Posted 9/28/2011 7:38 AM (GMT -6)
Saw Palmetto Extract May Have No Effect On Enlarged Prostate.
A number of publications discussed a recent study appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association finding that saw palmetto extract appears to have no benefit on enlarged prostate symptoms. The Los Angeles Times (9/28, Kaplan) "Booster Shots" blog reports on a study showing that saw palmetto extract has "limited at best" effects on enlarged prostates. The "National Kidney & Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse at the National Institutes of Health" notes that "a man's prostate enters a growing phase around age 25 and never stops" and that "more than half of men in their 60s and up to 90% of men who reach their 70s suffer symptoms of an enlarged prostate, known formally as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH."
Bloomberg News (9/28, Flinn) reports that, "Millions of men have been taking the supplement for decades as a natural remedy to ease symptoms of a swollen prostate, especially in Europe." The present "study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements."
AFP (9/28) reports, "Measurements showed the drug, even when increased in dosage over 72 weeks, had no impact on urinary symptoms such as nighttime urination or incontinence, and did not improve sexual function or allow men to sleep better." Non-herbal treatment options for prostate enlargement include "medication and surgery."
MedPage Today (9/28, Neale) reports, "Although a 2002 Cochrane review that included 21 clinical trials found that saw palmetto extracts significantly reduced nocturia, increased self-rated improvement, and improved peak uroflow, an update conducted in 2009 found that only the effect on nocturia remained significant. Other recent studies have questioned the efficacy of the extract as well. The largest of them, the STEP study, found that a standard dose of 320 mg/day did not have any effect on symptom scores or any secondary endpoints." However, advocates contend that the present study only shows that "saw palmetto extract is not helpful when given alone" and that it can be "given with other extracts, including those from stinging nettles or the bark of the Pygeum africanum, an African evergreen." Also reporting this story are Reuters (9/28, Pittman), CNN /Health.com (9/28, Harding), HealthDay (9/28, Reinberg), Medscape (9/28, Kling), and WebMD (9/28, Mann).