Hair Loss and Baldness

Can Saw Palmetto Stop Hair Loss?

Some have claimed that Saw palmetto is useful for treating a type of hair loss and baldness called androgenic alopecia, or male and female pattern baldness. This type of hair loss usually occurs near the top of the scalp or around the temples. Many people ask: what is the best natural remedy for hair loss? Saw Palmetto tends to be the most common answer. We’ll explain why below.

As you may already know, some hair loss may be attributed to the naturally occurring hormone dihydrotestosterone or DHT. When the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, which is found in the scalp, comes in contact with the hormone testosterone, DHT is formed. DHT disrupts the normal operation of the hair follicles thereby causing hair loss. Theoretically if DHT is removed from the equation hair should regrow. It is fairly well known that DHT is a primary contributing factor in the onset of and also the progression of androgenic alopecia as well as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH.

Some believe that Saw Palmetto prevents testosterone from converting into DHT. If true then it may have some effect upon hair loss. Unfortunately there are no scientific studies showing a significant drop in DHT levels after taking it. There is, however, a multitude of anecdotal evidence that Saw Palmetto, or it’s big brother, Beta Sitosterol, can, and does, work. You’ll find many forums where people claim that taking this supplement has completely stopped their hair from falling out. Some even claim that hair regrowth has occurred. Now, you don’t really know what other factors could be contributing to their success since it is not happening in a controlled environment. Still, if enough people claim success then there may be something to it.

You also need to be sure you’re getting quality Saw Palmetto. You may have heard of the New York Attorney General going after some supplement sellers because the supplements advertised on the bottle label were not even in the bottle! The AG actually did DNA testing to confirm that some of these supplements, including Saw Palmetto, were not even included in the pills. Things such as saw dust, rice, beans and houseplant were included as fillers. Not too good if you are allergic to Pine. So, be sure to get a quality product and don’t fall victim to the fake supplement scam.

Another thing to keep in mind is that other factors can be causing your hair loss. You may be familiar with the Grunge Movement which is comprised of people that don’t shampoo their hair due to chemicals such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) that are in the shampoo. They claim that stopping the usage of these chemicals can give your hair new life. Check it out if you’re interested.

The bottom line is that a cursory look at how Saw Palmetto works could lead one to believe that it would be effective for hair loss or regrowth but to this point it has not been proven. Sure, it appears as though Saw Palmetto should have an effect on hair loss but it just has not been proven yet. There have been some small studies done but they have not provided conclusive evidence of its effectiveness. Hair loss can be caused by many different things and a visit to your doctor would be the best first step. It could be something as simple as a vitamin or nutritional deficiency. And, remember, supplements can have negative effects on the body so check with your physician before trying any of them.

For more in depth information check out this study:
Prager N, Bickett K, French N, Marcovici G. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to determine the effectiveness of botanically derived inhibitors of 5-alpha-reductase in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. J Altern Complement Med. (2002)