Saw Palmetto is endemic in North America in sandy regions such as the coastal areas of North Carolina, Texas, and Florida. It can also be found growing in the West Indies. These small palms are extremely hardy and prone to very slow growth. Some of those in Florida, for example, are thought to be 500 years old or possibly older.
The berries of Saw Palmetto contain important chemical compounds such as phytosterols and fatty acids. The Native Americans created tonics from the berries of this palm to promote positive health of the reproductive systems and the urinary tract as well as for a treatment against nocturia. Today it is recommended by medical professionals in the United States, Germany, and Europe to specifically promote positive prostate health.
A healthy prostate is extremely important to the overall positive health and wellbeing of men. Many of the treatments for prostate issues cause erectile dysfunction, most especially those concerning prostate cancer. In a clinical study of the effects of radiation treatment of prostate cancer all participants reported an alteration of potency after treatment. 42% of subjects retained potency; however, they demonstrated a decrease. The other 58% presented with critical erectile dysfunction.
The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Peking University Health Science Center in Beijing, PR China examined the effects of Saw Palmetto on prostate cancer. It was found to arrest the cells of prostate cancer. In addition, the properties of this plant were found to inhibit the LNCaP cells present as tumor xenografts and encourage apoptosis of LNCaP cells with no adverse effects to the subject. These results demonstrate that it is possible to treat prostate cancer with Saw Palmetto.
The Deflating Effects of BPH
The Medical Department of A. Vogel Bioforce AG in Roggwil, Switzerland recognizes and confirms that benign prostatic hyperplasia is a high risk factor for erectile dysfunction. In addition to this confirmation, the department stated that many treatments for prostatic hyperplasia caused several severe sexual dysfunctions in general. The group performed a study in which they treated 82 patients with a Saw Palmetto Berry preparation for 8 weeks. After the 8 week period this treatment reduced prostate symptoms and improved overall sexual function. This also confirmed a correlation between benign prostatic hyperplasia symptom improvement and a reduction of erectile and sexual dysfunction.
The Relaxing Effects of Saw Palmetto
An article published by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health addresses the fact that chronic contractions of smooth muscle can decrease penile erection events. One approach is to treat patients with pharmaceuticals which encourage smooth muscle relaxation to initiate penile erection. In a study, the results of which were published on Pub Med, Saw Palmetto lipid extract inhibit contractions of the prostatic smooth muscle validate claims that the properties of Saw Palmetto can reduce erectile dysfunction events.
Another important finding is that the catalytic site of Phosphodiesterase 5 normally deteriorates L-arginine-nitric oxide-guanylyl cyclase-cyclic guanosine monophosphate. Therefore medications which inhibit this breakdown at the catalytic site trigger relaxation of trabecular smooth muscle and leads to venous constriction and arterial dilatation resulting in penile erection.
The Department of Pharmacology at the Shanghai Medical College of the Fudan University in Shanghai, China conducted a study to evaluate the effects of Saw Palmetto on the corpus cavernous as well as determine the underlying methodology. This evaluation discovered that Saw Palmetto did indeed inhibit Phosphodiesterase 5 actions within the corpus cavernosum smooth muscles. Its properties also increased messenger ribonucleic acid and inducible nitric oxide synthase. The results of which were positive penile function.
Magli, A. “Erectile Dysfunction after Prostate Three-dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy. Correlation with the Dose to the Penile Bulb.” Pub Med. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. Web. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
Yang, Y. “Saw Palmetto Induces Growth Arrest and Apoptosis of Androgen-dependent Prostate Cancer LNCaP Cells via Inactivation of STAT 3 and Androgen Receptor Signaling.” Pub Med. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 1 Sept. 2007. Web. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
Suter, A. “Improving BPH Symptoms and Sexual Dysfunctions with a Saw Palmetto Preparation? Results from a Pilot Trial.” Pub Med. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 1 Feb. 2013. Web. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
Steers, William D. “Pharmacologic Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction.” Pub Med. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 1 Jan. 2002. Web.www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles
Chua, T. “Pharmacological Characterization and Chemical Fractionation of a Liposterolic Extract of Saw Palmetto (Serenoa Repens): Effects on Rat Prostate Contractility.” Pub Med. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 1 Mar. 2014. Web.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
Corbin, JD. “Mechanisms of Action of PDE5 Inhibition in Erectile Dysfunction.” Pub Med. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 1 June 2004. Web. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15224127
Yang, S. “Saw Palmetto Extract Enhances Erectile Responses by Inhibition of Phosphodiesterase 5 Activity and Increase in Inducible Nitric Oxide Synthase Messenger Ribonucleic Acid Expression in Rat and Rabbit Corpus Cavernosum.” Pub Med. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 1 June 2013. Web. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23622773