Saw Palmetto, scientific name Serenoa repens is a palm plant that typically grows in the Southern parts of the United States. It produces a reddish-black berry or drupe that has been used by the Native Americans as tonic, expectorant, and antiseptic. Today, it is being cultivated worldwide and manufactured into dietary supplements for numerous health purposes. Saw Palmetto supplements are widely used in European countries for prostate care. In fact, it is the herbal supplement of choice for prostate support in men with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). Although not a prescription drug, Saw Palmetto supplements are becoming increasingly popular not just for prostate support but also for other its other benefits.
Saw palmetto extract derived from the plant’s dried berries are high in flavonoids, fatty acids, and phytosterols. These active ingredients are responsible for the numerous benefits of Saw Palmetto for the prostate, male urinary system, and sexual health. Saw Palmetto extract is also enriched in molecular weight polysaccharides known to strengthen the immune system and the body’s natural anti-inflammatory response.
The exact mechanism on how Saw Palmetto works for prostate support remains unknown. It appears that the herb inhibits the action of the 5-alphe-reductase enzyme, which converts the male hormone testosterone to its dihydrotestosterone (DHT) metabolite. Excessive conversion of testosterone to DHT causes overgrowth of prostate cells, leading to prostate enlargement. By regulating DHT levels, Saw Palmetto helps maintain the normal size of the walnut-shaped prostate gland and its functions.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or prostate enlargement affects millions of men worldwide. It affects older men in their 40s and begins to be increasingly common in men 60 years old and above. Statistics show that 90 percent or 9 out of 10 men in their 60s are diagnosed with BPH. Although not a life-threatening condition, BPH reduces a person’s quality of life with its urinary symptoms. The enlarged prostate compresses the urethra causing dribbling of urine, urinary retention, incontinence, painful urination, frequent urination at night, and weak urine stream. More serious problems associated with BPH include frequent Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), complete urethral blockage, and in worse cases, kidney failure.
Saw Palmetto also promotes healthy libido in men. It is classified as an aphrodisiac, a substance that naturally boosts libido and improves sexual performance. Since the prostate gland is responsible for producing seminal fluid that carries the sperm, Saw Palmetto is thought to support male fertility. Experts also recommend Saw Palmetto supplements for inflammation and digestive discomforts.
Saw Palmetto can be used by younger men who want to prevent prostate enlargement when they grow older. More importantly, it can be used to restore normal prostate size and functions in those already diagnosed with BPH.
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