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Blue Cross Blue Shield
Jan.-Feb. 2012, Vol. XXVII, No. 1
 
Front Page
Sugar's sweet - but are you eating too much of it?
Senior Medicare patrols
Pullman's 'workers' paradise'
Welcome Part D members!
High blood pressure FAQs
Headaches? Way to cope
Jewish Heartland cooking
Three-generation travel
Common phrase sources
Winter walk precautions
Cold or flu?
Health eCards wins award
More preventive screenings
'Saw palmetto' supplements
Physician info database
Overseas travel tips
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Do you take saw palmetto supplements?

Saw palmetto is sometimes touted as a "natural" remedy for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), commonly known as enlarged prostate. BPH is often associated with lower urinary tract symptoms such as frequent urination and urinary urgency or hesitancy, especially among older men.

However, results of some clinical trials suggest the supplements — derived from the fruit of the saw palmetto dwarf palm tree - do not significantly reduce BPH symptoms.

In a recent study, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston conducted a placebo-controlled trial to determine if a standard daily dose of saw palmetto extract, doubled and then tripled over a 72-week period, would improve BPH symptoms. The study, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), included 369 men ages 45 and older. It was carried out at 11 North American clinical sites.

Results of the study, based on participants' scores on self-reported assessments of symptoms, found saw palmetto to be no more effective than the placebo. Led by Michael J. Barry, M.D., researchers write: "We found that saw palmetto extract used at up to three times the standard daily dose had no greater effect than placebo on improving lower urinary symptoms."

The JAMA report says researchers also found saw palmetto extract to be no better than placebo for relieving BPH-related issues such as sexual function, continence and sleep quality.


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