Saw Palmetto For Hair Loss – Does It Work?

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Blog, Hair loss | Dhananjay Chavan | September 12, 2022

Male pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, can cause hair loss that progresses with aging, leading to thinning hair and baldness. While there is no cure for baldness, certain medications offer hope that the process can be slowed down. However, these medications are often accompanied by less than desirable side effects. 

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The search for natural and alternative remedies to treat thinning hair has led to several viable options. Commonly included in this list of potential remedies is saw palmetto for hair loss. 

Table of Contents

What is Saw Palmetto? 

What exactly is the role of saw palmetto in hair loss treatment? 

What is the recommended Saw Palmetto dosage for hair loss? 

What are the side effects of Saw Palmetto hair loss treatment?

The bottom line on Saw Palmetto hair loss treatment 

What is Saw Palmetto? 

The saw palmetto is a type of short, shrub-like palm tree. The berries of the saw palmetto plant are used to create an extract that is composed of fatty acids and sterols. It is this extract that plays a role in the use of saw palmetto for hair loss. 

What exactly is the role of Saw Palmetto in hair loss treatment?

One of the known causes of baldness is genetic sensitivity to DHT. Several hair loss treatments target the blocking of DHT to improve hair loss. The extract from the saw palmetto berries can inhibit 5α-reductase (5-alpha-reductase), the enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT. Saw palmetto hair loss treatment relies primarily on this property to curtail hair loss. Reduction in the level of DHT can prevent further thinning. 

While there aren’t enough studies to definitively answer whether saw palmetto works on hair loss, limited research has shown improved follicle growth and lower inflammatory response in those incorporating saw palmetto for hair loss treatment. 

Topical application of saw palmetto – Saw palmetto is available as a key ingredient in hair loss shampoos and conditioners. Although the topical application can also help reduce levels of DHT, its efficacy and dosage have not been extensively tested. 

Saw palmetto is also available as a supplement – in tablet, extract, or capsule form. However, due to potential side effects and drug interactions, it is recommended that saw palmetto hair loss supplements should only be started after consultation with your doctor. 

What are the side effects of Saw Palmetto hair loss treatment?

Saw palmetto is generally well tolerated. Stomach pain and headache have been reported as mild side effects. However, supplementing with saw palmetto may have more serious interactions with other drugs or supplements. Saw palmetto is itself known to thin blood so it should not be taken if you are already on other blood thinners. The blood-thinning effect of saw palmetto may also be dangerous if undisclosed before surgery, leading to excessive bleeding. 

Saw palmetto hair loss treatment works similar to that of the medication finasteride – approved for both hair loss and enlarged prostate. Since both treatments can have a similar effect on the body, it is important to avoid taking the two medications together unless advised by your doctor. 

The bottom line on Saw Palmetto hair loss treatment

Saw palmetto is a natural, ancient remedy for varied symptoms including hair loss. Taken in small doses, it is generally considered safe. However, despite its gaining popularity, saw palmetto has not been proven as a hair loss remedy. Further research may prove its efficacy, but in the meantime, it is best to take the supplement after consulting a doctor, while keeping an eye out for any side effects.

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