Is Saw Palmetto Safe? The Side Effects

Is Saw Palmetto Safe? The Side Effects

Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.


We hear about supplements in the news or at the gym that claim to make dramatic changes quickly. These supplements are often dangerous, contain unsubstantiated claims, and in some cases, they're not legal. 

Saw palmetto is one of the supplements that has been talked about. Is it safe to use? What are its side effects? 

This article will teach you: 

  • Was is the saw palmetto?
  • Can it increase testosterone levels?
  • Does it pose any danger to the user?
  • Alternatives to benzodiazepines that are safe?

What is the saw palmetto plant?

The saw palmetto supplement is made from the fruit extract of Serenoa Repens, also known as the palm tree. repens'. The plant is indigenous to Southeast US. It has a fan-shaped palm and sharp teeth-like leaflets that can break skin. 

The extract of the serenoa has traditionally been used to treat libido, fertility and benign prostatic hypoplasia, a condition in which the prostate grows enlarged, but is not cancerous. 

This plant is rich in fatty acids and phytosterols, which are steroid substances similar to cholesterol.

Serenoa Repens

Serenoa Repens is the source of saw palmetto. The'saw-like' appearance is due to its sharp blades. 

Does saw palmetto boost testosterone?

This drug has been a favorite in the bodybuilding world for a long time. However, it is not proven to increase your T level. 

We need to first examine two biomarkers that are associated with the production of testosterone. 

DHT is the first androgen, a powerful androgen that helps T to grow muscle and increase strength. 

Second, 5-alpha reductase plays a crucial role in optimizing T. It is the enzyme that converts some T into powerful DHT. These two aspects are crucial to the overall male hormone profile. 

What research has shown about testosterone and saw palmetto: 

#Study 1: Strauch et al [1]

The study published in European Urology enrolled 32 male healthy volunteers to a saw palmetto program as a means of evaluating single or multiple doses of 5 alpha reductase

Over a seven-day period, the supplement was consumed twice daily for a total of 80mg. The serum testosterone and DHT levels were within normal limits, indicating no benefits to the male hormones. 

DHT levels must remain high as it's responsible for many male characteristics. According to a few studies, saw palmetto inhibits 5 alpha reductase and therefore reduces DHT levels. 

#Study 2: Marks et al [2] 

In this study, 40 men were observed to have a 32% decrease in DHT after 6 months of taking saw palmetto herb blend. 

Researchers suggested inhibition of 5-alpha-reductase as a possible mechanism and this was what led to a drop in DHT. 

#Study 3: Di Silverio [3] 

This study found that 320mg s.repens per day, for three months, actually increased testosterone in men who had enlarged prostates.

 This would seem to be a positive thing. However, a statistically-significant reduction of DHT was also observed. DHT, a stronger version of T is required to increase its potency. It is bad if it can't convert. 

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Saw Palmetto Side Effects

What are the side effects of a narcotic?

You probably realize that the supplement doesn't do much for your T level. Be aware of any side effects that may be associated with the drug. 

Although serious adverse reactions are rare, some reports of side effects have been reported. One medical case report [4] stated that a male 53 years old was taken to an emergency room for taking saw palmetto as a treatment for benign prostate complaints. 

The patient was experiencing an intraoperative hemorrhage, a form of bleeding which requires immediate intervention in order to save his life. 

A 55-year-old man was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis and hepatitis in another case study [5]. The patient was prescribed the medication for an enlarged prostrate, but was hospitalized with stomach pains, nausea and vomiting. 

Authors of the study conclude that "natural" medicinal preparations like saw palmetto may not be safe. The importance of having a complete medication history is also emphasized. 

Headaches, migraines, nausea and general vomiting are all less serious side effects. Constipation and cramps are also possible. 

The drug can also cause problems with libido and erectile function. 

Physicians are increasingly encountering toxicities, and other adverse events, with saw palmetto supplements [4]. 

It is better to stay away from this product if you do not have a medical assessment prior to using it, or if there are no solid evidences of its quality. 

Serenoa Repens is the plant that produces saw palmetto. The plant is small and palm-like with blade-like, sharp leaves. The plant contains phytosterols, which are steroid substances similar to cholesterol. 

It is believed that there are no benefits to testosterone. This also has a negative impact on a powerful androgen known as DHT. A lot of free testosterone is converted into this hormone within our cells, which is what is responsible for hair growth. 

The drug inhibits the production of 5-alpha-reductase, which converts testosterone to DHT. 

This drug can cause nausea, vomiting and headaches. Side effects like bleeding, acute pancreatitis, and hepatitis have been reported in more severe cases. 

It is best to stay away from the herbal supplement s.repens due to its unregulated usage. There are safer alternatives that can boost T levels without any side effects. 


Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) is an American plant with fan-shaped leaves and berries, often used in supplements and herbal remedies to treat prostate conditions like benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or male-pattern baldness; although many claims about its effectiveness remain unverified.

Some studies have revealed that saw palmetto may help with urinary symptoms associated with BPH, such as frequent bathroom trips or difficulty urinating, however not all have found this to be beneficial and some researchers think self-medicating with herbs such as saw palmetto may impede prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests used to screen for prostate cancer.

Saw palmetto may cause side effects when used to treat BPH or baldness, such as stomach upset, indigestion and diarrhea; these effects tend to be mild and will usually subside when you stop taking this herb.

Some individuals may have an allergic reaction; make sure you inform your physician if you experience any.

Dietary supplements don't undergo the same rigorous safety testing as pharmaceutical drugs, so their safety can't be guaranteed.

You should choose supplements from reliable sources that abide by strict safety standards and avoid mixing pills, capsules and tinctures at once as this increases the risk of overdose.

Saw palmetto may affect blood clotting which increases bleeding risk when taken alongside aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib and indomethacin.

Is there a better alternative to the syringe?

Yes, there is. Military Muscle, a natural, premium testosterone booster, uses the highest-quality, most effective nutrients. 

Ingredients are key when it comes to naturally boosting testosterone. Military Muscle has to be one of the most effective options available. 

Military Muscle: What are your expectations? 

  • Increased muscle size and strength - bigger and more powerful lifts
  • Better Recovery - faster growth and reduced soreness
  • Increased Enhanced Energy: More motivation to exercise harder and longer.
  • Improve your confidence and boost sex drives with Healthy Libido

Military Muscle will help you achieve that muscular body and improve your performance in the gym.

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  1. Strauch, G et al. Comparison of finasteride (Proscar) and Serenoa repens (Permixon) in the inhibition of 5-alpha reductase in healthy male volunteers. Eur Urol. 1994; 26(3): 247-52.
  2. Marks, LS et al. Tissue effects of saw palmetto and finasteride: use of biopsy cores for in situ quantification of prostatic androgensUrology. 2001; 57(5): 999-1005.
  3. Di Silverio, F et al. Effects of long-term treatment with Serenoa repens (Permixon) on the concentrations and regional distribution of androgens and epidermal growth factor in benign prostatic hyperplasia. Prostate. 1998; 37(2): 77-83
  4. Cheema, P et al. Intraoperative haemorrhage associated with the use of extract of Saw Palmetto herb: a case report and review of literature. J Intern Med. 2001; 250: 167-169
  5. Jibrin, I et al. Saw palmetto-induced pancreatitis. South Med J. 2006; 99(6): 611-2.
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