Do Prostate Supplements with Saw Palmetto Work?

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Taking prostate supplements with saw palmetto is one natural way to help manage your aging prostate. Also known as the American dwarf palm tree, saw palmetto makes a nice addition to a prostate-friendly lifestyle and diet. It can be used as an anti-inflammatory, and it is rich in phytosterols, including beta-sitosterol, and fatty acids.

Another good health benefit of saw palmetto for aging men is that it can help manage hormones that are responsible for prostate growth. Saw palmetto extract can help block testosterone from converting to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and it inhibits 5-alpha-reductase activity in prostate tissue.

Research shows that this prostate health supplement works as well or better than prescription prostate medications, helping to improve urinary flow and decrease nocturia (nighttime urination). This can mean big improvements in a man’s quality of life.

Saw palmetto studies

There is a lot of research on prostate supplements with saw palmetto, but there are some things you need to know about this supplement. Some studies have not found saw palmetto to be as effective when it is used by itself. It works much better when it is combined with other supplements such as quercetin, curcumin, and stinging nettle. Still other studies have found it to be as effective as certain pharmaceutical prostate drugs. 

One study of patients with enlarged prostate due to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) found that saw palmetto relieved urinary symptoms as effectively as finasteride (Proscar), a common 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor. Saw palmetto did not cause any of the scary side effects of prostate drugs associated with finasteride. (Pais, 2010)

Saw palmetto has also been found to work as well as the BPH medication tamsulosin (Flomax) and even help relieve pain better than the drug. Patients with chronic prostatitis were randomly assigned to take either 160 mg of saw palmetto two times a day or 0.4 mg of Flomax for six weeks. After the six-week period, the men in both groups showed similar progress in their Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index (CPSI) scores, but the men who took saw palmetto had a larger decline in their pain scores.

In one study involving prostatitis patients, a group of men took antibiotics, while another group took antibiotics with a supplement that contained saw palmetto, curcumin, quercetin, and other natural ingredients. Nearly 90% of the patients who took the supplement said their symptoms were gone after one month, compared to only 27% of the men who took only the antibiotic. The men in the supplement group did not experience a return of prostatitis in the six months following treatment. Patients who didn’t use the supplement continued to have persistent problems. (Cai 2009)

Shopping tips for buying prostate supplements

When you are researching the top prostate supplements with saw palmetto, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Saw palmetto in most effective when it is combined with other supplements, especially the following:

  • Stinging nettle
  • Curcumin
  • Quercetin

To take advantage of this relationship, look for a formulation that contains saw palmetto and those supplements as well. There are a few other prostate supplements that encourage a normal prostate size and support urinary health, all concerns associated with an aging prostate. Other supplements that also positively benefit prostate health and can be combined with saw palmetto include:

  • Beta-sitosterol
  • Vitamin D-3
  • DIM
  • Cranberry
  • Pygeum
  • Zinc
  • Green tea extract
  • Pollen extracts

Another thing to consider is how much of each ingredient is in the product. You want clinical-strength ingredients that are going to make a positive difference in your prostate health. Read the product’s label to find out how much saw palmetto and other ingredients are in the formulation. Based on studies, saw palmetto extract is effective at 320 to 640 mg per day. This amount boosts prostate health and promotes a healthy libido.

If you are new to taking prostate supplements with saw palmetto or any other ingredients, talk to your health care provider before you start taking it. Men have safely been using saw palmetto to manage their prostate health for over 200 years. Saw palmetto does not have any known drug interactions or major side effects associated with it. One side effect that many men find as a bonus is that saw palmetto helps prevent or slow the progression of male pattern baldness.


Altavilla, D., et al. The combination of Serenoa repens, selenium and lycopene is more effective than serenoa repens alone to prevent hormone dependent prostatic growth. J Urol 2011 Oct; 186(4):1524-9.

Cai T et al. Serenoa repens associated with Urtica dioica and curcumin and quercitin extracts are able to improve the efficacy of prulifloxacin in bacterial prostatitis patients: results from a prospective randomized study. Int J Antimicrob Agents 2009 Jun; 33(6): 549-53.

Pais P. Potency of a novel saw palmetto ethanol extract, SPET-05, for inhibition of 5alpha-reductase II. Adv Ther 2010 Aug; 27(8): 555-63