Saw palmetto berry extract (SPE) may ease lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) in women, recent findings from a Japanese study indicate.

In a double-blind randomized trial that enrolled 76 women older than 50 years (mean age 69 years) with LUTS but not overactive bladder (OAB), patients treated with the extract for 12 weeks had significant improvement in daytime urination frequency and nocturia compared with patients who received a placebo, Shizuo Yamada, MD, of Kageyama Urology Clinic in Shizuoka, Japan, and colleagues reported in Nutrients.

The investigators evaluated symptoms by core lower urinary tract symptom score (CLSS) and OAB symptom score (OABSS) questionnaires. For both evaluations, higher scores indicate greater symptom severity.

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The mean difference from baseline to week 12 for CLSS question 1 (“How many times do you typically urinate from waking in the morning until sleeping at night” [daytime frequency]?) was significantly greater in the SPE than placebo group (-0.8 vs -0.4). Among patients with a score of 1 or higher for CLSS question 2 (“How many times to you typically urinate from sleeping at night until waking in the morning” [nocturia]?), the mean difference from baseline was significantly greater in the SPE arm (-0.7 vs -0.3).

The mean difference from baseline in OABSS for daytime frequency was significantly greater for the SPE than placebo group (-0.4 vs -0.1).

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate that SPE attenuated urinary symptoms in adult women,” the authors wrote.

The easing of urinary frequency by SPE may be partly attributed to the relaxation of bladder smooth muscle due to its antagonistic effect on muscarinic receptors in the bladder, according to the investigators.

Disclosure: This research was supported by Yawata Corporation. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.


Yamada S, Shirai M, Ono K, Kageyama S. Beneficial effects of saw palmetto fruit extract on urinary symptoms in Japanese female subjects by a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Nutrients. Published online March 11, 2022. doi:10.3390/nu14061190