Does Saw Palmetto Helps Boost Testosterone Levels?

5022099855_95b3896227_oTestosterone is a powerful hormone which is produced both in men and women, whose production is controlled by hypothalamus and pituitary gland. Researchers are now of the opinion that saw palmetto, a palm like plant with lots of berries is a staple food and medicine for increasing testosterone levels in body.

The hormone also plays a very important role in muscle strength and size along with maintaining healthy libido levels. As per the research community, the saw palmetto could regulate the testosterone hormone and helps lower the amount of some enzymes which aids in the promotion of prostate cells growth.

In 1900s, majority of the men were making use of these berries for treating urinary tract problems, boosting libido and also for increasing sperm count.

Due to the same, saw palmetto (Sabal serrulata / Serenoa repens) was really a hit for the athletes and body builders and was even recommended as the best testosterone booster.

On the other hand, when searching for techniques to increase the overall levels of testosterone hormones in your body, there are lots of supplements out there in the market which strongly advertise this berry as being successful in boosting free testosterone levels.

Supplementation with this berry might boost some forms of testosterone hormone; however it is advised not to start taking this herb without consulting with your health care provider.

Plant Details

[quote bcolor=”#2eb2db”]Common Names of the Plant:

  • Saw palmetto
  • Cabbage palm
  • Sabal
  • Fan palm
  • Scrub palm
  • American dwarf palm tree[/quote]

Saw palmetto grows as a shrub or tree which can attain heights of around 10 feet when the climates are warm and its leaf as clusters that could reach more than 2 feet. This long-growing plant which looks like a palm tree could produce berries as well as tiny flowers.

This plant, normally found in the warm climate of southeast coast, spanning from South Carolina to Florida in the United States has got a creeping, but horizontal pattern of growth. It has thorny stems from which saw toothed lush green leaves pop out.

The plant is having white flowers from which it gives yellow berries. When ripen, the berries turns out to be brownish black and is normally dried for many medicinal use.

[quote bcolor=”#2eb2db”]Active Ingredients:

The active ingredients of this berry include flavonoids, plant sterols and fatty acids. Apart from this, the fan palm contains sugars (high molecular weight polysaccharides), which in turn helps to support the immune system, thereby reducing inflammation.

It also protects the body from developing prostate cancer and helps in urination.[/quote]

Different Forms:

Saw palmetto is obtained as powdered capsules, liquid tinctures, dried berries, in tablet forms, and also as liposterolic extracts. While purchasing, make sure that the contents in the product are standardized and holds around 85 to 95 percent fatty acids and sterols by checking the product label.

Ensure that you buy this product from reputable companies after thoroughly going through the labels.

How Does It Work?

This American dwarf palm tree is known to slow down the production 5-alpha reductase which is an enzyme, by almost 40 percent. This enzyme is responsible for the conversion of testosterone (male sex hormone) into dihydrotestosterone, which is a potent androgen hormone.

These observations imply that saw palmetto exhibits anti-androgenic actions, which points out that the herb could possibly affect androgens or the male sex hormones. Even though testosterone is playing a very vital role among males, it is also responsible for many issues which are linked with middle-aged and the older men.

It is within the adrenal glands, testes, hair follicles and prostate, the conversion of T hormones to 5-alpha reductase takes place. It is in the same regions in the body where men usually experience prostate enlargement, hair loss and certain other factors which results in libido loss.

By properly slowing down and inhibiting the development of this particular enzyme, saw palmetto lowers the overall effects which are related with higher dihydrotestosterone when men grow old.

Despite the fact that the proponents of saw palmetto claims that it could affect the levels of testosterone and various other male hormones in your body, some of the recent researches found out that there is no noticeable change in the plasma testosterone levels even after supplementing it for a period of one month.

How is Saw Palmetto Linked With Testosterone Levels?

[quote bcolor=”#2eb2db”]Healthy levels of testosterone hormone are associated with strength, weight management and virility. By slowing down the conversion of testosterone, the saw palmetto helps your body to keep hold of healthy testosterone levels for good use.[/quote]

This in turn helps to maintain body weight, achieve positive mood, thereby encouraging better sexual life.

As per various research conducted, it is observed that, the chemicals which are present in the berries of saw palmetto helps to prevent the natural response of your body to T hormones. This interference gradually lowers the growth of prostate cells. Therefore those men with BPH may show only fewer signs as a result.

On the other hand, the team is not yet completely aware about how saw palmetto chemicals are altering man’s testosterone levels, even with decades of research.

How Effective is Saw Palmetto?

With respect to the enhancement of overall and total levels of testosterone hormone, many studies were conducted in order to find out the effectiveness of this berry.

[quote bcolor=”#2eb2db”]Science Behind…

  • Saw palmetto inhibits the production of DHT by blocking 5-a enzyme along with working as an effective alpha-1 adrenergic antagonist.
  • Along with inhibiting the 5-α enzyme, they also help in blocking the dihydrotestosterone.
  • In rare cases, it is noticed to have adversely affecting the sexual drive, as it inhibits the main androgen that plays a major role in sexual function.
  • Saw palmetto helps men with enlarged prostates, as it is good in reducing BPH (Benign prostate hyperplasia). Conversely, the positive sides are miniscule when compared with the big negatives.
  • Certain cases reported 32 percent decrease in DHT after taking saw palmetto supplements. It was also noted that, the hair loss drug known as Finasteride is also having similar side effects.
  • One of the studies conducted on men who took a daily dosage of 320 milli grams of saw palmetto extract for a period of 3 months has got higher levels of testosterone hormone along with comparable lower levels of DHT when compared against the control group.[/quote]

For more information regarding the research conducted, please click on the link given below:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2525623/

Recommended Dosage

The consumption of saw palmetto in a standard form of capsule is recommended by the University of Maryland Medical Center. Even though this herb could be consumed in the form of tea, its main active components are not soluble in water and hence chances are slim that it could be transferred into water from the herb.

It is advisable to take in 160 milligrams of saw palmetto twice in a day. Also ensure that the supplement which you intake has sterols and fatty acids in the range of 85 to 95 percentage.


Warnings

Just like any other natural supplements, make sure you have a word with your physician before taking the saw palmetto supplements as a routine. Even though saw palmetto is normally safe in case of healthy adults, in some cases adverse effects including gastrointestinal discomforts, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea etc has been noticed.

It is not advisable to consume saw palmetto if the person is administered with oral contraceptives and anti-coagulants or if you are on any iron supplements, which lead to side effects.

Summary

As majority of the studies conducted on saw palmetto was primarily concentrated on prostate health, especially focused on the benign prostatic hypertrophy, it was really not easy to conclude the original effect of saw palmetto on boosting the overall free and total testosterone levels.

While most of the men think saw palmetto as the best testosterone booster, the real fact is that it is not working through the “correct” pathways as expected.  It just boosts the testosterone hormone by blocking the conversion of testosterone into DHT, which later on accumulates more testosterone to your serum. And this is not a very good sign as well.

Image Courtesy: Flickr

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Arun Kumar T
 

Arun is the founder @workoutable. He is Learning different ways to transform his body from fat to fit. Himself as a crash test dummy, experimenting with his body. He is trying to help people to transform their body.