Dihydrotestosterone is a hormone which is very well known and documented to be the smoking gun for hair loss among millions of people.
Orally taken and topically applied compounds can be used to prevent the production and uptake of DHT including…
Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) is a small palm tree native to Florida and other areas of the southeastern United States. Today, saw palmetto is one of the most popular and best herbal DHT blockers in the country and is available in many forms including powders and extracts. The most potent form of saw palmetto is the extract which means that the active ingredient in saw palmetto has been concentrated.
Saw palmetto is thought to inhibit 5-alpha reductase in tissues from producing DHT.
Stinging nettle, which is also known as nettle root, is commonly used as an alternative treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia. In one study, male rats that had excess DHT were given components of stinging nettle root as a treatment. Because excess DHT causes prostate enlargement in males, if stinging nettle works it would reduce prostate enlargement.
Researchers measured their progress based on ratios of body weight to prostate size, levels of serum testosterone, and prostate-specific antigen levels. Results showed improvements in all categories.
Stinging nettle may work by inhibiting the 5-alpha reductase enzyme that produces DHT while maintaining levels of testosterone to reduce hair loss.
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 76 male subjects who had varying forms of androgenetic alopecia were given a placebo or 400 milligrams of pumpkin seed oil every day for 24 weeks. Researchers evaluated their subjects throughout the clinical trial based on scalp hair count, scalp hair thickness, standardized clinical photographs, and patient self-assessment scores.
At the end of the 24-week period, those who had taken pumpkin seed oil showed higher self-rated satisfaction and improvement scores and had more hair than those who took the placebo. Those who took pumpkin seed oil also showed a 40 percent increase in average hair count, while the placebo group showed just a 10 percent increase.
Pumpkin seed oil still requires further study to determine specific mechanisms of action, but it’s understood that the oil contains phytosterols that can inhibit 5-alpha reductase to keep DHT levels in check.
Lycopene is a pigment compound known as carotenoid. It acts as a powerful antioxidant, meaning that it can neutralize free radicals that can cause damage to cells and DNA.
Studies show that lycopene may also help to control levels of DHT and the production of insulin-like growth factors in the epithelial cells of the prostate. This can help to improve hair growth and support prostate health.
Lycopene can be found in:
In American diets, tomatoes are the most common lycopene-rich dht blocker food. Nearly 85 percent of lycopene comes from tomato juice, tomato paste, and other tomato products. A cup of tomato juice contains about 23 milligrams of lycopene. Processing tomatoes with heat changes lycopene’s bioavailability, allowing for easier absorption and use.
Extracted from the bark of the African cherry tree (Prunus africana), pygeum is often used as an herbal supplement to help alleviate symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia.
In vitro studies have found that pygeum extract may help to reduce the increase of BPH by interfering with certain growth factors and their receptors. Pygeum has also been found to have anti-androgenic properties.
Similar to other natural DHT blockers, pygeum may operate by blocking 5-alpha reductase from producing excess DHT.
Green tea is packed with a variety of vitamins and nutrients, as well as a group of water-soluble polyphenols known as catechins.10 The major polyphenol in green tea is epigallocatechin-3 gallate (EGCG). Studies have found that EGCG is a direct androgen antagonist that can help to blunt DHT receptors and inhibit 5-alpha reductase to promote hair growth.
Along with your scalp, green tea has been found to help just about every organ in the body. Catechins may help protect the brain, heart, and liver, prevent the buildup of fats in your arteries, and promote the health and function of your blood vessels. Green tea catechins may also help to burn fat.
Scientifically known as Trigonella foenum-graecum, fenugreek is a popular herb that has traditionally been used to help increase libido and alleviate blood sugar metabolism problems, which suggests that it may possess anti-diabetic properties.
While the herb still requires further research, early studies suggest that fenugreek may help to increase testosterone by inhibiting 5-alpha reductase, which comes with the added benefit of reducing DHT levels. The most well-known compound in fenugreek is 4-hydroxyisoleucine, which has been shown to help normalize the metabolism of glucose.
Studies show that both tea tree and lavender oils may offer potent DHT blocking properties. Research found that topical application of tea tree oil could effectively block DHT production.
In a mouse study, topical application of lavender oil to mice was found to promote hair growth. Results of the study showed significant increases in the number of hair follicles, hair follicle depth, and dermal layer thickness, all of which contributed to increased hair growth.
Ketoconazole is an anti-fungal medication commonly used to reduce dandruff. Studies suggest that it may also help to block DHT and promote hair growth. A study comparing a topical ketoconazole solution and various concentrations of minoxidil found that using ketoconazole with minoxidil stimulates hair growth more than minoxidil alone.
The common stimulatory ingredient found in coffee may also help to promote hair growth by blocking DHT. An in vitro study found that caffeine applied topically in concentrations of 0.001% and 0.005% could stimulate hair follicle growth. While the exact mechanism of action still requires research, this effect may come from the compounds ability to block 5-AR receptors.
Shampoos of all kinds contain varieties of these ingredients. For instance Trader Joe’s makes a shampoo that has peppermint, tea tree, and eucalyptus oils.
You could take these compounds in supplement form, or buy them in bulk and make your own shampoo!