Can AGA(Androgenetic Alopecia) Be Improved With Saw Palmetto?

Saw palmetto is a herb plant. It is said to be effective against an enlarged prostate. It is also frequently used in hair development supplements and hair growth products, and it is claimed to be useful against AGA (Androgenetic Alopecia). Certain compounds work well for both AGA and the prostate. It is "Finasteride", which is well known as the world's first AGA treatment drug. Finasteride for the treatment of androgen excess (AGA), was developed as a result of the improvement in hair thinning observed in some individuals treated for prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Prostate problems were initially treated with dutasteride, which is thought to be more potent than finasteride. If finasteride and dutasteride, which improve prostate disease, are effective against AGA, it is natural to think that “saw palmetto'' may be equally effective. Because the effect of saw palmetto on prostate health is equal to it. 

While some individuals discuss their own experiences, saw palmetto is regarded mostly as a health food in India.

Saw Palmetto And Its Ingredient For Hair

Saw palmetto is a plant in the genus Serenoa of the palm family that grows naturally in the southeastern part of North America. It grows only about 2 to 4 metres in height and is quite a shrub within the palm family. It is called saw palmetto because its jagged leaves resemble a saw. Although it is not as good as a real saw, the jagged leaves are still quite hard and can cause injury if touched carelessly. In scientific terms, it is known as Serenoa repens. However, it is a very durable and long-lived plant, with some saw palmetto trees being 500 to 700 years old. It has the characteristic of growing in clusters in warm, dry places, but it also grows robustly even in some cold weather.

Saw palmetto was found to be effective by American Indians. Since the animals that consume saw palmetto fruit have healthy and good coats, they have come to understand the plant's health benefits, and ever since then, saw palmetto has been used as a source of stamina. It's also been used as a diuretic and tonic for men.

The active compounds found in saw palmetto were discovered in the 1960s when research got underway in the US and Europe. These are the ones that serve as examples.

Phytosterols (Stigmasterol and β-sitosterol): It is effective in lowering bad cholesterol, controlling gut flora, and preventing cancer. It belongs to the class of sterols, or steroid alcohols, and is a particular kind of phytochemical (a substance found in plants). β-sitosterol is thought to be beneficial for prostate disorders because it functions similarly to female hormones by inhibiting 5α-reductase and reducing the formation of dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

Octacosanol: It is effective in boosting physical stamina, recovery from fatigue, enhancing lipid metabolism, and reducing stress. It is a kind of saturated alcohol.

Flavonoid: It has effective antioxidant properties and supports immunological modulation. It is a type of polyphenol.

Unsaturated fatty acid: Oleic acid, linoleic acid, and linolenic acid are some naturally unsaturated fatty acids present in saw palmetto. It is effective in reducing bad cholesterol and making the blood thinner. Fatty Acid that contains two or more different types of carbon bonds doesn't cluster within the body.

Saw palmetto is a rich source of compounds that can effectively combat age-related issues. In particular, "β-sitosterol" was discovered, and in addition to its diuretic, tonic, and prostatic disease-improving effects, it also has few side effects, so it has been approved as a medicine in many countries such as France, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the Kingdom of Monaco. 

Furthermore, given that it is purported to inhibit the synthesis of DHT (dihydrotestosterone), it might be useful in treating androgenetic alopecia (AGA).

Clinical Trials: Saw Palmetto Is Effective For AGA

Saw palmetto is effective for prostate diseases, but it seems a bit premature to say that it will be effective against AGA (androgenetic alopecia) in the same way as finasteride and dutasteride. Here are some clinical trials which help you to know the result for AGA.

April 2002: Paper on clinical trials using saw palmetto extract

An article about a clinical trial using saw palmetto extract was published in the academic journal " The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine."

According to the paper, ten men (aged 23 to 64) with mild to moderate AGA received saw palmetto extract as part of a clinical study carried out by the Clinical Research and Development Network, Aurora, CO, USA. Six of them demonstrated improvement as a result.

As a result of this, six of them showed improvement. It was conducted in a double-blind study, so it seems reliable. However, the ambiguity is a little puzzling because there are no specific explanations of the period, dosage, or details of the improvement. And even if 6 out of 10 people say it's improved...

2004 June: Presentation at the Fourth International Hair Research Society Meeting

A collaborative research between the University of Naples and the Clinic was announced at the 4th International Hair Research Conference of the European Hair Research Society (EHRS), which took place in Berlin in June 2004. The presentation's contents are listed below. 62 individuals, 28 women and 34 men, ranging in age from 18 to 48, will be split up into three groups and followed up for three months.

  • Taking a pill containing saw palmetto extract supplement
  • Taking a placebo supplement
  • Use saw palmetto extract-containing shampoo and lotion. 

After 3 months, they examine the growth of new hair. 

  • Taking saw palmetto extract supplements = 35%
  • Using saw palmetto extract shampoo = 20% 
  • Placebo = No change

Sebum was also seen to be decreasing in the effective group, which also inhibited the rise in sebum secretion brought on by the advancement of AGA. This demonstrates that Serenoa repens or saw palmetto extract is beneficial for conditions causing hair loss, like androgenic alopecia. The paper comes to an end.

2012: Clinical trial comparing saw palmetto extract and finasteride

In 2012, the results of a clinical trial comparing saw palmetto extract and finasteride were published in the Italian medical journal International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology. Here is the content of the test. 100 men exhibiting signs of AGA. For two years, each group of participants received 320 milligrams of saw palmetto extract and 1 mg of finasteride daily.

