5 Natural DHT Blockers… But Should You Use Them?

Read time: 10 minutes

Note: This is a guest post written by Tony Hall – the founder of TopHairLossTreatments.com.

Is DHT To Blame For Hair Loss?

Despite what your doctor might tell you, androgenetic alopecia is far more complicated than the simple formula DHT = hair loss. If the truth really were this simple, why would DHT cause hair growth everywhere else on the body? Why are hair follicles on the top of the head susceptible to this hormone but others aren’t? Why doesn’t all lost hair regrow with finasteride (Propecia) use?

Evidence shows that pattern hair loss is a multifactorial condition, and so any effective treatment must tackle its myriad causes – scalp fibrosis, calcification, decreased blood flow, and so on – rather than only one.

All that said, DHT does play an important role in pattern hair loss. Evidence shows that elevated DHT may be part of the cascade that triggers calcification and fibrosis – two chronic conditions which restrict nutrient, oxygen, and blood flow – and may even kickstart the hair miniaturization process. So while DHT isn’t the sole factor, it’s an important factor. Therefore, reducing DHT levels may help slow (or stop) hair loss.

The Challenge: DHT May Cause Hair Loss, But Reducing DHT May Cause Sexual Side Effects

The problem is that DHT isn’t just associated with hair loss. It’s critical for male sexual development in the womb and during puberty and plays an important role in mood regulation, with one study suggesting it is “the most important androgen in the human brain.” DHT also appears to be critical for normal sexual function – at least in animals, anyway.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, negative side effects have been observed as a result of certain hair loss drugs that reduce DHT.

I am of course referring to Propecia, the pharmaceutical hair loss treatment with a big reputation. Propecia reduces serum DHT levels by around 70%, making it a very effective way of slowing the progression of pattern hair loss in men. This would be fine if doing so didn’t also sometimes cause the following side effects:

  1. Impotence
  2. Lack of interest in sex
  3. Difficulty achieving orgasm
  4. Abnormal ejaculation
  5. Gynecomastia
  6. Depression

Merck – the manufacturer of Propecia – claims that such effects are rare, affecting just 2% of users. But a quick Google search suggests the incidence of these side effects is much higher. Of course, there may be some selection bias here, but it’s hard to believe that drastically reducing a hormone that is critical for male sexual development will have no adverse effects whatsoever. That’s why it’s important that if we’re going to reduce DHT, we need to be careful about it.

The Takeaway: If We Want To Reduce DHT, We Need To Do It Safely

Yes, reducing DHT will help our hair – but we don’t need to obliterate it from our body. And while reducing DHT should help slow, stop, or partially reverse hair loss, we shouldn’t expect complete hair regrowth from reducing DHT alone.

So how do we strike a balance between reducing DHT and halting hair loss? Well, there’s good news…

Reducing DHT Doesn’t Have To Be A Tradeoff Between Your Sex Life And Your Hair

Moderate reduction of DHT can help in the battle against hair loss – even more so when combined with other angles of attack. And unsurprisingly, “natural” DHT inhibition tends to reap far fewer side effects (even though at a certain point, any DHT reducer can cause side effects).

So with that in mind, let’s take a look at the evidence for five of the most popular natural DHT blockers. Which ones actually work?

The research may surprise you…

In fact, some of these alleged DHT blockers aren’t even confirmed to reduce DHT. Rather they are only assumed to reduce DHT based on extrapolations from studies unrelated to hair loss.

As such, we’ve split our natural DHT blockers into two categories.

  1. The Heavy Hitters: DHT blockers that actually work.
  2. The Not-So-Convincing: popular DHT blockers with little scientific backing.

By the end of this article, you’ll know which natural DHT blockers you might want to use to fight hair loss. But even more importantly, you’ll know which ones to avoid completely.

5 Natural DHT Blockers: Which Ones Actually Work?

DHT Heavy Hitter #1: Saw Palmetto

Saw Palmetto is an extract from the berries of the serenoa repens palm. Native to subtropical regions of the Southeastern United States, extracts from this plant have been used to create herbal medications by various cultures – from the Mayans to the American Indians.

The Evidence: Saw Palmetto Reduces DHT Levels

Saw Palmetto is without doubt the most well-known natural DHT blocker, often being described as nature’s Propecia (but don’t let that put you off!).

