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SAW PALMETTO: WILL TAKING SP PREVENT SOME OF THE SIDE EFFECTS FROM DHEA?

One of the theoretical problems in taking DHEA is the possibility that this hormone's conversion into testosterone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and estrogens, could potentially stimulate prostatic growth. Although there's no formal proof that this occurs, individual anecdotes have pointed to this possibility, especially with high doses of DHEA such as 15 mg or more. Most people consider 15 mg a low dose, however, I personally think the majority of users of these over the counter hormones are overdosing.

DHEA could accumulate in body tissues, and using it daily could eventually lead to side effects.

Is it possible that combining SP with DHEA or testosterone could reduce the possibility of unpleasant androgenic effects?

We don't have any human studies to indicate what the combination of DHEA or testosterone with SP will do. However, a French study done on rodents gives us some clues. In this trial, two groups of rats were chosen: 1) The first group was castrated and treated with estradiol and testosterone. 2) The second group was castrated, treated with estradiol and testosterone, but, in addition, was given SP.

After three months of continuous treatment with estradiol and testosterone, the first group had markedly increased prostate weight. The weight of the prostate gland in the second group, the ones also given SP did not change. The researchers stated, "These results demonstrate that administering LSESR (lipidosterolic extract of Serenoa repens, or SP) to hormone-treated castrated rats inhibits the increase in prostate wet weight. This effect of LSESR may explain the beneficial effect of this extract in human benign prostatic hypertrophy."

At this point it is unclear whether the human prostate gland would respond similarly to the rat prostate. However, for the time being, it would make sense for any man on DHEA or testosterone to also consider taking SP if clinical evaluation by a physician shows the hormone therapy is influencing the size of the gland.

As to whether a woman on DHEA would benefit from SP is currently not known. It may be worthwhile for clinicians to try the combination to see if SP prevents or decreases any of the side effects associated with DHEA, such as pimples and facial hair growth. However, if a woman is getting masculinizing effects from DHEA, her dose should be reduced.

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