Does saw palmetto really treat BPH?

February 04, 2012
Volume 3    |   Issue 06

As you may know, saw palmetto is an age-old remedy for prostate enlargement. Study after study has shown it effective. But you may have heard about a recent study suggesting that saw palmetto doesn’t reduce BPH better than a placebo.

In that study, researchers followed 369 men with BPH. They gave them either increasing doses of saw palmetto or a placebo for 72 weeks. For the saw palmetto, the treatment dose started at 320 milligrams daily. Then at 24 weeks, they increased the dose to 320 mg twice daily. Then, after another 24 weeks, they increased it to three doses of 320 mg daily.

Contrary to other studies, the researchers didn’t find any benefit in taking saw palmetto. While the researchers found these results quite surprising, they shouldn’t have. Studies in the past have given conflicting results on saw palmetto. Some say it works as well as prescription drugs. Some say it doesn’t work any better than a placebo.

The researchers in this study didn’t tell us if some of the participants experienced positive results. They just gave us averages. So I suspect some experienced very positive results and some didn’t experience anything. That would be consistent with what I’ve seen. I know people who have seen tremendous results with saw palmetto. And I know others who didn’t experience anything with it.

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So should you take saw palmetto? Yes, but don’t take it by itself. There are other supplements that can help with prostate enlargement. You never know which one(s) will work. Since they don’t have any negative side effects, it makes since to take a formula filled with nutrients that can reduce swelling in the prostate. One recent study shows this can be effective.

In this study, the researchers found that combining saw palmetto with a wild edible vegetable can significantly reduce prostate problems.

That wild vegetable is stinging nettle. Researchers have known for some time that stinging nettle is great for reducing prostate swelling. But a relatively obscure study found that taking it with saw palmetto actually makes them both more effective.

In the study, researchers followed 257 elderly men with BPH. All of them had the urinary tract problems BPH causes. The researchers divided them into two groups. They gave one group 160 mg of saw palmetto (much less than the aforementioned study) and 120 mg of stinging nettle. The other 128 men took a placebo.

After 24 weeks, the researchers had both groups take the International Prostate Symptom Score questionnaire (I-PSS). Then they took the placebo group and gave them the combination pill and had them take the questionnaire again.

When the researchers assessed the first round of questionnaires, they found that the group taking the saw palmetto and stinging nettle experienced a “substantially higher” I-PSS score. This indicated a substantial decrease in urinary tract symptoms.

The placebo group didn’t experience any measurable changes until after the first 24 weeks. Remember, that’s when they started taking the nutrient combination. After taking the combination, they showed a “marked improvement” in their symptoms as well.

If you have prostate problems, don’t rely on one nutrient to control your symptoms. Take a combination of nutrients to significantly improve your chances for success. One such formula is Advanced Prostate Formula, which contains both saw palmetto and stinging nettle, among other effective nutrients. It has worked for many people when saw palmetto alone did not.

Your insider for better health,

Steve Kroening

Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.


Sivkov A. Long-term efficacy and safety of a combination of sabal and urtica extract for lower urinary tract symptoms-a placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicenter trial. World J Urol. 2005 Jul;23(2):139-46. Epub 2005 Jun 1.

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