And these effects are proven. For example, this randomized 2001 trial observed that:

“…Tissue DHT levels were reduced by 32% from 6.49 to 4.40 ng/g in the [saw palmetto] group (P <0.005), with no significant change in the placebo group. […] The [saw palmetto]-induced suppression of prostatic DHT levels, modest but significant in a randomized trial, lends an element of support to the hypothesis that inhibition of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase is a mechanism of action of this substance.”

These results were not a one-off, either. The effects of saw palmetto on DHT levels have been extensively tested due to the links between DHT levels and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Most studies of this kind appear to show a reduction in BPH symptoms, even if it is unclear whether this is a result of DHT reduction.

As for pattern hair loss specifically, the results look to be even more positive. This study – conducted over the course of two years – compared 320mg saw palmetto with 1mg finasteride (Propecia).

While the effects weren’t as dramatic as the Propecia group, hair growth did improve in the saw palmetto group:

“The results showed that only 38% of patients treated with Serenoa repens had an increase in hair growth, while 68% of those treated with finasteride noted an improvement. […] We can summarize our results by observing that Serenoa repens could lead to an improvement of androgenetic alopecia, while finasteride confirmed its efficacy.”

And this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study observed even more impressive results. The investigative staff – who were not told which treatment subjects were treated with – judged 60% of those treated with a saw palmetto and beta sitosterol formula to have improved hair at the end of the treatment course.

However, it should be pointed out that the inclusion of beta sitosterol (more on this later) in this particular study obscures the efficacy of saw palmetto. It raises the possibility that any improvements in hair were a result of beta sitosterol and not saw palmetto.

Even so, there is a large enough body of evidence to suggest that saw palmetto is a (barely) effective natural intervention for the management of hair loss – even if saw palmetto isn’t as effective as finasteride. Not only has it been demonstrated to reduce tissue DHT levels, the studies of its impact on androgenetic alopecia suggest this translates to improved hair quality as well.

Dosage: How Much Saw Palmetto Will Reduce DHT?

While there is no ‘standard’ dose of saw palmetto, 320mg per day appears to be a safe amount. There is no evidence to suggest higher doses are any more effective at preventing hair loss, and this is the amount used in the successful trial described earlier.

DHT Heavy Hitter #2: Pumpkin Seed Oil

Pumpkin seed oil is extracted by roasting and pressing the seeds from two kinds of pumpkins: Curcubita pepo and Curcubita maxima.

The Evidence: Pumpkin Seed Oil & DHT Reduction

A 2014 study, Effect of Pumpkin Seed Oil on Hair Growth in Men with Androgenetic Alopecia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial, boasted some impressive hair regrowth results with pumpkin seed oil.

Natural DHT Blockers for Hair Regrowth

After just 24 weeks, subjects treated with pumpkin seed oil experienced a statistically (and cosmetically) significant increase in hair count. Various methods were used to measure the efficacy of treatment:

“The PSO-treated group had more hair after treatment than at baseline, compared to the placebo group (P < 0.001). Mean hair count increases of 40% were observed in PSO-treated men at 24 weeks, whereas increases of 10% were observed in placebo-treated men (P < 0.001)”

So does this mean pumpkin seed oil is an effective hair loss treatment? Well, not exactly…

If you read carefully, the trial states that subjects were treated with Octa Sabal Plus – a Korean health supplement with many ingredients beside pumpkin seed oil.

So, whilst the results are impressive, this casts doubt on whether it was the pumpkin seed oil that was responsible for these results. Instead, it may be one of the other ingredients – such as evening primrose powder, red clover powder, or corn silk – that caused the increased hair growth.

Fortunately, this isn’t the only relevant study of pumpkin seed oil. Here, for example, pumpkin seed oil was found to reduce the effect of testosterone on prostate size in rats. It’s suggested that pumpkin seed oil prevents testosterone from converting to DHT, which would explain why rats that received the supplement had smaller increases in prostate size compared to the control group.

As well as these two studies, there are various reports that pumpkin seed oil reduces the symptoms of BPH. Whilst this is by no means conclusive, it lends support to the claim that pumpkin seed oil is a natural DHT blocker.

How Much Pumpkin Seed Oil Is Needed To Reduce DHT?

Like saw palmetto, there is no strictly recommended dosage of pumpkin seed oil for hair loss. It’s common to find 1000mg pumpkin seed oil capsules, however the dosage used in the successful hair loss trial was no more than 400mg per day. As side effects are practically non-existent, though, a dosage between these two values (400mg-1000mg per day) is likely to be both safe and effective.

