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    Saw Palmetto

    Saw Palmetto is a tree that natively grows in the soils of Southeast North America. It is a small palm that grows in sandy coastal areas for up to a maximum height of seven feet. Additionally, saw palmetto is a slow-growing palm that lives for very long periods, some even reaching up to 700 years.

    Saw palmetto itself is popular as a phytotherapeutic agent. It is commonly used in Traditional Asian Medicine as a remedy for several health conditions. In North America, the palm is a well-known aid in treating health conditions that involved the prostate, especially benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH.

    Although saw palmetto is most popular as a natural tonic towards better prostate health, the palm also extends its powerful benefits to other health conditions. Read on to know more about it.

    What is Saw Palmetto?

    Saw palmetto generally grows in clumps in sandy coastal areas such as the North American south Atlantic and Gulf Coastal soils and hills. It is a small palm that may grow to a maximum height of around seven to ten feet.

    It is unusual for saw palmetto to grow erect stems or trunks. Although, this variety can be found in some places. Saw palmetto is a “hardy” plant and slow-growing. It lives on for very long periods, especially in Florida where the saw palmetto trees are touted to be 500 to 700 years old.

    Saw palmetto is classified to be a fan palm. It has leaves that form the shape of a rounded fan. It also has spines that may break the skin, so touching the plant with bare hands is not ideal.

    The leaves of saw palmetto are light green in color and can be silvery-white in coastal regions. These leaves are one to two millimeters in length, and the leaflets grow about 50 to 100 centimeters long.

    Saw palmetto is a plant that hails from the genus Sabal. It also grows a fruit that is reddish-black in color. This fruit was an essential food source for both wildlife and humans in historic times.

    Most commonly called Saw Palmetto, the tree also goes by many names. Among these names are Serenoa repens, American Dwarf Palm Tree, and Cabbage Palm. It is also known as Chou Palmiste, Ju-Zhong, Palma Enana Americana, Palmier Nain, Palmier Scie, Sabal, and Serenoa.[1]

    Saw palmetto is an herb that is gaining popularity as a remedy for several health conditions. Its fruit produces an extract that offers a wide variety of health benefits.

    Saw palmetto extract has been long used in Asia and North America in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH.[2] BPH is a condition identified as the noncancerous yet abnormal enlargement of the prostate.

    Saw Palmetto Berry

    Saw palmetto bears a fruit that goes by the name saw palmetto berry. These berries are reddish-black in color.

    Back in the day, saw palmetto berries are consumed by wild animals. Early humans are also reported to have consumed the berries.

    The benefits of saw palmetto come from the extract of its berries. Simply called saw palmetto berry extract, this extract is a popular phytotherapeutic agent used in treating benign prostate hyperplasia.[3]

    What is Saw Palmetto Extract?

    Saw palmetto extract is an herbal remedy that has been used in traditional Asian medicine. It was also popularly used in North America as a treatment aid for benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH.[4]

    Saw palmetto extract is the concentration obtained from the berries of the saw palmetto tree. This extract is known to possess the active mechanisms that impose the health benefits of the herb.

    Saw palmetto extract is popular in American Indian cultures as a diuretic, sedative, and aphrodisiac. The extract is also used as a nutritional tonic due to high oil content.[5]

    What Are the Components of Saw Palmetto (Composition)

    Saw palmetto is a popular phytotherapeutic agent. This phytotherapeutic effects all come from its extract obtained from its berries.

    Saw palmetto berries contain over a hundred different compounds. These compounds are the active ingredients that execute the benefits of the extract which appear to be lipid-soluble.

    These active ingredients contain about 85 to 95 percent of the following components.[6]:

    • Fatty acids: predominantly lauric, caprylic, and caproic acid
    • Long-chain alcohol and sterols: beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol, and cycloartenol.
    • The extract also contains lupeol, lupenone, and methylcycloartenol.

    How Saw Palmetto Works

    The main mechanism of saw palmetto is inhibition of 5α-reductase, an enzyme that works on testosterone. For this reason, studies found that saw palmetto extract administration may reduce androgenic action support.[7]

    Saw palmetto is also believed to have bioactive components in the form of fatty acids and phytosterols. Studies suggest that thes  fatty acids are responsible for the mechanism of saw palmetto to inhibit 5α-reductase.[8]

    Saw palmetto may also have the following mechanisms:

    • It may inhibit 5α-reductase.[9] 5α-reductase is an enzyme that plays a role in androgen and estrogen metabolism.
    • It may impose anti-inflammatory properties. This is mainly due to the ability of the extract to block lipoxygenase, cyclooxygenase, and leukotrienes.[10]
    • It may alter cholesterol metabolism and antiestrogenic effects. The extract may also decrease a sex hormone-binding called globulin.
    • It may block 1-adrenoceptors.  This is especially beneficial for the urinary tract.[11]
    • It may encourage the production of p57 protein. P57 protein is a type of protein that decreases the development of tumors.[12]
    • It may inhibit the production of p21 proteins. P21 proteins contribute to the growth of tumors.[13]

    Health Benefits of Saw Palmetto

    Saw palmetto is praised for its amazing health benefits. And while it is more popular as a treatment for benign prostate hyperplasia, this extract is also used as a remedy for a variety of conditions.

