Personally I would like to say that Saw palmetto can be considered a valid approach in the treatment of mild or intermediate AGA and a valid alternative especially for those who do not want or cannot use Finasteride or other topical therapies.
This natural supplement has been shown to be able to stabilize situations of moderate androgenic baldness and with almost no side effects. Certainly, since it is a botanically derived product, we should not expect the same results as synthetic drugs such as Finasteride or Dutasteride as, as also seen from the studies mentioned above, it acts in a more mild manner.
However, we can confidently affirm that among the natural supplements it is among those with the greatest efficacy in dealing with androgenetic alopecia.
If you have any questions related to Serenoa Repens that have not been covered here, would like further information or simply want to have your say about this supplement, leave a comment in the space provided at the bottom of this page.
For some years now, when it comes to natural remedies against baldness, the terms Serenoa Repens Capelli are really quite frequent and seem to want to propose this natural anti-DHT as a substitute for finasteride in the fight against androgenetic alopecia (or common baldness).
In this article we will try to provide you with the correct information so that you can get a precise idea about it.
What is it and what is it for?
Serenoa Repens , also known as saw palmetto (or serrated palmetto ) is the name of a dwarf palm native to the southeastern coasts of the United States of America (now also cultivated in southern Europe and northern Africa).
Its fruit is a small dark red berry (which becomes blue-purple when ripe) very similar in shape and size to the olives we all know and it is precisely this that has healing properties. In fact, the Native American tradition , already several centuries ago, considered these berries an excellent natural remedy for the treatment of urinary tract infections and inflammation of the prostate.
The active ingredients that give these healing properties to the plant (and obviously to the extracts used today) are basically:
- Free fatty acids : oleic, lauric, myristic, linoleic, linolenic, palmitic
- Phytosterols : β-sitosterol, β-sitosterol-3-O-glucoside, campestrol and stigmasterol
How does it work?
However, these were only traditional folk remedies which as such, although of recognized efficacy, were not proven by accredited scientific studies . Only towards the end of the last century were various studies carried out to understand the modalities of action of the serenoa repens and how it intervened in alleviating the problems highlighted above.
A study dating back to 1988 highlighted how the use of Permixon (simple lipo-sterol extract of serenoa repens in soft capsules) reduced the absorption of DHT by about 40% from the tissues examined. A marked antiandrogenic action was therefore evident, albeit lower than that of finasteride which reaches 70%.
A further Italian study from 1998 definitively confirms that serenoa repens is able to inhibit alpha 5 reductase in vivo, causing a significant decrease in the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone with excellent results especially in the periurethral area which in cases of BPH is what is swells causing discomfort to the urinary tract. This explains why serenoa is effective in cases of prostatic hypertrophy.
The most significant collection of studies 3) in this regard published in the Journal of Urology of 11/1998 examines the results of the 18 most important studies involving a total of 2939 men all with symptomatic first and second level BPH .
Enlarged Prostate Symptoms
I understand that regular readers of our site, which specializes in baldness, are probably not very interested in information related to benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), urinary tract disorders and so on.
But it seems fair to give some basic information to those who came to this page looking for news on how to solve prostate problems .
Benign prostatic hypertrophy, as the name suggests, consists of an enlargement of the prostate due to hyperplasia which causes, in other words, an increase in the volume of the prostate.
This pathology can manifest itself as early as 40 years of age (about 10% of men suffer from it), to arrive in old age to affect almost 80% of over 70s.
This small gland involved in reproductive functions, growing in size, can compress the urinary tract and hence the characteristic symptoms of BPH:
- less powerful urinary stream
- difficulty in urination
- urge to urinate more often at night with numerous awakenings
- possible heartburn and pain on urination
- greater predisposition to urinary tract infections
Although affecting the majority of elderly people, in many cases it can be asymptomatic and therefore without manifestation of the symptoms mentioned above.
As the name suggests, it is a benign disease. However, if neglected, it can promote the onset of prostatitis and cystitis.
Obviously for the most serious cases there are drug-based therapies that inhibit the production of DHT such as finasteride or dutasteride that the readers of this site certainly know for their usefulness in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. However, for less serious cases, serenoa repens can be successfully used.
