June 01, 2020 3 min read

Saw Palmetto is a popular herbal remedy for hair loss, but is there any scientific evidence to support it? Before we dive into answering that question, what exactly is Saw Palmetto? Also known as Serenoa repens, Saw Palmetto is a small palm tree that is native to the United States and to the West Indies. Saw Palmetto has long been used as a healing plant by Native Americans. The berries of the Saw Palmetto tree are used as ingredients for many hair loss supplements and hair loss shampoos.

It is believed that the berries are able to block dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is the hormone responsible for Androgenetic Alopecia, also known as Genetic Hair Loss. DHT in the blood stream is able to interact with androgen receptors at the base of hair follicles to cause genetic hair loss. Our genetics determine the distribution of these androgen receptors and the hair loss pattern that we see. Saw Palmetto affects the production of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase which causes the production of DHT. DHT is actually a by product of testosterone. By preventing the 5-alpha reductase enzyme then we can prevent the conversion of testosterone to DHT.

To date Saw Palmetto is used as a herbal treatment for hair loss, bladder infections, prostate cancer and decreased sex drive. There is also evidence to suggest that Saw Palmetto can also be used to treat an enlarged prostate. Research so far for Saw Palmetto as a Hair Loss treatment has been limited but promising. A research study into Saw Palmetto’s ability to treat an enlarged prostate saw hair loss slow or stop in some of the participants.

Another study that was specifically looking at the effects of Saw Palmetto on hair loss saw positive results for men. A topical saw palmetto solution and 10% trichogen veg complex were used for this study. Of the 25 participants in the study, nearly half of them saw their hair count increase by 11.9% after 4 months of using the treatment. While this study used a topical saw palmetto solution, it is more common to see Saw Palmetto being taken in a tablet form. Tablets and capsule forms of Saw Palmetto are the two forms of Saw Palmetto that are being actively researched.

For the time being Saw Palmetto is still viewed as an alternative treatment rather than a mainstream solution. With more research being conducted all the time, we are continually getting a better view as to the potential that Saw Palmetto has. At the moment there are 2 FDA-Approved drug treatments for Hair Loss, Finasteride and Minoxidil. Finasteride works in the same way as Saw Palmetto, by preventing the production of 5-alpha reductase. Finasteride is a more potent 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, but that does mean the severity of potential side effects is higher too. Saw Palmetto could be the solution for you if you are worried about the potential side effects of other treatments. Saw Palmetto can be teamed up with any other treatment for hair loss to maximise your results.

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