    The benefits of saw palmetto extend beyond just prostate health. The extract is also popular for its positive impact on other aspects of health.

    Saw Palmetto and Hormones

    Saw Palmetto is a natural herb that comes with a number of health benefits. Among these benefits are possible positive impacts when it comes to hormonal regulation.

    The extract is most popularly used by men in treating and soothing prostate-related symptoms but saw palmetto also appeared in pharmacological studies as a possible treatment for cystitis, or inflammation in the bladder. The extract itself is also reviewed for its possible antiandrogenic properties.[14]

    Saw palmetto may impose an impact in regulating testosterone levels. In men, this is especially helpful in maintaining libido, mood, cognition, and overall body composition.[15]

    While the exact active components of the extract remain unknown, saw palmetto showed mechanisms that decrease the activity of  5α-Reductase. 5α-Reductase is an enzyme that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone or DHT. [16]

    In vitro studies show that saw palmetto extract may inhibit testosterone conversion to DHT. These studies also show that the extract may also prevent the binding of DHT to androgenic receptors. [17]

    One in vitro study showed that saw palmetto extract may be effective in preserving testosterone. This mechanism of the extract is comparable to the effects of finasteride.[18] Finasteride is a medication marketed for the treatment of hair loss and benign prostate hyperplasia.

    One in vivo study involving 40 male participants examined the effect of saw palmetto on decreasing DHT. By the end of the study, it was concluded that the extract decreased the presence of DHT by 32% after six months of continued supplementation. This effectively suggests the positive impact of saw palmetto at balancing testosterone levels.[19]

    Saw Palmetto and Hair Loss

    Hair loss is a common health condition that men encounter, especially the aging population. Otherwise known as androgenetic alopecia or common male pattern baldness, this condition often occurs on men aged 35 and above.

    Hair loss is a condition that may cause embarrassment and a decrease in self-confidence. A number of medications and supplements are currently sold in the market to possibly treat and improve the symptoms androgenetic alopecia.

    Saw palmetto is among the most commonly used natural herbal supplements in treating hair loss. In fact, saw palmetto and hair loss are terms that are most often seen together. The extract works by expressing its mechanisms on blocking dihydrotestosterone, the main culprit of male pattern baldness.[20]

    5α-reductase is an enzyme that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone or DHT. This mechanism may trigger hair loss, especially in older men.

    Saw palmetto is a natural remedy that may work to combat hair loss and help in hair regrowth. The extract may have the ability to inhibit the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone or DHT. This mechanism may prevent hair loss and assist in hair regeneration.[21]

    An in vivo study with 50 male participants with androgenetic alopecia tested the efficacy of the extract in treating the condition. After two years of continuous intake, the patients noted an increase of hair growth especially on the crown area of the head.[22]

    One study found that topical saw palmetto products were able to increase hair growth in 50 men with male-pattern baldness.[23]

    Saw Palmetto for Weight Gain and Muscle Building

    Saw palmetto is not exactly a big name when it comes to the world of bodybuilding supplements. The extract itself may not have the mechanisms to directly assist in gaining weight and muscle mass.

    However, saw palmetto bodybuilding benefits come in a very indirect manner. As the extract is praised for its role in testosterone and DHT, many believe that supplementing with this herb may help maintain normal testosterone levels.

    Additionally, saw palmetto is known to have a mechanism to block the conversion of testosterone into DHT or dihydrotestosterone. This is beneficial in preventing the adverse effects of DHT on testosterone, such as hair loss and changes in ejaculation.[24]

    Saw palmetto extract may express its benefits on muscle building through its ability to maintain testosterone levels. As we all know, testosterone plays a key role in muscle building and maintenance. Testosterone itself is a hormone that increases muscle growth and muscle protein synthesis which are both essential in muscle building.[25]

    Moreover, many believe that saw palmetto may also soothe the unwanted side effects of testosterone boosters. Bodybuilders often take the extract along with their t-boosters to prevent the side effects that come along with taking the supplement. However, this effect of saw palmetto is yet to be examined in vivo studies.

