(RxWiki News) It's been touted for years as an herbal supplement for improving overall prostate health. A new study shows that men have been wasting their money on saw palmetto.
Saw palmetto is not effective in treating urinary problems associated with prostate enlargement. That's what recent research funded by the National Institutes of Health has uncovered in a double-blind study.
"Stop wasting your money on saw palmetto."
An enlarged prostate can interfere with normal urination. Problems could include weak or interrupted stream, increased frequency or the inability to completely empty the bladder.
The current study was conducted at 11 sites throughout North America and involved 369 men ages 45 and older. Participants were followed from June 2008 to October 2010.
The men were given either a placebo or the recommended dosage of saw palmetto - 320 milligrams per day. That dose was increased periodically to eventually reach three times the recommended dosage.
The study used the American Urological Association Symptom Index (AUASI) to measure urinary flow. A number of other measures were also evaluated.
After 72 weeks, AUASI scores improved more in the men taking a placebo than those being given the saw palmetto. Other measures also favored the placebo.
Board-certified urologist, John Hubbard, M.D., told dailyRx, "I'm a big believer in offering natural remedies when they're known to be effective. But people spend so much money on products that don't work. Most of it is hype," Dr. Hubbard said.