Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) has been used for centuries, both as an ingredient in food and as a medicinal herb, and is praised for its various beneficial effects. This planting material is a clinically proven and effective treatment for the symptoms of benign prostate enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH for short). For this reason, saw palmetto preparations are among the best-selling herbal supplements in the United States. Saw Palmetto helps with nocturia (nocturnal urination, nocturnal urination) and can provide both relief and a good night’s sleep as well as prevention of prostate problems. However, studies are not clear on the results. Here you will find out why this is so and which saw palmetto preparations are actually effective.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a benign enlargement of the prostate (prostate gland) characterized by the proliferation of otherwise unremarkable cells. BPH usually occurs in men from the age of 50, sometimes even 40 years. Enlargement of the prostate is a symptom of aging, a slow biological process that begins at the age of 30. BPH is found in more than 40% of men in their 50s and in almost 90% of men in their 80s. In conventional medicine, finasteride is often prescribed as a prostate drug in addition to alphablockers. The saw palmetto shows a similar improvement compared to finasteride symptoms and flow in the urine and is associated with fewer adverse treatment events.
Symptoms of Benign Prostate Enlargement
The symptoms of this benign glandular enlargement are:
- frequent urination, especially at night (nocturia)
- initial difficulty urinating
- weaker urinary stream with increased urinary frequency
- residual urgency (no complete emptying of the bladder)
- dripping urine after urination
Nocturia and nocturnal urination
Nocturia, multiple urination during the night, is a common complaint of BPH sufferers. Saw palmetto supplements reduced nocturia by 25 percent compared to placebo in Cochrane Review studies reporting nocturia results.
Phytosterols in the saw palmetto
The olive-like fruits of Sägepalme contain, in addition to fatty oil with free fatty acids, flavonoids, an acidic polysaccharide and essential oil, plant hormones – the so-called phytosterols. In particular, the substance beta-sitosterol, a phytoestrogen, plays a role among them. There is some evidence that beta-sitosterol interferes with the male hormone balance and inhibits the formation of the androgenic hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) . DHT is produced from testosterone using the enzyme 5-alpha reductase and is associated with the development of benign prostate enlargement ( benign prostatic hyperplasia.13 In studies in which people with benign prostate enlargement were supplemented with Saw Palmetto and beta-sitosterol and a control group with placebo, the group with prostate problems or symptoms receiving the supplement was better off. Using Saw Palmetto results in a statistically significant improvement in urinary problems in men with symptoms related to the lower urinary tract compared to placebo.
Mechanism of action, quality and dosage
The mechanism of action of saw palmetto is still not fully understood. Some of the proposed mechanisms include anti-inflammatory activity, blocked conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, and prostate-epithelial involution (shrinkage) similar to the effect of the drug finasteride. This probably contributes to it being different despite many studies on the saw palmetto Results are. In addition, there is no standardized Sägepalmenpräparat. The effectiveness of these preparations depends on which active ingredients are included (combination preparations with different medicinal herbs are often better), how high these substances are dosed and on which extraction they were extracted from the plant. When you use saw palmetto preparations, you decide best for high-quality products with synergistic substances. The saw palmetto extract should contain 45% fatty acids. The dosage with a significant effect in clinical trials was 320 mg saw palmetto extract (160 mg twice daily or 320 mg once daily). Higher doses, such as 480 mg, were not found to be more effective in a six-month dosing study.
Combination with lycopene and selenium
Saw Palmetto is combined with other natural compounds such as lycopene and selenium to maximize their therapeutic activity in benign prostate enlargement. Animal studies have shown that this combination could significantly reduce overweight and prostate growth and be useful in the treatment of BPH. Human studies have shown that this combination has been used successfully in the treatment of both chronic prostatectomyitis (PCI) and hormone-dependent prostate growth Saw palmetto quality supplements are often combined with zinc, as many men with prostate problems also lack zinc.
Saffron and curcumin
Some saw palmetto preparations also contain saffron. Saffron has been used in traditional medicine for more than 3,000 years. An Italian study suggested that compounds found in the golden orange spice can give hope to prostate cancer sufferers. The study focused on Crocine, a carotenoid in saffron, Crocus sativus L., and a compound, Crocetin Ester, which produces our gastrointestinal tract after we consume saffron. The researchers reported that saffron and crocin show anticancer activity and promote cell cycle arrest in prostate cancer cells. Saffron may also be of interest in preventing prostate cancer. Studies in animal models and with cultured human malignant cell lines have shown anti-tumor and cancer-preventive activities of saffron and its main components. Curcumin has many advantages in supporting the health of the prostate, especially in aging and inflammatory health problems. The phytochemicals and antioxidants of curcumin support the inflammatory response of the body and the fight against infections and aging. Many people take turmeric for prostatitis and BPH. India has a very low rate of prostate cancer, which appears to be food-related, as the Indian diet is rich in turmeric and other plant foods. A study of the chemopreventive potential of curcumin described it as a known natural compound that has a therapeutic potential for prostate cancer shows. Curcumin is a non-toxic alternative to the prevention, treatment or co-treatment of prostate cancer, according to the researchers.