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Saw palmetto, a plant sometimes used in medicine to treat an enlarged prostate, has been used as a remedy for different health conditions. Although sources rarely mention saw palmetto among the herbs to aid diabetes, it may contain properties that might relieve certain effects of the disorder, such as possibly helping to regulate blood sugar levels. However, using saw palmetto or other alternative medicine should be done under the supervision of your doctor when you have diabetes.
Diabetes occurs when the body’s cells do not use blood glucose, also called blood sugar, properly and the levels begin to fluctuate. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas produces insulin, which regulates blood sugar, but the cells are unable to recognize, thus causing a deficiency in insulin production. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin at all. Type 1 diabetes is sometimes referred to as juvenile diabetes, but adults can also get it. Diet, exercise and medication help to control the condition.
- Diabetes occurs when the body’s cells do not use blood glucose, also called blood sugar, properly and the levels begin to fluctuate.
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Fatigue is often a symptom of both types of diabetes because the body lacks blood sugar to produce energy. Other symptoms include unusual thirst, frequent urination, extreme hunger, weight loss and irritability. Type 2 diabetes may also result in blurred vision, bruises or cuts that heal slowly, tingling and numbness in the extremities, and frequent skin or gum infections.
Saw palmetto may help the pancreas and contribute to balancing blood sugar levels for diabetes, according to an article on The Herbs Place website written by James D. Jenks, a doctor of homeopathic medicine 1. The fruit of the plant may help repair wasting body conditions and work to help people with type 2 diabetes. Saw palmetto is just one of many herbs that Dr. Jenks mentions that might help restore blood sugar levels for diabetics. These include golden seal, juniper berries, mullein leaves, yarrow flower and garlic bulb. Because of the general weakness and fatigue caused by diabetes, some complaints from the disorder include impotence. Saw palmetto has been used to enhance sexual drive, MedlinePlus notes, but research in this area remains inconclusive.
- Saw palmetto may help the pancreas and contribute to balancing blood sugar levels for diabetes, according to an article on The Herbs Place website written by James D. Jenks, a doctor of homeopathic medicine 1.
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Saw palmetto has been used as a diuretic to increase urine flow, but not enough research has been done to confirm its effectiveness, according to MedlinePlus. Frequent urination is a symptom of diabetes because excess blood sugar builds up in the blood, causing the kidneys to absorb and excrete the excess sugar, which also leads to increased thirst. Limited evidence suggests that saw palmetto may cause problems with the pancreas for some people, but not enough research has been done in this area, and the problems could be caused by other factors. MedlinePlus states that saw palmetto is likely safe for most people to take, with possible mild side effects such as dizziness, headache and nausea.
- Saw palmetto has been used as a diuretic to increase urine flow, but not enough research has been done to confirm its effectiveness, according to MedlinePlus.
- Limited evidence suggests that saw palmetto may cause problems with the pancreas for some people, but not enough research has been done in this area, and the problems could be caused by other factors.
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- The Herbs Place: A Common Sense Approach to Strengthening the Pancreas
- Saw Palmetto. Penn State Hershey. Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Health Information Library
- Saw Palmetto. Natural Medicines Database. Professional Monograph.
- Saw Palmetto. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. About Herbs, Botanicals, and Other Products.
- Agbabiaka TB1, Pittler MH, Wider B, Ernst E. "Serenoa repens (saw palmetto): a systematic review of adverse events." Drug Saf. 2009;32(8):637-47.
- Gerber GS1. "Saw palmetto for the treatment of men with lower urinary tract symptoms." J Urol. 2000 May;163(5):1408-12.
- Gordon AE1, Shaughnessy AF. "Saw palmetto for prostate disorders." Am Fam Physician. 2003 Mar 15;67(6):1281-3.
- Morgia G1, Mucciardi G, Galì A, Madonia M, Marchese F, Di Benedetto A, Romano G, Bonvissuto G, Castelli T, Macchione L, Magno C. "Treatment of chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome category IIIA with Serenoa repens plus selenium and lycopene (Profluss) versus S. repens alone: an Italian randomized multicenter-controlled study." Urol Int. 2010;84(4):400-6.
- National Institutes of Health. "Saw palmetto: MedlinePlus Supplements." February 2015.
- Prager N1, Bickett K, French N, Marcovici G. "A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to determine the effectiveness of botanically derived inhibitors of 5-alpha-reductase in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia." J Altern Complement Med. 2002 Apr;8(2):143-52.
- Tacklind J1, Macdonald R, Rutks I, Stanke JU, Wilt TJ. "Serenoa repens for benign prostatic hyperplasia." Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Dec 12;12:CD001423.
Jerry Shaw writes for Spice Marketing and LinkBlaze Marketing. His articles have appeared in Gannett and American Media Inc. publications. He is the author of "The Complete Guide to Trust and Estate Management" from Atlantic Publishing.