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How Does Saw Palmetto Work? What Is Saw Palmetto Used For? Here Are the Answers You Need.

How Does Saw Palmetto Work? What Is Saw Palmetto Used For? Here Are the Answers You Need.

Best known as a natural ingredient to support prostate health, saw palmetto has gained substantial popularity with men all over the world. But it’s also sparked curiosity in those who’d like to understand it better, which is why we’ve put together this informative guide to answer the most common questions about saw palmetto.

Whether you currently take saw palmetto supplements, or are still trying to figure out if they’re right for you, odds are you have questions like “how does saw palmetto actually work” and “what’s the best time of day to take saw palmetto”. Not only are the answers to these questions interesting, they’re key to helping you get the absolute most out of your wellness regimen.

Let’s take a deeper dive into saw palmetto, an incredible ingredient with some incredible properties that may be the perfect addition to your own supplement line-up. From the basics of what saw palmetto is used for and how saw palmetto works, to more advanced topics like the best time of day to take it and how long saw palmetto takes to work, here’s everything you should know.

The Basics: What is Saw Palmetto Used For?

If you live in the Southeastern U.S., you may already be familiar with saw palmettos without even realizing it! A type of small palm native to this region, the saw palmetto (whose scientific name is Serenoa repens) is a small palm tree that produces red berries. It’s these berries that are used in various forms to make herbal supplements.

While it is possible to obtain the berries in dried form, the most common way people get saw palmetto is through herbal supplements containing powdered or concentrated versions. Native Americans from Florida’s Seminole tribe valued the saw palmetto’s fruit both as a food and an herb but, even today, the question of “what is saw palmetto used for” has many answers:

  • Prostate health support
  • Urinary health support
  • Promoting healthy hair
  • Promoting sexual wellness and drive
  • Testosterone support

As we begin to examine the questions of “does saw palmetto work” and “how does saw palmetto work”, we’ll be primarily focussing on the areas of prostate, urinary, and testosterone health, since these are the most popular reasons why most people choose saw palmetto supplements.

How Does Saw Palmetto Work?

Does Saw Palmetto Work?

As with many natural wellness ingredients, the first question most people have is “does saw palmetto work”. The myriad differences between every individual person’s biology makes it impossible to answer that definitively, but “how does saw palmetto work” is something that can be discussed much more objectively, for the purpose of gaining an education on how this ingredient may fit into your own wellness routine.

The primary mechanism through which saw palmetto is believed to work is by inhibiting the production and activity of an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase or 5α-R.1 This enzyme can cause normal testosterone to be converted into a different hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which may contribute to lower levels of testosterone, urinary problems related to the prostate, and hair loss associated with high DHT levels.

Ultimately, studies estimate that over 2 million men in the U.S. use saw palmetto to support their prostate and urinary health. But what does all of this mean for you when trying to answer the question of “does saw palmetto work” for your own wellness needs? Here’s an idea for a simple checklist to help determine that for yourself:

  1. Assess your potential need for a supplement like saw palmetto by determining if prostate, urinary, and testosterone health are areas you need support for.
  2. Speak with your doctor about whether or not saw palmetto is a good choice for you. They’ll help you consider important factors like potential medical interactions.
  3. Find a trusted brand with strict quality control procedures when you select your saw palmetto.
  4. After one to two months of taking saw palmetto, assess how well it’s working for you.

Other Saw Palmetto Questions: What is the Best Time of Day to Take It and How Long Does It Take to Work?

Understanding the basics of any natural wellness ingredient is always an important place to start, but it’s normal to wonder about things that are more relevant to your personal experience with a supplement like “what is the best time of day to take saw palmetto” and “how long does saw palmetto take to work”.

Here’s a quick “lightning round” covering a few of the frequently asked questions regarding saw palmetto:

What Is the Best Time of Day to Take Saw Palmetto?
There’s no definitive evidence to state whether taking a saw palmetto supplement in the morning versus in the afternoon or at night presents any tangible benefit. However, most nutritionists agree that taking dietary supplements with a meal is best, as it can help prevent any stomach upset and improve the body’s ability to absorb the nutrients contained in the supplement.

How Long Does It Take For Saw Palmetto To Work?
As with the question of “does saw palmetto work”, making any guarantees of a specific time frame wherein you can expect to see results from saw palmetto is impossible due to individual differences. From our own customers, we’ve heard reports of people noticing a positive impact in as little as a month, whereas others may find that it takes several months, or simply find that saw palmetto is not the right fit for their personal wellness regimen.

Is Saw Palmetto Ever Used in Conjunction With Other Herbs?
Yes, you may notice that saw palmetto is sometimes included in herbal supplement blends that are designed to support specific areas of health like prostate, urinary, and testosterone. Some common pairings for saw palmetto include pygeum africanum, stinging nettle, and rye grass extract.

Does Saw Palmetto Have Side Effects?
According to the University of Michigan School of Medicine, “Few problems have been reported among men taking saw palmetto. But some men may experience stomach problems”. As with any dietary supplement, you should check with your doctor if you believe you’re experiencing any side effects as a result of saw palmetto.

If you came into this article wondering about the questions we covered like “does saw palmetto work”, “how does saw palmetto work”, and “what is the best time of day to take saw palmetto”, it’s pretty safe to say you’re somebody who takes a smart, inquisitive approach to their personal wellness. With the information we explored here, you’ll have more of the tools you need to make an educated decision as to whether or not saw palmetto belongs in your supplementary regimen.

  1. Pais, Pilar et al. “Determination of the potency of a novel saw palmetto supercritical CO2 extract (SPSE) for 5α-reductase isoform II inhibition using a cell-free in vitro test system.” Research and reports in urology vol. 8 41-9. 21 Apr. 2016, doi:10.2147/RRU.S96576
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