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All About Saw Palmetto

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What is Saw Palmetto?

Alternate names: Sabal, Shrub palmetto, Sabal serrulata, Serenoa repens

Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens or Sabal serrulata) is a dwarf palm plant native to North America. It grows to about two to four feet in height, with fan-shaped leaves and berries. The oil of saw palmetto is medicinally active.

Why Do People Use Saw Palmetto?

Saw palmetto is an anti-androgen used primarily as a treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Symptoms of BPH include frequent urination, difficulty starting urination, dribbling after urination, weak urinary stream, and waking up several times at night to urinate.

Since the 1960s, extensive clinical studies of saw palmetto have been done in Europe. A review of 24 European trials appeared in the November 1998 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The trials involved nearly 3,000 men, some taking saw palmetto, others taking Proscar and a third group taking a placebo. The men taking saw palmetto had a 28% improvement in urinary tract symptoms, a 24% improvement in peak urine flow and 43% improvement in overall urine flow. The results were nearly comparable to the group taking Proscar and superior to the men taking a placebo.

Saw palmetto contains a high concentration of polysaccharides, which are used by the human body to enhance the immune system as well as work as an anti-inflammatory. One of the primary benefits of saw palmetto is its ability to hinder the transformation of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, which is also known as DHT.

While the studies regarding saw palmetto and acne are limited, some studies have found that the oral consumption of saw palmetto may help reduce the severity of hormone-driven acne in women and men.

Dosage

Although the scientific community has not released an official dosage of saw palmetto for the treatment of acne, the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests users consume 160 mg of saw palmetto two times per day. Make sure that the supplement is comprised of a minimum of 85 percent fatty acids and plant sterols.

Safety

The most common side effects associated with saw palmetto use are mild digestive distress, including stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or bad breath.

At least two case reports have linked saw palmetto with severe bleeding. People with bleeding disorders or who are taking anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications ("blood-thinners") such as warfarin (Coumadin), aspirin, or clopidogrel (Plavix) should avoid taking saw palmetto unless under medical supervision. It should also be avoided at least two weeks before or after surgery.

The safety of saw palmetto for pregnant or nursing women, children, or people with kidney or liver disease hasn't been established.

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This is not a prescription acne medication. Should be in the holistic board.

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This is not a prescription acne medication. Should be in the holistic board.

No, the information is clearly connecting saw palmetto and its HORMONAL benefits. If you go on the holistic board, the general belief is that acne is caused by leaky gut or food allergies/sensitivities, not the direct hormonal link. Half the time I discuss hormones on there people blow me off. I'm putting the information here for people who actually care about the hormonal issues.

Also many of these herbs have contraindications for women on prescription hormonal treatment. Example, Vitex reduces efficacy of birth control. It's important to know, especially for women who visit only this board.

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Ive tried everything and I mean everything from low dose accutante to spironolactone. Nothing has worked for me. Ive had two different intolerance testings done and neither of them have helped solve my intolerance to food. I have been doing the clean diet thing for 2 yrs and that has not improved my skin either. In fact today is probably one of the top ten worst days of my life. I just dont how to treat anymore. I get weird red rash type spot that are always located in the lower parts of my face. They are in the inner cheek line and jawline which Im told is always hormonal. So why has nothing worked? My family literally wanted to commit me tonight because in two days my face went from clear to red patches and bumps everywhere...it was almost like an allergic reaction. I dont know how when I eat the same dam boring shit all day every day. My diet cant get any better. I already deprive myself of so many things now. I cant eat any chicken, rice, wheat, gluten, dairy, soybean, tapioca, or egg. Those things are in everything. Everything that replaces egg has tapioca in it. I have rosacea as well and have to avoid histamine foods like bananas, tomatoes and eggplant. There is nothing left of me physicall and mentally. I dont know where to turn for help. I would like to post pics but for some reason it always says the file is too big to upload and I dont know how to change it.

BTW, I also am home bio identical hormone cream for 4 months and that hasnt done a lick either. They just upped my progesterone to 100mg a day and i was thinking that was the problem but I was having the same issues before the increase. Any ideas?