    Saw Palmetto and Blood Pressure

    Saw palmetto may not directly impose benefits on blood pressure. However, patients with high blood pressure may find comfort in taking the herb.

    Although saw palmetto does not lower blood pressure by any means, it has anticoagulatory properties. These properties may be indirectly beneficial for patients with hypertension.

    For instance, saw palmetto may have the ability to thin the blood. This mechanism may help regulate high blood pressure.

    However, it is worth noting that due to its anticoagulatory effects, saw palmetto must not be taken prior to surgery. Saw palmetto may encourage abnormal bleeding which can be extremely harmful.[26]

    Saw Palmetto Skin Benefits

    Saw palmetto extract is often used in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH. The extract is most popular for its mechanism that inhibits the conversion of DHT and keeps it under control.

    However, not many people know that saw palmetto may also benefit the skin. For one, it may help control oily skin by reducing the androgens present in the body. This is especially helpful for women who suffer from a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome as they are more prone to acne and excessively oily skin.

    A study in 2007 checked the efficacy of a combination of natural herbs to reduce sebum levels on the skin. A mix of saw palmetto, argan oil, and sesame seeds was applied. By the end of the four-week trial, it noted that the concoction decreased the sebum levels on the skin by 33%.[27]

    Saw palmetto extract may also be beneficial in soothing acne caused by hormonal imbalances associated with periods and menopause. This effect of the extract is due to its antiandrogenic properties.[28]

    Moreover, saw palmetto contains fatty acids that are beneficial to the skin. Among these essential fatty acids are laurate, palmitate, linoleate, and oleate. Combined, all these work together in keeping the skin nourished and moisturized.[29]

    Saw Palmetto and Cancer

    Cancer is among the major causes of mortality worldwide. In the United States alone, it was estimated in 2018 that over 1.5 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed, and over 600,000 of these patients will die from the disease.[30]

    Cancer is the result of the abnormal proliferation of any of the cells found in the body. That said, there are over a hundred different types of cancer, which vary according to their behavioral response to treatment.[31]

    Saw palmetto berries may exhibit properties that may effectively prevent the development of cancer. In fact, one study pointed out that the extract of the berries may prevent prostate cancer growth.[32]

    This effect is possible due to the mechanism of saw palmetto that encourages the increase of p53 protein production.[33]

    p53 protein is a protein tumor that plays a key role in cell division and death. This protein tumor is essential in keeping the cancer cells from developing and growing.[34]

    An in vitro study noted that saw palmetto extract may have the ability to decrease the growth and development of prostate cancer cells. This effect of the extract may be due to its ability to block 5α-reductase enzymes.[35]

    In further detail, the inhibition of 5α-reductase enzymes has been reported to treat the symptoms of benign prostate hyperplasia. For this reason, the mechanism may also possibly inhibit the development of prostate cancer. Additionally, saw palmetto has carotenoids that may also restrain prostate cancer.[36]

    An animal study also examined the effects of saw palmetto in the possible treatment of prostate cancer. The said study was conducted on castrated Syrian male hamsters.[37]

    The results of the trial were rather pleasing. It showed that the extract has the ability to inhibit  5α-reductase which prevents hamster flank organ growth.[38]

    Saw Palmetto and Breast Growth

    Saw palmetto is most popular as an aid in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia. This benefit of the herb is due to its antiandrogenic properties and mechanisms that inhibit certain enzymes that encourage the development of the condition.

    However, saw palmetto goes beyond just the inhibition of 5α-reductase enzymes. It may also extend its benefits to breast growth.

    Saw palmetto and breast growth are recently gaining attention again. Looking back, the extract was believed to aid in sexual health, libido, and breast enlargement back in historical times.

    Before saw palmetto extract was a thing, saw palmetto berries have been traditionally used by American Indians to treat genitourinary disturbances. The berries were also used to relieve irritations in the mucous membrane, aid in testicular function, and assist in breast enlargement.[39]

    Saw Palmetto for Sexual Health

    Saw palmetto extract is a popular all-natural remedy that may treat benign prostatic hyperplasia. It has also been mentioned that the extract may impose antiandrogenic mechanisms.

    Saw palmetto may also extend its positive benefits on sexual health. In fact, the herb is being looked at for its possible contribution to improving virility and vitality. It may also impose benefits in terms of fertility and sex drive.

    Back in the day, saw palmetto berries were popular in treating sexual conditions, such as erectile dysfunction. Many believed that the extract had the ability to improve overall sexual function.[40]

    Saw Palmetto and Fertility

    Infertility is a growing problem worldwide, affecting about 6% of married couples in the United States. It is a condition that is often caused by several factors, such as age, genetics, certain medication, and supplement intake, among others.[41]

    Infertility, on one hand, is a condition that doesn’t necessarily have to be permanent. A number of different remedies and treatments are now being offered to reverse the condition.

