Saw Palmetto Hair Loss | How Does It Work? Results + Side Effects

SAW PALMETTO | The Way To Stop Hair Loss?

There have been several articles published in the last few years about saw palmetto hair loss. We would like to bring a little bit light to this topic now.

The Saw Palmetto (serenoa repens) is a small, bush-like palm with long-branched leaves and big, dark red fruit. It comes from America, where it was widely used by Indians for centuries; after 1990, modern medicine started to recognise its health effects.

Extract from the Saw Palmetto fruit is rich in fatty acids and phytosterols, and is the most-used natural product in America and Europe in the treatment of Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and hair loss for both men and women.

Saw palmetto extract is an effective antiandrogen that blocks izoensyme 5-alpha reductase and androgen receptors on the membranes of hair follicle cells.


Main Cause Of Hair Loss And Saw Palmetto


Many people experience hair loss problems at some point of their lives. Also referred to as Androgenetic Alopecia, hair loss is common in both men and women as everyone ages. Testosterone is the culprit behind it, as its conversion into DHT causes the hair follicles to shrink, thereby resulting into hair loss. Since men have higher testosterone levels than women, balding is mostly common in men.

In most cases, men experience thinning of hair in an M-shaped pattern, also referred to as the male pattern baldness. More about balding here:

In women, thinning typically occurs all over the scalp, though it rarely results in complete baldness.

To curb this problem, there are many different kinds of hair loss remedies that can be broadly categorized into natural and artificial remedies.

While artificial treatments for hair loss are sometime effective, most have serious side effects and their prices are out of reach for many people. Natural and herbal remedies for hair loss are increasingly becoming popular, as they have proven effective in slowing down hair loss and even encouraging hair growth.

Saw Palmetto for Hair Loss Treatment

Saw palmetto is one of the most popular herbal remedies for hair loss. Sufferers of hair loss owe its effectiveness in its suggested similarity to finasteride, a popular treatment for enlarged prostate. The 5 mg. finasteride tablet (Proscar) is used for the treatment of enlarged prostates, while 1 mg finasteride (Propecia) is used for hair loss treatment.

One of the most important and active ingredient of the saw palmetto berry extract acts as an effective inhibitor of the production of DHT, which is a chemical molecule associated with testosterone-related hair loss and prostate enlargement. Besides blocking the production of DHT, this saw palmetto berry extract also helps to block other forms of hormone-related hair loss.

DHT cause hair loss in the 90% of all cases in the men


This is well-regarded as being a top hair growth product and one of the necessary ones to keep in mind.

Countless years of research has gone into learning the intricacies of saw palmetto and what it brings to your hair growth journey. In general, saw palmetto is designed to act as a growth factor to help the body enhance hair development. It is a neat addition and something that is biologically sound with its impact.

Start to use this natural supplement for appropriate results.

 SAW PALMETTO | Natural DHT blocker that stop hair loss

dht blocker function

Saw Palmetto extract is a natural DHT blocker which reduces the level of harmful dihydrotestosterone ( DHT ) in the body thereby terminating the reduction of hair loss.

Saw Palmetto Hair Loss Studies


Studies on whether saw palmetto is an effective treatment for hair loss is quite limited but very promising.

Research at the University of Florida and other research centres in Germany has shown that Saw Palmetto extract has many similar effects to finasteride and that it rapidly decreases the level of DHT in both women’s and men’s bodies.

In a major international study, the effects of Saw Palmetto extract and finasteride were compared in a sample consisting of 1098 men.

The studies lasted for 6 months, during which Saw Palmetto extract was administered to one group and finasteride was administered to the other. Patients did not know whether they were given finasteride or Saw Palmetto extract. Both substances had a similar positive effect on the patients‘ health. A great reduction urination problems was observed, a condition which was caused by excessive production of DHT. However, in 9% of the patients to whom finasteride was administered, a decrease in sexual activity and libido was observed. In contrast, in 6% of the patients to whom Saw Palmetto extract was administered, an increase in sexual activity and libido was observed.

Other Studies

In one study that appeared in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in August 2002, 60% of the participants who took 400mg saw palmetto combined with 100mg of beta-sitosterol exhibited significantly more hair-growth than those who took a placebo. However, with a rather sample size of only 19 participants, and the use of another drug makes it difficult to tell if the improvement in hair growth was due to the saw palmetto or beta-sitosterol.

Further research on saw palmetto published in the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, and done by Sundaram Murugusundram found that the topical application of the plant’s extract in shampoo and lotion base for three months increased the hair density of participants by 35%.

Clinical trials have also demonstrated that saw palmetto can lower the levels of DHT. According to the study, saw palmetto is not as effective as finasteride that reduces the levels of DHT by about 70%, but it still produces a significant result. People with mild androgenetic alopecia, lowering DHT levels by 32% is likely to be significant enough in slowing down the progression of hair loss.

Is Saw Palmetto Effective for Hair Loss Treatment?


If the available research and online testimonials/reviews for saw palmetto are anything to go by, then it’s safe to say that it’s good for hair loss. In most of the cases, no serious side effects were reported by the users, though the products are not recommended for use on children. Nonetheless, there are some users who reported mild side effects like stomach irritation and headaches (we’ll talk about these in detail below), and these can be avoided by taking the extract with food.

