4 Health Benefits of Saw Palmetto

People use the fruit of saw palmetto in a variety of ways, including ground and dried fruit or whole berries. It is also available in a liquid, tablet, capsule and an infusion or tea forms. Saw palmetto is a palm plant. The plant’s berries can boost prostate health, regulate hormone levels, and prevent hair loss in men. Saw palmetto can also provide other health benefits, such as improved urinary function. Here are 4 optimistic health benefits of saw palmetto.

1. May Regulate Testosterone Levels

People who naturally seek to increase testosterone levels commonly used saw palmetto. Regulating testosterone levels can affect various health aspects, including the composition of the body, sex drive, mood, and cognition [1]. Testosterone levels decrease with age, and study has shown that low testosterone levels may lead to conditions such as heart disease [2]. Saw palmetto works by reducing the 5α-R activity to an enzyme that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is another sex hormone that preserves testosterone in the body [3].

One test-tube study found that the benefits of saw palmetto extract in the management of testosterone levels were equivalent to steroid finasteride [4]. Finasteride is a steroid drug used to treat hair loss and BPH by reducing 5α-R activity in the body. Another 40-men study found that saw palmetto treatment decreased DHT levels after 6 months by 32%, showing that saw palmetto was successful in controlling testosterone levels [5].

Saw palmetto may reduce the 5-R activity of an enzyme that transforms testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, which can further improve overall health.

2. May Prevents Hair Loss

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Hair loss is a common condition caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, certain medical conditions, hormonal changes, and medication use, such as stimulants [6]. However, saw palmetto regulate hormones and prevent hair loss by blocking the 5-alpha-reductase (5α-R) activity. The 5-alpha-reductase (5α-R) enzyme converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Thus, dihydrotestosterone (DHT) hormone can affect your hair health.

As a result, saw palmetto can prevent hair loss by reducing the uptake of DHT by the hair follicle, which decreases its ability to bind to specific hormones receptors [7]. In one study [8], saw palmetto reduced baldness by 60% in men aged 23 to 64. Study in 62 adults found that the topical usage of saw palmetto improved hair density by 35% within 3 months [7].

Related article: Coconut milk for hair loss: How to use it

Saw palmetto can prevent hair loss by reducing the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Too much dihydrotestosterone can negatively affect hair follicle and lead to hair loss.

3. May Improve Prostate Health

The prostate is a small gland in males, which maintains sperm health. It is between the bladder and the penis [9]. Research shows saw palmetto may support prostate health and may help prevent benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which is a type of prostate cancer. One test-tube study showed that palmetto berry extract may decrease prostate cancer cell growth [10]. Another test-tube study found that saw palmetto prevented the spread and development of prostate cancer cells by deactivating specific cancer receptors [11]. Other humans and animal studies show that it can also be effective in reducing urinary symptoms, such as BPH-related inflammation [12], [13], [14]. But some studies do not correspond saw palmetto benefits to a lower risk of prostate cancer and they consider it as an unsuccessful strategy in reducing BPH symptoms [15], [16], [17].

According to certain studies, saw palmetto fruit extract may benefit prostate health. It may also aid in the prevention of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a type of prostate cancer.

4. May Improve Urinary Tract Function

Symptoms of the urinary tract are common among older men. It may include problems, such as incontinence and urination difficulty [18]. Saw palmetto can ease urinary symptoms associated with benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) a condition that causes prostate gland enlargement and leads to decreased urine flow. A 12-week study of 92 men found that taking two capsules daily of Prostataplex, a mixture of herbal supplements that include saw palmetto, helped improve the symptoms of BPH-related urinary tract [12]. Likewise, another study in 85 men over the age of 45 found that treatment with 160 mg of saw palmetto twice daily decreased symptoms of the urinary tract, increasing the flow of urine, and improved overall quality of life after 6 months [13]. However, we need more research to determine whether saw palmetto in the general population can also improve urinary tract function, including those without prostate problems.

According to some studies, saw palmetto reduced urinary symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). BPH causes enlargement of the prostate gland and reduces urine flow. 

Dosage and Forms

Saw palmetto is widely available in many forms. Adding it to your daily routine is easy. These supplements come in unique forms, such as liquid, capsules, soft gel, or tablets. The manufacturers usually combine it with other ingredients, such as pumpkin seed extract, to help improve prostate health [19]. However, you can also find it in less common forms, such as roasted, dried, or powdered tea. Most studies carried out have used 320 mg of saw palmetto split into two doses.

The recommended dosage for saw palmetto is not clear, and many studies have used 160 grams of saw palmetto extracts twice daily.

Side Effects

Saw palmetto is safe and has very few side effects associated with it. Headache, dizziness, vomiting, and constipation are some of the most common side effects of saw palmetto [20]. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, for instance, should avoid taking saw palmetto because it can affect hormone levels. Saw palmetto may not be suitable for those taking hormone replacement therapy [21]. To measure its potential side effects, we need further research. Saw palmetto may also interfere with blood-thinning drugs, which may increase the risk of bleeding [22]. If you have any underlying conditions, such as taking other drugs, being pregnant or breastfeeding, be sure to consult with your health care provider before adding a saw palmetto supplement into your routine.

Some common side effects of saw palmetto are headache, dizziness, vomiting, and constipation. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should also avoid it.

Conclusion

Saw palmetto contains many health benefits. Studies show that saw palmetto can help increase testosterone levels, improve the health of the prostate. In addition, it reduces inflammation, prevents hair loss, and improves the function of the urinary tract. Some studies, however, have reported mixed results on its efficacy. To understand how saw palmetto could affect health, we need more large-scale human studies.

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