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Pros and Cons of Saw Palmetto for Women

Saw palmetto is a small palm native to the southeastern part of the United States.

The fruit of this palm is frequently used in supplement formulas targeted at men.

Some of its more well-known uses are to treat an enlarged prostate, enhance hair growth and improve the function of the urinary tract.

While men have long used this ingredient, some women take it for specific health conditions and needs.

Here are some pros and cons of using saw palmetto for women.

Is There Controversy Surrounding Saw Palmetto for Women?

There is some controversy surrounding women using saw palmetto because it is generally seen as a supplement that supports male health.

However, it also has hormone-balancing and anti-inflammatory properties that can be useful for women with certain health conditions or concerns.

If you are a woman, before you begin using saw palmetto, it’s important to learn as much as you can about how it works and its associated benefits and risks.

How Women Can Benefit from Using Saw Palmetto

Though more research needs to be done to show the benefits of saw palmetto in female physiology, there is information to support that the ingredient may help in various ways.

Here are some potential benefits of taking saw palmetto supplements as a woman.

Hair Growth Benefits

Many men deal with hair loss issues as they age, but this isn’t a problem restricted solely to men.

Many women also experience hair loss as they grow older. For a woman, thinning hair can be a major embarrassment and source of discomfort.

If you have a family history of female hair loss or you’ve noticed your ponytail isn’t nearly as thick as it used to be, you’re probably interested in learning more about supplements that may be able to help.

Saw palmetto may help combat female hair loss by reducing your hair follicles’ uptake of dihydrotestosterone, a hormone linked to hair loss.

Research shows that saw palmetto increased hair density in 83% of study participants and improved hair quality by 60%.

Urinary Tract Improvements

Some older women have problems such as excessive nighttime urination.

Saw palmetto may improve urinary flow if taken regularly.

Most studies regarding saw palmetto and urinary tract improvements involve men, but there is some information that suggests it may help women as well.

Hormone Balancing

Saw palmetto may help with hormone balance issues.

The ingredient has hormone-balancing properties that may benefit post-menopausal women and women with polycystic ovary syndrome (also known as PCOS) and other similar conditions caused by hormone disorders.

Saw palmetto is considered a possible anti-androgen, which means it can decrease male and female sex hormones.

More research needs to be done on this potential function of saw palmetto, though, before it receives a widespread recommendation for use as a female hormone-balancing supplement.

Decreased Inflammation

Everyone experiences periodic inflammation in their bodies.

Inflammation is a natural response to illness, infection, and injury.

However, many people have chronic inflammation due to excess stress, a poor diet, and other factors.

Chronic inflammation is dangerous and can lead to many different health problems, including:

  • Depression

  • Heart disease

  • Cancer

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Alzheimer’s disease

  • Sleep disorders

If a part of your body is constantly in a state of inflammation, it’s important to take action to reduce that for your health.

Saw palmetto may help you achieve this goal by decreasing swelling and other markers of inflammation in the body.

In this way, it can boost overall wellness.

Decreased Acne

If you’re a woman who experiences frequent acne breakouts, you may be interested to learn that saw palmetto might help.

People with oily skin and frequent breakouts often have high androgen hormone levels.

Since saw palmetto is considered an anti-androgen, it can help improve acne and reduce skin oiliness.

Women with PCOS are more likely to have troublesome skin because their androgen hormone levels are higher.

Saw palmetto may be an effective answer for their frequent hormonal acne breakouts.

What Are the Drawbacks of Using Saw Palmetto?

Now that you know some of the benefits of saw palmetto, it’s time to talk about the drawbacks.

Saw palmetto doesn’t come without its side effects and risks.

Typically, the side effects are rare and limited to mild stomach upset.

However, some people may experience more rare side effects after taking saw palmetto, including:

  • Depression

  • Heart disease

  • Cancer

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Alzheimer’s disease

  • Sleep disorders

Another potential drawback of saw palmetto is that it may have a negative impact on the development of both internal and external reproductive organs in male fetuses.

For these reasons, women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should never take supplements containing saw palmetto.

Additionally, any woman considering taking this supplement for hair loss, inflammation reduction, or any other purpose should talk to her healthcare provider first. It should be fine for external applications (such as shampoo or conditioner).

Where Can You Find Saw Palmetto?

Now that you’re well-informed regarding the risks and benefits of saw palmetto, you may be wondering where to purchase a supplement containing this ingredient.

Not all supplements are created equal, so it’s wise to buy from a reputable company that uses strict quality assurance practices to deliver leading-edge products to consumers.


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