Question: I want to start thinking more about my prostate health. Of course, I see saw palmetto all over the place — is this the best choice?
Dr. Wright: As natural medicine became ever more popular in the last quarter of the 20th century, more and more herbal products were introduced among them a breakthrough herbal treatment for BPH: saw palmetto. Saw palmetto quickly became available in nearly all natural food stores, and almost immediately became a bestseller, as it is quite effective for reducing…sometimes dramatically…the symptoms of BPH.
But even though saw palmetto was usually effective for the symptoms of BPH, I continued to recommend using zinc and essential fatty acids first for at least three to four months, followed by saw palmetto only if zinc and essential fatty acids together weren’t effective in that time.
My reasoning, admittedly theoretical (no money for controlled studies was or is available), is that zinc and essential fatty acids are essential to life and health, and saw palmetto isn’t. Most Americans live entire lifetimes without even one microgram of saw palmetto, but no one can live long without zinc or essential fatty acids! So even though saw palmetto isn’t thought to be harmful (more about this below), it’s best to use zinc and essential fatty acids for BPH first.
If a man’s prostate function improves with more zinc, then his retina and hearing apparatus (both of which normally contain more zinc than the prostate) will very likely benefit from some of that supplemental zinc, too even if those areas aren’t yet symptomatic.
Similarly, if a man’s prostate function is improved with additional essential fatty acids, then likely his cardiovascular health will be improved as well. As my readers know, in just the last few years many research studies have shown that essential fatty acids significantly reduce risk of atherosclerotic vascular disease.
Again, if after three to four months zinc and essential fatty acids aren’t effective, saw palmetto can always be tried next.
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