Aside from saw palmetto and pumpkin seed oil, the evidence for “natural” DHT reducers gets a little bit skewed. Having said that, here are three natural DHT blockers that might not be as helpful as their manufacturers would lead you to believe.

Natural DHT Blockers: The Not-So-Convincing

These next supplements are popularly touted as effective DHT inhibitors – usually for the treatment of BPH. Often, this is taken to mean that they also make effective hair loss treatments.

While this may indeed be true, evidence is scarce. As such, the jury is still out as to whether they really do reduce DHT levels.

Not-So-Convincing DHT Blocker #1: Beta Sitosterol

Beta sitosterol is a plant sterol common to many fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds throughout the world. There is some evidence to suggest it may be an effective DHT inhibitor.

The Evidence: Can Beta Sitosterol Decrease DHT?

Various studies have found beta sitosterol to improve the symptoms of BPH. Since BPH symptoms are strongly linked to DHT, this lends support to the idea that beta sitosterol is a natural DHT blocker.

But it’s a bit of a jump from the claim that beta sitosterol reduces the symptoms of BPH to the claim that it actually reduces DHT levels. In fact, this study found that beta sitosterol supplementation had no effect on prostate volume – something that would be expected to accompany a reduction in DHT levels.

The previously mentioned trial of beta sitosterol and saw palmetto lends some support to its efficacy as a hair loss treatment. However, the improved hair growth seen during this trial seems more likely to be a consequence of saw palmetto rather than beta sitosterol.

The limited research conducted on beta sitosterol makes it difficult to draw firm conclusions as to its efficacy. So far, though, it seems that if beta sitosterol is a natural DHT blocker, it’s a fairly weak one.

Where To Get Beta Sitosterol

While you can purchase beta sitosterol supplements, it is also present in many foods such as:

Plant oils – especially canola and corn oils
Nuts – particularly pistachios, peanuts, macadamias, almonds, and walnuts
Vegetables – such as Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, and carrots
Fruits – bananas, pears, peaches, and oranges have particularly high amounts of beta sitosterol

Not-So-Convincing DHT Blocker #2: Nettle Root

Like many of the other natural DHT blockers described here, extracts from the root of the common stinging nettle (urtica dioica) are popularly used to treat BPH.

In fact, one randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of nettle root extract demonstrated that nettle root really can alleviate the symptoms of BPH. One possible explanation for this is that nettle root reduces DHT and is therefore beneficial for hair as well.

However, some studies cast doubt on the link between nettle root and DHT levels.

Not only that, there is evidence to suggest that lignans – found in nettle root extracts – bind to sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). As the name implies, SHBG binds to sex hormones such as testosterone and DHT, preventing them from binding to androgen receptors.

This effectively means more (available) testosterone and DHT – so nettle roots may actually make hair loss worse!

Should We Use Nettle Root To Fight Hair Loss?

Due to its positive impact on BPH, nettle root extracts are often said to be natural DHT blockers. Do a quick Google search and you’re likely to find people advocating it as a hair loss treatment for this very reason.

But without a trial to specifically test for its impact on hair loss, it’s hard to say whether or not nettle root extract really is effective. And given its impact on SHBG, it’s probably safer to stay away from nettle root supplements altogether.

Not-So-Convincing DHT Blocker #3: Pygeum Africanum

Extracted from the bark of the African cherry tree, pygeum africanum is often touted as a natural DHT blocker.

And like many of the supplements mentioned here, this reputation comes from its alleged ability to alleviate BPH symptoms and prostate cancer.

But like nettle root extract and beta sitosterol, there are no studies which have looked at its impact on pattern hair loss specifically.

Furthermore, the studies linking pygeum africanum with alleviated BPH symptoms have been criticized, with its actual efficacy arguably a result of the placebo effect rather than any meaningful reduction in DHT levels.

So, while pygeum africanum probably won’t be bad for hair loss, it’s unlikely to do much good either! At best, the jury is still out as to whether it’s an effective natural DHT blocker.

Natural DHT Blockers: Should You Use Them?

There are many alleged natural DHT blockers out there, but many have limited evidence supporting their efficacy with regards to hair loss. Some, such as nettle root extract, may actually have the opposite effect.

