Saw palmetto vs. Beta-sitosterol: Which Is Better?

When it comes to relieving the symptoms of an enlarged prostate, there are a variety of nutrients, vitamins, and herbal extracts you can use.

Such remedies include pumpkin seed oil, pollen rye, nettle sting, African pygeum, selenium, and zinc—but the two most well-known are saw palmetto and beta-sitosterol.

Moreover, in almost any highly rated prostate supplements, you are almost guaranteed to see either saw palmetto or beta-sitosterol as one of its primary ingredients, or sometimes its only ingredient.

This article will go over in detail exactly why both these ingredients can be so helpful at treating urinating problems, and what then the difference between them is? And finally, which is better: saw palmetto or beta-sitosterol?

To answer these questions, first, lets go over what an enlarged prostate or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasmia (BPH) is…

What is an Enlarged Prostate?

An enlarged prostate, also known as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasmia, or BPH for short, is a non-cancerous tissue growth of the prostate.

It affects most by age 80, but early symptoms begin to show for many in their 40’s. 

Early signs of BPH usually start with bladder problems like increased frequency of bathroom trips and/or sudden urges.

As the prostate continues to grow, the symptoms worsen in severity, sometimes leading to dribbling, staining, a weak stream, and/or increased night time trips to the bathroom.

To relieve these symptoms, saw palmetto and beta-sitosterol are frequently used to keep the prostate from further growing or even shrinking its size.

What is Saw Palmetto?

The saw palmetto berry is native to the subtropical and tropical southeastern United States. It goes under several scientific names: Serenoa repens, Serenoa serrulate or Sabal serrulate.

Traditionally, saw palmetto was eaten and used in various medicines by native Americans to improve sexual or reproductive issues and treating coughs, and colds.

What is Saw Palmetto Used For?

Today, saw palmetto is most known for its relieving benefits associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia and hair loss.

Studies indicate saw palmetto may be able to reduce prostate size and subsequently the pressure it places on your urethra and bladder. In turn, this relieves symptoms like the strong urge to urinate, in addition to also soothing pelvic pain.

How does Saw Palmetto work?

Saw palmetto eases urinary symptoms by lowering inflammation levels and helping block the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

It’s thought that increased dihydrotestosterone contributes to prostate enlargement. This study indicated saw palmetto can potentially shrink prostate enlargement by blocking 5-alpha-reductase, the enzyme that changes testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). 

Saw palmetto can also prevent it from progressively growing larger in the future. In fact, a respected 15-year study indicated saw palmetto prevented the progression of BPH in men who were at risk. 

Research also suggests that saw palmetto may also help stop hair loss in men since increased DHT production is the main contributing factor in male pattern baldness.

However, the clinical studies as a hair loss treatment agent hasn’t yielded any solid results.

Above all, saw palmetto is well tolerated with minimal side effects.

What is Beta-sitosterol?

Beta-sitosterol is a plant sterol that’s naturally occurring in various food sources including avocados, fava beans, nuts, vegetable oil, wheat germ, and lentils.

What is Beta-sitosterol Used For?

Studies show that Beta-sitosterol may help reduce the size of an enlarged prostate and the urinary symptoms that’s caused by it.

Beta-sitosterol works the same way saw palmetto does— it reduces inflammation and blocks dihydrotestosterone.

Shrinking back an enlarged prostate helps relieve urinary flow difficulties and reduces potential infections caused by poor urine flow. Beta-sitosterol has been used to treat BPH for years and has an impressive history of scientific results – not only reducing frequent urge to urinate, but can also prevent symptoms from worsening over time.

Aside from treating BPH, beta-sitosterol can also be used regularly to help keep cholesterol levels in a normal range.

That’s because beta-sitosterol is a plant sterol.  Plant sterols have been used in medicines and household foods for years to help reduce high cholesterol.  

Researchers think beta-sitosterol may be useful for people who are at risk of high cholesterol, or those already struggling with it, by preventing cholesterol from entering their bodies in the first place. 

Because its chemical structure is very similar to cholesterol, beta-sitosterol is absorbed by the body instead. When the body absorbs beta sitosterol instead of bad cholesterol, it leads to a reduction in high cholesterol levels and cuts heart disease risks. 

How Effective Are Each Compared to Each Other?

Overall, studies show beta-sitosterol and saw palmetto are equally effective at treating an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia. 

Both have strong research backgrounds and medically supported claims they can help reduce benign prostatic hyperplasia—though scientific literature shows that beta-sitosterol delivers more health benefits outside of BPH.

Interestingly, saw palmetto contains a high amount of beta-sitosterol as one of its compounds. Some experts suggest that saw palmetto’s ability to treat BPH symptoms is due to its beta-sitosterol content. 

This has led to research on a saw palmetto beta-sitosterol combo where saw palmetto oil was enriched with beta-sitosterol. In this trial, men experienced reduced dihydrotestosterone-creating enzymes and better urine flow rate.

Both saw palmetto and beta-sitosterol are considered safe.

How Long Does it Take for Each to Work?

How long each takes to work really depends on the individual and the severity of their problem, but studies suggest beta-sitosterol and saw palmetto can take between four weeks to six months to show signs of improvement on an enlarged prostate.

Overall, saw palmetto and beta-sitosterol are slow burners. They aren’t instantaneous fixes and need to be taken regularly for an extended period of time to reap potential benefits. 

Patience and the ability to routinely take supplements are required, but your work may pay off in the form of better urine flow, less urine retention, and fewer infections. Saw palmetto and beta-sitosterol may also prevent your symptoms from worsening in the future. 

Conclusion

Both saw palmetto and beta-sitosterol can be effective nutrients to combat and control an enlarged prostate, also known as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasmia (BPH).

You can’t go wrong with using either one. The advantages that one has over the other are the benefits saw palmetto and beta-sitosterol has on your health outside of the prostate.

However, the scientific evidence suggests that each of these nutrients are most reliable when treating urinary symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate.

For most effective usage, it’s a good idea to use both together.

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