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Ive tried everything and I mean everything from low dose accutante to spironolactone. Nothing has worked for me. Ive had two different intolerance testings done and neither of them have helped solve my intolerance to food. I have been doing the clean diet thing for 2 yrs and that has not improved my skin either. In fact today is probably one of the top ten worst days of my life. I just dont how to treat anymore. I get weird red rash type spot that are always located in the lower parts of my face. They are in the inner cheek line and jawline which Im told is always hormonal. So why has nothing worked? My family literally wanted to commit me tonight because in two days my face went from clear to red patches and bumps everywhere...it was almost like an allergic reaction. I dont know how when I eat the same dam boring shit all day every day. My diet cant get any better. I already deprive myself of so many things now. I cant eat any chicken, rice, wheat, gluten, dairy, soybean, tapioca, or egg. Those things are in everything. Everything that replaces egg has tapioca in it. I have rosacea as well and have to avoid histamine foods like bananas, tomatoes and eggplant. There is nothing left of me physicall and mentally. I dont know where to turn for help. I would like to post pics but for some reason it always says the file is too big to upload and I dont know how to change it.

BTW, I also am home bio identical hormone cream for 4 months and that hasnt done a lick either. They just upped my progesterone to 100mg a day and i was thinking that was the problem but I was having the same issues before the increase. Any ideas?

Wicky, send me a PM with a detail of what you've tried and for how long you've tried each thing and I can try to help you. As for photos, upload one to Flickr or Photobucket and then link it.

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Thanks for posting this! I am starting to take Saw Palmetto today. Got the kind that I had showed you in our PM. I'll be taking 320mg/daily. Can I take that together (its 2 pill) or do I need to separate it throughout the day?

I spoke with my dr and Spiro is not an option for me :( (he did prescribe me 8 weeks of antibiotics and differin- but im not sure if i want to go that route- any thoughts)

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Thanks for posting this! I am starting to take Saw Palmetto today. Got the kind that I had showed you in our PM. I'll be taking 320mg/daily. Can I take that together (its 2 pill) or do I need to separate it throughout the day?

I spoke with my dr and Spiro is not an option for me sad.png (he did prescribe me 8 weeks of antibiotics and differin- but im not sure if i want to go that route- any thoughts)

It's better to take it at morning and at night.

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sounds good. ill be taking one in the morn and one at night. i guess ill see how it goes. this bottle will last me almost 7 weeks. should be long enough to decide if something is happening! (i hope)

fingers crossed :)

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This is not a prescription acne medication. Should be in the holistic board.

No, the information is clearly connecting saw palmetto and its HORMONAL benefits. If you go on the holistic board, the general belief is that acne is caused by leaky gut or food allergies/sensitivities, not the direct hormonal link. Half the time I discuss hormones on there people blow me off. I'm putting the information here for people who actually care about the hormonal issues.

Also many of these herbs have contraindications for women on prescription hormonal treatment. Example, Vitex reduces efficacy of birth control. It's important to know, especially for women who visit only this board.

Would Saw Palmetto interfere with the effectiveness of Birth Control?

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my doctor said "in theory" there could be an interaction but that she couldnt really say what the interaction was or if in reality it would

im married and im not overly concerned about that since we also use other methods of birth control as well

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This is not a prescription acne medication. Should be in the holistic board.

No, the information is clearly connecting saw palmetto and its HORMONAL benefits. If you go on the holistic board, the general belief is that acne is caused by leaky gut or food allergies/sensitivities, not the direct hormonal link. Half the time I discuss hormones on there people blow me off. I'm putting the information here for people who actually care about the hormonal issues.

Also many of these herbs have contraindications for women on prescription hormonal treatment. Example, Vitex reduces efficacy of birth control. It's important to know, especially for women who visit only this board.

Would Saw Palmetto interfere with the effectiveness of Birth Control?

Spironolactone doesn't interfere with birth control, saw palmetto shouldn't either. If you look at birth control pills, they function through progestin and synthetic estrogen. The amount of androgens has little to do with preventing pregnancy.

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I just want to add my experience to this. I think Saw Palmetto works as an androgen blocker, but it also throws your estrogen/progesterone out of whack.

I'm lamenting over this on my blog if you want to read more. Or try googling "saw palmetto estrogen blocker" and "is saw palmetto estrogenic" and you will see that no one really knows what saw palmetto does to estrogen.

