Saw Palmetto for Hair Loss
Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines including diagnosis, advice, and treatment.
Hair loss is a common issue that affects both males and females of all ages. People often choose natural remedies over conventional medicine because of better safety profiles. The use of saw palmetto for hair loss is widely purported in the hair and skin care community for preventing and reversing the conditions. But does it really work? What about current research? Let’s dig a little deeper together.
In this article, we’ll be exploring the benefits of saw palmetto for hair loss according to research findings. But before we get into how saw palmetto can help with hair loss, it’s worth learning the basics of hair loss a little bit more. So, let’s get started.
Table of contents
- What is hair loss?
- Symptoms of hair loss
- Causes of hair loss
- What is saw palmetto?
- How saw palmetto works for hair loss
- Benefits of saw palmetto for hair loss
- How to use saw palmetto
- Precautions and side effects
- Final words
What is hair loss?
Hair loss or alopecia refers to the excess loss of hair on the scalp that can cause baldness. But it can occur in any part of the body and can be both temporary as well as permanent. Though hair loss can happen in both men and women, it is far more common in men than in women.
Symptoms of hair loss
Hair loss can impact different people differently. A hair loss condition may develop gradually over a long period of time or occur abruptly. Symptoms may widely vary from person to person depending on what’s causing the hair loss condition. Some of the most prevalent symptoms include:
- Loosening of hair
- Receding of hairline
- Thinning of hair
- Bald patches on the head
- Itching and pain in the scalp
Causes of hair loss
People generally lose 50 to 100 hair every day but this does not appear to be a concern as new hairs grow and replace the lost ones. Hair loss happens when hairs start falling out excessively and cannot replace the old lost hairs. A range of varying factors may contribute to hair loss. Some of the most prevalent factors that contribute to hair loss may include:
- higher levels of stress
- Hormonal changes or imbalances
- Heredity or having a family history
- Medical conditions such as ringworm, thyroid disease, or autoimmunity (alopecia areata)
- Certain medications such as those used to treat depression, arthritis, or cancers
- Radiation therapy
- Excess hairstyles
What is saw palmetto?
Saw palmetto, botanically known as Serenoa repens, is a small plant member of the palm family that grows in the southeast part of the United States. Its ripe fruits or berries are used in medicine. The extract derived from saw palmetto is often found in powder, liquid, teas, and capsule forms to treat various health conditions including hair loss.
How saw palmetto works for hair loss
Saw palmetto has been found to have an impact on the hormonal levels in the human body. DHT or dihydrotestosterone, a potent form of testosterone, has been linked to a specific type of hair loss called androgenetiic alopecia (AGA) in both men and women, which also refers to male-pattern hair loss in men and female-pattern hair loss in women respectively.
5-alpha reductase is an enzyme that is responsible for breaking down testosterone hormones and converting them into a more potent or efficient form of testosterone called DHT, which has been linked to hair thinning and hair loss. Saw palmetto has an incredible ability to affect and block this enzyme as well as testosterone from converting into DHT and thus, can hugely help in preventing hair loss and promoting hair growth, particularly those induced by high androgen levels.
Benefits of saw palmetto for hair loss
Saw palmetto has been found to benefit hair and scalp in several ways, including:
Preventing hair loss
By inhibiting testosterone from being converted into its more potent form DHT, which is an androgen hormone and responsible for male and female pattern hair loss, saw palmetto may potentially help with preventing and even reversing hair loss, specifically those that are induced by high androgen levels.
Promoting hair growth
Saw palmetto has been found to have significant anti-inflammatory properties, which can reduce inflammation on the scalp and in turn can hugely help with managing and preventing various hair growth issues caused by varying inflammatory conditions of the scalp, as well as contributing to new hair growth.
Strengthening hair follicles
Studies suggest that saw palmetto can benefit hair follicles and can help hair become thicker and stronger.
A 2019 comprehensive review in Complementary and Alternative Medicine showed that treating with saw palmetto does have clinical benefits in androgenetic alopecia (AGA) and could be an alternative for AGA patients particularly those who don’t want to take conventional oral finasteride.
How to use saw palmetto
Saw palmetto can be used both ways, taken orally and applied topically on the scalp. Though there is no established recommended dose for the oral use of saw palmetto for hair loss, in most research, a dose of 320 mg per day has been used. However, it’s important to consult with a certified natural medicine healthcare professional before determining the exact dose of saw palmetto for your specific conditions.
Precautions and side effects
Saw palmetto is possibly safe for most people when used as recommended. Side effects are usually rare and uncommon that may include headache, dizziness, and some gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, flatulence, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
Besides, saw palmetto may worsen certain conditions such as those involved with, for example, liver damage, pancreatitis, or heart rhythm disorder. Therefore, it’s always a good practice to consult a licensed naturopathic doctor prior to using saw palmetto or any dietary supplements, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.
Saw palmetto is a type of palm tree that has been used in medicine for many years. The use of saw palmetto for hair loss has gained considerable interest over recent years. Saw palmetto has been found highly beneficial for the treatment of DHT-induced male and female pattern hair loss, as well as in improving overall scalp health that can benefit hair loss and thinning in any hair type and texture. Consider consulting a licensed naturopath or dermatologist before using saw palmetto to determine your best dose and safety.
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