Consumers Advised to Read Labels Carefully When Selecting Herbal Supplements For Prostate

WHITE PLAINS, NY, – reported today that only two-thirds of the saw palmetto supplements it recently evaluated contained ingredients similar to those known to work in clinical studies. Saw palmetto is a popular herb due to its ability to reduce the frequency and urgency of urination in men with prostate enlargement. More than $33 million worth of saw palmetto supplements were sold in the past 12 months in the U.S. according to market research firms SPINS and ACNielsen. identified two products with doses that were about half the amount known to work. Although both claimed to contain other botanical ingredients with potential prostate activity, it is not known if these would compensate for the low levels of saw palmetto. Two other products indicated on their labels that they were made from saw palmetto extracts having lower amounts of fatty acids and sterols than the standard 85% - 95% – in fact, one claimed only “20% - 25%.” A fifth product was found to contain unusually high levels of sterols and specific fatty acids, suggesting the addition of undeclared oil in the product.

“Consumers need to understand that supplements are often designed by marketers, not clinicians,” said Tod Cooperman, M.D., president of specifically recommends that a saw palmetto product claim a daily dose of either 320 mg of berry extract or one to two grams of berry powder. Extracts should be standardized to at least 85% fatty acids and 0.2% sterols, while berry powders should be standardized to a minimum of 8.5 % fatty acids and 0.02% sterols.”

The review can be found at and includes results for 22 saw palmetto products, including the fourteen reviewed (of which nine met’s quality standards) and eight others that recently passed the same evaluation through CL’s Voluntary Certification Program. The review also provides information about other ingredients used in treating prostate enlargement: pygeum bark, nettle root, pumpkin seed, and beta-sitosterol. CL’s Reviews of other popular types of supplements are also available online. Soon to be released are new reviews of Calcium (including Coral Calcium), Cholesterol-Lowerers (Sterols, Policosanol and Guggulsterones), and Muscular Enhancers (Creatine, HMB, and Glutamine).'s Guide to Buying Vitamins and Supplements is scheduled for print publication this year. is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. The company is privately held and based in White Plains, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products. is affiliated with (, an evaluator of online pharmacies. Subscription to is available online. For group subscriptions, Technical Reports, or product testing contact Lisa Sabin, Vice President for Business Development, at [email protected].

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