    While others opt for fertility treatments, others go for all-natural remedies. Among these all-natural remedies is saw palmetto.

    Saw palmetto is a natural herb that is most popular for treating benign prostatic hyperplasia, but it may also have mechanisms that benefit sexual health. Additionally, saw palmetto has a variety of mechanisms that may support the proper function of the reproductive system both in direct and indirect ways.

    Back in the day, Native American women used saw palmetto fruit as an herbal remedy in infertility ad lactation problems.[42]

    For one, saw palmetto is considered to be an adaptogen and antiandrogen. It is also a reproductive amphoteric, anti-inflammatory, and demulcent.[43] Combined, these mechanisms may normalize sexual and reproductive functions.

    In men, the effects of saw palmetto on fertility may be executed indirectly. As mentioned, saw palmetto may act as a 5a-reductase inhibitor.[44] This mechanism may result in increased testosterone levels.

    For men, having good levels of testosterone may benefit fertility. Good testosterone levels also promote better spermatogenesis and sperm quality, increasing the rate of fertility.[45]

    Saw Palmetto and Libido

    Having low sexual desire or libido is often overlooked by many. But what most of us don’t know is that there may be even more serious underlying causes behind this condition.

    Hypoactive sexual desire disorder and sexual aversion disorder are conditions that affect both men and women. These conditions are often unaddressed due to their awkward and private nature.[46]

    Saw palmetto extract may have the ability to improve sexual desire and libido. Back in the day, this extract was used as a remedy for sexual dysfunctions such as erectile dysfunction.[47]

    As we all know, the sexual condition is often associated with low sexual desire and libido.

    A pilot study was conducted to examine the significant role of saw palmetto extract in improving sex drive. In the said study, 82 men over the age of 30 participated.

    The aim of the study was to examine the efficacy of saw palmetto in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia while improving any sexual dysfunctions associated with the condition. By the end of the trial, it has been noted that the extract improved the symptoms of BPH and corrected any sexual dysfunctions that came with the condition.[48]

    Indirectly, saw palmetto may also affect libido by inhibiting 5α-reductase enzymes. This mechanism of the extract may impose positive impacts on testosterone levels.

    Generally, 5α-reductase encourages the conversion of testosterone into DHT. DHT may affect adversely affect libido, sexual functions, as well as ejaculation and sperm concentration.[49]

    Saw palmetto may have the mechanism to stop the conversion of testosterone into DHT, thus preventing any adverse effects on sexual health and function.[50]

    Saw Palmetto for Men

    Saw palmetto is a rising all-natural remedy for several health conditions. Among its most common health benefits extend to the regulation of hormones in both men and women, healthier skin, and a preventive supplement against cancer.

    Saw palmetto is more commonly used by men, as the herb itself executes a number of benefits in terms of male health. It is also a very popular treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia, a non-cancerous prostate condition that occurs in aging men.

    But the benefits of saw palmetto for men go beyond just treating and preventing benign prostatic hyperplasia. The extract may also benefit the male population in several ways.

    Saw Palmetto and Erectile Dysfunction

    Erectile dysfunction is a condition wherein one is unable to attain and maintain an erection. This condition is confirmed when it happens at least 25% of the time during intercourse.[51]

    Erectile dysfunction may develop gradually and may have several different causes. These causes often include some forms of prostate diseases, medications, and more commonly, aging.[52]

    In an in vivo animal study, 45 Sprague-Dawley ruts and 30 New Zealand rabbits were subjected to test the responses of saw palmetto on erectile function. The subjects were divided into four groups, each three given varying doses of the extract,  while the other one was given saline.

    The trial went on for seven consecutive days. By the end of the trial, it has been noted that saw palmetto extract may prevent and assist in treating erectile dysfunction.[53]

    Another in vivo study on males aged 25 to 50 was conducted to examine the efficacy of a multi-ingredient supplement marketed to treat erectile dysfunction. Among the ingredients of the herb was saw palmetto.

    In the said study, half of the group was given the supplement, while the other half was given a placebo. By the end of the 12-week trial, the supplement group noted changes and improvements on sexual health and function.[54]

    Saw Palmetto and Testosterone

    Saw palmetto extract also extends its health benefits to testosterone. The extract works by inhibiting the conversion of the hormone into DHT or dihydrotestosterone.

    A decrease in the conversion of DHT may lead to an increase in testosterone levels. This mechanism was looked at in one study.

