Do Saw Palmetto Benefits Include Fat Loss (or anything else)?
Do saw palmetto benefits include fat loss? There’s no shortage of things purported to help one lose fat. Saw Palmetto
is just another entry on a long and distinguished list. Lord knows it would be nice if dropping some of that hard-earned blub was just a pill or puff away.
What the Bleep is Saw Palmetto?
SP (Serenoa repens ) is actually derived from the berries of small palm tree like plants. They grow in the south eastern U.S. The berry extracts used in supplements are a combination of fatty acids oleic acid, lauric acid, myristic acid and palmitic acid, and also include plant sterols.
Saw palmetto is perhaps best known as an herbal supplement for men’s prostate health. It’s often used to treat conditions such as an enlarged prostate; Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). If caught early, these studies indicate the herb’s effectiveness for BPH treatment. Recent double blind studies however, have found no real world benefit from saw palmetto for treating the prostate condition in patients with advanced progression.
If you’re a man over 50, you sure as heck know how important prostate health can be, don’t you? It’s the doctor visit every man dreads; your first prostate exam. Thumbs up!
Fat loss or no, saw palmetto may also help inhibit the production of DHT, which leads to male pattern baldness. According to the hair club ads, hair is the most important attractiveness factor anyway, so why even worry about your middle?
Speaking as one with precious little of it, a full head of hair would be nice….. but what about saw palmetto’s effect on fat loss, if any?
Saw Palmetto – Research, Hype, or Scam?
Fat loss is a snake-oil prone area. Understatement of the year candidate….
Anything that’s a pressing problem attracts shucksters who smell a quick buck, or millions of slow ones. Fortunately, the medical arena is one area where there’s solid research to back up one’s claims, even if it sometimes takes a while. Hey, research studies weren’t born in a day!
There are basically 3 kinds of research, anecdotal, single blind, and double blind. Double blind is the highest standard of proof. If the study is hen peer reviewed, and published in a reputable journal, so much the better.
Anecdotal is your friend Mike saying “Hey, I dropped 30 pounds in a month taking this stuff.” What he didn’t tell you was that he was taking 3 times the recommended dose, killing himself in the gym and skipping most meals. No good, that! Basically, anecdotal evidence isn’t worth much. Since I haven’t tried SP, I can’t give you any, anyway!
If double blind, peer reviewed studies are the gold standard when it comes to diet and supplements, are there any that examine saw palmetto vis-a-vis fat loss efficacy?
Here’s one interesting possible side effect I ran across. Funny, people don’t mention this one much……
Saw Palmetto Kills Muscle Growth?
If true, that could be a big metabolism hit, as lean muscle mass correlates to basal metabolic rate, all else being equal. There is evidence that Saw Palmetto discourages anabolism, for much the same reasons it discourages DHT. If you’re trying to lose fat, increasing muscle mass should be near the top of your list.
Anabolic inhibition would indicate saw palmetto isn’t your fat burning friend.
Possible Saw Palmetto Side Effects
You’ve seen the TV ads and probably wondered who the hell would ever take the stuff. No, not saw palmetto, but just about any prescription medication advertised on TV these days. They’ve all seemingly got a list of possible side effects as long as your arm, up to and including death. Scary!
While saw palmetto hasn’t been proven to cause anything so dire, there have been a few isolated cases You’ll also want to watch for drug interactions, especially for blood thinners such as Coumadin and Plavix, due to the herb’s additional blood tinning ability. See this article from the University of Maryland Medical School for more.
Other saw palmetto side effects include headaches and mild stomach irritation. That’s a heck of a lot shorter than the side effect list for those drugs they advertise on TV, where the cure seems worse than the disease. I don’t know if I’d “Ask my doctor” about any of them. They sound scary as hell!
Saw Palmetto and Fat Loss
So, does saw palmetto help fat loss? I couldn’t find a single reputable study indicating it does. If you know of one, I and your fellow readers would greatly appreciate you letting us know.