One term almost always expressed in tandem with any discussion about hair loss or baldness is DHT. It is the enemy of hair follicles in the scalp. The American Hair Loss Association says this hormone chemical is the main culprit responsible for androgenic (or androgenetic) alopecia, the most common form of baldness in both men and women. Anyone serious about reversing hair loss must confront DHT, sooner or later.
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What is DHT?
DHT is short for Dihydrotestosterone. It is an androgen (male) hormone vital to male development, responsible for the typical manly characteristics we associate with men such as a hairy chest, deep voice, and large muscles. Women also produce Dihydrotestosterone, although in much lesser amounts. The body makes DHT by converting testosterone through the chemical actions of an enzyme called 5 alpha-reductase (or 5-ar for short).
Where body hair thrives in an environment rich in DHT, not so the scalp. The hairs in the scalp, for most people, are programmed to be sensitive to it, meaning that the hair follicles host receptors to which the DHT binds. When this happens, the follicles cannot get the oxygen and nutrients they need to grow and thrive. Hairs weaken. Over time, they thin and finally die.
Drug for Fighting DHT
There are only two medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the treatment of baldness caused by androgenic alopecia. These are Propecia and Minoxidil. Propecia works by decreasing levels of DHT throughout the body by inhibiting the action of 5-ar. But Propecia carries a number of unpleasant side effects such as loss in interest of sex, breast development in men (gynomastia), difficult orgasm, weakness, and dizziness to name just a few. Additionally, some say these side effects have the potential to linger long after stopping the medication. Minoxidil works along a different pathway which is not fully understand, It also carries a number of side effects.
Herbs for Fighting DHT
Fortunately, Mother Nature has designed a number of natural 5-ar inhibitors which can powerfully block the production of this hair killing hormone. And the best part? They carry no side effects and they are quite affordable. My own research and experimentation has lead me to recommend the following six herbs and nutrients listed below as some of the best in the world. I use them all and have experienced no side effects, only thicker, fuller hair.
The Gang of Six
- Pumpkin Seed Oil. You can find my review of this amazing oil here, along with the science that supports its hair loss reversing properties. In short, pumpkin seed oil delivers vital zinc for strong hair growth as well as inhibits the action of 5-ar to block DHT. Also in that post I also reveal my favorite cold-pressed, virgin pumpkin seed oil which I take on a daily basis. In addition to taking pumpkin seed oil in capsule form, however, you can also purchase the oil and keep it fresh and potent by storing it in a dark, cool place. Then, you can apply this oil to your scalp directly, or you might even consider adding it to some of your meals if you want to ingest it rather than apply it topically. When applying it topically, you can warm it up to prepare a hot oil treatment for your hair, and then you can put it on your roots. Use a shower cap to cover your head while the oil sits in your hair for about an hour. Then wash your hair to rinse it away.
- Black Currant Seed Oil. This lesser known oil packs a punch thanks to its omega-6 oil GLA. You can find out more about this amazing oil and how it regrows hair here in my post.
- Green Tea. Ah wonderful green tea. It can do no wrong! As an anti-inflammatory, green tea helps to combat stress throughout the body, including hair. It also acts as a DHT blocker via the inhibition of 5-ar thanks to two compounds, epigallocatechin-3-gallate and epicatechin-3-gallate. Studies show that mice given green tea maintain and regrow more hair as compared to controls. In addition to increasing your intake of green tea, you can also use it topically by making a natural hair rinse with it. Doing so might help treat problems like dandruff, as well as stimulate your hair follicles to produce more hair. Just take three green tea bags and about a half liter of water to prepare the tea, removing the tea bags after about 15 minutes. Then, shampoo your hair and rinse it thoroughly. Follow that up with the green tea rinse, which you can massage gently into the scalp and leave on for roughly 10 minutes or so. Finally, rinse the green tea out of your hair. You can do this a couple of times per week for a few months to support the health of your hair.
