Study unlocks Saw Palmetto extract’s prostate health mechanism

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© NoDerog / Getty Images
© NoDerog / Getty Images

Related tags Saw palmetto Benign prostatic hyperplasia Prostate Urology Men's Health

Valensa’s Supercritical CO2 extract from Saw Palmetto (USPlus) may support prostate health by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, according to a new study.

Data published in the journal Uro​ indicated that Valensa’s extract had similar activity to the herbal medicine Permixon (well-established hexanic extract of Saw Palmetto) for inhibiting the enzyme 5alpha-reductase (5αR), which converts testosterone to its active metabolite, dihydrotestosterone.

Both saw palmetto extracts also had comparable lipid profiles based on total fatty acid levels, weight/weight comparisons of individual fatty acids, and individual fatty acid ratios to lauric acid, according to researchers from US Nutraceuticals (Valensa International).

“Saw palmetto has been a staple botanical for men’s urological health. However, the products in the market are inconsistent and many do not provide an extract with the fatty acid profile and dose for clinical effectiveness,” ​said Margaret Dohnalek, PhD, chief science officer and senior vice president, research and innovation for Valensa, and co-author on the new paper.

“Valensa’s USPlus, saw palmetto, a patented pure lipidosterolic extract, delivers the mechanism of action and represents the lipid profile shown by the global body of literature to provide specific support to the prostate in men exhibiting lower urinary tract symptoms.”

Top seller

Extracts from the berries of saw palmetto (Serenoa repens​) are reported to improve symptoms related to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) in human clinical trials, and dietary supplement products containing saw palmetto berries and/or their extracts are among the top-selling botanical dietary supplements in the United States — ranking 18th in the mainstream market (supermarkets, drug stores, grocery stores, etc.) and 17th in the natural foods channel with a combined $33.85 million in sales for both channels, according to the latest Herb Market Report​ for 2021 by the American Botanical Council (ABC).

Study details

The new study sought to compare the activity of Valensa’s USPlus Saw Palmetto extract, obtained via ultrahigh-pressure supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) extraction, with Permixon, which meets the standard set by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for a well-established use medicinal product. Permixon is not available in the US.

The data demonstrated that USPlus and Permixon had almost identical inhibition curves and measures of potency for both 5αR-1 and 5αR-2.

In a release from Valensa, the company also suggested that the extract may play a role in slowing down androgenic-mediated hair loss associated with this conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone.

Source: Uro
2023, 3(1), 27-39; doi: 10.3390/uro3010005
“Lipid Profile and 5α-Reductase Inhibition Activity of Proprietary Ultrahigh-Pressure Supercritical Carbon Dioxide and Hexane Saw Palmetto Extracts”
Authors: E.J. Cartwright et al.

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