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Saw Palmetto is becoming a well-known alternative medicine for men’s health. It has been used for decades as a treatment to lower urinary tract symptoms and benign prostate hyperplasia ((BPH) an enlarged prostate)), as well as other prostatic tissue issues. It’s also used to treat hair loss, low testosterone levels, sexual dysfunction, and a low sex drive.
New research is finding that saw palmetto can also help with men’s health issues, especially those caused by the hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), gynecomastia, and changes in body fat distribution. This article will explain what saw palmetto is and how it can help you.
What is Saw Palmetto?
Palmetto plants are small palm trees that grow in the southeastern United States. The berries of this plant have been used to make medicine since before 1643. A number of compounds found in the berries might be part of the reason they provide good health benefits.
The berries of the saw palmettos contain strong nutrients that have been used since early times as an herbal remedy for urinary problems, enlargement and inflammation of the prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), baldness, seizures, and more recently as a natural treatment for hair loss.
Saw palmetto comes in a few different forms, including powder, capsules, tablets, tea, or a herbal blend. It is also available as a liquid extract (where the herb has been concentrated).
Palmetto extract serves as a dietary supplement that’s a concentrated version of the herb, which can be a more effective way to take it. It comes from the saw palmetto berry and contains fatty acids that have been shown to improve male hormones.
However, because it is a concentrated extract, you should not take more than 1-2 grams per day.
*Note*Confusion with Palmetto Oil
Palmetto oil and extract are the same. Oil and extract are two terms that are interchanged for the same product. I get this question all the time, so I just wanted to help clear any confusion around purchasing the product.
How does Saw Palmetto work?
Many people use palmetto as a dietary supplement because it can benefit many different parts of the body, such as the urinary tract, vascular system, and reproductive organs.
Saw Palmetto contains phytochemicals called flavonoids. Two of these essential flavonoids are beta-sitosterol and lupeol. It is believed that they are the reason saw palmetto have so many health benefits for men. Both work as strong anti-inflammatory substances.
Beta-sitosterol works by blocking the male hormone DHT, which is believed to cause prostate enlargement and hair loss in some men. Lupeol specifically works to decrease IL-4 (interleukin 4) production, which lowers inflammation in the prostate tissues.
Saw Palmetto also contains powerful antioxidants such as flavonoid glycosides and phenolic acids, including epicatechin, gallocatechin, and taxifolin, which help support immune system functions.
Phytochemicals are chemicals found naturally in plants, which are often effective for treating various conditions when taken as a dietary supplement.
Scientists do not fully understand the way it works, but studies have shown the following properties of Saw Palmetto:
- Natural diuretic action with mild antiseptic properties
- Reduces uric acid build-up
- Increases urinary flow
- Helps reduce problems associated with the gland of the prostate like inflammation and infections.
- Inhibits the binding of testosterone to receptors in the prostate gland
Benefits of Saw Palmetto
Saw Palmetto provides many benefits, including treatment for enlarged gland in the prostate, managing urinary problems, prevention of hair loss in men, lowering prostate cancer risk, erectile dysfunction, prevention and treatment of gynecomastia, enhancing skin health, reducing inflammation, and leveling out imbalances in male hormone levels.
Let’s dive a little deeper into the power of what saw palmetto can do for men.
Saw Palmetto Nutrition Facts
Here is a list of common nutrients found in 100g of saw palmetto:
- Calories – 961
- Vitamin A – 297 IU
- Thiamine (B1) – 0.9 mg
- Riboflavin (B2) – 0.5 mg
- Niacin (B3) – 6.7 mg
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) – 1.4 mg
- Folate (Vitamin B9) – 368 mcg
- Pantothenic acid (B5) – 2.5 mg
- Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)- 6.8 mg
- Vitamin K- 6.4 mcg
- Calcium – 567 mg
- Iron – 15.6 mg
- Magnesium- 160 mg
- Phosphorous- 635 mg
- Potassium – 488 mg
- Sodium – 9 mg
- Zinc- 1.5 mg
- Copper – 0.3 mg
- Manganese- 2.0 mg
- Selenium- 7 mcg
Also, 100 g of the plant extract contains: Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), Beta Sitosterol, Caffeic acid, Cinnamic acid, Coumaric acid, Ferulic acid, Geraniin Glycoside, Isoquercitrin, Kaempferol, Lauroside B, Linoleic acid, Oleanolic acid, Pectolinarin Quercetin Saponins Stigmasterol Ursolic acid, and Vitexin.
Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms
Many have used saw palmetto to treat enlarged and inflamed prostate gland problems. It not only works as a natural treatment to lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), but it helps relieve stress from the bladder and prevents urine from stagnating in the urethra.
The supplement lowers urinary tract symptoms by promoting improved bladder comfort. It has also been proposed that saw palmetto can help relax the muscles in the bladder area, which allows urine to flow more freely.
Some of the symptoms of LUTS are frequent urination, difficulty starting or maintaining a steady stream of urine, trouble emptying the bladder completely, needing to often go throughout the night, and feeling like you’re just not emptied even after.
