Everything You Need to Know About Saw Palmetto
What is Saw Palmetto?
any of the health and wellness supplements and natural products on the market are targeted at women. But this one is for men!
If you're looking for an herbal supplement to support healthy testosterone levels as you age, you've come to the right place. In this article, we explore the benefits and uses of saw palmetto, a popular men's health herb.
The saw palmetto plant – also known by its scientific name Serenoa repens – is a type of dwarf palm tree native to areas in the United States. The plant has saw-like teeth on the stalks, hence the name!
Historically, dark purple saw palmetto berries were used by Native American tribes to make a natural tonic to treat urinary tract and libido problems in men.
Now, the fatty portions of saw palmetto berries have been isolated due to their variety of active compounds. Research has confirmed that saw palmetto supplements have potent health benefits for men – including supporting hormone balance, prostate health, and urinary tract health.
How Saw Palmetto Works
VSaw palmetto extract contains flavonoids, fatty acids, polysaccharides, and plant sterols that exert potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits on the body. However, saw palmetto is most popular for supporting men's health by naturally stabilizing levels of the male sex hormone testosterone. It’s great for promoting prostate health, urinary tract health, and sexual function.
It works by inhibiting the activity of 5-alpha reductase, an enzyme that lowers testosterone levels in the body by converting some testosterone into the androgen hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) (1). A 2014 study on men aged 21-70 found that taking a natural supplement containing saw palmetto (along with the antioxidant astaxanthin) significantly reduced blood levels of DHT after 2 weeks (2). Those who consumed a 1200mg dose of the supplement daily also noticed a 38% increase in blood levels of testosterone.
This is significant because testosterone levels decline with age, resulting in fatigue, weight gain, loss of muscle mass, poor cognitive function, low libido, and sexual dysfunction in some men. As a natural testosterone booster, saw palmetto may reduce some of the negative effects of aging in men and slow the signs of premature aging.
Health Benefits of Saw Palmetto
Let's examine some of the powerful ways that saw palmetto improves men's health and well-being.
Promotes Prostate Health
Saw palmetto is best known for naturally enhancing prostate health.
Located between the bladder and the penis, the prostate gland is an important part of men's reproductive physiology. Unfortunately, in older men, this gland commonly becomes swollen, resulting in an uncomfortable but non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It puts pressure on the urethra, disrupting the flow of urine and preventing men from emptying the bladder. This leads to excessive trips to the bathroom that mess with men's sleep patterns!
Saw palmetto is a natural treatment option for mild to moderate BPH and its use is supported by several studies. A 2013 study on men with BPH found that taking 320 mg of saw palmetto extract for 2 months improved symptoms of an enlarged prostate and boosted sexual function and quality of life (3).
Supports Urinary Tract Health
As mentioned, an enlarged prostate gland may impact the ability to properly urinate, leading to painful urination, increased urgency, frequent nighttime urination, and increased risk for bladder or urinary tract infections (UTIs). By improving BPH, saw palmetto is a great natural supplement to support the health of the urinary system.
A review of 12 clinical studies on men with BPH found that taking a saw palmetto extract (either alone or along with other BPH medications) improved urinary flow and reduced nighttime urination (4).
May Reduce Hair Loss in Men
Thinning hair and male pattern baldness are common in older (and some young) men. Also known as androgenic alopecia, hair loss may be a result of declining testosterone and high DHT levels in certain men, which shortens the hair growth cycle.
Thanks to its ability to lower DHT by inhibiting enzyme 5-alpha reductase, saw palmetto is a herbal superstar when it comes to reducing male hair loss and boosting self-confidence (5).
Make Saw Palmetto Part of Your Daily Diet
Okay you knew it was coming... time for a shameless plug. Do you think the benefits of adding saw palmetto to your daily diet could help? Create a personalized daily vitamin pack that includes saw palmetto and any other vitamins, minerals or supplements you think could help. Start by adding saw palmetto to your Kit here!