Nutrition

Saw Palmetto Benefits: Does It Reverse Hair Loss?

Is saw palmetto the hair loss remedy you've been looking for? Research shows this supplement can help treat male pattern baldness. And saw palmetto benefits the health of your prostate and urinary tract.

SUMMARY

Does a saw palmetto hair loss treatment have what it takes to achieve meaningful results in your wellness strategy? Saw palmetto can be used to treat baldness, and this plant can improve your health in other ways as well. Saw palmetto prostate treatments can help address prostate cancer and an enlarged prostate gland. And saw palmetto benefits testosterone levels and the health of your urinary tract.  

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Hair loss — which often takes the form of male pattern baldness — is a common affliction.

Many of us are eager to find healthy, natural solutions for addressing this problem. Saw palmetto is one such solution.

Saw palmetto is a palm tree. This tree produces saw palmetto berries; these berries contain compounds that support your health. An extract taken from these berries has been used to help add density to thinning hair. 

And saw palmetto benefits more than just hair loss. It supports prostate health. Also, this dietary supplement can treat urinary tract symptoms of infection, and it helps foster a healthy testosterone level.

What is saw palmetto all about, and does it deserve a place in your supplement lineup? Let’s investigate the issue. 

In this article, we will: 

  • Explain what saw palmetto is and where it comes from
  • List key saw palmetto health benefits
  • Find out if there are any saw palmetto side effects
  • Share insight regarding saw palmetto dosage

What is saw palmetto?

The saw palmetto plant is a species of palm tree. It’s shrublike and relatively small in size, and it’s also known as cabbage palm and American dwarf palm tree. This plant’s botanical names are Serenoa repensSerenoa serrulata and Sabal serrulata. 

Saw palmetto is native to Florida and other states in the southeastern U.S., and it’s also found in the West Indies. The health benefits of saw palmetto stem not from its leaves or trunk, but from its berries. 

So, which nutrients do these berries contain? Saw palmetto berries contain constituents such as:

  • Lauric acid
  • Myristic acid
  • Oleic acid
  • Triglycerides
  • Diglycerides
  • Monoglycerides
  • Phytosterols
  • Beta-sitosterol
  • Flavonoids
  • Polysaccharides
  • Lipase

Saw palmetto berries have long been revered by Native Americans for their healing properties. Members of the Seminole tribe ate the saw palmetto berry to help treat urinary tract symptoms and reproductive problems. 

Modern science supports the thinking behind these old traditions. Research shows that the saw palmetto berry contains compounds that can help treat conditions such as prostate cancer and male pattern baldness.

Saw palmetto benefits

When it comes to wellness, what is saw palmetto good for? Here are some key saw palmetto health benefits:

Saw palmetto benefit #1: Helps reduce an enlarged prostate

The prostate is a gland that’s part of the male reproductive system. Its main function is to produce the fluid that goes into a man’s semen. This fluid is vital if a man wants to preserve his fertility. 

Men can expect the prostate gland to experience two main growth periods. The first takes place with the onset of puberty; at this point, the prostate can double in size. The second growth phase starts at around 25 and can continue for the rest of a man’s life. The type of prostate enlargement that’s associated with health problems typically occurs during the prostate gland’s second growth phase. 

Benign prostatic hyperplasia

The prostate enlargement that takes place during the gland’s second growth phase is also referred to as benign prostatic hyperplasia. 

Some other terms for benign prostatic hyperplasia are benign prostate hyperplasia, benign prostatic hypertrophy and benign prostatic obstruction.

This condition can create unpleasant urinary symptoms. It can weaken the bladder and prevent it from emptying completely. This can ultimately cause an increase in urinary frequency; it’s not uncommon for people with this condition to feel the need to urinate eight or more times a day. It may also cause an increase in nighttime urination. 

Over time, benign prostatic hyperplasia can cause bladder damage, kidney damage and urinary tract infections. However, on the bright side, this condition is not cancerous. 

Some research indicates that saw palmetto benefits the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. In a 2015 study involving mice, the data showed that the extract taken from saw palmetto berries plays a beneficial role in addressing the causes and symptoms of an enlarged prostate.

