Saw palmetto fruit extracts are widely used to treat lower urinary tract symptoms attributed to benign enlargement of the prostate gland. However, a new study shows that these extracts are no better than placebo at easing symptoms.
The findings were reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2011;306:1344-1351).
In the study, men were randomly assigned to receive a daily dose of saw palmetto extract, beginning 320 mg, or matching placebo. After 24 weeks, the saw palmetto dosage was increased to 640 mg per day. After another 24 week, it was increased to 960 mg per day, which is triple the standard dose. After 48 weeks there was no significant difference between placebo and saw palmetto supplements.
“Now we know that even very high doses of saw palmetto make absolutely no difference,” said study co-investigator Gerald Andriole, MD, Chief of Urologic Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Bottom Line: Saw palmetto is probably not effective in treating or preventing prostate gland enlargement.