We all want the miracle, especially to fight Testosterone loss. A pill we can take with our breakfast that makes us feel like Hercules by lunch. But as we know from researching other ingredients, scientific research doesn’t always prove what we want it to.
From all the best trials and clinical studies I can locate, the truth on Saw Palmetto is, at best, that it can have certain outcomes related to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and in some cases may even reduce total Testosterone in healthy men.
What You Need to Know:
Prostates, DHT, and Total-T
As men age, the compound known as DHT changes its role in our bodies. At the beginning of our lives, it helps us grow bones and muscle; it then leads to male adolescents growing body hair and getting a deeper voice.
As we age, DHT accumulates in areas of the male body, namely the prostate. This causes it to enlarge, and causes a condition known as BPH. It is well-known that our bodies convert Testosterone into DHT, so many treatments seek to prevent that conversion–less DHT, less enlarged prostates. And one way to measure that is to see how much testosterone is left in the body, unconverted into DHT.
Which brings us to Saw Palmetto. T-Boosters that use Saw Palmetto often cite a study that showed higher Testosterone in the prostate, and less DHT.
These T-Boosters use the logic that DHT is “stealing” our testosterone. That’s just bad science, though. Without DHT we don’t have muscle growth. And after all, why do many of us want to keep our T up, anyway? The fact is, DHT is the most powerful version of Testosterone in the body. And it can’t be converted to estrogen through aromatase.
All Saw Palmetto has been proven to do is limit the expression of an enzyme called 5α-reductase, which is responsible for converting Testosterone into DHT. And that alone should put anyone off–Saw Palmetto can prevent us from using Testosterone in its most potent form.
Saw Palmetto in Other Studies
Only one study I’ve ever found has any increase in Total-T after using Saw Palmetto. But their Palmetto was synthetically altered to have higher levels of beta-sitosterols. But we can also put that against two other studies.
In the first, twenty men over 50 were given a whopping 160 mg of Saw Palmetto for a full month: there were no changes to testosterone or any other measured hormone. In another study, a well-documented case history of a man using large amounts of Saw Palmetto, actually saw his Testosterone drop so low he had gynecomastia (breasts).
Why is Saw Palmetto in T-Boosters?
We can’t answer this one. Reading about sympathetic and progressive body mechanics can be a little confusing. Too much sugar leads to our bodies not being able to use it, in a process called insulin resistance. With Testosterone levels, it can be just as confusing.
Sometimes T-Boosters get caught up with how much “Free” testosterone we have, how much “Total” Testosterone we have. Interestingly, some studies have shown Testosterone drops after workouts–because the participants just used their Testosterone working out.
So we should be wary of verbiage on products’ websites like “prevents DHT,” and “increases T levels.” Because, it turns out, we actually want our Testosterone converted into the powerful DHT, and secondly, because those studies showed more T in the prostate–not the biceps.
Conclusion: You Can’t Take it With You
We all want better hormone health, especially as we age. But that doesn’t mean we just want jacked T-levels in our blood stream. We’ve covered in other articles how having T tied up in blood cells called SHBG actually means we can’t use it. It turns out that Saw Palmetto may be keeping too much of our testosterone from converting to useful forms, like DHT. And after all, we should want to boost our T so our bodies can use it–not hold on to it for no reason.