Active ingredients: Fatty acids and phytosterols
Traditional use: American Indian cultures used saw palmetto for a variety of purposes, including for problems with urinary and sexual function, and as an antiseptic.
Muscle-building benefits: Saw palmetto helps balance unwanted side effects of testosterone-boosting supplements, reducing dihydrotestosterone and helping mitigate prostate enlargement.
How it works: Saw palmetto works by inhibiting the enzyme (5-alpha-reductase) that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. While DHT offers none of the muscle-building effects of testosterone, it provides men all their male sexual characteristics, such as a deep voice, body hair and even aggression. DHT also is associated with prostate cancer and male-pattern baldness. By inhibiting the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme, saw palmetto reduces the amount of testosterone that is converted into DHT. This keeps levels of testosterone — as well as its muscle-building effects — elevated.
Dose: As a stand-alone, take 100 to 800 milligrams of saw-palmetto extract standardized for fatty acids and sterols two to three times per day with food. Otherwise, look for testosterone boosters that include saw palmetto as one of their ingredients.