The most important factor about saw palmetto is that it's been shown to slow the production of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, so taking it is a strong step to improve prostate health. This enzyme converts the male hormone testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) - a sex steroid and androgen hormone. While DHT is important because it plays a role in male development, it also contributes to many common health issues in men, such as loss of libido, an enlarged prostate and hair loss. By taking saw palmetto supplements or using the extract of this beneficial plant, you inhibit the production of this hormone and avoid these issues that are seen in middle-aged and older males.
The prostate's job is to make some of the fluid that protects and nourishes sperm cells in semen, making the semen more liquid. Just behind the prostate are glands called seminal vesicles that make most of the fluid for semen. The urethra, the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body through the penis, goes through the center of the prostate. The prostate is a gland found only in males, and it's located below the urinary bladder and in front of the rectum.
The size of the prostate changes with age. It's about the size of a walnut in younger men, but it can grow to be much larger in older men - and this can become problematic.
The prostate starts to develop before birth, and fuled by male hormones called androgens, it grows rapidly during puberty. The main androgen, testosterone, is made in the testicles. The enzyme 5-alpha reductase converts testosterone into DHT. DHT is the main hormone that signals the prostate to grow.
The prostate usually stays at about the same size or grows slowly in adults, as long as male hormones are present. It's when the prostate becomes enlarged that men begin experiencing symptoms from BPH and lower urinary tract issues.