Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Saw Palmetto Keeps Prostates Healthy
Saw palmetto may be a man's best friend. It's the primary herb helping men maintain prostate health that's very popular throughout Europe for its ability to relieve symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), otherwise known as enlargement of the prostate. In the U.S. where pharmaceuticals are the standard of care for prostate problems, saw palmetto is gaining popularity following several recent studies showing it provides relief from short-term urinary symptoms and other symptoms of BPH, as well as relief from inflammation of the prostate and cell proliferation. It also promotes hair growth in men with thinning hair or baldness. It provides these benefits safely, naturally and with no noted side effects.
Saw palmetto, botanically known as Serenoa repens or as sabal palm in Europe, is a magnificent palm tree that grows naturally in Florida, Georgia and Mississippi. The therapeutic compound comes from the berries of the plant. Historical use of the herb can be traced in the Americas to the Mayans who used it as a tonic and to the Seminoles who took it as an expectorant and antiseptic.
Saw Palmetto prevents conversion of testosterone to DHT
The herb possesses several mechanisms of action, with the primary action relating to prostate health being its ability to inhibit the 5-alpha reductase enzyme which converts testosterone, the male sex hormone, to a more potent metabolite, dihydrotestosterone (DHT). In addition, it blocks receptor sites on cell membranes required for cells to absorb DHT. An excess of DHT is believed one of the primary causes of prostate problems as well as the cause of male baldness.
Recent research documents the health benefits of saw palmetto
In a study reported in the Journal of Urology, men with BPH obtained significant short-term symptom relief with saw palmetto. Ninety-two men between the ages of 49 and 75 with lower urinary tract symptoms were divided into two groups, one treated with two soft gels of saw palmetto, and the other treated with a placebo. Both groups were treated for a twelve week period. Maximum urinary flow was significantly higher in the treatment group compared to the placebo group, and urinary resistance was significantly lower. Yet mean prostate volume was comparable in the two groups.
The American Family Physician journal reported a diagnosic and management review of BHP. They found that through its ability to inhibit 5-alpha reductase, saw palmetto as well as rye grass pollen extract, and pygeum relieved symptoms such as urinary hesitancy, weak stream, nocturia, incontinence, and recurrent urinary tract infections.
A review of literature published in Archivio Italiano di Andrologia found that saw palmetto, lycopene and selenium, the three most widely used compounds in treatment of the prostate, have a common feature which may be a dual activity on proliferative disorders as well as on inflammatory conditions at the level of the prostate gland.