    In the said study, there was a significant increase in testosterone after a 320mg administration of saw palmetto for three months.[55]

    Another clinical trial also pointed out that saw palmetto extract may increase testosterone levels. In the trial, 32 men were given 80mg of the extract twice daily for six days. By the end of the trial, an increase in testosterone levels was noted.[56]

    Saw Palmetto and Prostate

    Saw palmetto and prostate are almost two inseparable terms. In fact, the extract gain popularity for its positive effects on treating prostate-related conditions.

    Saw palmetto is widely known as a treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH. Benign prostatic hyperplasia is a condition wherein a nonmalignant growth in the prostate is observed, This is very common among aging men.[57]

    Benign prostatic hyperplasia affects about 10% of the male population in their 30’s and reaches up to 60% of men in their 60s. Indeed, the condition almost seems inevitable for some.[58]

    Native Americans used to eat saw palmetto berries back in the day. They believed that the berries were effective sexual health and prostate-related issues.

    Saw palmetto extract is one of the most popular phytotherapeutic agents used in assisting the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia and lower urinary tract symptoms. Its efficacy as a phytotherapeutic agent has been looked at in a number of clinical trials.[59]

    A study collected 18 randomized controlled trials that involved 2,939 men. 16 of these studies were double-blinded and had a trial period of between four to 48 weeks. The results were somewhat inconclusive and may require further research. However, in terms of improving urologic symptoms, the extract appeared to be effective.[60]

    Benefits of Saw Palmetto for Women

    Saw palmetto extract is known to have various pharmacological activities. Inhibition of 5α-reductase, anti-androgenic effects, anti-inflammatory effects, anti-proliferative effects, and anti-edema effects are among its most popular pharmacological mechanisms.[61] And while saw palmetto extract is a supplement often marketed towards male health, it may also benefit women in several ways.

    Saw Palmetto and PCOS

    Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS is a complicated condition that affects at least 7% of adult women. This condition is characterized by having elevated androgen levels, irregular menstrual cycles, along with small cysts on one or both ovaries.[62]

    Research already suggests that about 5% to 10% of females (aged 18 to 44) are already affected by PCOS. The ovarian condition affects more or less five million women who are of childbearing age in the United States alone.[63]

    PCOS, if left untreated, may lead to even more serious diseases and may cause permanent infertility among the affected women. For this reason, a number of medications that keep the hormones balanced are available as a treatment.

    Saw palmetto for women with PCOS may be the best option for those who want an all-natural remedy. As stated, saw palmetto may have antiandrogenic effects.[64] These antiandrogenic effects may reduce the levels of androgen and prolactin in women who suffer from the condition, soothing the unwanted symptoms.

    Saw Palmetto and Menopause

    Menopause is a natural condition that occurs in most women between the ages of 45 and 52. This condition is marked by having a change in hormonal profiles along with the cessation of the menstrual period.[65]

    Approximately 1.2 billion women worldwide are believed to enter the menopausal stage by 2030. About 47 million of these women become new entrants each year. These women are all anticipated to suffer from drastic symptoms such as hot flashes, sleep disturbances, night sweats, and sexual dysfunctions. Menopause is also associated with mood disorders, cognitive decline, and weight gain.[66]

    Hormonal treatments are available to ease the symptoms of menopause. However, not all women are keen on this idea. Many of them still want to try a more natural approach, as hormonal medications often come with serious adverse side effects.

    Saw palmetto extract is an all-natural supplement that may help soothe the symptoms of menopause. The extract contains phytoestrogens that may mimic the mechanisms of estrogen and alleviate any discomfort associated with hormonal imbalances.[67]

    Saw Palmetto and Hair

    Saw palmetto is also popular when it comes to treating conditions that involve hair loss. As stated, the extract is known for its mechanisms that block the conversion of dihydrotestosterone which happens to be responsible for hair loss.[68]

    Indirectly, saw palmetto may help women improve their hair health. The extract may fit as a natural solution to thinning hair and cases of hair loss.

    Saw palmetto may help promote better hair health and regrowth. Just like men, women are also susceptible to hair loss if the conversion of DHT gets out of hand.

    This is where saw palmetto may become handy. The extract may possess mechanisms that inhibit the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone or DHT. This property of the extract may prevent hair loss and assist in hair regeneration.[69]

    Saw Palmetto Side Effects

    Saw palmetto extract is 100% natural and doesn’t come with any synthesized compounds. However, even though this supplement is all-natural, it may still come with side effects.

    The side effects of saw palmetto may vary from one person to the other. The most common known reported side effects of this supplement are based on different individual experiences.

