Research concerning the benefits of saw palmetto for hair loss in men has been promising. The results seen are equivalent to those found with the drug finasteride, but the plant extract is available without a prescription. Other benefits may accompany the use of the extract, too. Here’s a look at all of the benefits, as well as the safety and side effects of the plant.
The fruit of the plant is rich in essential fatty acids and Phytosterols or plant steroids. The extracts have been used historically to treat urinary tract infection and other medical conditions. Recent research concerning the plant has focused primarily on prostate health. One of the conditions that affect most men by the time they reach the age of 70 is benign prostatic hyperplasia, more commonly known as enlarged prostate. While drugs are available to treat the condition, they are accompanied by numerous side effects, including decreased libido, decreased muscle strength and erectile dysfunction, making them unpopular choices for most men.
Herbal remedies like saw palmetto, pumpkin seed and stinging nettle have proven beneficial in clinical trials, but are not accompanied by the unwanted side effects. So, taking saw palmetto for hair loss can support prostate health, too. Some of the better supplements contain the extracts of it, pumpkin seed and stinging nettle, as well as biotin, magnesium and zinc.
Nutritional deficiency is one of the causes of alopecia, the medical term for hair loss, but male pattern baldness is believed to be due primarily to follicular sensitivity to androgens, specifically an androgen called dihydrotestosterone or DHT.
DHT is formed by the body when free testosterone interacts with specific enzymes. The follicles produce four to five hairs each. If the follicles are sensitive to DHT, they start to shrink, producing fewer hairs that are much thinner.
The benefit of saw palmetto for hair loss is due to the plant extract’s ability to inhibit the conversion of free testosterone to DHT. Because it does not inhibit the production of testosterone, it has no negative effect on libido, muscle strength or erectile function.
The best results are seen when the use of the oral supplement is combined with a topically applied solution containing minoxidil kirkland. Minoxidil is the only FDA approved topical solution for treating male pattern baldness and alopecia in women.
When it comes to women, taking saw palmetto for hair loss is not effective, but other plant extracts and nutrients may be. Horsetail silica, biotin, magnesium, PABA and B vitamins are among the effective supplements. Again, the better brands contain all of them.
There are many products that contain only one or two of the ingredients necessary to stimulate the follicles and increase their production.