It is a common condition, closely tied to the hormone testosterone which occurs in women and men. When testosterone combines with an alpha-reductase enzyme, it converts into a molecule called DHT, which causes hair loss as your hair follicles start to shrink. As men have more testosterone than women, balding is more common in men and follows a particular pattern which is described as male-pattern baldness. Women commonly lose hair from their entire scalp in no particular pattern, which leads to a gradual thinning of their crowning glory as they get older.
Modern hair loss treatments now include topical medications, surgically transplanted hair plugs, and powerful drugs, but these treatments are not always adequate or suitable for specific conditions.
Saw Palmetto for hair loss
Preparations of Saw Palmetto berries have been in use by Native Americans for generations for various conditions like bladder infections, hair loss, and prostate problems. Scientists discovered why when they realized that an ingredient in this berry blocks 5-alpha-reductase – an enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT and causes hair loss and plays a role in prostate enlargement.
Although it is used widely in Europe for prostate-related conditions, it is now moving into the spotlight as a possible solution for female hair loss. Women cannot take Propecia due to its effect on the hormones, and the higher-strength Rogaine (Rogaine for Men) which prevents hair loss in males can have considerable side-effects when used by women.
Saw Palmetto is being considered as a viable alternative to help reduce age-related female hair loss.
What is Saw Palmetto?
Saw palmetto is the yellow berry-like fruit of a fan-like palm called serenoa repens which grow in warm climates. The fruit ripens to a brown/black color, are picked, dried and used for medicinal properties. It is very rich in phytosterols and fatty acids.
Studies on Saw Palmetto for hair loss
Small-scale studies have pinpointed the criteria that will be necessary to do successful larger studies over a longer period to conclusively prove the efficiency of Saw Palmetto. In the meanwhile, there is no doubt that straw palmetto is a mild to moderate DHT blocker. While it cannot yet be recommended as the primary hair loss treatment for everyone, the use of Saw Palmetto for hair loss has found widespread acceptance when used in conjunction with other supplements and botanicals to stimulate hair growth. Some scientifically formulated Minoxidil preparations contain saw palmetto in its formula.
Using Saw Palmetto
Natural does not mean “no side effects”, and you should always inform your doctor when you change supplements. While Saw Palmetto is unusually safe, it is not a recommended supplement for children. Rare side effects are mild headaches or stomach pains. Saw palmetto may thin the blood and should never be combined with blood-thinning medication such as Warfarin.
How Long Before I See Results with Saw Palmetto?
Saw palmetto is a relatively gentle product with a mild anti-androgen effect, and prolonged use is recommended. Results are seen in stages: the prevention of further hair loss, and then regrowth of hair. It is a relatively inexpensive product even if the best quality if sought and can be used with most other treatments by both men and women
Rapid results? No. Long term satisfaction? A pleasant surprise.