    These common side effects include the following[70]:

    • Stomach aches
    • Upset stomach
    • Loose bowel or diarrhea
    • Headaches
    • Unexplained fatigue
    • A decrease in sexual interest and sex drive
    • Rhinitis

    In more serious isolated cases, usage of saw palmetto reported the following:

    • Death
    • Cerebral hemorrhage
    • Pancreatic inflammation
    • Liver inflammation
    • Acute liver damage

    For the case of pancreatitis, it has been reported that the antiandrogenic properties of saw palmetto may have induced hepatotoxicity. This induced hepatotoxicity may also trigger liver inflammation.[71]

    Another adverse case of acute liver damage was reported in May 2006. The patient didn’t show any predisposing factors and there were no known medication, alcohol, or substance abuse that may have caused the interaction.[72]

    However, it was reported that the patient has been taking a commercially available saw palmetto supplement to ease his symptoms of benign prostate hyperplasia. Several tests were conducted to determine whether or not the adverse side effect was caused by the saw palmetto administration. These tests concluded a case of mild liver enlargement while BHP was also confirmed.[73]

    After the tests are done, the patient was advised to discontinue the use of the supplement. At a follow-up conducted after 10 days of discontinuation of saw palmetto administration, all the tests were back within their normal values.[74]

    For the isolated cases of death and cerebral hemorrhage, the link of the adverse events with the use of saw palmetto extract is currently questioned. Further investigation is needed to accurately point out the mechanism of the extract that may have caused such serious cases.[75]

    Who Should Not Be Taking Saw Palmetto

    Saw palmetto extract is generally safe for intake in otherwise healthy individuals. It is safe to take for people who have no history of any health condition.

    And while saw palmetto extract is an all-natural supplement that is free from synthesized components, precautions should still be executed when taking the herb. To be safe, it is still best to consult a physician first before starting supplementing on saw palmetto.

    The extract is generally not recommended to be taken by the following individuals:

    • Pregnant women

    Pregnant women are not advised to take saw palmetto extract during their gestation. The extract is known to inhibit 5-α-reductase. This mechanism may cause adverse effects on pregnant women. It may also trigger abnormal genital development on the fetus.[76]

    • Nursing/breastfeeding women

    Nursing or breastfeeding women may also not find it of best interest to take saw palmetto extract. Due to the mechanism of the supplement to inhibit5-α-reductase, it is unsure whether or not the supplement may impose side effects during lactation, especially on milk quality and production.

    • Patients taking certain medications

    People who take other medications on a daily basis are not advised to take saw palmetto unless cleared by their general physician. Certain medications may interact with saw palmetto and cause serious and adverse side effects.

    Saw Palmetto Interactions With Other Drugs And Treatments

    Saw palmetto extract may also interact with certain medications. That being said, it is best to consult with your physician first prior to starting a cycle of saw palmetto.

    Generally speaking, saw palmetto should not be taken along with the following medications:

    Drugs That Reduce Blood Clotting

    Saw palmetto extract should not be taken along with any medication that reduces blood clotting. Patients who took such medications along with saw palmetto reported having experienced more blood loss than normal during surgery. The said patients also experienced reduced blood clotting.[77]

    Among these drugs that should not be taken with saw palmetto are the following:

    • Acetylsalicylic acid or Aspirin
    • Warfarin, sold under the brand name “Coumadin”
    • Apixaban, sold under the brand name “Eliquis”
    • Clopidogrel, sold under the brand name “Plavix”
    • Rivaroxaban, sold under the brand name “Xarelto”
    • Ibuprofen and other types of NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

    Birth Control

    Birth control pills should not be taken along with saw palmetto extract. Taking the pill with the supplement may reduce the effectiveness of the contraceptive. This is due to the antiestrogenic mechanisms of saw palmetto. In further detail, saw palmetto may lower the estrogen levels of the pills, called estradiol.[78]

    5-reductase Inhibitors

    Saw palmetto has a mechanism that inhibits the conversion of dihydrotestosterone or DHT. For this reason, the extract should not be taken along with medications that are prescribed to block DHT, such as finasteride and dutasteride.[79] Finasteride is a medication sold under the brand names “Propecia” and “Proscar”, while dutasteride is sold under the brand names “Avodart” and “Jalyn”.

    Nettle Root and Saw Palmetto

    Nettle root is an herb that also comes with a number of health benefits. Like saw palmetto extract, this herb is also marketed towards benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). Combined, nettle root and saw palmetto may be a powerhouse in combating the symptoms of the condition. In fact, a study found that a combination of the extracts mimics the mechanisms of finasteride in treating the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia.[80]

    Astaxanthin and Saw Palmetto

    Astaxanthin is a known keto-carotenoid that happens to be a potent anti-inflammatory agent. Astaxanthin supplementation has been shown to treat a number of health conditions and ease their symptoms.

