Last Updated: February 19, 2017
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Saw palmetto has been referred to as “Nature’s Propecia.” Propecia is the popular brand of finasteride which reduces the amount within the hair follicles of men. A lot of men experiment with this supplement to avoid the potential sexual side effects of finasteride. The part of the saw palmetto plant that is used for hair loss is actually the fruit from the plant that is common in the southeastern part of the United States. The berries or “fruits” of this plant are very rich with fatty acids and phytosterols. Remember once again that many natural hair loss treatments are plant-based. The berries are believed to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia or “BPH” which can also be treated by finasteride that is used for hair loss. There are no government clinical studies of using saw palmetto but the case studies below may give you another opinion. Using this supplement would only be beneficial for men since DHT and prostate problems only affect men.
Saw Palmetto Case Studies
Although there are very few clinical trials for the effectiveness of saw palmetto for hair loss, there are a few case studies that make this supplement prove its theory. There is a popular hair growing competition in England that reported the winner one year was a guy who took freeze dried saw palmetto berries as a daily supplement. As funny is it seems, there are numerous discussions in hair loss forums that deliberate on the effectiveness of this plant treating hair loss. The berries from the saw palmetto plant can also be taken in a pill form from local or online health food stores. One of the most interesting and promising case studies for this supplement being used for hair loss was from a small Italian study. The overall goal of the study was to test the effectiveness of botanically 5AR inhibitor such as saw palmetto for treating hair loss. The two main supplements used in the case study were the liposterolic extract from serenoa repens (found in saw palmetto), and beta-sitosterol. The subject included males between the ages of 23 and 64 years old. The results were actually positive in favor of the effectiveness of saw palmetto as a supplement to help hair loss. The blinded investigative staff assessment report showed that 60% of study subjects taking the saw palmetto had an improvement with their hair.
Beta-Sitosterol & Saw Palmetto Used Together for Hair Loss
Beta-sitosterol is very similar to saw palmetto because they both contain phytosterols that are plant based. For benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) patients, beta-sitosterol has been shown to reduce BPH. This sounds very similar to saw palmetto being used to reduce the same condition as well. Therefore, there have been theories that combining these two supplements together can produce a synergistic effect. In the case of treating hair loss, taking both products in conjunction may enhance the desired results. Lets back up and take a look at the case study mentioned above. During the trial, the males were given both beta-sitosterol and saw palmetto together for treating hair loss. Is this a coincidence? Judging by the two supplements containing phytosterols, there must have been a theory that using these together would improve the outcome. This phenomena can be closely related to an article about nutrient synergy from WebMD. In their article, they give a great example of two vitamins working together. They stated that using both vitamin C and vitamin E together will produce a more powerful antioxidant for slowing the oxidation of cholesterol. Slowing the oxidation of cholesterol is important to reduce the risk of congestive heart disease. As for using both beta-sitosterol and saw palmetto together, it may provide an extra boost for slowing or improving hair growth.
Saw Palmetto for Hair Loss Review
One of our readers decided to share his testimony about taking saw palmetto in the fight against hair loss. Here are some of the facts about this personal review:
- Male, early 30’s
- Weight: 185 lbs
- Type of hair loss: Diffuse thinner
- Number of Years Thinning: 8
- Hair Loss Regimen: Minoxidil 2x per day, Nizoral shampoo 3x per week, and Hairmax Lasercomb 3x per week
This study was ran over the course of 6 weeks. He picked up a bottle of Jarrow saw palmetto with beta-sitosterol. This product comes with 120 soft-gels of 160mg saw palmetto extract. He used this supplement by taking 2 soft-gels (320mg) 2x per day for 6 weeks as a check point to review if this supplement had any effect for treating his hair loss. Here is a time line of his journey and observations of using this supplement every 2 weeks.
- Weeks 1 & 2: There were no differences in the condition of his hair during week 1. After taking the full dosage for week 1, he reported no side effects. For week 2, he noticed something that was not hair loss related but definitely what he considered not a “bad thing” from taking the supplement. During week 2, he noticed his sex drive actually increased. After further study, he reported that saw palmetto has actually been shown to increase libido. There were no other side effects (aside the good one) during week 2.
- Weeks 3 & 4: During week 3, our reader stated that he noticed that his shedding had slowed down. Typically after taking a shower in the past, he would notice more hairs on a towel after drying his hair. During week 4, he again stated that he saw less hair falling out and it appeared that his shedding was noticeably reduced. There were no signs of regrowth but he was happy seeing less hair in the sink! Again, there were no side effects other than a healthier libido.
- Weeks 5 & 6: For week 5, he reported that his shedding had completely stopped. In addition, his hair thickness had improved and he could see small hairs growing on his temples. His theory is by taking the saw palmetto, it slowed the current hair loss rate and gave his other products such as minoxidil and the lasercomb a chance to regrow hair. After week 6, he said his hair actually looked the best he has seen it in years. He believes taking this supplement has helped stop further hair loss and has given the chance for the hair re-growth products to grow new hair.
- One year update, we sent an inquiry for feedback about our reader’s story for a one year update since he first started using saw palmetto for treating hair loss. He stated he has not dropped the supplement because it has become a part of his regimen to maintain and regrow hair. He can’t tell if the saw palmetto alone has been the main contributor but regardless he is using it as a natural DHT blocker along with nizoral shampoo, minoxidil and the new laserband from HairMax. He stated these 4 treatments stacked together have helped him keep the hair he already had along with decent regrowth and overall thickness.
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