But there is strong evidence that saw palmetto and pumpkin seed oil really are effective for the reduction of DHT levels, and possibly even hair loss. From blood samples to before and after photos, the evidence supporting them is hard to deny. At the very least, the findings of these studies justify expansion to larger trials.

However, it’s important to put these findings in perspective… Natural DHT blockers will not give you a full head of hair overnight – but then neither will Propecia. This is because hair loss is a multifactorial, chronic, condition. Reducing DHT might have little to no impact on reversing scalp fibrosis or calcification, for example.

What reducing DHT will do, however, is help prevent these processes from happening in the first place. Saw palmetto and pumpkin seed oil – if they do reduce DHT levels – should help with the maintenance of hair without the nasty side effects of prescription drugs.

Note: this is a guest post written by Tony Hall – the founder of TopHairLossTreatments.com.

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    73 thoughts on “5 Natural DHT Blockers… But Should You Use Them?”

    1. What about green tea ?? There’s been alot of talk about the effects of green tea.

      Also would you likely be better to get results from oral DHT blocking supplements with mechanical stimulation, rather than topical ??

      Great article


      • Thanks Paz. I’m still looking into the effects of green tea and hair loss. I’ll write an article about it soon. In short – it’s tough to say with certainty what its exact mechanisms of action are, or which ones help the most. I’m also totally torn on the caffeine-hair loss connection. There are anecdotes and studies showing it both helps and hurts. This is part of the reason why I haven’t been able to write about green tea or coffee.

        We need a study to compare the anti-androgenic effects of mechanical stimulation versus oral 5-AR inhibitors versus topical 5-AR inhibitors on scalp tissue DHT levels. I don’t have a good answer for you yet. It probably doesn’t hurt to attack the DHT issue from multiple angles, but then again, I’ve always worried about the long-term effects of DHT inhibition, and the potential to remodel our scalps if we inhibit 5-AR and our bodies decide to respond by increasing androgen receptor activity:


        • Hi Paz and Rob,

          apart from alcohol, caffeine is the worst thing for my hair. I had to pack in tea because of it. Everyone’s different, though!

          Green smoothies with some pumpkin seeds in there are doing good things for my hair.


        • I have used fat burner stimulant and my hair as thinned like crazy, also some of them high in caffeine which stimulate the nervous system.

          Got me wondering anything that stimulates the nervous system is bad for hair because it cuts the blood flow to the scalp.

          Anything that replicates amphetamines too, like ephedrine, and the rest. I quit high dose caffeine and fat burner and my hair is starting to look good, i drink 1 matcha green tea per day and take pumpkin seed oil caps and saw palmetto, waiting to see in 6 months.

    2. Hi rob,
      Nearly all the DHT blockers inhibit 5-AR , now if you forget the sexual side effects for a second, the 5-AR enzyme has many other functions like converting pregnenolone to allopregnenolone. progesterone to 5-alpha DHP and many other i don’t know about. Allopreg is found to be very low in depressive/suicidal patients. It’s also surmised that SSRI’s actually increase allopreg in the brain (it’s not the serotonin mechanism behind the anti-depressive effects).
      5-AR has also positive links with dopamine status in the brain.
      An allopreg compound is also in clinical trials for Schizophrenia.
      For me the most important side-effects of 5-AR inhibition would be brain fog, anxiety, suicidal tendencies.
      Inhibiting global 5-AR(which includes the brain) is the most stupidest thing a man can do for his mental well being as i am not aware of any local/scalp only 5-AR blocker (in decent concentration, everything gets absorbed though i might be wrong on this)
      (of course , you can easily search pubmed for above of my claims)

      • Great points Dante. And I agree with you – inhibiting 5 alpha reductase systemically can lead to some seriously detrimental side effects.

        One of the most worrisome things about Finasteride is that there’s evidence that over time, Finasteride actually increases androgen receptor activity:


        The worst part is that these effects seemed to sustain even post-treatment. If we carry these findings over into pattern hair loss, we realize that this may explain why many men lose hair so rapidly after dropping Propecia. Their 5-AR returns, only this time with more androgen receptors surrounding follicle sites to increase the likelihood of DHT binding. The end-result: more DHT in the scalp (likely as a response to inflammation / scalp tension), the development of more fibrotic tissue and calcification, and finally, rapid hair follicle miniaturization.

        I’ve often wondered if natural DHT blockers like saw palmetto or pumpkin seed oil have a similar effect. This has always been my biggest concern with DHT blockers – natural or synthetic. If you stop taking them, you might be worse off than if you never started.