    The combined intake of astaxanthin and saw palmetto extract has shown to increase testosterone levels. The combination also decreased the levels of estradiol and dihydrotestosterone.[81]

    Moreover, supplementation of both saw palmetto extract and astaxanthin has been found to be more effective in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells compared to saw palmetto intake alone.[82]

    Saw Palmetto Extract and Pumpkin Seed Oil

    Pumpkin seed oil is another natural extract that is popular as a remedy for various symptoms. Pumpkin seed oil combined with saw palmetto extract showed a positive impact on benign prostate hyperplasia.

    In a study, the combination of the extracts greatly improved the condition of patients diagnosed with BPH, as well as their quality of life. Both also decreased the prostate-specific antigen levels of the patients which further helped in soothing the symptoms of the health condition.[83]

    Saw Palmetto Precautions

    Saw palmetto extract is most popular as a possible treatment for prostate-related conditions. Among these conditions is benign prostate hyperplasia.

    Saw palmetto is a natural herb that has appeared in several pharmacological texts with the aim of studying its anti edematous and antiandrogenic mechanisms. Studies are also conducted to further examine its other impacts on general health.

    However, the antiandrogenic properties of the extract may pose a risk to male health. It may be specifically risky for the male utero due to its possible deleterious effects on the male reproductive system.[84]

    Saw palmetto is also a known inhibitor of 5α-reductase. In vitro studies have consistently demonstrated this mechanism of the extract, as well as its ability to bind DHT to androgenic receptors.[85]

    For these reasons, saw palmetto should be taken with precautions, especially in men.

    How To Take Saw Palmetto

    While saw palmetto isn’t usually served on the table, there are several ways to take the herb as a supplement as it comes in different forms.

    Saw Palmetto Supplements

    The easiest way of taking saw palmetto is through supplementation. Luckily, in today’s very advanced technology, saw palmetto supplements come in many forms.

    You can get saw palmetto extract in the form of the following supplements:

    • Saw Palmetto Powder
    • Saw Palmetto Tea
    • Saw Palmetto Vitamin
    • Saw Palmetto Tincture
    • Saw Palmetto Topical
    • Saw Palmetto Oil
    • Saw Palmetto Coffee
    • Saw Palmetto Capsules

    Saw Palmetto Powder

    Saw palmetto supplements are also manufactured in powder form. This is among the most common and convenient ways of taking this extract as a supplement.

    This is made by harvesting saw palmetto berries and letting them dry for a certain period. Once they are dried, the berries are ground into a fine powder.

    Saw palmetto powder may have a light, cheesy-like taste. But depending on the quality, some powders may be nearly flavorless, making it ideal to mix it into drinks and soups.

    Avid gym goers often enjoy their saw palmetto powder along with their protein shakes. Some also mix the powder into their very own smoothie recipes.

    Saw Palmetto Tea

    Another common form of saw palmetto supplements comes in the form of tea. Saw palmetto tea, in fact, is among the easiest and most therapeutic ways of supplementing this extract.

    Saw palmetto berries are often dried and crushed before putting them into tea bags. This type of tea is consumed just as how other teas are consumed.

    Saw palmetto tea is best taken in the morning by steeping it in hot water for a couple of minutes. The longer it is steeped, the stronger its fruity taste is. Many people prefer to drink this in the morning and before bedtime as the tea itself is very calming and therapeutic.

    Saw palmetto tea can be taken any time of the day and there have been no reports of overdose so far. Compared to its other forms, the dosage of the extract found in the tea is comparably low.

    Saw Palmetto Capsules

    Saw palmetto extract can also be bought in capsule forms. In fact, this form of the extract may be the better counterpart of its pill and powder forms.

    Saw palmetto capsules are also more concentrated compared to the pill form. And since this type comes in capsule forms, they generally don’t have any flavors or weird aftertastes compared to the pill and powder forms

    Additionally, saw palmetto capsules appear to be easier to swallow as they have a softer and smoother texture compared to pills. The bioavailability of this form of the extract is also higher, as capsules contain more concentrated extracts than any other form.

    Moreover, saw palmetto capsules are favored by many due to its flavorless profile.

    Saw Palmetto Vitamin

    Saw palmetto extract also comes in the form of vitamins. This extract may come in capsule or pill forms. It may also be mixed along with other multivitamins.

    The most potent form of saw palmetto vitamin, of course, are the ones that contain only the extract itself.

    Saw palmetto vitamin is yet another convenient and easy way of taking the extract. It is consumed as how any other multivitamins are consumed: drinking them along with a glass of water.

