Mechanism of Action:
Saw Palmetto contains active ingredients that can inhibit the enzyme needed to convert testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The active ingredients in saw palmetto are phytosterols and fatty acids. DHT stimulates the proliferation of cells in the prostate gland and, therefore, leads to prostate enlargement.
For better understanding of the mechanism of action of saw palmetto, look at the following figure.
Saw palmetto blocks route 3 by inhibiting the enzyme 5 – alpha reductase; so dihydrotestosterone (DHT) does not form. This action has made it popular in treating benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) and hair loss. With blockage of route 3, testosterone levels increase and the process goes through route 2, which is aromatization and can be blocked by supplements such as Chrysin and Tribulus terrestris.
Non – Athletic Benefits of Saw Palmetto:
The following condition may benefit from saw palmetto:
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
- Hair loss.
- Low sex drive.
- Chronic bronchitis.
- Coughs and sore throat.
The dosage of saw palmetto in studies has been 160 to 750 mg per day. Pygeum extract, nettle extract, ginkgo biloba (an herb with antioxidative effects), and zinc have synergistic effects with saw palmetto.