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Does saw palmetto help reduce enlarged prostate glands?

This Week In The HSI Healthier Talk Community

That depends on whom you ask.

An HSI member named Larry leads off a Healthier Talk community forum thread titled “Saw palmetto don’t work!” with a HealthDay News article about a new study from the University of California, San Francisco. UCSF researchers found saw palmetto to be ineffective in treating 63 men who had moderate-to-severe symptoms of enlarged prostate, caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

The results of this study are at odds with many previous studies that have found saw palmetto to be effective in reducing BPH prostate enlargement. This includes a meta-analysis of 18 clinical trials, and another analysis of 21 trials. In those cases, however, the subjects generally had mild-to-moderate symptoms.

But severity of symptoms was not the only difference. Here are a few insightful comments from HSI members.

Mongander: “Sounds like the HerbBashing Article of the Week funded by BigPharma. In fact, I believe I read this same article every few years.”

Bill: “Here’s another variable I’ll bet they didn’t take into account: Once I got off Zocor, and am no longer taking a statin, I find I don’t need Saw Palmetto anymore. So those taking a statin might need a higher therapeutic dose than was used. Two more points: Group data do not necessarily apply to all individuals or any particular individuals in the group. Also, statistical significance does not necessarily equal clinical significance. One more point: Saw Palmetto DEFINITELY worked for me when I was taking Zocor.”

Aardvark: “160 mg of Saw Palmetto is less than one-eighth of the therapeutic ‘serving size.’ Credible study? Methinks not, for another very good reason. Judging saw palmetto by FDA standards, i.e. ‘single substance – single use,’ is not valid in the case of natural substances. I would like to see the results of a similar study using saw palmetto in combination with Vit D, Vit E, Vit B6, Zinc, Pygeum Africanum, Stinging Nettle, Pumpkin Seed, L-Lysine, L-Glutamic Acid and Glycine.”

Gerry: “Study vs. reality: One of the mainstays of my dad’s recovery from prostate cancer (yes, cancer, not just BPH) was saw palmetto. Of course, he was also taking others, including B-17 sources, selenium and vitamin E. (Though I would say that the real ‘mainstay’ of his recovery was avoidance of chemo, radiation and surgery.)”

D Bergy: “A very good example of the flaws in using any single study or method of determining the truth. The study only proves exactly what they tested and in the amounts tested. Now they need to do a dozen more tests with various amounts of Saw Palmetto used alone and with other supplements commonly used together.”

Hans: “I am surprised. Saw Palmetto is prescribed by thousands of doctors here in Europe. There is no question that it works.”

Other topics being discussed this week in the Healthier Talk community forums include:

  • Memory: Folic acid/Alzheimer’s
  • General Health Topics: Arthritis, rheumatism & gout
  • Cancer: Graviola & CoQ10
  • Health for Men: Prostatitis burn
  • Auto-Immune Diseases: Lyme disease
  • Vision: Eye twitch

You can easily reach the HSI Healthier Talk community forums on our web site at Just choose “Forum,” and join in with any of the dozens of discussions about nutrition and natural health care.