However, be aware that most studies have shown that saw palmetto does not lower urinary tract symptoms caused by BPH.
When it comes to erectile dysfunction, saw palmetto has left many men with a smile on their faces! Saw palmetto extract helps combat erectile dysfunction (ED) issues due to reducing inflammation, improving blood flow, and supporting testosterone levels.
Balances hormone levels
Saw palmetto balances hormone levels in men. This herb contains powerful antioxidants that can reverse free radical damage in men. It is believed that saw palmetto decreases the harmful effects of high estrogen levels in men, which includes a reduction in benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) symptoms.
In addition to BPH, other conditions where estrogen might be abnormally elevated include cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.
It also has a beneficial effect on men with low testosterone levels. The supplement helps men reach healthy testosterone levels naturally without the worry of having too much in the bloodstream.
Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH)
Studies have shown that saw palmetto can effectively reduce benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia is a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate. It can cause urinary problems such as increased frequency or urgency, incomplete emptying, urinary retention, and an inability to hold urine.
Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy became most common among men in their 60s and 70s, but it can occur at any age.
However, many do not seek medical treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia because they believe no effective treatments are available.
Many experts believe that saw palmetto can help inhibit an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase, which converts testosterone to DHT, a hormone known to cause prostate enlargement and other male pattern baldness issues.
A number of studies have shown that saw palmetto is a great supplement to help men with prostate problems or enlarged and inflamed prostate. It is an effective reliever of urinary symptoms because it helps to relax the muscles in the bladder area to allow urine to flow more freely.
Studies have shown that natural supplements such as saw palmetto are the best way to reduce benign prostatic hyperplasia symptoms. Although it is not a cure, saw palmetto can help manage your condition when taken regularly.
Many believe saw palmetto works to treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia because it helps reduce swelling in the gland while strengthening and toning bladder muscles. This allows for an easier flow of urine from the bladder through the urethra.
Breast Growth in Men
Some scientists believe saw palmetto may help reduce breast growth in men due to its anti-estrogenic effects when used properly. Some studies state that the compound phytosterols found in saw palmetto inhibit the enzyme aromatase that stimulates estrogen production. However, additional research is necessary to confirm this theory.
Saw palmetto has been used to lower inflammation in the body. WebMD states that saw palmetto may also help tighten the prostate gland muscles, which allows the bladder to empty more fully. As the inflammation decreases, the muscles relax, increasing urine flow allowing men to go to the bathroom easier and decreasing nighttime urination.
Prevents hair loss in men
Saw palmetto prevents hair loss in men because it contains beta-sitosterol that has been shown to reduce levels of the hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is linked to male pattern baldness and prostate issues and is believed to cause hair loss in men.
Saw palmetto is said to soothe skin irritations when applied topically due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Some scientific studies have also shown that it may inhibit sebum production in the skin, which is believed to help treat acne.
Prostate Cancer Prevention
A review done by Mark Messina et al. illustrates evidence that provides strong support for saw palmetto’s protective actions against prostate cancer and other forms of cancer.
Studies show it reduces tumor size. Saw palmetto has been linked to supporting prostate health by combating precancerous conditions such as prostate hyperplasia. It can also lower the chances of needing prostate surgery.
While it depends on the patient’s circumstances, saw palmetto does not replace the care, medical advice, treatment plans of a healthcare provider. Pharmacology and therapeutic efficacy data have been used over the years through radiation therapy to treat prostate cancer and chemical or surgical removal of the gland.
Precautions for men considering taking saw palmetto are that it may lower testosterone levels, leading to infertility, loss of libido, and erectile dysfunction if not taken correctly.
People who need to take blood thinners or have bipolar disorder should not take saw palmetto.
Saw palmetto can be taken by mouth safely for up to three months, but there are side effects to be aware of before using saw palmetto supplement. These include headache, upset stomach, skin rash or itching, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting who take saw palmetto orally. Side effects that are severe or worrisome usually subside with time or can be treated by a medical professional.
These side effects should be reported immediately to a healthcare provider because they can become quite debilitating if not treated in time.
Who should not take saw palmetto?
There are some individuals who should refrain from taking saw palmetto, like anyone with an allergy to fruits, should consult their doctor before taking this herbal supplement.
There is a high concentration found in the fruit, leading to an allergic reaction.
Also, though this article is for men’s health, it is important to mention that pregnant or breastfeeding women should not take saw palmetto as it may reach the child through breast milk and cause adverse effects on a developing fetus. A woman’s uterus lining around the fertilized egg can also be stimulated by phytoestrogens found in the seed kernel of the plant, causing uterine tissue.
Uses and Dosage of Saw Palmetto
The recommended dosage for saw palmetto extracts ranges from 160-320 mg per day. Most people can take two doses of 160 mg per day safely.
Although safe when taken according to label directions, saw palmetto should not be combined with prescription medication without first consulting your doctor or holistic practitioner. I know I’ve said this multiple times, but the goal is to make your health better, not worse.
