I want information on..
The newest women who have set up photo blogs in our network. Join today and share your story!
View all Women's Hair Loss Blogs
You should expect the same of any herbal product for hair loss, and that includes Saw Palmetto. This isn't about bashing herbal products and making money for big pharmaceutical companies. Its about educating yourself, and realizing the importance of clinical data to establish effectiveness. So lets look at what we do know about Saw Palmetto, in regards to treating hair loss:
Saw Palmetto: Zero Clinical Data for Hair Loss
There hasn't been a single reputable study done showing that Saw Palmetto has any effect on treating hair loss. One study can be found in PubMed, but it was run by the makers of a saw palmetto product, and was publicly labeled as "Bunk" on 20/20 in January 2003 on nationwide television because it only included 10 participants and lasted only 6 months. Insufficient test group, insufficient test period, and run by someone standing to gain financially from it.
Saw Palmetto: It's Not About Money
Many herbal enthusiasts have used the argument: "Saw Palmetto really DOES work but the medical community wont spend the money to test it because they can't patent an Herb." This is false. The lack of Saw Palmetto clinical data has absolutely nothing to do with its status as an "herb" or an inability to patent or market it. You can find over 100 clinical studies, and mountains of scientific data showing Saw Palmetto's effectiveness in treating prostate problems. Zero such studies for hair loss. Coincidence? No.
Saw Palmetto: It's not an Alternative to Propecia
Saw Palmetto is not a "natural alternative to Propecia". There are two types of 5 alpha reductase that combine with Testosterone to form DHT. Propecia blocks one of them most effectively, reduces serum (blood stream) DHT levels, and has shown to stop hair loss in 83% of men. Well what about Saw Palmetto? It actually has been shown to block both types of DHT, and this is where all the confusion centers. Just because something can block DHT in a test tube, does not mean it can reduce levels of it in the bloodstream, or stop hair loss. In a clinical study, Saw Palmetto was given to test subjects, and it had no effect on their serum DHT levels. This means it didn't inhibit DHT in the bloodstream effectively like Propecia does. This is the key. As a result of this study, many have hypothesized that Saw Palmetto works for the prostate by some other mechanism than DHT reduction. Propecia and Saw Palmetto are similar in some ways, but completely different where it matters most. As such, they should never be considered "alternatives" to each other.
Saw Palmetto: It's not Safer than Propecia
Saw Palmetto is not "safer" nor does it cause "fewer side effects". People report just as many, if not more side effects, from excessive unrelented hair shedding, to hormonally related side effects like acne and testicle pain, to emotionally related side effects and even estrogen related side effects like breast growth. We advise caution in using any hormonal modulator, and strongly advise against using one that isn't even going to help your hair loss.
Saw Palmetto: It's Widely Used in Snake Oils
The whole misunderstanding with Saw Palmetto is a huge factor in why Snake Oil companies continue to thrive off consumers. You've still got guys going around on the hair loss sites saying that Saw Palmetto is an acceptable alternative to Propecia, and agreeing with them are nearly 60 recognized scam companies and snake oil salesmen, selling Saw Palmetto based products. Saw Palmetto and a host of other herbs are the foundation for nearly every snake oil on the market today. Coincidence? No. Throw a little saw palmetto in with a little bit of rogaine and you've got an "FDA Approved Growth stimulant and DHT Inhibitor!" Truth mixed with misinformation. They all use the same argument, as well: "If even a tiny bit of evidence was found that shows it inhibited DHT, it MUST WORK FOR HAIR LOSS!" Wrong. The number of confused people has risen so high on this issue that some reputable products have even included Saw Palmetto, simply because they know the public expects it to be there. It's not there because of its effectiveness.
Saw Palmetto: Absolutely No Assurances
We can't tell you if Saw Palmetto will work for you. We can't tell you what your chances of success are. We can't tell you why you've been shedding since you started it. We can't tell you how much to take, and we can't tell you if there are any long term side effects or potential drug interactions. Why ? Because nobody knows. There is no data on it. All the basic necessary information for any hair loss treatment, is completely missing when it comes to saw palmetto. How are you able to determine what amount to take? Do you know for sure that 350mg will inhibit enough DHT to help your follicle? How did you come to that conclusion? These are questions we ask of Saw Palmetto proponents, and we never get a straight answer. This is why clinical data is so important. It answers the questions that need to be answered.
If you're going to take a drug that affects your hormone levels, at least use the drug proven to work in 83% of men. Propecia. Using the drug called Saw Palmetto instead, doesn't make any sense. The unexplained shedding, the side effects, the months and months of wondering if it will work .. just doesn't seem worth it when there is a completely clinically proven version available in the form of Propecia.
- Legitimate Proven Hair Loss Treatments for Men
- Legitimate Proven Hair Loss Treatments for Women