        With that said, there’s some evidence that rosemary oil may have anti-androgenic properties – even as a topical. I know there are a few topical 5-AR inhibitors in human trials now. But again – do these topical 5-AR inhibitors make us worse-off in the long-run? I can’t say.

        Maybe Tony can chime in on his thoughts here. He wrote the guest post!

        • Hi rob,
          Can you tell me the name of topical 5AR compounds in clinical trial. Personally, i have stopped looking at anti-androgenic or anti-dht compounds provided one doesnt have high serum androgen levels (which is rare) . I am looking more towards from NAD+/NADH ratio and other mitochondrial markers which improves cellular respiration. There are have been some off-label uses of agents like methylene blue which regrowed hair in an MPB patient. In theory , something that dissociates nitric oxide from cytochrome oxidase and increases cellular CO2 conc. should improve oxygenation(biotin is one such agent that comes to mind). I think it’s high time we change the line of attack from finding “natural DHT blockers” .

        • Hey Dante,

          The drug is Breezula (CB-03-01):


          I’m curious to read more about methylene blue. If you have a link to the case study, I’d love to see it!

          I’ve experimented with nitric oxide dissociators before: 1) with low-level laser therapy, and 2) with a product called AOBiome – which contained ammonia-eating bacteria that would produce nitric oxide as a byproduct of its digestion. I didn’t give low-level laser therapy a long enough trial to determine if it worked. But as far as the AOBiome spray, I ironically found that my shedding increased for the two months I tried it. So I stopped spraying it on my scalp and now only apply it to parts of my body.

          I agree with you – the DHT-hair loss argument is filled with gaps. But it’s hard to argue the end-points: men who can’t produce DHT (pre-puberty castrates) and men who lack the type II 5-AR enzyme (genetic mutation) never suffer from pattern hair loss. So DHT is associated with (and probably required for) pattern hair loss to occur. However, the reason why DHT is associated with hair loss has never been answered by the literature. My best guess is DHT’s causal relationship to calcification and fibrosis:


          So yes, we shouldn’t just focus on DHT. I think anything that will increase balding tissue oxygen levels should help – as you said. I think the botox-baldness study helped cement this line of attack as effective (by removing chronic scalp muscular tension, subjects saw hair regrowth and within just a few months).


        • “nitric oxide as a byproduct of its digestion” – what i meant to say was that produce less nitric oxide and produce more CO2 in cell, the CO2 production in cell will provide oxygenation via Bohr effect. NO2 has many problems.
          The main compound of breezula is this – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cortexolone_17%CE%B1-propionate – a synthetic relative of a cortisol metabolite, interesting but it will take 5-10 yrs imo to reach the market.
          On a forum, i came across a guy who literally changed from somewhere near norwood 3.5 to norwood 2.5 after adding thyroid and copious amounts of sugar. Dietary changes like leaving PUFA were important but his regrowth only cam after he added thyroid(i remember it was NDT) and massive amounts of sugar

        • Thanks for replying. Just to clarify, nitric oxide dissociation from cytochrome c oxidase actually increases the availability of nitric oxide in tissues – because that nitric oxide is no longer bound. This is even one of the purported mechanisms behind low level laser therapy – that the light photodissociates nitric oxide from the cytochrome c oxidase enzyme. The result of the dissociation is increased vasodilation since more unbound nitric oxide can reach the blood vessel tissues.

          I’d love to see the photos of the guy taking thyroid. I believe his results. Really impressive stuff and it’s interesting the thyroid + sugar (Ray Peat-influenced) dietary changes can help so many people. Another interesting thing is the regrowth some people get from massive supplement protocols (50+ pills per day). I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Taeian Clark’s protocols – but they seem to work for some people as well. At a certain point, the etiology of hair loss becomes so individualized. I’ve found it’s all about finding someone’s personal triggers and experimenting from there.

        • Couldn’t reply to your last message (no link for the reply was there). I will send you the link of the thyroid+sugar guy by email.
          Regarding Taeian’s protocol, i have heard of it on immortalHair forums, it contains Spironolactone(an anti-androgen and MtF transgender drug, it’s even stronger than fin) Most likely the benefits are coming from Spiro. Plus fish oils are always red herring. When someone uses such massive amount of supps, i think we can’t track down whats happening due to what and that high amount of trace minerals will always end up causing some problems . I mean using more than 100 mg zinc/day -> this will itself lead to hypothyroidism in the long run. IMO the protocol’s hair growth are coming from – Spiro,nizoral and may be taurine. Rest might destroy health,well-being and cause serious problems. Didn’t you and Danny both say that massive supp is a waste of time,money and may be health ?

