Some research suggests that saw pal- metto could support prostate health and may aid in preventing issues like BPH and prostate cancer.
According to one test-tube study, saw palmetto berry extract was able to de- crease the growth of prostate cancer cells. Another test-tube study showed that
saw palmetto blocked the spread and growth of prostate cancer cells by deacti- vating specific receptors involved in can- cer development.
Other human and animal studies in- dicate that it may be effective at reducing urinary symptoms and inflammation re- lated to BPH as well. Yet, some studies don’t associate saw palmetto with a lower risk of prostate cancer and observe that it may be ineffec- tive at decreasing symptoms of BPH. Further high-quality research is needed to evaluate how saw palmetto may affect prostate health in humans.
4. May decrease inflammation Saw palmetto contains the antioxi- dants epicatechin and methyl gallate — compounds that prevent damage to cells, decrease inflammation, and protect against chronic disease. Some research shows that saw pal-
metto may have anti-inflammatory proper- ties, which could be beneficial in treating certain conditions. For example, one study observed that
giving saw palmetto extract to mice with enlarged prostate glands decreased swell- ing and several markers of inflammation, including interleukin 6 (IL-6). Another study in obese rats with BPH
found that saw palmetto was effective at decreasing inflammation and improving antioxidant status.
Although these results are promising, additional studies are needed to determine how saw palmetto may impact inflamma- tion in humans.
5. May help regulate testosterone levels Saw palmetto is often used by men looking to boost testosterone levels natu- rally.
Regulating testosterone levels can
impact several aspects of health, including body composition, sex drive, mood, and cognition. Testosterone levels decline with age,
and some research shows that low levels of testosterone could contribute to condi- tions like heart disease.
Saw palmetto works by decreasing the
activity of 5α-R — an enzyme responsible for converting testosterone to dihydrotes- tosterone (DHT), another sex hormone, to help preserve testosterone levels in the body.
One test-tube study found that the
effectiveness of saw palmetto extract was comparable to finasteride in preserving testosterone levels. Finasteride is a medica- tion used to treat hair loss and BPH by reducing the activity of 5α-R. Another study in 40 men observed that treatment with saw palmetto decreased levels of DHT by 32% after 6 months, suggesting that saw palmetto was effective at maintaining testosterone levels..
Forms and dosage recommendations Saw palmetto is widely available in supplement form, making it incredibly easy to add to your daily routine. It comes in capsule, softgel, and tablet form and is often combined with other ingredients that help enhance prostate health, such as pumpkin seed extract. Less commonly, it can also be found in ground, dried, liquid extract, or pow- dered tea form. Most research is conducted using saw palmetto in dosages of 320 mg per day, often divided into two doses.
Some recommend taking the supple- ments with food, which can help minimize digestive issues and prevent adverse side effects.
Potential side effects Saw palmetto is generally considered
safe and has been associated with very few side effects.
Some of the most commonly reported side effects of saw palmetto in research studies include headache, dizziness, nau- sea, and constipation. Note that saw palmetto is not recom- mended for everyone. For example, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid taking saw palmetto, as it may impact hormone levels. Because it may alter hormone levels, saw palmetto may not be suitable for those taking hor- mone replacement therapy or hormonal contraceptives either. More research is needed to evaluate its potential effects). Saw palmetto may also interfere with blood-thinning medications, such as war- farin or Coumadin, which can increase bleeding risk. If you have any underlying health
conditions, are taking certain medications, or are pregnant or breastfeeding, be sure to consult with your healthcare provider before supplementing with saw palmetto.
The bottom line Saw palmetto is a species of palm used to produce a supplement that’s packed with health benefits. Promising research shows that saw
palmetto may help increase testosterone levels, improve prostate health, reduce inflammation, prevent hair loss, and en- hance urinary tract function. However, some studies have turned
up mixed results on its effectiveness. Ad- ditional
large-scale human research is
needed to understand how saw palmetto can impact health.
m. Written by Rachael Link, MS, RD, who is a contributor at Healthline.co
m. Healthline is dedicated to making health and wellness information accessible, understandable, and action- able so that readers can make the best possible decisions about their health. OContent is created, fact-checked, and reviewed by qualified writers, editors, clinicians, and other contributors.
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