- Rosemary. Studies prove that topical Rosemary does a better job of reversing hair loss than Minoxidil! Read all about it in my review here and stock up on this essential herb right away. Like other items on this list, you can ingest rosemary to reap its benefits for hair from the inside out, or you can purchase rosemary oil that you can then apply to your hair and scalp to help regrow your hair naturally. It’s a good idea to shop for a high quality rosemary essential oil. It can deliver rosemary’s benefits, which include improved circulation, directly to your scalp so that your hair can remain strong. You can try a rosemary essential oil treatment once or twice a week when you are first getting started. Just keep in mind that essential oils might be harmful to pets, so use caution when pets are around you while you are using the oil or it’s in your hair. But if you want to use rosemary essential oil, it’s easy: you can simply massage a few drops right onto your scalp after mixing it with a carrier oil like coconut oil to make it easier to apply. Let it sit in your hair for several minutes before washing it out. Another option is to mix the essential oil into your shampoo, conditioner, or hair cream.
- Saw Palmetto. This fruit is popular in the treatment of BPH, or enlarged prostate in men. But the same DHT blocking action that makes it an effective treatment for the prostate also seems to make it an effective one for reversing hair loss. Although scientific studies are rare, a lot of anecdotal evidence exists to support this claim. You can take Saw Palmetto in the form of a supplement or by consuming the fruit. Applying Saw palmetto to the scalp seems to be less effective. You can find Saw Palmetto as whole dried berries, pills, liquid or capsules. Experts recommend taking 160 milligrams, two times per day, for blocking DHT in the treatment of BPH. That may be enough to also treat hair loss. Be aware that saw palmetto might cause side effects in some people. These side effects are typically mild, but they might include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, decreased libido, vertigo, headache, and diarrhea. You might want to consult with your doctor before taking a supplement like saw palmetto, especially if you are taking medications, to ensure it is safe and it won’t interact with your prescriptions.
- Ecklonia Cava Extract. I’ve written about the miraculous qualities of this brown seaweed here. It is called a sea botanical or sea vegetable, something that most Americans could stand to have a little more of in their diets. Harvested from the southwest coast of Japan and the Yellow Sea near China, Ecklonia could might just win the titles of most powerful antioxidant in nature. It remains in the body far longer than other antioxidants, is water soluble and fat soluble, and is far more powerful than most other antioxidants. Oh, and hair? Blocking DHT in the hair follicle is just one of its many methods of promoting hair growth. If I could only have one natural hair growth supplement, this would be it!
Here are best supplements that contain DHT blocking herbs and nutrients:
Ultrax Labs Hair Rush
Hair loss occurs due to many factors that include a lack of dietary protein, free radicals that contribute to cell aging and overuse of hair styling tools. However, studies indicate that a compound known as DHT remains the major cause of hair thinning or loss. The dietary supplement Hair Rush was created by some of the country’s top researchers at Ultrax Labs to interfere with the destructive effects of DHT. The supplement contains a combination of 20 necessary vitamins, minerals plus herbs that work together to revitalize hair cells inside and out. With continued use, users experience results in approximately two months to three months. The proprietary formula includes:
• Gotu kola powder strengthens hair follicles and the delicate blood vessels that nourish the scalp in order to create a healthy environment for growing hair cells.
• Nettle leaf powder promotes hair growth and healthy by inhibiting DHT production. The male hormone dihydrotestosterone or DHT weakens follicles when released in abundance.
• Pumpkin seed powder provides essential A, C and complex vitamins in addition to calcium, iron and magnesium. The substance also contains the amino acid cucurbitin, which provides the nutrition needed to help hair grow thicker, shinier and healthier.
• Saw palmetto eliminates DHT by interfering with the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, which transforms into DHT.
• Solubilized keratin, which is naturally found in hair, nail and skin cells. The compound protects cells and contributes to the growth and development of new cells. Keratin is also responsible for hair elasticity.
The formula’s other vital nutrients include:
• Medium chain triglycerides
• Pantothenic acid
• Vitamins A, B1, B6, B12, C, D and E
Having healthier hair and new growth involves taking 2 tablets once each day with meals. With continuous use, men and women enjoy healthier, thicker hair and decreased hair loss.
