Best supplement for hair growth: Saw palmetto shown to combat hair thinning

Hair loss: Dr Ranj discusses causes of male pattern baldness

Based on this information, researchers at the University of California looked into the efficacy and safety of saw palmetto supplements on hair regrowth. What did they discover? Find out here.

A part of the dermatology department, the scientists conducted a literature review into past studies using saw palmetto to reduce hair loss.

They came across five randomised clinical trials and two prospective cohort studies that demonstrated positive effects of oral supplementation with saw palmetto.

The studies included participants who had androgenetic alopecia and telogen effluvium.

What’s androgenetic alopecia?
Androgenetic alopecia is another term for male-pattern baldness, confirmed Medical News Today.

It’s identified by the classic “M” shape, where hair is first lost on either side of the temples.

What’s telogen effluvium?
Telogen effluvium is a form of temporary hair loss brought on from stress, shock or a traumatic event; this typically occurs at the top of the scalp.

Looking at the data from the studies collected in 2020, it was found that there was a 60 percent improvement in overall hair quality for those who supplemented with saw palmetto.

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In the same group, there was a 27 percent improvement in total hair count and 83.3 percent had increased hair density.

Saw Palmetto was “well tolerated”, but the researchers did note that “high-quality data is lacking”.

The research team considered saw palmetto as a possible “treatment for androgenetic alopecia, telogen effluvium, and self-perceived hair thinning”.

However, they declared that larger-scale clinical trials focused solely on the contribution of saw palmetto to hair growth outcomes is needed.

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What is saw palmetto?

WebMD said saw palmetto is a tree, which bears ripe fruit used to make medicine.

The organisation recognised saw palmetto is used for treating male-pattern baldness, sexual dysfunction and prostate conditions.

It’s thought that saw palmetto might “prevent testosterone from being converted to dihydrotestosterone (DHT)”.

WebMD continued: “It is thought that some types of hair loss are caused by increased sensitivity of hair follicles to DHT.

“Reduced levels of DHT may help prevent these types of hair loss.”

Saw palmetto safety

Considered safe for most people, mild side effects may include dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhoea testified WebMD.

Caution is needed if you’re on certain medication which could interact with saw palmetto.

For instance, birth control pills may become less effective if you take saw palmetto.

Moreover, saw palmetto decreases oestrogen levels in the body, and may decrease the effectiveness of oestrogen pills.

Medicines that slow blood clotting (known as anticoagulant/antiplatelet drugs) could interact with saw palmetto.

For example, taking saw palmetto while on anticoagulants could increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Before taking any form of supplement, please check with your doctor that is safe to do so based on your medical history.

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