Probably for the majority of you this little explanation is not necessary, but it is fair to clarify what Saw Palmetto supplements are and why they are used in the medical field in order to fight Androgenic Alopecia. Saw Palmetto is an endemic plant of the south-east USA. This plants owns some natural anti-androgen features and in particular it inhibits the transformation of the testosterone into DHT.
That is why it can be considered a sort of “natural Fiasteride”. Of course, the inhibitory power of the plant is a lot lower than the one of Finasteride and Dutasteride. However, extracts from this plant, are effective when only a little decrease in the DHT levels is required.
Saw Palmetto, active substace and its effectiveness
Historically, Saw Palmetto extract was recognised as a medicine by the native americans who lived in that territories before the european colonisation. It was used to treat problems of the urinary tract and of the reproductive system, just like nowadays we use Finasteride and Dutasteride for the same purposes. The active substances of the extract are enclosed in the fat acids and in the phytosterols. Actually, several studies have shown that the effectiveness of the extract in the cure of the benign prostatic hyperplasia is limited if not zero. This much lower power compared to the one of Finasteride suggested to the experts that the extract could have been used against the androgenic alopecia. We remind that the suggested dosage of Finasteride against hair loss is 1mg per day, 5 times less then the dosage for the benign prostatic hyperplasia (5 mg). There is another fact to keep into consideration: people affected by androgenic alopecia do not all show the same sensitivity to the action of the DHT, so Saw Palmetto is indicated for not severe cases of alopecia or in combination with other drugs for the individuals that are particularly sensitive to the sides effects of Finasteride.
Saw Palmetto supplements
On the market there are different Saw Palmetto supplements. They usually are indicated to improve the prostatic functionality. They also can be assumed in order to fight the androgenic alopecia, since the principle behind is the same: to partially inhibit the conversion of T into DHT. In fact, also Finasteride was born as a drug against bening prostatic hyperplasia.
Dosage and effective standardisation
Some clinical studies (this is one of the most important: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9820264) have shown that Saw Palmetto takes action inside the organism, just like Finasteride, in decreasing the level of DHT, even if with a smaller power. The perfect dosage is 320 mg. per day, but be carefull, it is important that the standardisation of the fat acids and of the phytosterols in the exctract is between 85% and 95%.
Before seeing some of the products present on the market, we remind that all the Saw Palmetto supplements are not drugs, so they can be purchased without the prescription. The only exception is Permixon.
Which are the best Saw Palmetto supplements?
Once clarified the features and the ideal dosage, we now have to see which are the best Saw Palmetto supplements on the market. First of all, we need to make a distinction: one-componet and multi-componet supplements. The one-componet only contains one active substance. Usually, the one-componet supplements are characterised by an higher quality and the active substance is present in an higher percentage. However, there are some multi-componet supplements that contain other usefull substances for the hair and that still maintain an high level of Saw Palmetto extract. A very appreciated multi-component supplementi is XPecia, adviced by many surgeons. XPecia has a turkish origin.
In Italy, the most used supplements are Restax, Prostafactors and Prostamol (https://www.blogcalvizie.it/prostamol/). Also Sametrix is very common even if it has a low tritation (40%).
Two less known, but that present an high price performance, supplements are “Repens Extract” produced by Vitaminity and “Saw Palmetto” produced by Piping Rock. In particular, the last one guarantees a 4 months treatment for only 20 euros and presents an high tritation of fat acids (85-95%). Remember to buy the 320mg version standardized at 85%-95%.
Another supplement produced by Piping is the multi-component Prosta Palmetto. It contains, in addition to Saw Plametto standardized at 85%-95%, other usefull elements such as Vitamin B6, zinc, pumpkin oil, Pigeo and grape extract.
Even if it cannot be compared to Finasteride as effectivness in opposing to the DHT, Saw Palmetto can be a valid alternative for those who suffer the too strong side effects of the Finasteride. In this regard, some dermatologists have recently started to prescribe a combination of a low dosage Finasteride (0.50 or 0.25 mg. per day) and Saw Palemetto, since some studies demonstrated that Saw Palmetto inhibits an isoform of the 5-alfa-reductasi enzyme (the one that transforms D into DHT and whose inhibition is the main aim of Finasteride) that Finasteride does not inhibit. For futher information about it read here: https://bellicapelli.forumfree.it/?t=71989770
This combination can be found also in some presciptions of Finasteride gel, a light version of Finasteride, and of Topic Fionasteride, prescrobed to the patients that incurred in the sides effects of Finasteride. In all these cases, Finasteride is combined with Saw Palmetto.
We remind that Saw Palmetto supplements, even if they are not drugs, always have to be taked under medical control, since an auto-diagnosis of androgenic alopecia and a following auto-prescription of DHT inhibitors is not the right solution. This behave could damage the patient, who should instead turn to a doctor, better if a dermatologist or a tricology expert.