Just because a supplement is branded as “natural” doesn’t mean that it is appropriate for use by everyone. Just as each individual is unique, so is the healthcare regimen recommended by their healthcare provider. Some supplements are controversial – experts believe that they could be beneficial for users, while others may see them as potentially harmful. One such supplement is known as saw palmetto. Saw palmetto is widely used by men, but experts disagree on whether or not it’s appropriate for women. Read on to decide for yourself if saw palmetto for women is right for you.
What is Saw Palmetto?
Saw palmetto is an herbal supplement made from the berries of the saw palmetto plant, which grows mainly in the southeastern parts of the U.S. The berries of the saw palmetto plant have been historically used to support reproductive health both in the Americas and abroad but have fallen out of use in the U.S. in recent decades. Currently, saw palmetto products are gaining popularity as a potential benefit for men experiencing hair loss, reproductive issues, or an enlarged prostate. The potential benefits of saw palmetto for women; however, are under greater scrutiny.
Saw Palmetto and Hormones
Experts are not entirely clear on exactly how saw palmetto influences hormones levels. However, science speculates that the saw palmetto berries may block the 5-alpha-reductase that turns testosterone into DHT. This DHT can prevent nutrients from properly supporting healthy hair and reproductive systems. Stopping the conversion of testosterone into DHT may support a healthy aging process for both men and women, especially within the reproductive and urilogical systems.
Potential Benefits of Saw Palmetto for Women
As a women’s health supplement, saw palmetto is often marketed to combat urological issues such as excessive nighttime urination (enuresis) and the struggle to urinate. Saw palmetto supplements may be especially helpful to post-menopausal women. Concerning hair loss, many believe that saw palmetto can help women maintain healthy-looking hair when applied directly to the scalp.
Potential Risks of Saw Palmetto for Women
One of the main concerns surrounding saw palmetto as a women’s supplement is the unknown risk factors of pregnancy. Scientists believe that saw palmetto may have a negative effect on the growth and development of the external and internal reproductive organs of the male fetus. Therefore, women who are pregnant, nursing, or women who have had or are at risk for hormone-related cancers should not take saw palmetto supplements.
Saw palmetto is known to be well tolerated by most users, but it could cause mild side effects, such as digestive system issues, headaches, nausea, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea.
Many professionals recommend stronger labeling for saw palmetto supplements, as it could also have a negative effect on any individual taking certain medications or blood thinners. Saw palmetto may also interfere with the absorption of iron.
As always, talk to your doctor before starting any new medication or supplement to ensure it aligns with your comprehensive healthcare strategy.
Have you tried saw palmetto for women? Tell us all about it and leave your questions in the comments section below.