Saw Palmetto

Saw Palmetto

Saw Palmetto
Saw Palmetto, is an herbal supplement, which reduces inflammation of the enlarged prostate. Saw Palmetto is available in a variety of product types.

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    Saw palmetto inhibits the influence of a male hormone on prostate tissue. The main effect of saw palmetto, as an extract of the fat-soluble berry substances, is to reduce some of the effects of the hormones responsible for male characteristics (i.e., androgenic hormones). It is these hormones that cause benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland..

    Saw palmetto extract can reduce the conversion of the male hormone testosterone to the more active dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The more potent DHT appears to increase the growth rate of benign prostate cells, although the reason for this effect is unclear.

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    Based on information from iGuard.org, a free medication monitoring service, 5% of patients experience side effects while taking Saw Palmetto. Some of the side effects reported by iGuard members inlcude: Diarrhea. Please follow up with your doctor or other healthcare provider if you are experiencing any symptoms that worsen or do not go away.

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    While taking saw palmetto, you should avoid certain medications and herbal supplements that have similar effects to the ingredients of saw palmetto. Medications and herbal supplements with blood thinning effects such as aspirin, warfarin, NSAIDs (ibuprofen and naproxen), anti-platelet drugs (clopidogrel), and Gingko biloba should be avoided. Additionally, drugs that affect hormone levels such as birth control may have interactions with saw palmetto. Speak with your doctor if you have any questions about things you should avoid while taking saw palmetto.

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    The maximum daily dosage for saw palmetto is not known at this time. More research must be done in this area. If you are concerned about the amount of saw palmetto you are taking, speak to your doctor.

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    Currently, there is no concrete evidence that saw palmetto interacts negatively with other medications or food. However, there are a number of medications that have similar effects to the ingredients of saw palmetto that should probably not be taken. These medications include blood thinning drugs (such as aspirin, warfarin, and NSAIDs, among others) and hormone therapy (levels of male hormones or birth control). Herbs that have effects on blood thinning and hormones should also be avoided. Speak to your doctor if you have questions about whether you can take saw palmetto with your current medication regimen.

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    In the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), saw palmetto seems to inhibit male hormones by reducing the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which stimulates prostate growth. Exactly how the saw palmetto exerts this influence when taken in extract form is not known.

    Saw palmetto has been used in Europe as a prescription product called Permixon. Saw palmetto is available in the United States as a supplement -- not a medication.

    The recommended dose for saw palmetto is 320 mg of extract per day. The amount used in most studies is usually divided into two 160 mg doses.

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    No. The effects of saw palmetto on children are not known at this time. More research must be done in this area. If you are concerned about whether saw palmetto would be appropriate for your child to take, speak to your doctor.

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    Saw palmetto is a small palm tree that grows in the wetlands and coastal plains of the southeastern U.S. Saw palmetto, a relative of larger, true Sabal palms, also is known as palmetto scrub, sabal serrulata or sabalis serrulatae. Preparations of saw palmetto are made from the dried berries.

    Extracts of saw palmetto can be used to treat the urinary problems of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland.

    Dose: Saw palmetto is available in a variety of product types.
    • The recommended daily dose of saw palmetto corresponds to 320 milligrams of extract.
    • No time limit for using saw palmetto has been established.

    Cautions: Situations in which use of saw palmetto is not advised: None.

    Side Effects: In rare cases, use of saw palmetto can cause stomach problems. Taking saw palmetto extracts with meals can minimize this effect.

    Drug Interactions: There are no known interactions of saw palmetto with any drugs.

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    Saw palmetto is rated as "possibly ineffective" for enlarged prostate by the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Several small studies have found that it is effective, but a research review found no evidence that it works any better than a placebo (sugar pill).

    It is likely safe for most adults, but children and pregnant women should avoid it, as it affects hormones. As is true for all dietary supplements, saw palmetto has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness or purity.
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    You should not take saw palmetto if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you have ever had an allergic reaction to saw palmetto or to any of its ingredients, you should not take this medication. Additionally, if you have medical conditions involving your heart, lungs, stomach, or liver, you should speak to your doctor before taking saw palmetto as it could have potentially dangerous effects on your condition. You should also speak to your doctor if you are taking any other medications, as dangerous drug interactions could occur.