The role of saw palmetto in preventing hair loss

Serenoa repens, otherwise known as saw palmetto, is a fruit whose extract was initially used as alternative medicine to treat conditions affecting the reproductive organs and urinary tract. Research however has found that the perceived benefit was nothing more than a placebo effect. A closer study of the plant revealed that it had anti-estrogen effects. It also increased the blood flow and can act as an anti-coagulant. Saw palmetto is not recommended weeks before a surgical operation. It would decrease the blood clotting ability of the body. What saw palmetto extract mainly affects are the gastro intestinal tract as well as male pattern baldness. It is the anti-estrogen effects that are used to address the balding problem.


Androgenic alopecia is the other name of male pattern baldness. It affects about three fourths of men which usually begins at the age of thirty. Some men are affected earlier than most. The recession of hair usually begins at the forehead region as well as the temples. It then may also start simultaneously at the top area of the scalp. This hair loss would continue to progress until a crown-like form would be all that is left. Men affected with male pattern baldness usually shave off the remaining portions. Others opt to style it in a certain way to cover-up the bald spots. Countless products to conceal or prevent further hair loss have been developed. There are also surgical procedures that aid one suffering from alopecia. Medicinal products are also used to treat this ailment. This is where saw palmetto extract comes in.

Men that use saw palmetto extract attest that they have seen an improvement in hair growth. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not currently approve this remedy although its use is very widespread. It acts more as an herbal alternative to Minoxidil or Finasteride that are both approved by the FDA. Saw palmetto use is reputed to produce increased quantities of hair strands of better quality. These benefits are improved when coupled with beta-sitosterol. Beta-sitosterol is a plant-based derivative that resembles the chemical make-up of cholesterol.

The cause of androgenic alopecia is the decrease of the hormone testosterone when it is converted into DHT for reproductive organ development. Dihydrotestosterone or DHT is the main culprit because its presence causes hair follicles to shrink. This phenomenon affects more men than women because males naturally have greater amounts of testosterone in their body. The greater amounts of testosterone lead to more DHT. It therefore affects more hair follicles.

What saw palmetto does is to prevent the enzyme from binding with testosterone that converts it into DHT. This plant extract is used to treat an enlarged prostate as well. Continued use of saw palmetto has caused regrowth of hair in about sixty percent of patients tested. The recommended dosage is two hundred milligrams taken twice a day for several months. It can be ingested in powdered, tablet, liquid extract or the dried raw berry form.

It should be remembered that saw palmetto extract causes the blood to thin. One should avoid this if there is a planned surgery on his person. Excessive bleeding may result. Mild stomach discomfort might also be felt for the duration of its use though these are rare cases. Saw palmetto extract can irritate the stomach so please ingest this with along with food to aid in its digestion and absorption.