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What are Saw Palmetto Supplements?

Nicole Madison
Updated May 17, 2024
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Saw palmetto supplements are concoctions used to consume saw palmetto, a plant substance that isn’t usually part of a normal diet. This substance comes from the berries of a saw palmetto, which is a type of palm tree. The tree is native to the southeastern part of the United States. Its berries produce a compound that is said to help improve symptoms of benign enlargement of the prostate gland. Available supplement types include capsule, soft gels, pills and tea.

Years ago, saw palmetto wasn’t merely a dietary supplement. Instead, it was used medicinally to treat conditions involving the prostate gland and urinary tract. Around the mid point of the 20th century, United States doctors stopped using saw palmetto as a drug treatment for these conditions. Many European countries continued to use it medicinally, however. It is still used in the United States today, but it is labeled a supplement.

Studies of saw palmetto are conflicting. Some studies show saw palmetto as effective for reducing prostate and urinary symptoms. For example, the supplement may help to relieve such symptoms as frequent urination, impaired urination, incomplete emptying of the bladder, urine dribbling, and straining to urinate. It may also help to relieve some of the symptoms of erectile dysfunction that may be associated with prostate problems. Some studies show that it may even slow or stop the enlargement of the prostate gland; other studies, however, show that saw palmetto has little-to-no effect on these symptoms.

Generally, saw palmetto supplements are viewed as safe. Most men do not experience side effects while taking it. Those who do experience side effects may note such issues as nausea, abdominal pain, and headaches. Some men may also experience dizziness and dampened sex drive, male breast enlargement, and even impotence. These side effects are extremely rare, however, and saw palmetto supplements are typically less likely to cause erectile dysfunction than medical treatments for prostate-related symptoms.

A person who wishes to take saw palmetto supplements can find it in a variety of forms, including pills, capsules, and soft gels. He may also purchase it as a tincture. Some people drink saw palmetto tea, though this is considered the least effective method of supplementation with this compound. It does not dissolve well in water, so a person may maximize his intake by taking another type of supplement.

Before taking saw palmetto supplements, a person should consult his doctor. A doctor will be able to advise his patient on whether or not it’s okay to combine this supplement with medical treatment. Likewise, he may help him evaluate any side effects that develop.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
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Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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