What are the Most Common Saw Palmetto Effects?

Ken Black
Ken Black
A man with hair loss.
A man with hair loss.

The most common saw palmetto effects include reducing the size of the prostate and reducing inflammation in the bladder. To a lesser extent, saw palmetto is also used to increase breast size and prevent hair loss, although the effectiveness of these uses is unclear. Europeans most commonly use saw palmetto for medical and personal needs, but other countries are starting to see how positive these saw palmetto effects can be, and its use is increasing in other locations.

The most common effect of saw palmetto is reducing the size of an enlarged prostate.
The most common effect of saw palmetto is reducing the size of an enlarged prostate.

Among the different saw palmetto effects, prostate health receives the most attention and study. As men age, the prostate turns testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which encourages the growth of prostate cells. As this happens, difficulty or painful urination can result, and an enlarged prostate may prompt fears of cancer. While DHT is responsible for a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), it is not malignant. Saw palmetto extract, which comes from saw palmetto berries, is thought to help this condition by preventing the testosterone from being turned into DHT, thus preventing the enlargement of the prostate as a natural result.

Reducing inflammation in the bladder is another benefit of saw palmetto. Saw palmetto extract may have some anti-inflammatory properties, which could help with nearly all types of inflammation, although bladder inflammation is one of the most common uses. Thus, reduction of inflammation in the bladder should help improve urine flow and lead to better continence overall. Depending on the cause of the inflammation, however, saw palmetto may not be the most effective choice.

Another one of the saw palmetto effects often mentioned is the prevention of hair loss. Although the connection between saw palmetto and hair loss has never been proven completely, some believe the extract can have an effect on androgen receptors, which could play a role in hair loss, especially in male and female pattern baldness. The exact nature of how androgen receptors affect hair loss, and how saw palmetto may interact with those receptors, has never been clinically proven.

Of all the common saw palmetto effects, its use in women to promote increased breast size, and as a hormonal treatment, may be the most controversial. Saw palmetto extract may have an effect on the hormonal balance of both men and women. For women who are tempted to use saw palmetto for bladder inflammation or other reasons, care should be taken especially if pregnant, breast feeding, or using hormonal forms of birth control. The effects of saw palmetto may increase breast size as the result of hormonal manipulation, but could also cause other hormone imbalances.

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Discussion Comments


@MikeMason-- Saw palmetto has helped with my prostate but as far as I know, there is nothing proven about it. It works for some people but doesn't for others.

My opinion is that saw palmetto is helpful in the beginning stages of enlarged prostate. It helps with urination problems and pain. But if things have gotten very bad, then prescription medications are probably better.

I do believe that some herbs have healing properties. Saw palmetto has benefits, it acts similarly to some prostate medications. But it's still a herb and it's meant to be a supportive remedy not a cure.


@turkay1-- I'm taking saw palmetto supplements for hair. I can't say that it's helping my hair regrow, but I have noticed a decrease in hair fall.

My shower used to be full of hair before I started this supplement, now it's just a few strands. My hair quality seems to be better too -- thicker and shinier. Unfortunately, I don't think I'm getting back the hair I lost.

Saw palmetto is also supposed to be great for prostate. I'm still waiting to see changes in that area.


Is anyone here using saw palmetto herb for hair loss? Does it really help stop hair loss and encourage new growth?

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    • A man with hair loss.
      A man with hair loss.
    • The most common effect of saw palmetto is reducing the size of an enlarged prostate.
      The most common effect of saw palmetto is reducing the size of an enlarged prostate.