As a result, some improvement was observed in saw palmetto extract - 38% and finasteride - 68%. The finasteride group showed improvement in both the frontal and parietal areas, while the saw palmetto extract group only showed improvement in the parietal area. However, the precise improvement was not described. Finasteride appears to have gained the upper hand, even if saw palmetto extract appears to be equally beneficial.

2016: Thai saw palmetto extract experiment

An experiment conducted in Thailand in 2016 involved applying saw palmetto extract to the scalp for 24 weeks. The Australian Journal of Dermatology published this paper. The amount of hair increased in fifty males with AGA who were between the ages of twenty and fifty who used a product containing saw palmetto extract daily. Sadly, no precise statistics are included in this research, so it's difficult to determine the exact amount of hair growth and the number of individuals who experienced it.

Which is a more common - supplement or hair growth product?

There are many types of saw palmetto products available that claim to prevent AGA, such as promoting hair growth and preventing hair loss, in the form of supplements that you consume orally and saw palmetto products in the form of hair growth agents that you apply topically. By the way, neither hair growth agents nor hair growth supplements will cause hair to grow. Please note that this product is different from hair growth agents containing minoxidil, which can be expected to have a hair growth effect.

Supplements, Shampoo, Lotion, etc containing saw palmetto extract also do not work for hair growth, it is effective in reducing the cause of hair loss. 

Saw palmetto is a natural herb, it works well when consumed orally. It is something to drink or consume in the form of juice, capsule, tablets or more. However, as mentioned earlier, presentations at the International Hair Research Society meeting in Berlin and experiments conducted in Thailand showed that saw palmetto was effective even when applied to the scalp. Some shampoos also contain saw palmetto extract. 

In conclusion, it is effective to add both practices to the routine. Make sure to consume saw palmetto extract on priority than applying it.

What Side Effect Does Saw Palmetto Have?

Saw palmetto extract is a natural supplement that does not have very serious side effects. When finasteride or dutasteride causes negative effects, some people switch to saw palmetto supplements. However, be cautious of any changes in your physical state since you may encounter allergy symptoms like rash, swelling of the lips, and shortness of breath. Additionally, there may be instances where autonomic nervous system symptoms (dizziness, headache, palpitations, hot flashes, malaise, etc.) that are readily influenced by hormonal balance materialise because the substances have some effect on hormone regulation. There have also been reports of blood pressure-related symptoms, both elevated and low. Additionally, consuming excessive amounts of saw palmetto extract might result in stomach pain, constipation, diarrhoea, nausea, and gastrointestinal distress. The recommended daily dosage of Saw Palmetto Extract is 180 mg, according to FSSAI.

Many commercially available hair growth supplements contain around 300mg, so it is necessary to follow the recommended dosage when taking them. Please use the intake amount just as a guideline, as some persons are prone to experiencing gastrointestinal issues even with tiny amounts.

Although it is a very rare case, there have been cases in the past where people have ingested commercially available health foods containing saw palmetto extract, leading to the serious disease "rhabdomyolysis."

Precaution-Minors And Pregnant Mothers Should Be Careful.

Although saw palmetto is a healthy food ingredient that anyone can easily purchase, some people should not consume it. Take care of people around you as well as yourself.

Pregnant or Lactating Women: Pregnant or nursing women should avoid saw palmetto since it is believed to decrease the formation of DHT, even though it is not as effective as finasteride and dutasteride. This is because it alters the fetus's and the baby's hormonal balance, and it may prevent the development of the reproductive organs in boys.

Minor or children: It is not recommended for the minor or children. An adult can use it with consultation. As per a finding, a 10-year-old girl was treating her hirsutism with a saw palmetto nutritional supplement, but she developed hot flashes, a symptom commonly seen in menopausal symptoms. The symptoms subsided when he stopped taking the drug, but the symptoms returned when he started taking the drug. Boys should also avoid taking anything related to hormones, as it may have a negative effect on their growth.

People who take blood-related medications, such as anticoagulants and antiplatelet medications: Blood thinness is one of saw palmetto's effects. While this is undoubtedly a great blessing, it may also interfere with the medication's ability to work and even be fatal for those with diseases that make it difficult for their blood to clot.

People using different hormone medications: Saw palmetto has an impact on hormone levels, thus anyone receiving treatment to balance their hormones shouldn't take it. Even if you consult your doctor before taking it, commercially available saw palmetto supplements vary in amount and quality, so it is difficult to estimate how much of an effect they will have. Therefore, make treatment your priority.

People with digestive or circulatory system diseases: Side effects of saw palmetto include digestive problems such as nausea and abdominal pain, and cardiovascular problems such as changes in blood pressure and dizziness, so people with these conditions should avoid taking it.

Is It Really Effective For AGA?

Saw palmetto seems to be very effective in improving AGA by inhibiting the production of DHT, smoothing the blood to improve blood flow, and preventing ageing with its antioxidant effects. If it can be obtained at a relatively low price and has few side effects, there will be no need for AGA treatment drugs. However, now that saw palmetto has become more well-known, people who suffer from thinning hair will not go away.

However, whether it's prostate disease or AGA (androgenetic alopecia), some people may have improved with saw palmetto, so it's hard to say that it's completely ineffective.

However, most people who used it did not see any improvement, so it is necessary to carefully examine whether the effect was really due to saw palmetto or whether other conditions were at play.

However, time will not wait.

As time passes, AGA progresses rapidly. The later you start treatment for AGA, the lower the chance of improvement. Therefore, you should try a palmetto supplement as soon as possible if you do not want to take any chemical drugs.

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