Does Saw Palmetto Work for Hair Loss?

WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated

Hair loss can be a distressing experience for many individuals, and the search for effective solutions is ongoing. Among the various natural remedies that have gained attention is saw palmetto, a plant extract that has been traditionally used for various purposes, including promoting hair growth. However, the question remains: Does saw palmetto work for hair loss?

Does saw palmetto work for hair loss?

While research on the effectiveness of saw palmetto for hair loss is limited, some studies suggest that it may help reduce hair loss and promote hair growth by inhibiting the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone linked to male pattern baldness. However, the evidence is not conclusive, and results may vary among individuals.

Understanding the Role of DHT in Hair Loss

One of the primary mechanisms through which saw palmetto is believed to potentially help with hair loss is by inhibiting the production of DHT. DHT is a byproduct of testosterone and is known to play a crucial role in male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia.

In individuals with a genetic predisposition to hair loss, DHT can cause hair follicles to miniaturize and eventually stop growing hair, leading to thinning and balding. By reducing the levels of DHT, saw palmetto may help slow down or prevent this process.

Scientific Studies and Findings

While the research on saw palmetto and hair loss is limited, there have been some studies that have explored its potential efficacy. Here are some key findings:

  • A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2012 found that saw palmetto extract, when combined with other hair loss treatments, showed promising results in improving hair growth and reducing hair loss in men with androgenetic alopecia.
  • A 2018 review published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology examined various studies on saw palmetto and concluded that it may have a modest effect on hair growth, but more research is needed to establish its efficacy and optimal dosage.
  • A small study published in the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery in 2019 found that saw palmetto supplements, when taken alongside finasteride (a prescription medication for hair loss), led to significant improvements in hair growth and density.

Potential Mechanisms of Action

In addition to its potential DHT-inhibiting properties, saw palmetto may also contribute to hair growth through other mechanisms. Some researchers suggest that it may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which can help create a healthier scalp environment and promote hair follicle health.

Furthermore, saw palmetto contains various plant compounds, such as fatty acids and phytosterols, which may nourish and strengthen hair follicles, contributing to improved hair growth and quality.

Dosage and Considerations

While there is no established standard dosage for saw palmetto when it comes to hair loss treatment, most studies have used dosages ranging from 160 mg to 320 mg per day. It's important to note that saw palmetto supplements are not regulated by the FDA, and their quality and potency can vary across different brands and manufacturers.

Additionally, it's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before taking saw palmetto supplements, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions or are taking medications, as there is a potential for interactions and side effects.

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While the evidence on the effectiveness of saw palmetto for hair loss is not conclusive, some studies suggest that it may help reduce hair loss and promote hair growth by inhibiting the production of DHT and potentially through other mechanisms such as its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. However, individual responses may vary, and it's essential to have realistic expectations and consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating saw palmetto into your hair loss treatment regimen.

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Luat Duong

Luat Duong is a Copenhagen-based writer and content strategist specializing in hair loss and health. His work has been featured in MyHealthGuide, The Right Hairstyles, and Woman's Era. He is a graduate of Vaasa University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.