Saw palmetto also known as Sabal fructus comes from the Serenoa repens fruit. Referred to as nature’s finasteride by some, studies have shown that saw palmetto extract may reduce levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) via the inhibition of 5α-reductase.
- The in vitro data for saw palmetto extract shows that it can inhibit 5α-reductase, which is causally related to hair loss through its dysregulation leading to an imbalance in the dihydrotestosterone/testosterone (DHT/T) ratio. Furthermore, it has been found to increase cell viability in keratinocyte cells treated with DHT and then saw palmetto extract compared to DHT-treated cells alone
- An in vivo study in mice (over 5 weeks) showed that saw palmetto rescued mice from DHT-induced loss of hair, however, it did not perform as well as finasteride. Furthermore, the mice treated with nothing grew hair back faster than either of the treated groups, indicating that some of the regrowth may be due to a natural entrance into anagen.
- The clinical data for saw palmetto shows that 38% of patients taking 320mg for two years reported hair regrowth, whereas after taking 1mg of finasteride daily for two years 68% reported hair regrowth. Furthermore, researchers reported that saw palmetto regrowth was only seen in the crown, and they did not show any before-and-after photos so the results cannot be seen for ourselves. Other studies that include saw palmetto also include many other ingredients that make it difficult to tell if the product is working due to saw palmetto or due to the other ingredients.
- Patients did report fewer side effects after taking saw palmetto extract than finasteride, however, this comes with the caveat of less effectiveness of treatment.
- Our experience tracking members: saw palmetto by itself is not enough to improve hair loss outcomes