Belonging to the palm tree family, Saw Palmetto, is a plant that has been used in various traditional medicines for centuries. In Southern Florida the fruit of the plant was used to treat urinary tract and reproductive conditions by the Seminole tribes, additionally it has also been used to balance hormones, prevent hair loss in men and decrease inflammation.
Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of Saw Palmetto.
May support prostate health
One of saw palmetto’s most common uses is for supporting prostate health. In particular, treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), this can cause symptoms such as increased need to urinate and the increased risk of urinary tract infections.
In one study carried out over 24 weeks, it was found that saw palmetto improved urinary tract symptoms related to BPH compared to a placebo. Additionally, a 15 year study concluded that taking 320mg every day may help prevent the progression of BPH.
Prevents hair loss
Caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, medical conditions and hormones changes, hair loss is a fairly common condition. Saw palmetto has been used for many years to combat hair loss caused by a hormone imbalance, and there are some studies to back this.
One study showed that the plant may help to block the activity of an enzyme that converts testosterone into another sex hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) that is linked to hair loss. This enzyme is called 5-alpha reductase.
Another review of several studies found that saw palmetto increased hair density in 83% of people with hair loss.
May help regulate testosterone levels
Testosterone levels affect several aspects of health, and as this naturally declines with age, some research suggests the low levels contribute to health conditions such as heart disease.
As mentioned previously, saw palmetto has the ability to decrease the activity of 5-alpha reductase, which in turn helps to preserve testosterone levels.
A 14 day study found that taking a combination of saw palmetto and astaxanthin increased serum testosterone levels by 38% compared with a placebo.