Can I Take Saw Palmetto with Finasteride: A Comprehensive Guide

Can I Take Saw Palmetto with Finasteride: A Comprehensive Guide

Yes, you can take saw palmetto alongside finasteride. There are no known interactions between these two medications. Saw palmetto is a weak DHT blocker that offers numerous health benefits, including hair loss prevention and prostate health support.

Learn more about the benefits of both saw palmetto and finasteride in this comprehensive guide.

Taking Saw Palmetto with Finasteride

Yes, you can take saw palmetto alongside finasteride. There are no known interactions between these two medications. Saw palmetto is a weak DHT blocker

Saw Palmetto Benefits

Saw palmetto is a natural supplement derived from the fruit of the Serenoa repens tree. It offers several health benefits related to both hair loss and prostate health:

  1. Hair Loss:

    • Mechanism: Saw palmetto may help prevent hair loss by blocking the activity of an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. This enzyme converts testosterone into another hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is linked to hair loss.
    • Effect on DHT: Saw palmetto reduces the uptake of DHT in hair follicles, decreasing its ability to bind to specific hormone receptors.
    • Research Findings:
      • A review of 7 studies found that oral and topical saw palmetto supplements improved hair quality by 60%, increased total hair count by 27%, and enhanced hair density in 83% of people with hair loss.
      • However, more research is needed to confirm these effects.
  2. Prostate Health:

    • Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH): Saw palmetto extract (SPE) has been shown to benefit individuals with BPH, a condition characterized by an enlarged prostate gland.
    • Urinary Tract Function:
      • Saw palmetto may improve urinary symptoms associated with BPH, such as incontinence and difficulty urinating.
      • In a 12-week study, men who took 1,000 mg daily of saw palmetto oil enriched with beta-sitosterol (a natural compound) experienced significant improvements in BPH symptoms compared to those who took unenriched saw palmetto oil.
      • Another 24-week study found that taking 320 mg of saw palmetto improved urinary flow, quality of life, and sexual function in men with BPH.
      • However, some reviews suggest mixed results, so further research is needed.

In summary, saw palmetto may help prevent hair loss, improve urinary tract function (especially for those with prostate issues), and support overall prostate health

A list of five health benefits of saw palmetto, including hair growth, prostate health, inflammation reduction, hormone level balancing, and hair loss prevention.

IMG Source: gstatic.com

Finasteride for BPH and Hair Loss

Finasteride, a synthetic 4-azasteroid compound, is used for two distinct purposes: treating symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and addressing male pattern hair loss in adult males. Let’s delve into its mechanism of action:

  1. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH):

    • Target: Finasteride specifically inhibits Type II 5-alpha reductase, an intracellular enzyme found primarily in prostatic stromal cells.
    • Conversion Inhibition: This enzyme normally converts the androgen testosterone into its more potent metabolite, 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
    • DHT Reduction: By blocking this conversion, finasteride reduces the concentration of DHT in the prostate.
    • Clinical Impact: Since DHT plays a key role in prostate growth, inhibiting 5-alpha reductase leads to a decrease in prostate volume, improved symptoms, and a reduced risk of acute urinary retention or the need for surgery.
  2. Male Pattern Hair Loss (Androgenetic Alopecia):

    • Similar Mechanism: Finasteride acts similarly in male pattern hair loss.
    • DHT and Hair Follicles: DHT is implicated in hair loss. By inhibiting 5-alpha reductase, finasteride reduces DHT levels.
    • Hair Growth Enhancement: Lower DHT levels promote hair regrowth and slow down hair thinning in affected individuals.

In summary, finasteride’s competitive inhibition of 5-alpha reductase leads to reduced DHT production, benefiting both prostate health and hair growth

This image shows the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone by the enzyme steroid 5-alpha reductase.

IMG Source: gstatic.com

Interactions between Finasteride and Saw Palmetto

There are no known interactions between finasteride and saw palmetto. However, it is recommended to monitor for the rare possibility of additive antiandrogen side effects like mood changes and sexual dysfunction. Saw palmetto should be avoided with other agents used to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), such as finasteride

Three images showing the effectiveness of finasteride in treating hair loss over the course of 24 months.

IMG Source: wimpoleclinic.com

Questions to Ask Before Starting or Switching Medication

Before making any changes to your medication regimen, it’s crucial to consult your healthcare provider. Here are some essential questions to ask your doctor when starting or switching to a new medication:

  1. Which condition is this medication intended to treat? Understand why your doctor is prescribing this drug and how it fits into your treatment plan. Sometimes medications are used off-label, meaning they’re prescribed for conditions other than their FDA-approved use. Knowing the purpose of the medication helps you stay informed.

  2. What are the advantages of taking this medication over another one? If you’re switching from one drug to another for the same medical condition, inquire about the benefits of the new medication. Your doctor can explain why the change is necessary and how it may improve your health.

  3. How should I take this medication? Clarify the dosing instructions, frequency, and any specific requirements (e.g., with food, at a certain time of day). Proper adherence is crucial for effective treatment.

  4. What potential side effects should I watch for? Every medication has potential side effects. Understanding what to expect helps you recognize any adverse reactions promptly. Some side effects may be mild and temporary, while others require immediate attention.

  5. Are there any interactions with my other medications or supplements? Ensure that the new drug won’t negatively interact with your existing medications or supplements. Drug interactions can affect effectiveness or cause harm.

  6. How long will it take for this medication to work? Knowing the expected timeline helps manage your expectations. Some drugs take days, weeks, or even months to show results.

  7. What if I miss a dose? Understand the protocol for missed doses. Some medications require strict adherence, while others allow flexibility.

  8. Should I adjust my lifestyle or diet while taking this medication? Certain drugs may interact with specific foods or activities. Your doctor can provide guidance.

  9. What precautions should I take? For instance, if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or have specific health conditions, discuss how the medication may impact you.

  10. Can I continue my current supplements or over-the-counter medications? Some supplements or OTC drugs can interfere with prescription medications. Be transparent about everything you’re taking.

  11. Is there a follow-up plan? Regular check-ins with your doctor are essential. Discuss when to evaluate the medication’s effectiveness and address any concerns.

A quote from Dr. Bailey Schroeder about using TCAs to treat sciatica pain.

IMG Source: licdn.com

In conclusion, the decision to take saw palmetto with finasteride depends on individual health needs and goals. While there are no known interactions between the two, it’s essential to consult a healthcare provider before making any changes to your medication regimen. Asking the right questions and staying informed about your treatment plan is crucial for optimizing your health outcomes.

Remember, your healthcare provider is your best resource for personalized guidance and recommendations regarding the use of saw palmetto and finasteride together.


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