What Is the Prostate?
The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland that is part of the male reproductive system. It sits just below the bladder and surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body.
The main function of the prostate is to make a fluid that goes into semen, which is essential for male fertility.
The prostate grows naturally with age, often without problems. In many cases, however, the enlarged prostate compresses the urethra, making urination difficult and causing benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), more commonly referred to as enlarged prostate.
While a man aged 31-40 has only an 8% chance of having BPH, the risk increases to 40-50% in men aged 40-60, and over 80% in men older than 80.
Symptoms of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia:
– Frequent or urgent need to urinate
– Increased frequency of urination at night (nocturia)
– Difficulty starting urination
– Weak urine stream or a stream that stops and starts
– Dribbling at the end of urination
– Inability to completely empty the bladder
– Interference with sexual activity
While prostate problems, particularly BPH, are a natural part of growing older, there are some measures you can take to maintain your overall health or address some of the symptoms.
As is the case with most other health issues, a diet that’s low in saturated fat and high in fruits and vegetables may lower your risk of developing common prostate problems like BPH, prostate cancer, and prostatitis (inflammation or infection of the prostate).
Taking supplements specifically designed to support prostate health may also help.
For this particular article, we will be focusing on saw palmetto.
What Is Saw Palmetto?
Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) is a dwarf palm that grows over wide areas of the Southeastern United States. It produces a green-yellow oblong berry, up to one inch long, which turns bluish to black when ripe.
Saw palmetto’s benefits have been noted since as far back as the nineteenth century, including a feature in the American Journal of Pharmacy at that time. It was considered as a soothing remedy for coughs, digestion, and was even thought to aid weight gain and improve strength!
The demand for saw palmetto berries has created a very tight world supply. Many supplement brands on the market are now cutting corners by using saw palmetto powder instead of the standardized extract.
Benefits of Using Saw Palmetto for Prostate Health
BPH is thought to be caused by an accumulation of testosterone in the prostate. Once within the prostate, testosterone is changed to dihyrotestosterone (DHT), which stimulates the cells in the prostate to multiply excessively, causing enlargement of the prostate.
Saw palmetto’s primary therapeutic action is to inhibit the conversion of testosterone to DHT in the prostate, as well as the binding and transport of DHT.
Saw palmetto also contains the antioxidants epicatechin and methyl gallate—compounds that prevent damage to cells, decrease inflammation, and protect against chronic disease.
The berry extract is probably the most used herbal treatment for BPH. It is considered a safe alternative with no known side effects. That’s good news!
If you are having any of the following symptoms Saw Palmetto may help:
- Frequent urination
- Enlarged prostate
- Residual Urine
- Difficulty beginning urination
- Prostate pain or swelling
Why Shaklee Saw Palmetto Complex
Shaklee Saw Palmetto Complex supports prostate health with a unique natural blend of the most concentrated saw palmetto berry extract in the market. Plus pumpkinseed oil, enriched sources of beta-sitosterols and other valuable phytosterols, all of which help maintain proper urinary flow.*
Berries from the Saw Palmetto plant contain substances that help reduce prostate enlargement and thus improve proper urinary flow for men. The herbal ingredients in Saw Palmetto Complex have been studied for their use in helping men maintain proper urinary flow after 4 to 8 weeks of daily use. And with none of the side effects associated with traditional medical treatments of an enlarged prostate (BPG). One study with men 54-77 years old, 12 out of 13 men had positive and dramatic results.
Saw Palmetto Complex contains no artificial flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives. Shaklee’s formulation does not contain hexane, a toxic chemical used by other companies during the oil extraction process.
“I’ve had this problem of having to go to the bathroom during sleep. Taking 3 Shaklee Saw Palmetto Complex per day prevents this problem. When I stop taking the product, the problems starts up again.” – L. Spieldenner
It should be noted that the purity of some store brand saw palmetto supplements was called into question during an investigation conducted by New York State’s Attorney General recently. For this reason, it’s very important to obtain your saw palmetto or other supplements from a trusted supplier like Shaklee.
Final Notes on Saw Palmetto and Prostate Health:
Although more long-term research is needed, saw palmetto’s ability to help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with prostate problems seems promising. Other steps to support prostate health include:
- Eating more fruits and vegetables
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Exercising regularly.
- Discussing family history with doctor. Starting at age 40 if you have 1 or more first degree relatives with prostate cancer at an early age. And 50 for everyone else.
You should also keep in mind that urinary tract symptoms can have several causes, including conditions such as prostate cancer that would require prompt treatment.
If you’re having problems with urination, it’s advisable to consult your health care provider first before trying any non-medical alternative.