Saw palmetto is a popular supplement for men with symptoms of prostate enlargement. The botanical extract has a reputation for easing symptoms such as frequent or difficult urination. According to a new placebo-controlled study, however, that reputation is undeserved.
The scientists tested regular and high doses of saw palmetto in 369 men randomly assigned to the extract or to a placebo. The study lasted nearly a year and a half. During that time, there was no significant improvement in men taking as much as three times the usual dose of saw palmetto berry extract, but there was also no difference between the groups with respect to side effects. This is the second large placebo-controlled trial to report no improvement with saw palmetto for prostate symptoms.