Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, is said to affect more than a third of men over 60.1 It causes uncomfortable urinary symptoms and can lead to serious complications if left untreated.
Saw palmetto has previously shown effective for relieving lower urinary tract symptoms in men. Its beneficial effects are mostly attributed to its content of fatty acids, vitamin E, and phytosterols, like β-sitosterol.
Authors of this clinical trial assessed whether enriching a conventional saw palmetto oil with β-sitosterol would boost its efficacy in treating BPH and androgen deficiency.
To for this clinical trial, researchers recruited 99 middle-aged men with mild-to-moderate BPH symptoms. It was conducted at Aman Hospital and Research Center in Vadodara, India. The results were published in the BMC journal.
After being enrolled in the study, participants were split into three groups:
Group 1 received saw palmetto oil capsules enriched with 3% β-sitosterol
Group 2 received conventional saw palmetto oil capsules, naturally containing 0.2% β-sitosterol
Group 3 received placebo capsules containing maltodextrin
Using various assessment tools, researchers evaluated the severity of androgen deficiency and BPH among the participants before and after the study, including uroflowmetry and blood work, among others.
After 12 weeks, participants taking saw palmetto oil enriched with β-sitosterol showed substantial decreases in several measured parameters. They also had reduced post-void residual volume and 5α-reductase.
Taking saw palmetto oil also boosted the urine flow rate and serum free testosterone levels in comparison to taking placebo.
Participants in the β-sitosterol-enriched saw palmetto oil group also had significant improvements in the quality-of-life scores, while those in the conventional saw palmetto oil showed moderate improvements. No significant changes were seen in the placebo group.
What Does this Mean?
This Indian clinical trial has demonstrated that enriching a conventional saw palmetto oil with β-sitosterol boosts its effectiveness in treating BPH and androgen deficiency. It has also shown effective for improving the quality of life among middle-aged men with BPH.
Saw palmetto's β-sitosterol can potentially be used as a functional ingredient in other herbal supplements for relieving BPH and hormonal imbalance in middle-aged men.
- BMC Medicine, A double blind, placebo-controlled randomized comparative study on the efficacy of phytosterol-enriched and conventional saw palmetto oil in mitigating benign prostate hyperplasia and androgen deficiency, 2020
- Current Bladder Dysfunction Reports. (2010). Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia and Male Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms: Epidemiology and Risk Factors. Retrieved September 22, 2022 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3061630/