I am leaning towards believing that saw palmetto increases estrogen. Read this article: http://www.drnandunne.com/?p=1808

And if you don't feel like reading the whole thing, check out this quote: It is important to understand that saw palmetto (and potentially any herb that lowers blood levels of testosterone) will cause your androgens to be converted to estrogens. This increase in estrogens can further complicate your PCOS, and risk your long term health. When you slow down the conversion of testosterone to DHT, you leave more testosterone to be converted to estrone. In other words, you may be trading one problem in this picture for another.

That sums it up for me - Saw Palmetto helped but it also caused problems. It immediately reduced oil and cleared my back and my skin looked great for awhile. But it's also doing something to cause crazy post menstrual flare ups and emotional issues. And I was taking only one 160 mg per day. So this is powerful stuff. My advice is to start slow and keep a log of what's going on with your body.

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good idea.

what you posted in interesting, about it increasing estrogen because from what i understand and have read alot of women are clearing using high estrogen birth control pills, so i would think that if saw p increases estrogen it might help clear you more so

ive been taking 320mg for a month now, im not yet evaluating my skin as i want to give it an overall look after 3 months and i also take BCP (have for 15 years)

i havent had any emotional issues at this point or gastro intestinal issues (ive read some people get upset stomachs) but i always take it on a full stomach.

im hoping this is going to work for my hormonal acne. i think its a MUCH better alternative than say, spiro, accutane etc

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I just thought to reply to this posting...I've been struggling with acne since I was teen. Now I am a woman 38 still have this stuff on my chin, back, behind my ears, and leaving marks all over...I also have problems with hair chin upper lips and around nipples, not that bad but I do.

Well 3yrs ago I suffer from severe Escliritis (redness of an eye) back then the oftalmologist prescriebed me PREDNISONE 20mg because I was pregnant, I took it and it went way, BUT i decided to keep the remaining pills. So sometimes this escleritis comes and goes, specially when I am under stress so back in october/2012, that thing started to show up again in my eyes, so I got was desperated, I got my 3yrs old left over PREDNISONE pills and took all of it which last for 10 days.

So esclirits went away so did my acne!!! I was amazedddddddd how my skin cleared up completly. It was Paradise!!!

I havent had this clear face since I was 12yrs... I really thought I was in heaven.... Now I after I finished the pills acne came back sad.png and I just found out that PREDNISONE because is a corticosteroids helps balancing acne...you guys should consider ask about this with your doctor... IT DOES WORK!!!

I just thought sharing this with you guys ...my acne is hormonal one. I will try saw palmetto, because for now I dont have insurance....But still thinking how to get a prescription for predsone lol

I dream to have a clear skin....I had that for 3 weeks it was a dream sad.png

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I just thought to reply to this posting...I've been struggling with acne since I was teen. Now I am a woman 38 still have this stuff on my chin, back, behind my ears, and leaving marks all over...I also have problems with hair chin upper lips and around nipples, not that bad but I do.

Well 3yrs ago I suffer from severe Escliritis (redness of an eye) back then the oftalmologist prescriebed me PREDNISONE 20mg because I was pregnant, I took it and it went way, BUT i decided to keep the remaining pills. So sometimes this escleritis comes and goes, specially when I am under stress so back in october/2012, that thing started to show up again in my eyes, so I got was desperated, I got my 3yrs old left over PREDNISONE pills and took all of it which last for 10 days.

So esclirits went away so did my acne!!! I was amazedddddddd how my skin cleared up completly. It was Paradise!!!

I havent had this clear face since I was 12yrs... I really thought I was in heaven.... Now I after I finished the pills acne came back sad.png and I just found out that PREDNISONE because is a corticosteroids helps balancing acne...you guys should consider ask about this with your doctor... IT DOES WORK!!!

I just thought sharing this with you guys ...my acne is hormonal one. I will try saw palmetto, because for now I dont have insurance....But still thinking how to get a prescription for predsone lol

I dream to have a clear skin....I had that for 3 weeks it was a dream sad.png

I would avoid prednisone, especially for long term use. It can lead to effects such as weight gain, diabetes, depression and for some people, it can make acne and other inflammatory conditions worse. Your body starts to become dependent on it and then you are trapped in this horrible cycle.

