There has been a lot of controversy about the benefits of saw palmetto extract for the treatment of the symptoms of an enlarged prostate. Many men who prefer natural remedies to drugs have been using saw palmetto to treat prostate problems for years. Now Todd Neale has reported for MedPage Today “Saw Palmetto No Help for Enlarged Prostate.”
A randomized, placebo-controlled trial has showed that doses of saw palmetto extract up to three times the standard did not reduce lower urinary tract symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). However, the researchers have acknowledged that the findings, which are based on the use of a single extract, may not be generalizable to other products.
But, the researchers said “Nevertheless, a recent series of negative trials using different saw palmetto extract preparations makes it increasingly unlikely a dose of some preparation will be identified that is better than placebo.” This study has been reported on in the September 28 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Extracts which are made from the berries of the saw palmetto dwarf palm tree which are popular remedies for treating lower urinary tract symptoms from BPH are conveniently available over-the-counter. Many men fear that there may be a loss of sexual ability with prostate medications and they are more comfortable with herbal treatments.
A 2002 Cochrane review that included 21 clinical trials discovered that saw palmetto extracts significantly reduced nocturia, increased self-rated improvement, and improved peak uroflow. However, an updated review in 2009 found that only the effect on nocturia remained significant. There have been questions about the efficacy of saw palmetto in other studies. The largest of these studies, the STEP study, discovered that a standard dose of 320 mg/day did not have any significant positive effects. However, despite such negative results,
Aaron Katz, MD, director of the Center for Holistic Urology at Columbia University in New York City, has said that he uses saw palmetto extracts in his practice and that it is his professional opinion that they can help many men with mild lower urinary tract symptoms. The bottom line from this study therefore is that this particular saw palmetto extract is not helpful when given alone. Generally, holistic clinicians such as Dr Katz use saw palmetto with other extracts, including those from stinging nettles or the bark of the Pygeum africanum, an African evergreen.
Mandel News Service