Saw palmetto for prostate symptoms

Saw palmetto is ineffective for treating lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) in men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), even at higher doses, according to a new study. Previous studies have shown no benefit from saw palmetto, but researchers in this current study set out to test the efficacy of 2-3 times the normal daily dose on men over the age of 45 with significant LUTS. The main outcome was the difference in American Urologic Association Symptom Index score between baseline and week 72. Both saw palmetto and placebo led to an improvement in symptoms with a favorability toward placebo regardless of the dose of saw palmetto. Doses tested were a single 320 mg tablet per day with dose escalation to 2, then 3, tablets per day. The authors conclude that increasing doses of saw palmetto root extract did not lower LUTS more than placebo in men with BPH (JAMA 2011;306:1344-1351). This is the second rigorously controlled trial after the Saw Palmetto Treatment for Enlarged Prostates study (N Engl J Med 2006;354:557-566) to show no benefit from the supplement on LUTS in men with BPH.