Saw Palmetto extract comes from the serenoa repens, a plant that grows primarily in the southeastern United States. Saw Palmetto was originally used as a food source for European settlers in the early 1700s and today many species of wildlife rely on saw palmetto for its’ rich nutritional content.
Saw Palmetto is rich in several vitamins, minerals, and over 15 different types of fatty acids, which is why it is reported to have so many uses and benefits. Some of the users include:
Saw Palmetto Uses
Saw Palmetto has been extensively researched for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. Some studies suggest saw palmetto may be a safe and effective treatment for mild-to-moderate BPH, in lieu of common treatment methods like Finasteride.
The American Cancer Society believes that “Saw Palmetto is no more effective than placebos or common medications to treat cancer.
Saw Palmetto supposedly also raises testosterone levels in men, which is why many bodybuilding supplements contain saw palmetto. However, to this day, there is little to no evidence that would support the notion that saw palmetto has any testosterone-boosting effects on the body.
Finally, Saw Palmetto is often used for colds and coughs, to treat asthma and chronic bronchitis, and used as a diuretic and aphrodisiac.
Saw Palmetto for Hair Growth
The one definitive benefit to taking saw palmetto is for hair growth. In one study, saw palmetto increased hair growth on the growth in 38% of participants after taking 320mg of saw palmetto.
While the mechanism is exactly unknown, it is believed that the fatty acids in saw palmetto somehow block the enzyme that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, called DHT. DHT is predominately responsible for hair loss so blocking this enzyme in theory leads to hair growth.
Saw Palmetto Dosing
There are two recommended dosages for saw palmetto, depending on what you are using saw palmetto for. Here are the dosages that have been studied:
- For BPH: 160mg twice daily or 320mg once daily
- For treating bald spots: 200mg twice daily in conjunction with 50mg of beta-sitosterol twice daily
If you have any questions whether or not these dosages are right for you, then we recommend speaking to your doctor before taking saw palmetto. In fact, it is a good idea to speak to your doctor anyways just to let him or her know you plan on taking saw palmetto in the event you have an allergic reaction or experience a change in your health.
Side Effects of Saw Palmetto
According to Mayo Clinic, saw palmetto is likely safe for most people to take. Side effects, while not necessarily uncommon, are normally mild. Some people have reported headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and constipation. These side effects may be minor or mild in nature and may go away naturally after a few ways.
There are some concerns that saw palmetto may cause liver or pancreatic problems in certain individuals. However, in the reports of liver damage, it is not known whether or not saw palmetto was the actual cause of the side effects.
Pregnant or nursing mothers should avoid taking saw palmetto during pregnancy or when breast feeding an infant. This is because saw palmetto acts similarly to a hormone and this can cause moderate to severe problems to both the mother and infant. In addition, birth control pills may interact with contraceptive drugs because saw palmetto decreases the effects of estrogen in the body.
Finally, saw palmetto is reported to slow blood clotting. Some medical experts suggest that it may cause extra bleeding during and after surgery. Therefore, it may be best to stop taking saw palmetto at least two weeks before undergoing a scheduled surgical procedure.
Saw Palmetto is a supplement with only a few specific uses, so unless you want to treat balding or BPH, there’s no reason to take Saw Palmetto.
However, saw palmetto has shown promise in treating both balding and BPH so it may be something to consider trying if you have either condition.
For men suffering from hair loss, saw palmetto is especially worth considering. We’ve actually reviewed a supplement called Procerin that uses saw palmetto as one of its’ all-natural ingredients.
If you’d like more information on Procerin, then click here to read our full Procerin review.