My sister took this drug when she was younger for her asthma and allergies and now she is still suffering from side effects. She's overweight, always tired and now her eczema is worse than ever. I'm not saying Prednisone is the only culprit behind her conditions, but I believe it has made things worse for her.

Saw palmetto would be a better alternative to try, in addition to eating healthy and exercising. Certain foods can trigger an inflammatory or an allergic response in many cases. I hope you find what works for you. :)

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ive been having really great success with saw palmetto, the regimen and complete gluten removal!

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anyone know if you can take saw palmetto with bio identical hormone cream?

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My experience: I took 320mg of saw palmetto for about 2 months and didn't see any benefits or negative side effects. I'm also on birth control, so this might have masked the results. I'm now on spironolactone and awaiting my results. My 2 cents is that if you're looking for an anti-androgen, go for something with documented clinical results (i.e. spironolactone).

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ive been on 450mg daily for almost 4 months now and have seen fantastic results. i would prefer not to take something synthetic if i am able to. alot of people on this site have cleared from Saw P but as well all know, acne is different for everyone. spiro doesnt work for everyone either.

i wish there was just one cure. i think saw p combined with gluten removal made the biggest difference for me.

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anyone know if you can take saw palmetto with bio identical hormone cream?

Yep, unless you're taking testosterone. Saw palmetto won't affect your estrogen/progesterone creams.

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And how about combining Spiro and Saw palmetto? Do they interact in any way - except making each other's effect stronger?

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hmm. no idea. best to talk to your doctor about that.

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Hey everyone i just bought some saw palmetto today hoping itll help what i feel is my hormonal acne covering my face getting worse everyday. Im at home right now depressed, dont wanna leave my house.

I took the plan B pill, about i believe a month or so ago im thinking maybe this threw my homornes out of whack. Will palmetto help or is it going to make everything worse?

Would hormonal acne be the cause? I had two periods in december which was odd

That has never really happened before please help me, I cant afford a derm at this time i have no insurence.

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Hey everyone, I forgot about this thread. Here is what I found out about Saw Palmetto - any drug or herb that affects one set of hormones will have impact on the others and it can increase estrogen: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110217072631AAyC1Pk

High testosterone and estrogen dominance can cause acne. So I was right, Saw Palmetto was helping and hurting me at the same time - it was blocking the testosterone from turning into DHT so instead it was turning into estrogen which led to estrogen dominance which explains why I was breaking out after my period and the crazy anxiety and panic attacks. (This is my theory, anyway. Really no one knows exactly what is going on with these herbs and EVERYONE reacts differently - this is just what happened with me).

An herbalist I am seeing recommends that saw palmetto be taken with something to counter its effects and now I'm on a tincture of 1 part saw palmetto, 1 part peony, 1 part licorice and 2 parts chasteberry (vitex). Chasteberry is supposed to naturally balance your estrogen and progesterone. So far so good - I still broke a bit leading up to my period, but it wasn't severe. The oilyness has gone done quite a bit, but hands down the best thing about it is my anxiety and depression has gone way down too. And no sore boobs or cramps leading up to my period! She also recommended chromium to help with insulin imbalance and that is also good for depression. My blog has all the details - although I've stopped updating it.

I've heard that vitex works for a while and then stops working but I'm guessing it's another herb that needs to be taken with something (like saw p) to keep it balanced. This is a complex subject - good luck to all of you!

Anyway, talk to an herbalist and see if they can make up a tincture for you.

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Here is the difference between spiro and saw palmetto:

Spiro mutes the androgen receptor and DIRECTLY increases estrogen.

Spiro is about a million times stronger than saw palmetto. I don't actually know how much, but saw palmetto is a drop in the bucket compared to Spiro.

Saw palmetto mutes androgen receptors. I don't think this makes testosterone more likely to convert into estrogen. Until I see some hard data on that, I'll treat it as speculation.

Remember that progesterone is the often forgotten yet important hormone. Progesterone is a regulator. It regulates both estrogen and testosterone. You can have testosterone and/or estrogen level problems if you are low on progesterone.

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