, Volume 250, Issue 1-2, pp 21-26

Comparison of Saw Palmetto (extract and whole berry) and Cernitin on prostate growth in rats

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Abstract

Pharmaceuticals such as finasteride and alpha blockers are used to treat symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and are known to cause severe adverse reactions. Accordingly, a search for safer, natural products has been undertaken. Two natural agents (nutraceuticals) have come under recent scrutiny; because natural products, in general, often have evidence of long-term safety. The present study compares the in vivo effects on androgen-induced prostatic enlargement in rats of two nutraceuticals – the widely recognized Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) and the less well-known Cernitin (defined pollen extract). Non-castrated rats, had a mean prostate weight of 124 mg ± 8.8 (S.E.M.) compared to the 24.5 mg ± 1.9 (S.E.M.) of the castrated rat followed under the same regimen (p < 0.01). When castrated rats were given testosterone, the mass increased significantly to 250.0 mg ± 31.7 (S.E.M.) (p < 0.01). In the five remaining groups, castrated rats receiving testosterone were given finasteride, an extract of Saw Palmetto, crushed whole berry derived from Saw Palmetto fruit, a water soluble and fat soluble extract of Cernitin or a combination of the Saw Palmetto extract and Cernitin. All treatments decreased the size of the prostate to roughly the same size as in the non-castrated rats, a size that was significantly smaller than castrated rats treated with testosterone in the same manner (p < 0.01). A second study examining non-castrated rats treated with very high doses of testosterone showed similar results. In both studies, the nutraceuticals generally decreased body weight. In conclusion, these studies show the ability of Saw Palmetto (whole berry and extract) and Cernitin to influence prostatic hyperplasia via effects on androgen metabolism.