Does Saw Palmetto Boost Testosterone? Know Science

Does Saw Palmetto Boost Testosterone? Know Scientific Facts

When it comes to tackling low testosterone and the issues associated with it, we all want a quick and effective remedy. This makes you try different supplements or even focus on individual testosterone-boosting ingredients with the hope that you might be able to extract optimum benefits from them. One such ingredient that came under my radar is Saw Palmetto, which is believed to improve testosterone issues in some communities.

Well, having faith is one thing, but, science may not always support it. A swift glance on the internet about saw palmetto’s effectiveness on testosterone improvement shows mixed opinions. Some positive results surrounding its ability to improve prostate health and free testosterone have been established though.

We have researched deeper into this herb to find out more about whether saw palmetto actually improves testosterone levels if there is any scientific evidence supporting it, how it works, and more. Let’s take a look at the findings.

Key Points To Note
  • The primary studies on Saw Palmetto are mainly around its effect on benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels.
  • Saw Palmetto showed favourable results in a very constrained environment.
  • Research has also shown that long-term use of Saw Palmetto can have a reverse effect on testosterone levels.
  • Overall, Saw Palmetto’s testosterone-boosting effect has not been encouraging.

Does Saw Palmetto Support Testosterone Production?

Does Saw Palmetto Support Testosterone Production

Saw Palmetto’s (scientifically known as Serenoa Repens) touted ability to improve testosterone levels has garnered a lot of attention among those who are looking for natural testosterone-boosting ingredients. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough concrete clinical interventions available to support its influence on testosterone health.

After extensive research on this subject, We found only one positive study that showed that Saw Palmetto was able to increase free testosterone levels among the test subjects. The catch, however, is that the herbal extract that they used for their clinical trial was enhanced with a higher concentration of β-sitosterol for treating benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) and testosterone deficiency.

In the clinical trial, test subjects (age group 40–65 years) with symptoms of prostate hyperplasia were given 500 mg doses of β-sitosterol boosted saw palmetto oil supplementation for 12 weeks. The findings, however, demonstrated that palmetto oil enriched with a higher percentage of β-sitosterol was able to show a noticeable increase in active testosterone when compared to regular palmetto oil.

On the contrary, there is another study where twenty men of average age 65 to 67 years were supplemented with 160 mg of Saw Palmetto for 30 days. At the end of the trial period, researchers found that palmetto had no effect on testosterone, nor luteinizing hormone and FSH which are responsible for triggering testosterone.

Meanwhile, there is another study that was conducted to understand the efficacy of a patented compound containing saw palmetto as one of the ingredients. At the end of the trial, a specific percentage rise in serum testosterone was noted. However, Palmetto’s individual effect on it cannot be determined here, and the result was statistically insignificant.

A similar experiment from 2008 also found that a combination of dietary supplements which included palmetto had a positive effect on testosterone. However, no placebo group was involved which makes it hard to conclude if the supplement was actually responsible for the improvement in the testosterone levels.

In fact, one of the research studies also highlighted that Saw Palmetto, when taken in large amounts lowered testosterone levels significantly leading to the onset of erectile dysfunction in a patient who volunteered for the trial.

Other Studies

While the above interventions remained unsuccessful in establishing a well-defined relationship between saw palmetto and testosterone, interestingly, certain studies have been able to establish a connection between this herbal extract and dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

One of the findings, for instance, showed that palmetto may be able to decrease the activity of a 5-alpha-reductase enzyme which converts testosterone to a more potent form of androgen, dihydrotestosterone or DHT. This in turn has supported the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) which is otherwise triggered by DHT. This is where some researchers suggest that Saw Palmetto may be supportive in treating prostatic cancer.

Testosterone boosters that have included Saw Palmetto often seem to use this evidence as support. These studies do not, however, convincingly support that the supplement improves testosterone levels in men.

Saw Palmetto And DHT

Saw Palmetto Improve Testosterone And DHT

All that said, the potential ability of palmetto to decrease DHT levels can be considered a positive sign for people who are suffering from hair loss.

Some men start experiencing baldness as they age. While there are several reasons, one of the main reasons could be the excessive presence of DHT as a result of the enzymatic action of 5-alpha reductase. DHT attaches to the follicles of the hair resulting in baldness. The findings from a study conclude that adding saw palmetto in the treatment to increase hair growth has resulted in significant improvement in 38% of the total test subjects. Another study further supported this finding showing a hair growth improvement of 11.9% on including palmetto as one of the ingredients.

However, we cannot come to a solid conclusion yet given that the plant remains unapproved for medical use.


The existing scientific evidence and the results do not support Saw Palmetto’s touted ability to improve testosterone production. While it does have shown some positive results in inhibiting 5-alpha-reductase activity which controls DHT production, this can be beneficial for hair loss treatment. Aside from that, most of the clinical trials revolve around its effect on benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate).

Therefore, in order to assess saw palmetto’s impact on testosterone output and also the safety of this plant extract for long-term use, more research and investigations are needed.

Meanwhile, if you are seriously looking to improve your testosterone levels, we recommend having a diet focused on testosterone-boosting foods or supplements that have proven to be effective in boosting testosterone.