Use of saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) extract for benign prostatic hyperplasia

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22 Scopus citations


Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a noncancerous growth of the prostate. BPH commonly occurs in elderly men. Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) secondary to BPH (LUTS/BPH) have significant impacts on their health. Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) extract (SPE) has been evaluated for its effectiveness in improvement of LUTS/BPH at preclinical and clinical levels. Potential mechanisms of actions include anti-androgenic, pro-apoptotic, and anti-inflammatory effects. However, SPE efficacy was inconsistent, at least partly due to a lack of a standardized SPE formula. A hexane extract (free fatty acids, > 80%) provided more consistent results. Free fatty acids (lauric acid) were effective in inhibition of 5α-reductase, and phytosterol (β-sitosterol) reduced prostatic inflammation. Multiple actions derived from different constituents may contribute to SPE efficacy. Evaluation of the clinical relevance of these bioactive components is required for standardization of SPE, thereby enabling consistent efficacy and recommendations for the use in the prevention and treatment of BPH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1599-1606
Number of pages8
JournalFood Science and Biotechnology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Korean Society of Food Science and Technology.


  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia
  • Fatty acids
  • Phytosterol
  • Saw palmetto extract
  • Standardized formula


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