How To Stop Hair Loss With Saw Palmetto

To achieve the same effect as taking 1mg of Finasteride, the most effective daily dose of Saw Palmetto extract was 320mg. It is very important that it be a standardised extract containing 85-95% of fatty acids and 0,2-0,4% of sterols.

Many hair-loss preventon preparations do not contain the extract in sufficient amounts, or they contain a powder from the Saw Palmetto fruit, which is not sufficient to decrease DHT levels in humans. For instance, a preparation of Folixil contains only 120mg of this extract in one pastille.

Saw Palmetto extract corrects the functioning of our endocryne system. It helps address troubles with the prostate and hair loss, but also menstrual pain and inflammation of the ovaries. The extract has also anabolical effects and works as an aphrodisiac.

Although saw palmetto can be brewed into some tasty tea, it’s highly unlikely that it will be effective in treating hair loss, since the active ingredients are not water soluble. The liquid extracts and whole berries can be taken either by ingesting them or applying them topically. Nonetheless, research on the effectiveness of liquid saw palmetto extract and whole saw palmetto berry is limited.

Capsules and tablets that contain the saw palmetto are therefore your best bet for using the plant’s powerful effects on the treatment of alopecia. Many formulations of the product can be purchased online, as well as in the brick and mortar nutritional supplement or health food stores.

Don’t forget that the saw palmetto dosage is not an instant cure-all. With daily use, give it at least two months for the results to appear. In about 60 days, you should start noticing whether the hair loss has reduced, and if the thickness of your existing hair has been improved. The full results should be seen in about 6 months to a year from the time you start the saw palmetto treatment.

Other natural and botanical remedies can help to improve the efficacy of saw palmetto when combined in the treatment. Some of these include biotin, L-Cysteine, Green Tea, and Vitamin B-2, which have all been shown to promote hair growth and stop hair loss.

The general idea about using saw palmetto for hair loss is to improve hair thickness, slow down the rate of hair loss, and to allow other hair loss treatments to work more effectively.

How to Take Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto usually comes in the following forms:

  • Tablets


  • Whole dried berries


  • Powdered capsules


  • Liquid extracts


Capsules and tablets are the easiest to find, since they are the only forms that have been widely examined by researchers. As we have already mentioned, be sure to choose saw palmetto capsules/tablets made by a reputable company, and read the label carefully to make sure the content is standardized to contain between 85% to 95% of sterols and fatty acids. The active compounds of saw palmetto are not water soluble, and tea made with the dried berries of the plant is not likely to be as effective. As a rule of thumb, always consult your doctor about safe dosage amounts before you start taking any new supplement.

Experts recommend a dose of 160 milligrams twice a day for the treatment of enlarged prostate. However, since it’s not an approved hair-loss treatment, the proper dosage for hair loss treatment is still a conjecture.

Saw Palmetto Hair Loss
Unlike finasteride, Saw Palmetto extract has no side effects. Due to safety of the extract, physicians suggest that men and women should use hair-loss treatments containing Saw Palmetto extract.

No large study pertaining to the effects of Saw Palmetto extract on new hair growth has been carried out, since the extract cannot be protected by a patent. It’s easy to understand why no pharmaceutical company would invest funds in a study whose results would be profitable to all drug producers.

Nevertheless, patients who had early-stage hair loss observed that the use of this extract had a positive effect on slowing hair loss, or even stopped it entirely. Many men and women have observed growth of new hair.

Observation of these treatment results without any clinical study proves that Saw Palmetto extract is an effective alternative to finasteride.

Possible Side Effects and Other Interactions


Just as with all treatments, it’s important to consider the possible side effects and interactions before you start using saw palmetto for your hair loss treatment. Saw palmetto is generally considered safe, though it’s not recommended for pregnant and nursing mothers, or children. Some of the possible side effects include:


  • Allergies: Some allergic reactions are associated with the use of saw palmetto. In a study conducted among its users to test its allergic effects, 3 out of 70 participants (4%) developed some form of allergic reactions including itching, swellings, and shortness of breath. If you’re allergic to saw palmetto stop using it immediately.


  • Gastro-intestinal side effects: Patients tend to report intestine and stomach disturbances, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. To avoid these problems, take this herbal remedy with food.


  • Increased Bleeding: saw palmetto can thin your blood, and lead to excessive bleeding during surgery. Be sure to tell your doctor all the supplements you’re taking before surgery or starting any new form of treatment.


  • Dizziness/Weakness: the remedy might in some cases lead to dizziness and general weakness, which might make the patient faint. If you have hormone-sensitive conditions, use the drug with caution.


Interactions might occur between saw palmetto and other medications. Since it has been shown to thin blood, it should never be taken alongside other blood thinners, such as aspirin and prescriptions like warfarin. And if you’re scheduled for surgery, you should stop using saw palmetto for 2 or more weeks before and after the surgery to avoid excessive bleeding.

Saw palmetto can potentially interact with finasteride, a drug used to treat enlarged prostate and hair loss. If you’re already taking finasteride, you should consult your prescribing doctor first before you begin taking saw palmetto.

Since saw palmetto interacts with other hormones, it can reduce the efficacy of oral contraceptives. These hormonal effects give it the capacity to interfere with the development or pregnancy, and can have potential effects on breastfeeding mothers. Due to the lack of sufficient information on the possible effects, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers shouldn’t use saw palmetto for hair loss treatment.