Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) is a native of the Southeast of the United States and can be found from South Carolina to Florida. Its white blossoms give rise to yellow berries that mature to a dark color. The saw palmetto fruit resembles a berry and has a large seed inside. In the early 1900s, Native Americans employed this plant for the first time as a staple diet and as a medication to heal ailments like coughs, urinary problems, and low libido.
Today, saw palmetto is mostly utilized as a dietary supplement for several medical ailments. Saw palmetto has several health benefits, including the ability to lower inflammation and improve prostate health. Its berries can be used to make herbal drinks or consumed whole and dry.
A Guide To Saw Palmetto Use
Saw palmetto is a fruit-bearing tree native to Florida. The berries are used in traditional medicines and are also commonly used as a dietary supplement. The berries of the saw palmetto plant are often dried and used to make herbal supplements. The plant’s leaves and seeds can also be eaten raw or cooked.
Saw palmetto is most often used for its purported benefits as an anti-inflammatory agent, but there are many other uses for this plant. It has been used to treat pain, inflammation, high blood pressure, and erectile dysfunction (ED). Tablets, powdered capsules, and extracts can be purchased as saw palmetto supplements. The percentage of fruit-derived lipids (sterols) in these supplements should range from 75% to 90%. They are a rich source of healthy ingredients including Vitamin E and antioxidants.
Children shouldn’t take supplements, per the advice. However, if you’re an adult, you can take dietary supplements that come in capsule form and contain a fat-soluble extract according to the quantity that your doctor has prescribed. It should be noted that the active components in dried saw palmetto fruits are not water soluble, hence the effectiveness of teas derived from these berries may be questionable. Maybe the outcomes are better with capsules. Additionally, you might want to take these supplements with food to lessen adverse effects including digestive problems.
Saw Palmetto’s Health Advantages
Saw palmetto is a well-known herbal supplement frequently used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. Even while saw palmetto is typically regarded as safe for short-term use, there is little scientific data on its long-term adverse effects. Saw palmetto may provide the following potential health advantages:
1) Lessening of inflammation: According to certain animal studies, saw palmetto has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that may reduce discomfort. For instance, in mice with enlarged prostates, saw palmetto extract was utilized to reduce edema and lower levels of inflammatory indicators including interleukins and cytokines.
2) Enhanced prostate wellness: The urinary tube that passes through the penis is encircled by the prostate gland, which is situated directly below the bladder. The prostate gland supports sperm quality maintenance. Saw palmetto has been shown to protect against diseases including prostate cancer and enlargement of the prostate while also enhancing prostate health. Around 75% of men over 70 are typically affected by benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). In a study that lasted 15 years, 30 men who took 320 mg of saw palmetto extract daily reported that it slowed the progression of BPH.
3) A reduction in urinary symptoms: According to a study involving 354 BPH-afflicted males, ingesting 320 mg of saw palmetto for six months improved sexual function, urine flow, and overall quality of life. Saw palmetto pills, however, are not extremely efficient when taken by themselves. In this area, research is still being conducted.
4) Increased levels of testosterone: The hormone testosterone is important for regulating the body’s composition, mood, libido, and cognitive function. Saw palmetto controls testosterone levels by inhibiting the 5-alpha reductase enzyme, which turns testosterone into the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Additionally, it can limit DHT’s capacity to bind to androgen receptors by nearly 50%, keeping testosterone levels stable. According to one study, saw palmetto also raised sperm count, enhanced testosterone production, and enhanced muscle endurance in rats. These results need to be verified by people.
5) Reduction in hair loss: DHT, an androgen hormone, shortens the hair growth cycle, causing the development of shorter and thinner hair. By inhibiting the enzyme that turns testosterone into DHT, saw palmetto can stop hair loss. Additionally, it might stop DHT from attaching to hormone receptors in your hair follicles.
Saw palmetto oral and topical supplements increased hair density in 83% of persons who were experiencing hair loss. Additionally, it improved hair quality by 67% and raised hair count by 27%. When taking 200 mg of saw palmetto daily, men with male-pattern baldness (alopecia) showed a 60% decrease in hair loss. Before making any conclusions, though, more research is required because these effects could be limited.
Saw Palmetto’s Long-Term Side Effects
The fruit of the Serenoa repens tree is used to make the dietary supplement saw palmetto. It might have positive effects on the prostate, urinary system, and hair growth. While most people tolerate saw palmetto well and consider it safe for short-term use. However, the prolonged usage of saw palmetto can have several negative effects. These consist of:
1. Headache: Taking saw palmetto supplements occasionally can cause headaches in some people.
2. Lightheadedness or dizziness: Another saw palmetto side effect that some people may experience is lightheadedness or dizziness.
3. Digestive Problems: Saw palmetto may result in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and other gastrointestinal issues.
4. Effects on Hormone Levels: Saw palmetto may have an impact on the body’s hormone levels. It might affect how some hormones, particularly estrogen, and testosterone, are made and used.
5. Allergic reactions: Although uncommon, saw palmetto might cause allergic responses in some people, which can manifest as symptoms like rash, itching, swelling, or breathing difficulties. It’s crucial to get medical help right away if you exhibit any allergic reaction symptoms.
6. Blood Thinning: Saw palmetto may have a slight blood-thinning effect, which may make people who are taking blood thinners or have bleeding problems more susceptible to bleeding.
7. Pancreas issues: severe upper stomach discomfort radiating to the back, nausea, vomiting, and a rapid heartbeat
8. Liver disorders, including jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), dark urine, clay-colored feces, itching, fatigue, and nausea.
9. Saw palmetto may interact with several drugs, including blood thinners, hormone therapy, and some drugs that the liver is involved in metabolizing. Before taking saw palmetto with any drugs, speaking with a medical practitioner is imperative.
It is significant to remember that not everyone who uses saw palmetto will experience these uncommon adverse effects. Please contact your doctor right away if you develop any of these side effects while taking saw palmetto or any other supplement or medicine.
Saw palmetto is not advised if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, using hormone-based contraception, or undergoing hormone replacement treatment because it may affect your hormone levels. By altering the body’s ability to coagulate blood and interfering with the effects of blood thinners like warfarin and coumadin, saw palmetto can also raise the risk of bleeding. It is best to speak with a healthcare provider who can offer individualized advice based on your particular circumstances if you’re thinking about using saw palmetto long-term or have any concerns about its potential adverse effects.