Three studies published in 2013 support the effectiveness of saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) extract for the treatment of prostate inflammation and other symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), commonly called enlarged prostate. In addition, both lycopene, a dietary carotenoid with strong antioxidant value, and selenium, an essential trace element that promotes an optimal antioxidant/oxidant balance, have been shown to exert beneficial effects in BPH.
Researchers from Italy’s University of Catania studied 168 patients with prostate enlargement among nine urological medical clinics. Those taking a combination of saw palmetto, selenium and lycopene experienced greater reductions of inflammation markers and reduced risk of prostate cancer after three and six months of treatment.
In an Australian study from the University of Queensland’s School of Medicine of patients with BPH, 32 men took an encapsulated formula containing saw palmetto, lycopene and other plant extracts, while 25 men were given a matched placebo capsule. After three months of treatment, men receiving the herbal formulation experienced a 36 percent reduction in prostate symptoms, while the placebo group showed an 8 percent reduction. The herbal supplement group also showed a 15 percent reduction in daytime urination frequency and an almost 40 percent reduction in nighttime urination frequency.
The long-term effectiveness of saw palmetto supplementation was reinforced in a Russian study of 38 patients with early prostate enlargement. After 10 years of receiving 320 milligrams of saw palmetto extract per day, researchers found no progression of the condition among the patients.