Hair loss sucks. One of the things that happen when we age is that our hair starts to thin out and eventually falls out. And for men, this process is accelerated by a hormone called DHT.
DHT stands for dihydrotestosterone, and it’s a metabolite of testosterone. When there’s too much DHT in the body, it can attach to hair follicles and cause them to shrink. This leads to thinning hair, and eventually baldness.
There are a few prescription drugs that can block DHT, but they come with a host of side effects, so many men are looking for natural DHT blockers that can help them keep their hair without causing any adverse effects.
So, do natural DHT blockers really work? Let’s take a look at the science.
What Are DHT Blockers?
DHT blockers are substances that can bind to and inhibit the activity of 5α-reductase, an enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT. If you can reduce the amount of DHT in your body, it stands to reason that you might be able to slow down or even stop hair loss.
The most well-known DHT blocker is finasteride, which is sold under the brand names Proscar and Propecia. Finasteride works by inhibiting 5α-reductase type II, the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone into DHT.
Finasteride is effective at reducing DHT levels by around 70%, and it’s been shown to be an effective treatment for hair loss. However, it comes with a number of side effects, including sexual dysfunction, depression, and decreased libido. So many men are looking for natural alternatives that can block DHT without causing these side effects.
What Are Natural DHT Blockers?
"Natural" in this case means drug-free. Natural DHT blockers are treatments for hair loss that do not use medication. Instead, they rely on ingredients found in nature to block the production of DHT or promote hair growth.
Some common natural DHT blockers include:
Saw palmetto is a fruit extract that has been shown to block DHT production. It is often taken in supplement form, but can also be found in some topical hair loss treatments. It is thought to be most effective in treating mild to moderate hair loss.
Saw palmetto is generally considered safe, but can cause side effects like stomach upset, headaches, and dizziness in some people. It also has the potential to interact with some medications, so it is important to speak to a doctor before taking saw palmetto supplements.
The key to the success of saw palmetto may be that it decreases the size of the prostate. The prostate is a gland that produces some of the hormones involved in hair loss, so by decreasing its size, saw palmetto may help to reduce DHT production.
So, is saw palmetto effective? It's a mixed bag. There is some evidence to suggest that saw palmetto can help with hair loss, but it's not entirely clear how effective it is. It may be most helpful in treating mild to moderate hair loss, and more research is needed to confirm its effectiveness.
Green Tea Extract
Green tea extract is a popular ingredient in many health supplements due to its antioxidant properties. It has also been shown to block DHT production, making it a potential treatment for hair loss.
Green tea extract is generally considered safe, but can cause side effects like nausea and headaches in some people. It also has the potential to interact with some medications, so it is important to speak to a doctor before taking green tea supplements.
Why would green tea prevent hair loss? The key may be its ability to block the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT. By doing this, green tea extract can help reduce the amount of DHT in the body, which may prevent or slow down hair loss.
So, can green tea really help with hair loss? There is some evidence to suggest that green tea may help with hair loss, but more research is needed to confirm its effectiveness. It's generally considered safe, but side effects are possible. If you're considering taking green tea supplements for your hair loss, be sure to speak to your doctor first.
Stinging nettle is a plant that has been used traditionally to treat a variety of conditions, including hair loss. It contains compounds that can block DHT production and may also have anti-inflammatory properties.
Stinging nettle is generally considered safe, but can cause side effects like stomach upset, diarrhea, and headaches in some people. It can also interact with certain medications, so it is important to speak to a doctor before taking nettle supplements.
The key to the success of stinging nettle may be its ability to block DHT production entirely. This could help to prevent further hair loss and potentially promote new hair growth.
So, is stinging nettle fact or fiction? The evidence is mixed. Some studies have shown that stinging nettle may help with hair loss, but more research is needed to confirm its effectiveness. Studies that have been done have used different methods, so it is difficult to compare the results. It's worth a shot, however.
Pumpkin Seed Oil
Can the oil from pumpkin seeds really block DHT?
There is some evidence to suggest that pumpkin seed oil may be effective in blocking DHT, although more research is needed. Pumpkin seeds contain a compound called beta-sitosterol, which has been shown to block DHT in vitro. In one study, men who took beta-sitosterol supplements for three months had a significant decrease in DHT levels. Pumpkin seed oil also contains other compounds that may have anti-androgenic effects, such as lignans and cucurbitacins.
Lignans are a type of phytoestrogen, which are plant compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. Cucurbitacins are bitter-tasting compounds that have been shown to inhibit the activity of 5-alpha reductase, an enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT.
Pumpkin seed oil is available in capsules or as a liquid. It can be taken orally or applied topically to the skin.
Do Natural DHT Blockers Work?
Natural DHT blockers can work. When it comes to hair loss, a number of herbal remedies and dietary supplements are thought to block 5-alpha reductase or reduce levels of free testosterone in the body which is involved with triggering hair follicle miniaturization. There’s no guarantee that any natural treatment will work for everyone, but there is some evidence to suggest they may be effective for some people.
Mild cases of hair loss can often be controlled by modifying your diet and using more natural treatments, like those listed above. But if you're experiencing more severe hair loss, you'll likely need a prescription medication like Finasteride. Finasteride is the only FDA-approved oral medication for treating pattern baldness in men and is taken once daily. It works by inhibiting 5-alpha reductase, an enzyme that's responsible for converting testosterone to DHT. DHT is the main culprit behind pattern baldness, so by inhibiting its production, Finasteride can help prevent hair loss and promote new growth.
How Can I Stop Male Pattern Baldness?
While natural solutions can help, the only FDA-approved treatment for male pattern baldness is Finasteride.
The combination of Finasteride and minoxidil (brand name Rogaine: a medication available over the counter) has shown to be effective in stopping hair loss and promoting new growth. It’s important to note that these medications only work for as long as you take them—once you stop, any new hair growth will eventually be lost, and balding will resume.
In some cases, a surgical hair transplant may also be an option. This procedure involves taking hairs from a donor area on the scalp (usually from the back or side) and transplanting them into the balding areas. Hair transplants can be effective, but they’re typically reserved for more advanced stages of hair loss and can be quite expensive.
While there’s no cure for male pattern baldness, with the right treatment, it is possible to stop the progression of hair loss and even promote new growth. If you’re concerned about your hair loss, make an appointment today to text with a board-certified doctor and get a prescription for Finasteride.
This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.