Saw Palmetto and Weight Loss
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment
The link between saw palmetto and weight loss is not direct but clear with its effects on testosterone by scientific research. The uses of saw palmetto have been known for centuries. In fact, in the earliest days of the 20th century, the berries of saw palmetto were used by native Americans for preparing traditional and folk medicines in southeastern regions of the United States. It was believed that the berries could increase sperm production and improve urinary tract issues in men.
In modern days, there has been found a variety of health benefits of saw palmetto. Saw palmetto supplements are considered one the most consumed supplements for BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) and prostate cancer. But its benefits are not just limited to men, women can also benefit from saw palmetto in many ways.
In this article, we’ll discuss what saw palmetto is and the link between the effects of saw palmetto and weight loss in a little bit of detail. So, keep reading to learn how saw palmetto can help in weight loss.
Table of contents
- What is saw palmetto?
- What does saw palmetto do in the human body?
- The link between testosterone and weight loss
- Saw palmetto and weight loss
- How to use saw palmetto
- Precautions and side effects
- Final words
What is saw palmetto?
Saw palmetto, also known as cabbage palm, American dwarf palm, and Serenoa repens is a small palm tree that grows in the tropical rainy climates of the southeast coast of the United States covering a wide landscape of 12 states ranging from South Carolina to Florida.
Saw palmetto extract is derived from the blue-colored small berries of the Serenoa tree. It is rich in several active natural ingredients such as plant sterols, fatty acids, and flavonoids. The medicinal properties of saw palmetto have been known for centuries and therefore, the tree has long been used in folk, eclectic, and traditional medicine.
Saw palmetto berries are also rich in polysaccharides (sugars) with heavy molecular weight, which is why it shows significance benefits in alleviating inflammation and enhancing immune response, making them a potent immune system booster.
What does saw palmetto do in the human body?
Although saw palmetto can help humans in many ways, the most important factor about this miracle herb is that it can slow down or inhibit the production of 5 alpha-reductase, an enzyme found in the adrenal glands and the prostate gland in men. This enzyme converts the testosterone (male hormone) into its most potent form known as DHT or dihydrotestosterone, an androgen hormone and sex steroid.
DHT affects both men and women alike. It is a leading cause of hormonal imbalances that contributes to developing many different health issues in both men and women including hair loss, an enlarged prostate, obesity, diabetes, hirsutism, PCOS, acne, and loss of libido, as well as others.
By inhibiting 5 alpha-reductase enzymes, Saw palmetto can prevent testosterone from converting into DHT and help restore hormonal balances and reverse many associated symptoms.
The link between testosterone and weight loss
Though testosterone is often considered a male hormone, a healthy level of testosterone is necessary for women as well. Bodyweight and testosterone levels have been found closely interlinked.
Proper levels of testosterone are important for building lean muscles and maintaining adequate body weight. Low levels of testosterone or testosterone deficiency may cause overweight or obesity.
A 2014 study published in the Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Obesity has shown that long term testosterone therapy is effective in decreasing fat mass and increasing lean body mass and thus, can produce significant and sustained weight loss and improve BMI (body mass index) and waist circumference in obese or overweight men with testosterone deficiency.
Saw palmetto and weight loss
Saw palmetto has a miraculous ability to inhibit 5 alpha-reductase enzymes and thus, has been found highly beneficial in reducing the uptake of androgens including both testosterone and its most potent form dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
A 2016 study published in the Research and Reports in Urology concluded that saw palmetto extract can inhibit the 5 alpha-reductase enzymes that have been associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH.
Low levels of testosterone lead to hormonal imbalances that have been shown closely associated with the development of metabolic syndrome which shows up with obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, chronic fatigue, as well as others.
Saw palmetto is capable of restoring the balance of testosterone levels and may hugely help in regulating its level in the long run. Therefore, taking saw palmetto can help lose weight naturally, provide more energy, reduce hair loss, and improve various symptoms associated with hormonal imbalances.
How to use saw palmetto
Saw palmetto is easily available as an herbal dietary supplement. Most commonly comes in the forms of dried extract capsules, soft gels, tablets, and powdered teas.
Dosages of saw palmetto supplements may vary depending on the health conditions and goals. The most used dosage has been found in research was 320 mg per day. Always consult with a naturopathic doctor or health care provider to ensure safety and the best dose of saw palmetto for you.
Precautions and side effects
Saw palmetto is generally well-tolerated and safe for most people. Some people may experience side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, vertigo, headaches, and dizziness. But these side effects are generally mild and reversible and not common for all.
Besides, there is limited research on the interactions of saw palmetto with other herbs, supplements, and medications. So, it’s recommended to consult with a certified natural medicine expert before starting to use saw palmetto especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or under medications for any underlying health issues.
Saw palmetto has an incredible power to keep testosterone levels in a healthy state by inhibiting the 5 alpha-reductase enzymes in the body. A healthy testosterone level is important for increasing lean body mass, decreasing fat mass, reducing waist circumferences, and improving overall body compositions that are vital for significant and sustained weight loss. Therefore, taking saw palmetto can help in weight loss and provide more energy.
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