Natural and complementary medicines are gaining great popularity. Saw Palmetto extract is a naturally occurring substance which has been used for many years to restore hair growth. Saw Palmetto is derived from the fruit of Serenoa Repens which is rich in fatty acids and phytosterols. Like Finasteride, Saw Palmetto works by blocking the enzyme 5-alpha reductase which in turn reduces the production of dihydrotestosterone, a hormone that works primarily in hair follicles and the prostate.
Just because something is 'natural' doesn't necessarily make it safe, but as far as drugs go, Saw Palmetto is pretty squeaky clean. Rarely Saw Palmetto can cause gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea and diarrhoea. This can be helped by taking Saw Palmetto with food. Importantly, Saw Palmetto may increase bleeding time and you should therefore tell your surgeon that you are taking it prior to having surgery. You may have read on the internet that Saw Palmetto can affect sex hormones. Indeed, theoretically Saw Palmetto may have an effect on sexual function as it works in a similar way to Finasteride, but this has certainly never been proven so don't fret.
Multiple trials have shown that Saw Palmetto, although natural, is no gimmick. A summary and link to these trials has been included in the table below:
So, what's our take home message regarding Saw Palmetto?
Saw Palmetto is definitely not as effective as Finasteride or Minoxidil in restoring hair growth. However, it is a great alternative to for those seeking a purely natural treatment for hair loss. It's also a great, safe adjunct for those looking for any extra growth advantage they can get!
If you are interested in learning more about Mosh's natural supplements which include Saw Palmetto and other herbs and vitamins that have hair regrowth properties, complete our 1-minute guided online medical questionnaire.
The Mosh Team