Dwarf palm is a popular herbal remedy. Some people use it to reverse or prevent hair loss, but there is not yet enough scientific evidence to confirm that it is effective.
Serenoa repensor saw palmetto, is a small palm tree that grows in the United States. The saw palmetto is native to the West Indies, and Native Americans have used it as a healing plant for some time.
In this article, we examine research on saw palmetto and hair loss. We also explain how to use saw palmetto and discuss other possible remedies for hair loss.
To date, scientific research on saw palmetto for hair loss remains limited. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), there is not enough scientific evidence to support people who used saw palmetto for any health condition.
However, some researchers have studied saw palmetto and hair loss.
According to a 2012 study, saw palmetto may inhibit an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. A medicine called finasteride (Proscar) uses this mechanism to treat hair loss in men. By inhibiting 5-alpha reductase, finasteride blocks the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, which is the hormone responsible for male pattern hair loss.
Dwarf palm can also have anti-inflammatory effects on the body, which may offer protection against some causes of hair loss.
In a small 2002 study, researchers gave 10 men with androgenetic alopecia a supplement containing saw palmetto and beta-sitosterol. The researchers noticed improvements in 6 of the 10 men. Since this study was very small, additional research is needed to support these findings.
In a 2012 study, researchers enrolled 100 men with mild to moderate androgenetic alopecia. For 2 years, one group took 320 milligrams (mg) of saw palmetto each day, while the other group received 1 mg of finasteride per day.
In the end, 38% of those who took saw palmetto had an improvement in hair loss, compared to 68% of those who took finasteride. This finding suggests that both treatments had an effect, but that finasteride was more effective. The researchers also noted that the more severe the hair loss, the less likely it is that American dwarf palm works.
While smaller studies have shown that saw palmetto could be promising as a treatment for hair loss, there is a need for additional studies on a larger scale.
Dwarf palm is available in a variety of preparations, including oral supplements and hair care products, such as shampoos and conditioners. As researchers have not shown that saw palmetto prevents or treat hair loss, there is no official recommended dose.
An article in the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery Appoint a recommended dose of 160 mg twice daily in the form of tablets. Researchers have also used this dose in a clinical trial setting.
There is no additional guidance on how to use saw palmetto, as if it should be taken with or without food.
Dwarf palm generally does not cause significant side effects. The most common side effects are headaches and an upset stomach.
According to the NCCIH, research has not shown that saw palmetto interacts with any medication. However, it is still a good idea for people to talk to their doctor before taking saw palmetto in case there is new information available about the interactions.
Another concern for men taking saw palmetto is that the supplement may reduce prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels. One article notes that PSA levels may decrease by 50% after 6 to 12 months of taking saw palmetto. Doctors test PSA levels during prostate cancer screening, so that saw palmetto could make these tests less accurate.
A person's diet can have an important effect in maintaining healthy skin and hair. Specific foods can help promote hair growth and improve its strength and volume. These foods include eggs, Brazil nuts and fatty fish.
The American Academy of Dermatology advises people to make sure they get enough of certain nutrients in their diet. These include protein and iron, which the body uses to build strong and healthy hair. Eating too few calories can also affect hair growth and health.
Learn about the best foods for hair growth here.
Few studies have analyzed other home remedies for hair loss. However, there is evidence to suggest that scalp massage and aromatherapy can help.
Like saw palmetto, pumpkin seed oil is a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. A 2014 study found that men who took 400 mg of pumpkin Daily seed oil for 24 weeks had an average hair count increase of 40%. However, more research is needed before researchers can determine the effectiveness of this supplement.
Many doctors will recommend making lifestyle changes related to hair care. In some people, these steps can help prevent further hair loss:
- wash and condition the hair with soft and moisturizing products
- refrain from using hot oil treatments, chemical straighteners, chemical relaxers and hot styling products, such as irons, hot combs and curling irons
- limit the use of a hair dryer and only use the lowest possible settings
- avoid adopting hairstyles that pull it back hard, including bows, pigtails, braids or braids, because twisting and pulling can cause hair loss
- brush your hair as gently as possible
Dwarf palm is a supplement that can help hair growth. However, current evidence to support the use of this treatment is limited, and official agencies do not recommend it.
Dwarf palm has few side effects, so some people may try to take it despite the lack of evidence. People can buy saw palmetto supplements online.
This supplement can affect PSA levels, so people should always tell their doctor when they take this supplement.
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