November is the month of men’s health and November 19 is International Men’s Day, celebrated for the past 21 years to raise global awareness of the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities. I recently wrote an article on the different types of masculinity represented by Joe Biden and Donald Trump. One of the differences has to do with Biden’s willingness to talk about his weaknesses and the challenges he’s faced with his physical and emotional health over the years.
When you are a man, you have a prostate among other important parts of your body. If you are a smart man, and I suspect you have been since reading this article, you want to keep all of your body parts in great physical shape so that they all work well together.
When it comes to men’s urinary health, saw palmetto is the undeniable king of botanical ingredients. No ingredient has a longer history and is more popular worldwide.
Saw palmetto was used by Native Americans from the 18th century. The first clinical reference appeared in a letter from Dr. JB Read to the American Journal of Pharmacy in April 1879. Eli Lilly and Company commercialized a liquid saw palmetto berry extract in the early 20th century that is now widely used by pharmaceutical and health companies across Europe for support and prostate health related urinary problems.
And while it is the leading prostate health supplement in the US, few men and fewer doctors understand the various forms of saw palmetto. When it comes to men’s urinary health, not all saw palmetto is created equal.
I learned that the hard way. When I was in the middle of life, I started having urinary problems, including more waking up at night, peeing, and the “urgency,” the experience of having to leave! These are not life threatening issues, but they can definitely affect our quality of life.
I went to my health food store and bought a bottle of 250 capsules and tried it. I wanted them to work. I hoped they would work. They seemed to be working for a short time. Then they stopped working. Before I gave up entirely, I decided to learn more about Saw Palmetto. I’m glad i did. I finally found the right deal.
What is saw palmetto?
Saw palmetto (or Serenoa repens) is a special and unique dwarf palm that only grows in the southeastern United States. The vast majority grow in the wild in Florida. And every year from around July to October, saw palmetto plants produce berries that change from green to yellow, orange, and purple as they ripen. These berries are part of the saw palmetto plant that is used for male urinary health.
Not all saw palmetto is created equal
There are two main forms of saw palmetto in the United States:
- Saw palmetto berry powder.
- Most products in the U.S. are made from unripe, cheap green berries that are dried, ground, and capsulated. While this is the most commonly purchased saw palmetto product, there is no scientific evidence of its benefits.
- Saw palmetto berry oil extract.
The technical name is lipidosterolic extract from Serenoa repens. If you do a Google search on this scientific name, you will find a treasure trove of clinical research showing its effectiveness.
The magic of the saw palmetto lies in the oil that is extracted from ripe berries. The advantages result in particular from the rich fatty acids in the oil extract. T.The scientific evidence shows benefits only for saw palmetto extract. However, even among the extracts available in the USA, there can be large fluctuations in terms of purity, potency and dosage. As a dietary supplement, there is no FDA guarantee that the quality and quantity of the main ingredients will remain constant.
What to Look For When Choosing a Saw Palmetto Product
Like most people, I didn’t understand the differences, so I figured any Saw Palmetto product would help. Most men just go to their health food store or order online thinking they are getting a product that works. And they often work for a short time.
Our minds are powerful. When we believe something is going to work, our minds can affect the biochemistry in our body. That is the reality behind the “placebo effect”. But we all want a product whose ingredients are proven to work and work beyond the effect of the placebo. Before I gave up on Saw Palmetto after it stopped working for me, I looked for a product that offered:
- Contains saw palmetto extract. Check the Supplement Facts label (back of the bottle) to make sure it contains saw palmetto extract. If it says “saw palmetto”, “saw palmetto berries”, “saw palmetto fruit” or something other than “saw palmetto extract”, you are receiving a product without proof of effectiveness.
- Is standardized to contain at least 80% fatty acids. Make sure that the saw palmetto extract is standardized to contain at least 80% fatty acids. This corresponds to the monograph of the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), which sets quality standards for drugs and dietary supplements. Standardized means that every dose in every bottle is consistent.
- Verified by Independent 3approx party. There are several hundred brands of Saw Palmetto products in the market. Studies have shown that some do not contain the dose indicated on the label or contain foreign substances not listed on the label. Verification by an independent third party such as USP ensures that the product you purchase is pure, effective, and made according to FDA good manufacturing standards.
- Made in the USA. Saw Palmetto is native to the southeastern United States and is the only place in the world where it grows.
Nature can be a powerful driver for health and wellbeing. Saw Palmetto extracts extensive historical and clinical evidence, making it a unique and very important natural resource that men can safely use to support their urinary and prostate health. If you are an educated buyer, that’s what I suspect if you’ve been there to read this whole article.
If you haven’t tried Saw Palmetto before, do the research and find the right deal. Buy products that contain Saw Palmetto Extract, contain 80% or more fatty acids, are third party verified, and are made in the USA If you’ve tried the other formulations like me, don’t give up. I’m glad I kept searching and learning, and I hope you do too.
If you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer them when I can. You can find more articles on men’s health on my blog.
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