Users are happy to know that the formula is 100 percent drug-free and manufactured in the United States. Out of more than 3,000 people who used Hair Rush, 86 percent rated the product with five stars for the dramatic effects they experienced. Others rated the formula between four and five stars. All would recommend the supplement, which is less expensive than more extreme medical interventions.
Propidren by HairGenics
Although testosterone is considered a male hormone, women’s bodies also contain the substance but in lesser quantities. Women then also have DHT. In women, hair loss is more commonly seen as thinning than actual balding. If preventing DHT from interfering with a decrease in hair loss in men, the same principle works for women. Propidren contains a number of natural ingredients that help men and women enjoy thicker, more lustrous hair. The list of ingredients includes:
• Biotin, which is in the B family of vitamins and is essential for hair growth and strength due to the fact that the nutrient is needed to produce keratin. Many people do not get enough of the nutrient in their daily diet.
• Iron to combat anemia, which can lead to hair loss. Many people suffer from deficient levels of iron without realizing there is a problem. Levels that might not register as being low on blood tests are insufficient enough to interfere with hair health.
• Saw palmetto berries that have been used by Native Americans for centuries as a natural health remedy for various conditions including hair health. The plant inhibits DHT, which is a byproduct of testosterone. The effects have also been studied for its potential use in preventing bladder and prostate problems experienced by men.
• Zinc, which is necessary for healthy hair and skin. Absorption problems may occur in people living with diabetes, IBS, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis or alcoholism. Vegetarians have also known to be deficient. One of the first signs of zinc deficiency is thinning hair.
Propidren’s additional ingredients include Beta-Sitosterol, horsetail and nettle extract, which all have been associated with promoting new hair growth. Green tea extract was added as the herb contains catechins and caffeine, which hasten hair growth.
For satisfactory results, men and women are advised to take one tablet twice each day for at least three months, which coincides with the normal hair growth cycle. The product is not suitable for pregnant women, nursing mothers or anyone under the age of 18. If users do not experience new hair growth along with thicker, healthier hair, HairGenics offers a 100 percent money back guarantee.
Advanced Trichology DHT Blocker
Men and women suffer hair loss secondary to the presence of DHT, digestive problems, drastic hormone changes or stress. DHT Blocker features ingredients that combine herbs to reduce the production and hair growth interference of DHT plus contains prebiotics, probiotics, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial compounds designed to boost immuno-support and gastric absorption.
The DHT blocking formula acts by interfering with the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme at the follicle receptor site and not exclusively in the bloodstream, which prevents the conversion of DHT where it causes the most damage. In this way, users do not experience the side effects commonly associated with finasteride. The special blend of ingredients that promote hair regrowth and health includes:
• Grape seed extract
• Green tea extract
• Pumpkin seed extract
• Pygeum bark
• Saw palmetto berry extract
• Stinging nettle root
An abundance of bacterial and fungal colonies in the digestive system commonly interfere with nutrient absorption. To alleviate the problem and ensure healthier gastrointestinal health, DHT blocker contains:
• Chicory root extract
• Grapefruit seed extract
• Lactobacillus acidophilus
Scientists from Advanced Trichology chose the list of ingredients to combat a number of issues that cause hair loss in men and women. Clinical trials involving thousands of adult females and males demonstrated that the product provided impressive results. DHT Blocker is manufactured in the United States in an FDA approved facility and is certified as containing pure ingredients. The product is also gluten-free and suitable for individuals who prefer a vegetarians diet. The company offers a 100 percent money back guarantee if not completely satisfied with the results.
Be sure to discuss with your health care provider before you change your medications or take herbs and nutrients to treat any condition.
Have you found success in reversing your own hair loss by using one or more of these herbs or nutrients? Others? Please share your story in the comments below. And, if you found this post interesting and helpful, please be sure to share it on Facebook and Twitter. 🙂