What is Saw Palmetto?
Saw palmetto is a common ingredient in supplements for men to help with male pattern balding and prostate issues. It works by inhibiting the enzyme that converts testosterone to the more potent DHT.
But can women take this supplement? To understand this question, you must first understand androgens. Androgens are male hormones (like testosterone and DHT) that play an important role in facial hair and sometimes acne. Since saw palmetto is anti-androgen, it could theoretically be helpful for women who have female pattern hair loss, unwanted facial hair, or severe cystic acne. However, as with many supplements, there are not many studies to support the use of saw palmetto in women, so it is not often used in this population. In addition, it can reduce the efficacy of birth control pills.
Since saw palmetto has hormonal effects, it should never be used in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Due to these concerns, women should consult their physician before considering saw palmetto supplements.