What is saw palmetto?
Saw palmetto is a supplement made from the fruit of the saw palmetto tree. The supplements come in various forms, with oily extracts being the most popular. Saw palmetto may help treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) — a medical condition characterized by a slow, noncancerous yet abnormal enlargement of the prostate.
What are the side effects of saw palmetto?
That said, studies suggest that saw palmetto supplements are generally safe for most people. The most common side effects include diarrhea, headache, fatigue, decreased libido, nausea, vomiting, and vertigo. Yet, they tend to be mild and reversible ( 21 ).
Can saw palmetto help with BPH?
Early studies reported that saw palmetto may help increase urine flow and reduce nighttime urination in men with BPH — both when used alone or in combination with traditional drug therapy ( 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 ).
Is saw palmetto good for hair loss?
Saw palmetto is often used to balance hormone levels and combat hair loss. According to one review, saw palmetto may help block the activity of 5-alpha reductase (5α-R), an enzyme that converts testosterone into a hormone linked to hair loss called dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
Can I use saw palmetto instead of medication?
Saw palmetto should not be used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor. Saw palmetto is often sold as an herbal supplement. There are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for many herbal compounds and some marketed supplements have been found to be contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs.
Does saw palmetto extract work as well as finasteride?
One test-tube study found that the effectiveness of saw palmetto extract was comparable to finasteride in preserving testosterone levels. Finasteride is a medication used to treat hair loss and BPH by reducing the activity of 5α-R ( 20 ). ).