Saw palmetto is a popular herbal hair loss treatment. It works by blocking an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase. This particular enzyme converts testosterone to DHT, which causes hair loss in men and women.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved the use of saw palmetto, nor have any large-scale scientific studies been conducted to back up its effectiveness.
However, lack of FDA approval merely means that saw palmetto hasn’t been shown to work in clinical settings and does not mean it’s unsafe or ineffective. Since it’s not a patented supplement, it’s highly unlikely that saw palmetto will ever receive FDA approval.
Still, there have been small-scale studies conducted using saw palmetto that showed promising results.
One particular study, which appeared in the “Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine” August 2002 issue, indicated that 60 percent of study participants who took 400mg of saw palmetto showed increased hair growth. Many men and women have attested to how well saw palmetto works after trying it themselves.
Though saw palmetto supplements are a natural remedy there are potential side effects, the most common being constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Those interested in trying saw palmetto hair loss supplements should talk to their doctor beforehand.