    Saw Palmetto Topical

    Topical saw palmetto is also available in the market. This form of the extract is topically applied as remedies for conditions that involve hair loss and hair growth.

    Topical saw palmetto can be bought as is, although some manufacturers mix the extract along with other essential oils to further enhance its efficacy. This type of saw palmetto extract can be bought in cream and oil forms.

    Saw palmetto topical treatment is usually preferred by people who take other medications as this form of the extract doesn’t cause interaction with other drugs compared to their oral counterparts.

    Saw Palmetto Oil

    Saw palmetto supplements also come in the form of oils. Saw palmetto oil is often topically applied, to soothe symptoms of certain aesthetic conditions.

    Just like topical saw palmetto, saw palmetto oil may be used to treat conditions that involve hair loss and hair growth. Many people swear by this form of the extract in providing a remedy for thinning hair.

    Saw palmetto extract oil may also be used to soothe certain skin conditions, such as acne. The oil is often mixed with other carrier oils prior to application onto the skin.

    Saw Palmetto Tincture

    Saw palmetto extract can also be found in the market in tincture forms. In fact, is among the most concentrated forms of the extract.

    Saw palmetto is tinctured to create a concentrated liquid extract of the herb. Manufacturers of this form of the extract often use an alcohol extraction method which ensures the maximum concentration of the product. This way of extraction also keeps the active components of the saw palmetto intact.

    Saw palmetto tincture is ideal for those who don’t like to take pills or drink tea. This form of taking the herb may be done by adding a couple of drops of the tincture to drinks, smoothies, soup, and water.

    Saw Palmetto Dosage

    The definite active components of saw palmetto are currently unknown. However, it is known that these bioactive compounds exist in the form of “liposterolic” substances found in the berries.

    For this reason, the exact optimal dosage of saw palmetto is not yet determined. When buying, opt for the ones that disclose the percentage of the saw palmetto extract content. This will somewhat provide an estimate optimal intake of the supplement.

    Based on studies, the effective and recommended dosage of saw palmetto tends to be within the range of 160mg to 320mg. This dosage is recommended to be taken once daily, assuming that the product is 80-90% liposterolic compounds by weight.

    It is unsure whether or not saw palmetto supplements should be taken along with food. But do take note that these supplements are fat-soluble by nature, so taking them along with a meal is advised by most physicians.

    Why You Should Insist On Getting  Standardized Saw Palmetto Extract

    Saw palmetto is a fruit-bearing tree that comes with a number of health benefits. Native to the soils of Southeast North America, this natural extract favors different aspects of health, both in men and women.

    The exact mechanisms of saw palmetto may currently be undetermined, but without a doubt, the extract does impose positive impacts on health. In fact, it is most popular as an aid in treating benign prostate hyperplasia, a non-cancerous prostate condition that typically occurs in aging men.

    But did you know that you should be wary of the quality of the saw palmetto supplement that you’re taking? Consumers should be well aware that not all of these supplements are created the same.

    As a rule of thumb, a quality and effective saw palmetto extract supplement is formulated with 85%-95% of fatty acids and biologically active sterols. This formula ensures the efficacy and potent bioavailability of the extract.

    Where to Buy Saw Palmetto?

    With the continuously growing hype on saw palmetto extract, these supplements can be bought pretty much anywhere. However, it is best for consumers to be extra aware and cautious of fake products and counterfeit supplements. It is also better for them to buy only from reputable stores and resellers to ensure the quality and credibility of the products.

    Many supplement stores sell saw palmetto extracts. They often sell the extracts in different, varying forms. Most of these are available in powder, capsule, pill, and tincture forms, among others. Consumers may also find these saw palmetto supplements at local grocery stores where they are usually located in the supplement and vitamin sections.

    Some drug stores also sell saw palmetto supplements, especially in the pill and capsule forms. These supplements are commonly found in most drugstores as they don’t usually require a prescription and are only sold over-the-counter.

    Consumers who are looking for the extra convenience may also purchase saw palmetto extract supplements online via reputable supplement websites and manufacturers. This is not only a convenient way of buying, but it also saves time and ensures the legitimacy and credibility of the supplements, especially when bought straight from the manufacturer.

    Speaking of manufacturers, buying online means that the consumers will have the option to purchase the supplement straight from the company. This way, not only are they assured of the quality and authenticity of the supplements, but they may also save a few bucks as the manufacturers sell the products based on its actual SRP, versus third-party resellers that may top up additional charges.

    And the best part of buying saw palmetto extracts online? These supplements will be delivered to your doorsteps simply through a click of a button.

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