’s swelling goes down when a man takes a supplement with this extract.

Interleukin 6, also known as IL-6, is a common inflammatory marker used to detect inflammation in the prostate gland. When Saw Palmetto extract was used, there was a significant reduction of these markers. Other inflammatory markers were also reduced. 

This particular study was done on a series of laboratory rats. The researchers explain that further research is still needed to help provide more accurate results. At the moment, however, it has been shown that Saw Palmetto has the potential to be an anti-inflammatory compound. It may work for reducing inflammation in areas other than the prostate gland too. 

5) May Help Regulate Testosterone Levels

Testosterone is one of the most essential hormones in the male body. It contributes to the features in men that are generally associated with masculinity. It is important to note that a lot of men experience a decline in testosterone as they age. This may cause a man to experience several complications. 

Men with low testosterone may experience a low sex drive and erectile dysfunction. They may also find that their fertility is adversely affected. Furthermore, a low level of this hormone causes mood problems, leads to poor cognitive function, and affect other areas of their body. 

The use of Saw Palmetto might also be great for these men. A few studies have looked at how this particular plant extract might help regulate the balance of hormones in the human body. This includes the regulation of testosterone. 

The main method in which Saw Palmetto helps is by reducing 5a-R enzyme activity. We already talked about this enzyme. It is the enzyme that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone.

When a lot of testosterone is converted by the enzyme, levels of this hormone in a man’s body will decline. This can lead to andropause or hypogonadism. By blocking some of this activity, less testosterone is converted. This means the level of bioavailable testosterone, also called free testosterone, is increased in the process. 

Free testosterone refers to the amount of this sex hormone that the body can use. 

Forms And Dosage Levels

People should understand what type of Saw Palmetto supplement will offer them the best results. Additionally, understanding the dose that is needed for the benefits of Saw Palmetto is also important.

This will ensure a person can maximize their benefits. It will also ensure a person does not take too much. When taking an exceptionally high dose of Saw Palmetto, it is possible that a person may experience serious adverse effects. 

Most Saw Palmetto products come in the form of a dietary supplement. This is provided in a capsule form. Some companies rather make tablets or soft gels. There are also a few companies that offer a dried powder of Saw Palmetto. It is also possible to get a liquid extract that is taken by mouth. 

A few options are also available for people to enjoy drinking tea. A powdered form of Saw Palmetto can be used to brew a tea with the extract. 

For most people, a capsule or soft gel is generally preferred. This will usually provide an adequate dose of the plant extract without the need to measure anything. 

The supplement should be taken with a full glass of water. Most people find that it works best when taken with food. Some people may experience gastrointestinal reactions when they take the supplement without food. 

In terms of dosage, there are different recommendations from companies who make these products. According to several scientific studies, it seems like a daily dose of 320mg is appropriate. This provides the benefits associated with Saw Palmetto without causing side-effects. 

Saw Palmetto is often combined with other ingredients in male health supplements. Pumpkin seed may be added to promote a healthy prostate. Sometimes ingredients like epimedium may be added. This could help men with erectile dysfunction and other related symptoms. 

Potential Side Effects

Most men and women who take a supplement with Saw Palmetto should be able to tolerate the supplement with ease.

The majority of people who take these supplements do not complain about any serious side-effects. It should be noted that this account for those individuals who follow appropriate dosage instructions. 

Even though considered a safe supplement, there are a few possible side effects that can occur.

While these side-effects have a low risk of developing, people should still be aware of them. This ensures a person is more acknowledged on the supplement. It also gives the person the capability to know what they should expect. 

The most common side-effects that have been reported among people who use Saw Palmetto supplements include:

  • Nausea

  • Constipation

  • Dizziness

  • Headache

These supplements are generally mild. In most cases, they will not interfere with a person’s daily life. If the side-effects are more severe, the person should stop using the supplement.

They should then consult with their doctor. This would ensure they get a checkup. The doctor can help determine why the side-effects may be so severe. Appropriate recommendations can then be made. 

Some people are advised to avoid using Saw Palmetto supplements. Pregnant women must avoid using the product. Those women who are breastfeeding a newborn baby should also not use a product that contains Saw Palmetto extract. 

Anyone taking drugs to treat a hormone problem should also avoid using a Saw Palmetto supplement. These supplements may lead to an alteration in some hormones. This is not a good thing when a person is using hormone replacement therapy. 

There are also some interactions that people need to be aware of. Saw Palmetto is not advised to be used alongside a medication that causes the blood to become thinner. Coumadin and warfarin are two examples. There may be a further increase in the person’s risk of bleeding when they take the two together. 

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Conclusion

Saw Palmetto is a supplement that a lot of men turn to. It has shown potential as a natural treatment for prostate problems in men. There are other medicinal properties also presented by Saw Palmetto.

We looked at what Saw Palmetto is. We also considered what benefits the plant extract might offer, along with a few side-effects people should know before using these products. 

Sources

  1. Acta Pharmacologica Sinica. (2009) Pharmacological effects of saw palmetto extract in the lower urinary tract. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4002402/
  2. Journal of Urology. (2007) Effect of Saw Palmetto Soft Gel Capsule on Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms Associated with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia A Randomized Trial in Shanghai, China. [online] Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18082217/
  3. Cell Biology International. (2001) Saw Palmetto Berry Extract Inhibits Cell Growth and Cox-2 Expression in Prostatic Cancer Cells. [online] Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18082217/
  4. Journal of Urology. (2001) Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Saw Palmetto in Men With Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms. [online] Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11744467/
  5. Natural Product Research. (2015) New Chalcanonol Glycoside From the Seeds of Saw Palmetto: Antiproliferative and Antioxidant Effects. [online] Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25230777/
  6. Prostate Journal. (2015) Anti-inflammatory Properties of Lipidosterolic Extract of Serenoa Repens (Permixon) in a Mouse Model of Prostate Hyperplasia. [online] Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25683150/

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