I remember sitting in class listening to an instructor rave about Saw Palmetto. For anyone unaware of what Saw Palmetto is, it’s an extract of a plant from the Serenoa repens palm plant. Saw Palmetto is usually used for its ability to block the conversion of free testosterone to DHT (dihydrostestosterone). DHT is a more potent version of testosterone. To keep it simple, testosterone converts to dihydrotestosterone. Characteristics of high DHT are associated with male characteristics like increased facial hair, muscle, increased libido and also acts as an antagonist to estrogen (which lowers estrogen binding). To be honest with you, I don’t mind those characteristics. I like my workouts intense, my beard full, libido high and my estrogen low. SO why are the hippies telling me to take Saw Palmetto? The explanation I got from one of my instructors is that by blocking the conversion of testosterone to DHT, it will keep free testosterone high. I have one issue with this. What’s the point of keeping free testosterone high if were not going to do anything with it? That’s like saying, "let’s keep collecting bricks, but never use them to build a house" (I know... I could’ve done better with my analogy, but you get the point). Yes I know, its been said that Saw Palmetto is good for prostate health and hair loss but the studies are sparse and the drawbacks of supplementing with Saw Palmetto doesn’t make it worthwhile for me personally. People often compare DHT to exogenous steroids, which shouldn’t be the case. Of course I’m speaking from a male perspective that is looking at every natural way of increasing testosterone, because it’s a commodity as we age.
The lesson here is that, before introducing a new supplement into your routine, look at what you’re trying to achieve and ask your self how this supplement will help in the long run. If you’re a healthy male looking to increase testosterone or at least prevent it from dropping significantly, then I’d lay off for now.