Saw palmetto benefit #2: Treats prostate cancer 

One of the key benefits of saw palmetto concerns prostate cancer. 

Prostate cancer occurs when cancer takes root in the prostate gland. There are different types of prostate cancer. Here are a few varieties:

  • Small cell carcinomas
  • Sarcomas
  • Transitional cell carcinomas
  • Neuroendocrine tumors

Some types of this cancer grow quite rapidly. But in many cases, prostate cancer grows very slowly. Autopsy studies reveal that many men — both older and younger — who died of other causes had prostate cancer that never affected them during their lifetimes. In many cases, the men hadn’t been diagnosed with this cancer while they were alive. 

Research shows that saw palmetto benefits the treatment of prostate cancer. In a 2001 study, saw palmetto extract was shown to inhibit cell growth in prostatic cancer cells. 

Saw palmetto benefit #3: Improves urinary tract function

The list of saw palmetto health benefits includes its ability to help address problems with your urinary tract.

Many older men suffer from unpleasant urinary tract symptoms. These symptoms include difficulty urinating. In some cases, urinary tract symptoms may even include incontinence. 

2001 study showed that saw palmetto benefits the treatment of certain urinary tract symptoms. The study looked at men who were 45 or older with lower urinary tract symptoms such as slow urine flow. The research showed that participants who took 160 mg of saw palmetto berry extract twice daily over a six-month period showed improved urinary tract function and improved quality of life. 

Saw palmetto benefit #4: Prevents and treats hair loss

Hair loss can be caused by a host of different issues. Sometimes the problem is genetic. Certain medical conditions and medications can cause hair thinning. And sometimes hormonal changes can cause baldness. 

One of the most exciting benefits of saw palmetto surrounds its ability to treat male hair loss. 

So, what is saw palmetto capable of doing to help you retain a healthy head of hair? One of its key properties is its ability to block the activity of an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. This enzyme converts testosterone into a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). 

DHT has been linked to hair loss. Saw palmetto is an effective DHT blocker. 

2002 study showed that saw palmetto benefits the treatment of androgenic alopecia. This condition is also referred to as androgenetic alopecia or male pattern hair loss. The data showed that saw palmetto extract (taken from saw palmetto berries) improved hair growth in 60 percent of men with this condition. 

Saw palmetto benefit #5: Supports healthy testosterone levels

It’s common for a man’s testosterone level to diminish with age. This can have a negative impact on sex drive, cognition, mood and body composition. And low testosterone levels may even make you more at risk for conditions such as heart disease.

The lineup of saw palmetto health benefits includes its ability to help boost testosterone levels. 

A 2001 study looked at the effects of saw palmetto on 40 male participants. The study showed that saw palmetto caused a notable decrease in DHT levels. This indicates that saw palmetto benefits health by helping your body maintain ideal testosterone levels. 

Saw palmetto side effects

Saw palmetto is generally recognized as safe. There aren’t too many side effects linked with this dietary supplement.  

However, some people have reported headaches and dizziness when taking saw palmetto. It may also cause nausea and constipation. 

And there are some people who should avoid a saw palmetto supplement altogether. Because it can affect hormone levels, it’s not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. It’s also not recommended for those who are on hormone replacement therapy or hormonal contraceptives. 

Saw palmetto dosage

You’ll find saw palmetto supplements packaged as tablets, capsules and softgels. This natural health booster can also be consumed as a liquid extract or a powdered tea. 

So, what’s the ideal dosage for those seeking to realize maximum saw palmetto health benefits?

As far as research studies go, a common dosage is 320 mg per day. This is typically divided into two servings of an extract derived from saw palmetto berries taken over the course of a day. This is the saw palmetto dosage used in many of the clinical trials involving this supplement. 

Next steps

What is saw palmetto good for in your health journey? There’s one way to find out. Pick up a bottle of this dietary supplement online or at your local health food store. Add it to your daily regimen and see if it provides the benefits you’re seeking. 

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