In part four of my look at saw palmetto’s use in benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also known as enlarged prostate, I hone in on the all-important safety and dosage for the herb. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that supplements don’t also need to be handled carefully. That is especially so, of course, if you are taking any prescription drugs.
In clinical studies, a dose of 320 milligrams (mg) once a day (160 mg twice daily) with the lipophilic extract containing 80%-90% of the volatile oil was used. Know that a higher dose of 480 mg a day was not found to be any more effective. The whole berries can be used at the recommended dosage of one to two grams a day. As with other herbal medications, the recommended dosage may vary because of the lack of standardization of these products in North America. Teas are not effective, as they do not contain the volatile oils.
Saw palmetto is well tolerated by most patients for up to five years. In general, there are more adverse reactions from the conventional drugs used to treat BPH than with saw palmetto. The most common adverse effects from saw palmetto include dizziness, headache, and gastrointestinal complaints such as nausea, vomiting, constipation and diarrhea. Taking saw palmetto with food minimizes the gastrointestinal side effects.
Here is a look at any interactions found with saw palmetto.
- Anti-androgenic Drugs: Additive effects may occur with saw palmetto and anti-androgen drugs such as finasteride, bicalutamide and flutamide. This means that taking one of these drugs and the herb at the same time has the same effect as just taking one of them, making the other redundant.
- Androgenic Drugs: Saw palmetto may decrease the efficacy of androgens, such as testosterone methyl testosterone, fluoxymesterone, and stanozolol.
- Anticoagulant, Anti-platelet Drugs: Saw palmetto should be used with caution if you are on any blood thinners. Consult with your physician before initiating saw palmetto use.
- Antihypertensive Drugs: If you have high blood pressure treated with antihypertensive drug(s), do consult with your physician before starting saw palmetto, as there were a few reports of hypertension as a result of taking saw palmetto.
Read my previous articles on this series here: