Hair loss is such a common problem that many of us consider it an inevitable part of growing older. And the main kind of hair loss in men and women is androgenetic alopecia, which is commonly known as male or female pattern hair loss. In fact, it is estimated that in the United States about 50 million men and 30 million women are affected by it.1 In men affected by this condition, you may see a typical pattern with hair loss beginning above the temples to eventually form an “M” shaped hairline; hair is also lost at the crown. In women, hair may slowly thin out at the parting and then all over the head. Women don’t usually get a receding hairline or face total baldness.2Let’s take a look at how saw palmetto may help you deal with this condition.
What Causes Androgenetic Alopecia?
According to researchers, this kind of hair loss is associated with male hormones known
Normally a strand of hair grows for anything from two to six years. It then goes into a resting phase which lasts for a few months before falling out. The hair follicle then begins growing new hair and the cycle starts over. But an increase in the levels of androgens can shorten the phase of hair growth, lead to the growth of thinner and shorter strands of hair, and delay the growth of new hair strands.3
Can Saw Palmetto Help?
Saw palmetto is a dwarf palm tree native to America. The berries of this tree have been traditionally used as a mild diuretic, to treat urinary problems, and enhance sperm production as well as libido. And studies have indicated that it can be effective at addressing the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (an enlarged prostate gland).4 There
How Does It Work?
Saw palmetto works by inhibiting the enzyme 5α-reductase, which plays a
How Do You Use It?
You can try dried ground or whole berries of saw palmetto. Saw palmetto extracts are also available as capsules and tablets. Saw palmetto is not known to cause serious side effects though it can sometimes cause stomach discomfort or headaches. However, do keep in mind that having saw palmetto may reduce the level of certain proteins (known as prostate-specific antigen) over the course of 6 to 12 months. As high levels of this protein are an early indicator for prostate cancer there is a risk of
|↑1, ↑3||adrogenetic alopecia. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑2||Treating female pattern hair loss. Harvard Health Publications.|
|↑4||Ernst, Edzard. “The risk–benefit profile of commonly used herbal therapies: Ginkgo, St. John’s Wort, Ginseng, Echinacea, Saw Palmetto, and Kava.” Annals of internal medicine 136, no. 1 (2002): 42-53.|
|↑5||Prager, Nelson, Karen Bickett, Nita French, and Geno Marcovici. “A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to determine the effectiveness of botanically derived inhibitors of 5-α-reductase in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia.” The Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine 8, no. 2 (2002): 143-152.|
|↑6||Fasulo, C., A. Linguiti, L. Bosco, P. Morganti, and R. A. Satriano. “Effectiveness Of Serenoa Repens On Androgenetic Alopecia.” Journal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft 2, no. 6 (2004): 552.|
|↑7||Penugonda, Kavitha, and Brian L. Lindshield. “Fatty acid and phytosterol content of commercial saw palmetto supplements.” Nutrients 5, no. 9 (2013): 3617-3633.|
|↑8||Murugusundram, Sundaram. “Serenoa repens: Does it have any role in the management of androgenetic alopecia?.” Journal of cutaneous and aesthetic surgery 2, no. 1 (2009): 31.|
|↑9||Hair Loss. National Institutes of Health.|