Hair Loss Advice


Saw Palmetto and Hair Loss

Serenoa repens is the medical name for the herb saw palmetto. The deep red fruit of this small palm grows wild in warm climates such as those found in the Southeastern United States.

The liposerolic extract of the fruit of Saw Palmetto is the most popular herbal supplement for the promotion of prostate health in Europe.

Research has shown that the herb Saw Palmetto has the same effects as finasteride in treating patients with benign prostate enlargement. In fact, the herb is very popular and common in Germany and is available as an over-the-counter medication. There are many research and studies in Germany that confirm the effectiveness of Saw Palmetto in treating patients with prostatic disease.

saw palmettoStudies have shown that saw palmetto is an effective anti-androgen. It acts in a similar way that propecia does.

Firstly it lowers levels of DHT in the body by Blocking 5 alpha-reductase.

Secondly Saw Palmetto block receptor sites on cell membranes required for cells to absorb DHT.

Although no studies have been carried out on saw palmetto and its relation to hair growth.

Studies have been performed on the use of Saw palmetto in the treatment of benign prostatic disease which similar to Androgenetic Alopecia also depends on the production of dihydrotestosterone(DHT).

All of the studies that have been performed to date show that Saw palmetto is an effective anti-androgen and has shown conclusively to be effective in the treatment of benign prostate disease.

More and more people around the globe are starting to use Saw palmetto in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasma and in the treatment of Androgenetic alopecia.

One may assume from this that since Saw palmetto is an effective antiandrogen and is used in the treatment of prostatic disease then it may also be effective in the treatment of Androgenetic alopecia.

Some studies have shown that saw palmetto may have the same effect as the drug finasteride in treating hair loss and prostate enlargement diseases. It has been suggested that both hair loss and prostate disease are related to the hormone DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) which is formed when the enzyme 5-alpha reductase interacts with the male hormone testosterone.

Finasteride works as an 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. It reduces the amount of 5-alpha reductase in our body and thereby reduces the formation of DHT, which is the main cause for hair loss and prostatic disease. hair lossDHT is formed when 5-alpha reductase interacts with the male hormone testosterone.

DHT is a derivate of testosterone but is many times more potent. Hair follicles that are sensitive to DHT tend to fall off when exposed to the hormone.

Finasteride is marketed as Proscar® (5 mg finasteride) or Propecia™ (1 mg finasteride) by the Merck & Co.

Both Proscar andPropecia are oral medication and has been approved by the FDA in the United States. Proscar is usually prescriped for people with benign prostate enlargement.

Propecia was approved by the FDA in December 1997 as the first ever anti-baldness pill. Both Proscar and Propecia are available by prescription only.

Since both hair loss and prostatic disease are related to DHT, many suggest that Saw Palmetto will also be effective in treating people with hair loss by reducing the amount of DHT in our body and around the hair follicles. Although there is no formal study or testing to confirm the effectiveness of Saw Palmetto in treating hair loss, many companies are already preparing topical hair lotions that are formulated with Saw Palmetto.

Saw Palmetto and Beta-sitosterol Study

Natural Treatment for Male Pattern Baldness

7/3/02 - Healthnotes Newswire—Those with male pattern baldness may increase hair growth by taking a preparation containing saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) and beta-sitosterol (a compound found in many edible plants), according to a new study in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (2002;8:143–52).

Male pattern baldness is a hereditary condition that most often affects men, but may affect women as well. Hair loss often starts with a receding hairline and continues in a horseshoe pattern, leaving hair on the sides and back of the head mostly unaffected. Although the exact reason that such hair loss occurs is not clear, some studies suggest that excessive conversion of testosterone to another hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) may be an underlying cause.

Conventional medicines used to treat male pattern baldness are designed to block the conversion of testosterone to DHT. Topical application of minoxidil (Rogaine®) and taking oral finasteride (Propecia®) have been shown to inhibit this conversion and to increase hair growth, but both medications have been linked with several adverse side effects, including fast heart rate, headaches, impotence, and decreased libido.

Saw palmetto and beta-sitosterol have been shown to block the production of DHT in men suffering from enlargement of the prostate (or benign prostatic hyperplasia, which is also due to excessive amounts of DHT), but this is the first study to demonstrate that these compounds also help with hair loss—and without causing significant side effects.

In the new study, 19 men between the ages of 23 and 64 years with mild to moderate hair loss were given either a placebo or a supplement containing 400 mg of a standardized extract of saw palmetto and 100 mg of beta-sitosterol per day. After about five months, hair growth in 60% of the men taking the herbal combination had improved compared with their initial evaluation. In contrast, only 11% of those receiving the placebo improved.

Although the number of men in the study was small and the results were not statistically significant (which means the improvement may have occurred by chance alone), the findings are encouraging for millions of men (and possibly women) with male pattern hair loss and offers a relatively safe alternative for those who want to take a natural approach to treat this condition.

Larger studies are needed to confirm the benefit of saw palmetto and beta-sitosterol, as reported in this preliminary study. In addition, women of childbearing age should not use saw palmetto without medical supervision because it has not been proven to be safe during pregnancy and lactation.

At the present time, there is no known cure for male pattern baldness. Both conventional and natural treatments can help control the hair loss as long as one maintains the treatment, though it will often recur once the treatment is discontinued. Given the safety of saw palmetto and beta-sitosterol, they seem a reasonable first line of treatment for mild to moderate male pattern baldness before considering conventional medications.

Further Reading

  • Introduction Nature usually has a solution for most health ailments and the problem with hair loss in no exception.

  • Saw Palmetto Natural Propecia

  • Nettles Applying an extract of Nettles to the scalp was said to stimulate hair growth, and chronic rheumatism was treated by placing nettle leaves directly on to the afflicted area.

  • Capsaicin Capsaicin induces the release of substance which is believed to play an important role in murine hair growth and cycle. 

  • Soy Extract An American Herb company was recently issued a patent for the use of soy extract for the treatment and prevention of hair loss.

  • Cayenne Pepper Excellent results have been seen with alopecia, male pattern baldness and excellent results also in women that have lost their hair.

  • Proanthocyanidin Natures Minoxidil

  • Pygeum Bark Pygeum africanum a herb derived from the bark of the African evergreen,which inhibits the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, is widely used in Europe to prevent and treat prostate problems and to prevent and treat male pattern baldness.

  • Sapote In Santo Domingo, the seed kernel oil is used as a skin ointment and as a hair dressing believed to stop falling hair.

  • Aromatherapy Evidently, one or more of the essential oils is able to promote hair regrowth.