zig
0

Notifications

  • You're all caught up!

Does Saw Palmetto Promote Hair Growth?

by
author image Linda Tarr Kent
Linda Tarr Kent is a reporter and editor with more than 20 years experience at Gannett Company Inc., The McClatchy Company, Sound Publishing Inc., Mach Publishing, MomFit The Movement and other companies. Her area of expertise is health and fitness. She is a Bosu fitness and stand-up paddle surfing instructor. Kent holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Washington State University.
Does Saw Palmetto Promote Hair Growth?
Saw palmetto may help with hair loss, but more research is needed. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Some herbs that are used to treat prostate complaints have a theoretical use for hair loss as well. Saw palmetto is often used for benign prostate hypertrophy and may even be useful for treating prostate cancer. In fact, Germany’s Commission E, that country’s regulatory body for herbs, approves saw palmetto for prostate complaints. Always consult a health care professional before trying a new supplement.

Significance

Some scientific studies say saw palmetto works by reducing uptake of dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, in your body and by blocking conversion of testosterone to DHT. Saw palmetto’s possible effect on the hormone DHT is what gives it a theoretical benefit for treating hair loss. This hormone plays a role in male-pattern hair loss because it shrinks hair follicles. Finasteride, a medication used for male-pattern hair loss, is effective because it blocks conversion of testosterone into DHT.

Mechanism of Action

Testosterone is converted to DHT via the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, or 5AR. This metabolic pathway is a factor in male-pattern hair loss. It’s also central to the onset as well as the progression of benign prostatic hyperplasia, which some people take saw palmetto to treat. Agents such as saw palmetto that block conversion of testosterone to DHT work by inhibiting 5AR, according to a study published in 2002 by “Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.”

Scientific Evidence

Although more studies are needed, limited research has demonstrated the effectiveness of saw palmetto against hair loss. A study published in 2011 by "Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine" states that saw palmetto extract has been shown to be useful against androgenic alopecia -- male-pattern hair loss.

Considerations

Saw palmetto can cause side effects. These include vomiting, gastrointestinal complaints, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, breast tenderness, erectile dysfunction and loss of libido. Rarely, it can cause intraoperative hemorrhage. Saw palmetto also may increase your chance for bleeding or bruising, especially if it’s taken along with blood-thinning medicines like aspirin or warfarin. Saw palmetto also may reduce or prevent absorption of some iron supplements.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
Lose Weight. Feel Great Change your life with MyPlate by LIVESTRONG.COM
GOAL
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
GENDER
  • Female
  • Male
lbs.
ft. in.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

CURRENTLY TRENDING

Demand Media

Our Privacy Policy has been updated. Please take a moment and read it here.