Effects of Saw Palmetto Extract on BPH
Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens (W. Bartram) Small, Arecaceae) fruit extract is one of the most widely used treatments for symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). In many men, BPH results in bothersome urinary symptoms. Based on the results of two previously published papers,1,2 a specific saw palmetto herbal blend (SPHB*) is associated with prostatic epithelial contraction (cells getting smaller) and decreases in tissue levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). (This is the third publication on the SPHB based on the same clinical trial that resulted in the two previous publications.)
Although the general mechanism of action is known, the molecular mechanisms for these findings are not known. The authors hypothesize that the molecular basis for the action might be due to alterations in DNA content and chromatin (genetic material in a cell) structure and organization of prostate epithelial cells. One way to measure genetic alterations in tissue is to determine the quantitative nuclear grade (QNG). QNG is a biomarker that describes the nuclear size, shape, and chromatin structure and organization. Changes in QNG may reflect alterations in gene expression in response to treatment or changes in disease state. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial examines the effects of SPHB on the epithelial nuclear chromatin structure of men with symptomatic BPH.