From Florida to California, the Saw Palmetto tree (Serenoa repens) is a common sight in Southern American settings. Their trunks can reach heights of up to ten feet, and their characteristic spikey leaves wave in the wind like enormous fans. Does saw palmetto work to stop hair loss? Humans have been using this hardy palm for hundreds of years for basket weaving, oil and wax, food, and medicine.
Whether it is taken orally or as a topical extract, saw palmetto is still a widely used herbal supplement. In reality, almost 2 million men take a saw palmetto supplement for everyday problems, such as supporting prostate health and managing androgenetic alopecia (hair loss). We’ll talk about the advantages, security, and effectiveness of saw palmetto – as well as its potential to reduce hair loss.
How Does Saw Palmetto Help with Hair Loss?
Because excessive DHT synthesis leads to androgenetic alopecia, the same DHT that makes the prostate enlarge may also result in hair loss. Saw palmetto is thought to function by inhibiting DHT synthesis and lowering DHT uptake into your hair follicles.
By preventing the enzyme 5-reductase from converting testosterone to DHT, DHT synthesis is slowed and its capacity to bind to hormone receptors is diminished. Finasteride, a known DHT inhibitor, works so well to prevent hair loss because of this. Early studies and anecdotal data suggest that saw palmetto may reduce the balding process similarly, while additional clinical research is required.
Benefits of Saw Palmetto
Saw palmetto is used worldwide to relieve a variety of ailments or concerns, such as:
Urinary tract health
One of the most popular uses for saw palmetto pills is for prostate health. It is believed to treat benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), an enlargement of the non-cancerous prostate. As men age, BPH is a prevalent disorder that can lead to painful urinary symptoms, such as preventing urine from leaving the bladder. Additionally, it may result in kidney or urinary tract issues.
It’s interesting to note that saw palmetto may potentially be useful for hair loss through the same process that makes it possible for it to reduce prostate enlargement. The synthesis of 5-alpha reductase (5-AR), an enzyme that transforms testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the prostate gland, leads to enlarged prostate. Inhibiting the production of DHT, which is also the hormone linked to androgenetic alopecia, may help prevent pattern hair loss.
Does it work?
Saw palmetto for hair loss has received little attention from scientists up to this point. There is insufficient scientific evidence to support the use of saw palmetto for any health issue, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)Trusted Source.
But some scientists have studied the relationship between saw palmetto and hair loss. An enzyme known as 5-alpha reductase may be inhibited by saw palmetto, claims a 2012 study. This method is employed by the drug finasteride (Proscar) to treat male pattern baldness. Finasteride prevents the hormone that causes male pattern hair loss, dihydrotestosterone, from being formed from testosterone by blocking the enzyme 5-alpha reductase.
Saw palmetto may also have anti-inflammatory effects on the body, providing defense against some hair loss-causing factors. Researchers offered a supplement containing saw palmetto and beta-sitosterol to 10 males with androgenetic alopecia in a brief trial from 2002Trusted Source. Six of the 10 males showed improvement, according to the study. Additional study is required to support these conclusions because this study was extremely small.
In a 2012 study, 100 men with mild-to-moderate androgenetic alopecia participated. Over the course of two years, one group consumed 320 mg of saw palmetto every day, whereas the other received 1 mg of finasteride every day.
Final results showed that 68% of people on finasteride had improved hair loss, compared to 38% of people taking saw palmetto. This result implies that although both therapies had an impact, finasteride was more successful. The researchers also discovered that saw palmetto had a lower chance of working the worse the hair loss was. There is a need for more extensive research despite the fact that smaller studies have suggested that saw palmetto may have potential as a therapy for hair loss.
Saw palmetto seldom results in serious negative effects. Headaches and upset stomachs are the most typical negative effects of trusted source.
The NCCIHTrusted Source states that there is no evidence to suggest that saw palmetto interacts with any drugs. Before using saw palmetto, people should still consult their doctor to discuss any potential interactions that they may have with other medications.
Another issue with saw palmetto for men is that it can lower prostate-specific antigen levels (PSA). According to a trusted source, after consuming saw palmetto for 6–12 months, PSA readings may drop by 50%. Saw palmetto may reduce the accuracy of PSA levels testing used in prostate cancer screening.
Can Women Use Saw Palmetto?
The safety and effectiveness of saw palmetto haven’t been thoroughly researched in women because the majority of studies on it have focused on men. Unless you are pregnant or nursing, it is generally regarded safe to take. You should first talk to your healthcare practitioner if you take any medications or have ongoing health problems.
How Much Saw Palmetto Should I Take?
Saw palmetto berry extract in the amount of 160 mg per capsule in the BosleyMD Healthy Hair Growth Supplement for Males appears to be a beneficial dosage for men. Given that there is some, but insufficient, scientific information regarding saw palmetto’s oral safety and effectiveness in women, the BosleyMD Healthy Hair Growth Supplement for Women formula does not contain it.