If you’re always getting up to pee in the night, you could have an enlarged prostate. But help could be at hand with a traditional herbal remedy: saw palmetto.
Grey, thinning hair and getting up to pee in the night are all perfectly normal – if annoying – signs of ageing. While it’s easy enough to dye your hair, what can you do about an enlarged prostate?
While it might sound scary, benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) is very common – nearly all men will experience some symptoms by the time they hit their 70s.1
BPH is not linked to prostate cancer, but the symptoms – which include more frequent trips to the loo and difficulty urinating – can be uncomfortable. Could saw palmetto, an age-old natural remedy, help?
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What is saw palmetto?
Saw palmetto is a palm-like plant that grows in the south east of America. It has serrated, saw-like leaves and produces yellow berries, which turn black when they’re dried.
Originally used by Native Americans, saw palmetto is a traditional herbal remedy used to relieve the symptoms of urinary tract conditions in men with an enlarged prostate (BPH). It is still used as a front-line therapy for BPH in Germany today.
How can saw palmetto benefit prostate health?
Saw palmetto contains a special blend of phytochemicals (plant nutrients) that evidence suggests could help shrink an enlarged prostate and/or ease the urinary symptoms it causes.
One of these is beta-sitosterol. This blocks an enzyme that helps convert testosterone to dihydrotestosterone – DHT is thought to stimulate prostate growth.
What does the medical research show?
Several studies have found that saw palmetto can help relieve symptoms of BPH in some men. Results from an international clinical trial of more than 1,000 patients with BPH, published in the journal Prostate in 1996, found that taking 320mg of saw palmetto a day for six months relieved symptoms in two-thirds of those involved in the study.2
Other research suggests that saw palmetto may reduce an enlarged prostate, especially when used alongside other natural remedies. In 2013, Italian researchers from the University of Messina discovered that saw palmetto could help to manage prostate growth, particularly when combined with selenium and lycopene.3
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Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please consult a doctor or healthcare professional before trying any remedies.
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1. Prostate Health UK. Facts about about enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Available from: https://www.prostatehealthuk.com/prostate-cancer-information/enlarged-prostate-bph
2. Carraro JC, et al. Comparison of phytotherapy (Permixon) with finasteride in the treatment of benign prostate hyperplasia: a randomized international study of 1,098 patients. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8876706
3. Minutoli L, et al. Serenoa Repens, lycopene and selenium: a triple therapeutic approach to manage benign prostatic hyperplasia. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23432584