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“Prostate Enlargement, Supplements, and Lies?”

About half of men in the US over age 50, and 75 percent by age 80 are affected by prostate enlargement.  An enlarged prostate can make it difficult to urinate and can cause urinary tract infections.  A new randomized study from the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston reported that an herbal supplement, saw palmetto, that is widely sold in the United States and Europe to relieve urinary symptoms in men with an enlarged prostate, has no benefit over a placebo.  In fact, even at the highest dose (960 milligrams) saw palmetto fared no better than placebo.  Actually, saw palmetto extract was no better than placebo for any of the other outcomes, including measures of urinary bother, painful urination, excessive urination at night, measures of sexual function, continence, sleep quality and symptoms of prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate).  Saw palmetto extract comes from the berries of the saw palmetto dwarf plant tree.  Researchers said, “These supplements are apparently not doing anything measurably above and beyond what we call the placebo effect.”

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