Supplement Spotlight: Saw Palmetto and Prostate Health

Benign prostate enlargement, or BPH occurs is nearly all men as they age.  It is not harmful, but it can cause side effects, the most common of which are problems urinating.   It often begins in a man’s 30’s, though symptoms are not often seen until age 50.  Common symptoms are trouble urinating as well as feeling the need to urinate frequently.

The most common and effective supplement for benign prostate enlargement is the herb, saw palmetto.  It has been shown in research to both strengthen the bladder and reduce prostate enlargement.  In one study, found that supplementation for one month with saw palmetto significantly increased urine flow when compared to a placebo.  Another study found that 320 mg per day (the recommended dose) was five times more effective in helping to improve emptying of the bladder over placebo.  It was also found that men had less difficulty and pain while urinating than before they had taken saw palmetto.  The men also reported getting up fewer times in the night to go to the bathroom.  Interestingly, saw palmetto has been reported to work much quicker than its pharmaceutical equivalents.

Finally, it’s important to note that while benign prostate enlargement is usually a natural part of aging for most men, it’s still crucial to have regular prostate checks from a physician to rule out other problems.  The symptoms of benign prostate enlargement are the same as a number of more serious conditions, including prostate cancer.  Many men avoid getting prostate screenings, but prostate cancer, which is estimated to affect one in six men in their lifetime, is nearly 100% curable when caught in the beginning stages.