In a nutshell, the examination of the data taken into consideration by the research cited above confirmed that the use of serenoa repens in the treatment of BPH leads to improvements in urological symptoms and urinary flow.
The important thing is to have ascertained the action of alpha 5 reductase inhibitor and therefore prevent the formation of DHT since this hormone is the main cause of androgenetic alopecia in predisposed individuals.
Serenoa Repens Capelli: how is it useful?
If you are a reader of this blog, it is evident that your main interest is in hair … but until now we have always talked about the use of saw palmetto in the treatment of benign prostatic hypertrophy, and this was necessary to understand the method of action revealed. similar to finasteride and dutasteride.
In other words, all drugs created for the treatment of BPH but proved to be very useful also to counteract Male Baldness.
So by deduction it is easy to understand that, if Finasteride and Dutasteride have proved to be winning weapons in the therapy for androgenetic alopecia , even the combination serenoa repens hair has the credentials to be a good natural remedy against baldness .
Inhibition of alpha 5 reductase is not the only useful mode of action with which saw palmetto fights androgenetic alopecia. Here is the complete list:
- It counteracts the production of dihydrotestosterone: the fatty acids present inhibit both 5-alpha-reductase enzymes (type 1 and 2), both in prostate epithelial cells and in human follicular cells, effectively reducing the production of DHT starting from testosterone.
- It prevents DHT from binding to hair follicle cell receptors: phytosterols, such as β-sitosterol, compete with DHT to bind to these receptors and preventing a portion of this hormone from causing the known damage.
- Anti-inflammatory properties: thanks to the ability to inhibit lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase enzymes, essential for the production of prostaglandins.
Thanks to this mix of actions, the serenoa would therefore seem to act by hitting baldness on several fronts and this is certainly not a bad thing given the multi-factorial nature of the aga .
Effective Dosage and Titration
Clinical studies have shown that the optimal dosage for both BPH and androgenetic alopecia is 320 mg per day . However, the titration of the dry extract is very important, which must have a standardized percentage of fatty acids and phytosterols between 85% and 95% . Therefore always check that the titration is correct.
Where to buy Serenoa Repens?
If we exclude Permixon 320 mg which is the only product to date registered as a drug and therefore only available in pharmacies with a medical prescription, today there are very valid products classified as supplements .
We must not dwell too much on the fact of the drug or supplement classification, simply in the 80s Pierre Fabre Pharma Srl (manufacturer of Permixon) proposed it as a drug and obtained approval.
Obviously, the process to obtain the drug qualification involves testing and research phases that are much longer and more expensive than what is necessary for the qualification of a supplement, therefore today the main manufacturers opt for the latter option.
There are so many supplements based on serenoa repens on the market. Here are some of those with the best features:
Vitaminity Serenoa Repens Extract
Totally Italian product marketed on HairShopEurope containing standardized lipophilic extract at 90% -95% at a dosage of 320 mg per softgel
Serenoa Repens Side Effects
Since this is a natural-based product that, if we exclude Permixon, we have seen is sold as an over-the-counter supplement and not subject to medical prescription, the side effects are substantially limited to those of a digestive and gastrointestinal nature .
Obviously we are talking about taking the standard dosage of 320 mg per day and on people who do not have pre-existing hormonal problems . Otherwise it is always good to ask your doctor for advice on what to do since we have seen that saw palmetto has antiandrogenic properties anyway.
Finasteride Alternative: Yes or No?
To answer this question, we are helped by the comparative study 4) which, despite the link in English due to the publication in the International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology, was carried out in Italy .
As can be seen from the title, this is a 2-year study in which 100 individuals with mild to intermediate level androgenetic alopecia were selected . 2 groups were created where group 1 was given 1 mg of finasteride per day, while group 2 was given 320 mg of serenoa repens every day.
Pictures were taken on a monthly basis for the 24-month total duration of the test. The result saw 38% of individuals in the Serenoa group show improvement in the pathology and increase in the number of hairs , compared to 68% in the group using finasteride . Furthermore, while finasteride proved effective both in the frontal area and in the vertex , serenoa acted only in the vertex .
The best results in terms of quality of the increase were found in the group treated with finasteride and in particular in patients with baldness between 2 and 3 on the norwood scale and therefore of mild / moderate intensity. Both groups tolerated the therapies well without the occurrence of side effects .