Saw palmetto extract may promote hair growth and support prostate health in men

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It would be conceivable to imagine a life without health complaints were it not for the ageing process, which can be punishing. Men often face a litany of health problems as they get older, some being more serious than others. On the less serious end of the spectrum is male pattern baldness – a leading cause of hair loss in men.

Male pattern baldness can cause psychological grievances but it does not usually pose a threat to physical health.

Problems with the prostate – a small gland located between the bladder and the penis in men – a harder to classify because there is a broad spectrum of possible issues.

Benign prostate enlargement (BPE) (an enlarged prostate), for example, can affect how you pee, but it is not serious.

On the other hand, an enlarged prostate can spell prostate cancer – the most common cancer in men in the UK.

Fortunately, there are natural solutions that have been shown to act as a bulwark against many of these problems.

Supplements containing saw palmetto – a type of palm native to the southeastern United States – have been shown to treat hair loss and boost prostate health.

Take hair loss first.

Hair loss is a common condition that can be attributed to complex processes within the body.

Saw palmetto has been shown to balance hormone levels, which in turn may combat hair loss.

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According to one review, saw palmetto may help block the activity of 5-alpha reductase (5α-R), an enzyme that converts testosterone into a hormone linked to hair loss called dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

It may also prevent hair loss by reducing the uptake of DHT in the hair follicles, which decreases its ability to bind to specific hormone receptors.

In one study, saw palmetto was effective at improving hair growth in 60 percent of men with male pattern baldness between the ages of 23 and 64.

Another study in 62 adults showed that applying saw palmetto topically for three months increased hair density by 35 percent.

Prostate health promise

Some research suggests that saw palmetto could support prostate health and may aid in preventing issues such as BPH and prostate cancer.

According to one test-tube study, saw palmetto berry extract was able to decrease the growth of prostate cancer cells.

Another test-tube study showed that saw palmetto blocked the spread and growth of prostate cancer cells by deactivating specific receptors involved in cancer development.

Other human and animal studies indicate that it may be effective at reducing urinary symptoms and inflammation related to BPH as well.

Yet, some studies don’t associate saw palmetto with a lower risk of prostate cancer and observe that it may be ineffective at decreasing symptoms of BPH.

How to reduce prostate cancer risk

Evidence suggests certain unhealthy lifestyle decisions can contribute to prostate cancer.

According to the NHS, recent research suggests there may be a link between obesity and prostate cancer, and a balanced diet and regular exercise may lower your risk of developing prostate cancer.

“Research is ongoing into the links between diet and prostate cancer, and there is some evidence that a diet high in calcium is linked to an increased risk of developing prostate cancer,” adds the health body.

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