Saw Palmetto for Hair Loss
Saw palmetto has had good clinical trial results as a remedy for men’s prostate problems for years now, but lately it’s been getting a lot of attention for another reason entirely – and that’s as a remedy for hair loss.
It’s being used with success for a particular type of baldness called androgenic alopecia, or male- and female-pattern baldness, which shows typically the greatest at the top of the head or around the temples.
Similarly to finasteride (the active ingredient in the pharmaceutical hair loss products Propecia and Proscar), studies have shown that when taken orally saw palmetto is believed to block the production of the hormone or DHT (dihydrotestosterone).
DHT is a common factor in causing both hair loss and BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia).
Hair Loss Trial Results
A small preliminary study in 2002 was performed as reported by The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (2002;8:143-52) that shows a select group of 19 men between the ages of 23 and 64 taking either (400mg of saw palmetto and 100mg of Beta-sitosterol) or a placebo orally.
Those who took the herbal combination had 60% improved hair growth over those who took the placebo. There have been no studies to date indicating the efficacy of saw palmetto applied topically for male pattern baldness, female hair loss, or anything to date.
Although promising, the study was too small to provide meaningful evidence.
Many popular hair loss treatment options today such as Provillus, Procerin, and Avacor contain the “active” ingredient saw palmetto. It can also be purchased as a standalone supplement in most nutritional stores.
Saw Palmetto Dosage
Clinical studies on Benign Prostrate Hyperplasia (BPH) have used a dosage of 320mg of the berry extract daily (either one 320mg pill or 2 X 160 mg pill).
A daily dosage of 480 mg of saw palmetto berry extract was not found to be any more effective in a six-month study. If the entire berry was used, up to 1000mg or 2000mg would be required to reach the same goal.
The theory therefore is that if saw palmetto can successfully treat an enlarged prostate similarly to finasteride, it can effectively treat hair loss with a similar dosage.
Many popular “baldness cure” products contain approximately 1500mg of the berry which is equivalent to approximately 240-320mg of the berry extract.
Saw Palmetto Side Effects
No known medical conditions preclude the use of Saw Palmetto. However, because of the herb’s hormonal effects, caution is advisable if you have any form of cancer that’s stimulated by hormones.
At recommended dosage levels, side effects are rare. A few stomach complaints have been reported.
Possible Drug Interactions
Check with your doctor if you are taking any hormonal medications or adrenergic drugs such as the asthma medications Alupent, Brethine, Proventil, and Ventolin. Your dosage may need adjustment.
People with bleeding disorders or who are taking anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications (“blood-thinners”)–such as warfarin (Coumadin), aspirin, or clopidogrel (Plavix)–should avoid taking saw palmetto unless under medical supervision. It should also be avoided at least two weeks before and after surgery.
Saw Palmetto Herbal Supplement
Prostate Power Flow Herbal supplement containing saw palmetto, lycopene from tomatoes, selenium and zinc is an excellent nutritional support for hair loss and men’s prostate health. If your sleep is regularly interrupted by midnight trips to the bathroom, if you find you have an urge to urinate and then when you get there you can’t start the flow, Saw Palmetto in Prostate Power Flow is likely to be of benefit. See the Prostate Power Flow website for more information and to order.