How safe is that treatment?
Remedies that contain saw palmetto are widely available to Americans and Europeans. In the case of saw palmetto, it is important to speak to a physician that has knowledge of the benefits for health and safety. Overall, it is a safe form of treatment as long as taken as directed.
How to purchase saw palmetto
To get saw palmetto’s benefits, it has to be standardized (i.e., contain 85%-95% fatty acids), but not all brands are created equal.
It is essential to do your own research to make sure you are buying safe products. Reputable sources may not manufacture some products available online.
Saw palmetto seeds are readily available through herbal suppliers—however, it is imperative to know the dosage and use of saw palmetto through reputable sources.
My Experience with Saw Palmetto
I started taking saw palmetto after watching a video of Dr. Laila O. Africa talking about natural healing of the prostate. He mentioned saw palmetto as something to take for prostate issues of any kind. I purchased it in capsule form as that’s easier for me and how I take most of my supplements.
I take 320 mg per day.
After a few days of taking the supplement, the main difference I noticed is that I didn’t wake up during the night needing to pee. Usually, I have to get up in the middle of the night at least once to urinate.
Another change is that the consistency of my urinating became better. Whenever I had to pee before, there would be an after-drip. Now there is no dripping, just a steady stream.
I haven’t experienced any side effects taking the saw palmetto supplement.
Why I Share This Information
I like to share this information with my readers as I know I am a trusted resource regarding knowledge and experience with supplementation, fitness, and overall health. I always speak from the experience of myself and my clients.
I only want to share information to motivate men that they don’t have to be another statistic of declining testosterone levels. Sadly, our society looks at these things as a natural part of aging instead of a result of a lack of preventative care. The declining testosterone levels impacting younger men these days is proof of that.
Unhealthy lifestyles, inability to cope, and a lack of sleep contribute highly to these symptoms in all men. While none of us is perfect, we all can practice preventive care to live more fulfilling lives one habit at a time.
Saw palmetto extract can be one of these habits.
You Can’t Out Supplement An Unhealthy Lifestyle
While saw palmetto can be one of many great dietary supplements to lower benign prostatic hyperplasia (bph symptoms), lower your prostate cancer risk and the intensity of urinary symptoms, don’t think that you can keep feeding your body excess stress, processed food, and loads of caffeine and think that you are free and clear.
I know the struggle in creating a healthy lifestyle and sticking to it. I will not sit here and preach to you about what not to eat, what exercises to do, and maintaining a healthy weight. I have been on that journey for 20 years, and I know about all the challenges.
What I would like to encourage you to do is to try to cut one bad habit each month and replace it with something better. For example, cutting back on how much coffee you drink. You could replace that with tea, B vitamin supplementation, and even by just getting more rest.
Understand that you won’t get it right at first, but through the journey, you will be discovering what works for your body long-term. If it takes more than one month to make this change work for you, that’s okay. Take time but challenge yourself to continue working towards your goal.
As always, if you need help and accountability with this, please contact me. I am here to help you succeed. Just tell me your goals and where you are right now, and we can get started creating a plan that will help you reach your goals.
Creating a healthier lifestyle takes time, energy, patience, and trial and error. It’s much easier for someone who eats and breathes it all day, every day. But for others who have to raise kids, work every day, and maintain their sanity, it can become hard.
Let me help you make the process easier by taking the guesswork out of trying to figure out what works.
Where can I purchase saw Palmetto?
Saw palmetto is available online and in most health food stores. It is important to research the product you want to buy before making a purchase so that you know what you are getting.
Some products for sale may not contain real saw palmetto, or they could be mixed with other ingredients, which could lead to unwanted side effects. It is always best to consult with your doctor before purchasing any herbal supplements, as some may cause severe complications for your body.
The nutrient is sold primarily as a dietary supplement and can be found at local supermarkets and pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid. Saw palmetto extract is usually available to purchase without a prescription.
I’ve always purchased my supplements from the Vitamin Shoppe and online from Amazon. When using Amazon, be sure to compare supplements and even look at customer reviews.
So let’s wrap up. Saw palmetto is a natural supplement that helps manage benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlargement of the prostate) and prostate disorders, lower prostate cancer risk, prevent hair loss and gynecomastia, level out hormone levels (mainly testosterone), and treat erectile dysfunction.
The supplement comes from palmetto berries and is made into herbal medicines such as palmetto fruit extract, capsules, tablets, teas, and herbal blends. Before you take saw palmetto, always consult your physician for their advice, diagnosis, or treatment expertise.
Your physician may recommend a different effective treatment such as hormone replacement therapy to balance out testosterone levels. They may prescribe alpha-blockers to relax bladder muscles to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy patients.
Understand that you do not have to settle for symptoms of BPH or symptoms related to an unhealthy prostate. Ultimately you are the keeper of your body, so do your best not to play with it because you only get one.
Remember, if you need any help along your journey to reaching your health and fitness goals, contact me, and I will be your accountability partner, as well as your fitness coach.