Saw palmetto is a tree, the extract of the fruit of which is used to make medicine. The plant grows in the warm climate of the southeast coast of the U.S. It is used as an alternative remedy in the treatment of conditions caused due to the decrease of the testosterone level.
6 Amazing Benefits of Saw Palmetto
Benefits of Saw Palmetto
Saw palmetto works by shrinking the inner lining of the prostate which puts pressure on the tubes which carry urine. It also prevents the testosterone from being converted into dihydrotestosterone which is responsible for baldness. Reduced level of DHT may help prevent hair loss.
Saw palmetto benefits the body in the following ways:
The prostate is a small walnut-shaped gland located behind the penis and in front of the bladder in men and plays a role in maintaining sperm health.(1)
In men due to aging the testosterone level fall and it is common for the gland to increase in size. This leads to pressure on the urethra and causes discomfort and other symptoms such as,
- Frequent urination
- A problem in starting or maintaining urination
- Frequent urination at night
Saw palmetto improves prostate health and prevents issues such as benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer. It is believed that it increases the testosterone level and can, therefore, shrink the prostate and relieve the symptoms.
A test-tube study shows that saw palmetto was able to decrease the growth of cancer cells.(2) Another study revealed that it blocked the spread and growth of cancer cells in the prostate by deactivating specific receptors which are involved in cancer development.(3)
This is why some men suffering from prostate cancer take supplements of saw palmetto in addition to any traditional treatment. But it is always advisable to consult a doctor even before trying any herbal medication.
Saw palmetto contains antioxidants such as epicatechin and methyl gallate, which help prevent cell damage, decrease inflammation, and protect against chronic diseases.(4)
Researches also show that saw palmetto has anti-inflammatory properties and decrease the inflammation markers when given to mice with an enlarged prostate.(5) Another study showed saw palmetto effect in decreasing inflammation and improving antioxidant status in obese rats with BPH.(6)
Prevents Hair Loss
Alpha-5 reductase is an enzyme which converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is linked with hair loss.
Saw palmetto decreases hair loss by reducing the uptake of DHT by the hair follicles. A study showed the effectiveness of saw palmetto in improving hair growth in 60% of men with male pattern baldness between the age 23- 64 years.(7)
Applying saw palmetto topically increases hair density by 35%.(8)
Regulates Testosterone Level
Saw palmetto is often used by men to boost testosterone level naturally. According to a study, it is effective in maintaining the testosterone level by decreasing the level of DHT by 32%.(11)
A regulated testosterone level improves several aspects of health such as body composition, sex drive, mood and cognition.(9)
Low testosterone level could contribute to the occurrence of heart disease.(10)
Improves Urinary Function
Incontinence and difficulty in urination are common issues in older men. Saw palmetto improves the urinary symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia, as the enlarged prostate decreases the urine flow.
Few studies showed the improvement in urinary symptoms in the elderly after taking supplements containing saw palmetto.(12, 13)
Its effectiveness in treating the urinary issues in those not suffering from BPH is still to be researched.
Saw palmetto is widely available and can be easily added to the daily routine. It comes in the form of capsule, gel, and tablet and is combined with other ingredients such as pumpkin seeds to enhance the result.
It is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding females, those on hormone replacement therapy or on contraceptives, as it may impact the hormone levels.
Saw palmetto is also found interfering with the blood-thinning medication, increasing the risk of bleeding.(14)
Whether suffering from any health condition or not, it is always recommended to start any supplement after consulting with the healthcare provider.