The Eclectic Physician
Natural Health Care
by Beth Burch N.D.
Male pattern baldness is very common. More than half of American men suffer
extensive hair loss by the age of 45. It is genetic and requires the presence
of androgenic hormones to occur. It begins in the side front areas or over
the top of the head. If it begins in the teenage years, the baldness will
be quite extensive. Women can also be affected by this type of hair loss.
Typically they have thinning of the hair on the front and sides, rarely
is there complete baldness.
In male pattern baldness, the hormone testosterone is converted into
dihydrotestosterone, a hormone that destroys hair follicles and leads to
hair loss. There are a number of of anti-baldness medications on the market,
but there are also a number of herbs that can block the formation of dihydrotestosterone
and prevent hair loss.
Saw Palmetto- This
herb is effective at blocking the formation of dihydrotestosterone and
thus can help with hair follicle loss.
Saw palmetto may assist with the type of hair loss called male pattern baldness. This type of hair loss results from the destruction of hair follicles by the androgen hormone, dihydrotestosterone. While male pattern baldness is usually found in men, it can also occur in women. The fatty acids in Saw Palmetto help to block the formation of dihydrotestosterone and thus may help to prevent this type of hair loss in both men and women. The dosage of fatty acids from Saw Palmetto is 270-300 mg daily. This can be obtained from 320 mg of a standardized extract or 3 grams of dried Saw Palmetto berry. These doses have been found to be safe in many studies. However, Saw Palmetto is contraindicated in women who are pregnant, nursing or trying to conceive due to its effects on hormones.
It is important to determine the cause of your hair loss. Since male pattern baldness is not common in women, you will want to make sure there is not another cause. Low thyroid, low pituitary hormones, excess vitamin A, some medications, fever, severe illness, lupus, and fungal infections can all cause hair loss. Even the process of normal aging can result in thinning and increased fineness of the hair. The hair loss resulting from any of these won't be helped by Saw Palmetto. Rather the condition itself should be treated and hair will regrow.
Standardized extract (85-95% fatty acid content)- 160 mg twice a day
* The information presented in this web site is intended to inform and educate.
It is not intended replace a qualified medical practitioner to diagnose or treat medical conditions.