Safety of Saw Palmetto Confirmed

October 22, 2012

At doses as high as 960 mg, saw palmetto supplementation proved safe in male subjects.

Extensive research on saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) suggests that the ingredient may alleviate several male health conditions, including benign prostatic hyperplasia (HPC) and nocturia (late-night urination). For these and other reasons, saw palmetto remains one of the most commonly purchased dietary supplements in the United States.

But is saw palmetto safe for long-term consumption?

Writing in The Journal of Urology, U.S. researchers assessed the toxicity of saw palmetto on 369 participants in the Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Urological Symptoms (CAMUS) trial. Participants were assigned to 320 mg, 640 mg, 960 mg of ethanol-extracted saw palmetto or placebo capsules. After regular assessments of adverse event reports, vital signs, and blood and urine, researchers observed no statistical differences between the health conditions of participants in either group.

Added confidence comes from the fact that no changes in toxicity were reported with 960 mg of daily saw palmetto, a dosage three-times higher than the standard 320 mg often marketed to consumers.

Even though the study focused on toxicity rather than efficacy, the researchers did investigate urinary health symptoms. These symptoms tended to improve in all participants, regardless of intervention, according to Reuters news agency. This additional finding does lend to what has become somewhat of a mixed bag for urinary health improvement with saw palmetto.