    3. Hey guys, great article and interesting debate. There’s also Ecklonia cava to consider: there’s some evidence to suggest it inhibits 5AR activity.

    4. Rob that’s a good point.

      But I doubt natural blockers would do this as DHT blockers are also fought d in natural foods. And natural herbs. If DHT is not the only culprit then it may be ok to stop taking DHT blockers.

      I’d only associate this with finisteride which has non natural chemical elements.

    5. Hi Rob, Great detailed research and info, thanks.

      I have also heard and read that biotin is a strong contender in this race.

    6. The problem really is that blocking DHT globally is probably dangerous. We need a topical DHT blocker that only affect tissue DHT. The only product I know is the one developed for Hasson and Wong. But again we don’t really know how much finasteride goes on the blood. They claim it’s 14 times less but you need an extremely small amount of finasteride to block DHT.

      A frustrating issue, really.

      • You’re absolutely right about the dangers of blocking DHT. And one more point to add: while the studies on food-based DHT inhibitors (saw palmetto, pumpkin seed oil, etc.) are far less comprehensive than those of synthetic-based DHT inhibitors (Finasteride (Propecia), Dutasteride, Avodart) – the evidence seems to suggest that food-based / food-derived DHT inhibitors carry far fewer (if any) sexual side effects. This could be due to two things:

        1) These compounds might just be less effective at reducing DHT than synthetic-based DHT inhibitors.

        2) These compounds work through a different set of mechanisms versus synthetic-based DHT inhibitors.

        There’s evidence that Finasteride inhibits 5-alpha reductase differently than food-based DHT inhibitors. I’ve even seen some researchers refer to it as blocking 5-AR at the “gene level.” Comparatively, when we look at how a food-based DHT reducer like pumpkin seed oil might work – it might not be that it acts directly on the 5-alpha reductase enzyme. Rather, it instead might reduce 5-alpha reductase activity by downregulating signaling proteins like transforming growth factor beta.

        Transforming growth factor beta (TGFB) increases in sites of chronic inflammation, and TGFB can increase 5-AR expression. A food-based DHT inhibitor like pumpkin seed oil might actually reduce DHT not by suppressing the 5-AR enzyme directly. Rather, it might just be the antioxidants and polyphenols within the compound that decrease TGFB expression, and in turn, indirectly reduce 5-AR activity.

        It might sound silly to make that point of differentiation – indirect 5-AR suppression versus direct 5-AR suppression. But I think the nuance is important. It may explain why synthetic 5-AR inhibitors like Propecia are associated with sexual side effects, whereas food-based 5-AR inhibitors don’t appear to be nearly as dangerous.

        Just my two cents!

    7. Mr Blue

      I’m guessing that’s more to do with chemical composition than anything else..Fin does far more harm than natural dht blockers which are bereft of chemical compound’s.

      How Fin got approved by the FDA is beyond me. Again it supports the notion of drug companies making profits on easy to treat issues.

      This is why I despise companies like Belgravia who insist on giving people Fin and rogaine which are harmful chemicals and expensive.

      But I believe that DHT may not be the main culprit in hair loss.

      • A Lot of great points. Thanks Tony, for a well written article, to join the multitudes by Rob. I myself personally believe, that DHT has very little to do with hair loss directly, particularly in more mature individuals like myself, whose DHT should hypothetically be on its way down. In younger individuals the DHT connection appears far more plausible. It appears more likely that 5-AR increases are co-comittant with increases in other pro-inflammatory compounds, be it the prostaglandin/cytokine/interleukin pathways or Janus kinase- STAT3 etc, though given that I’m not fully immersed in the literature, this itself may be a vast oversimplification.

        Obviously most studies have focussed on 5-AR expression, but seldom have considered other observable increases in the balding scalp. Similarly drug studies have focussed on what leads to reductions in 5-AR expression. They don’t typically assess whether the effects are direct (i.e. preventing 5-AR directly at the receptors), or whether the effects are as a result of upstream processes prior to 5-AR conversion, or indeed through feedback mechanisms further downstream. Clearly, it’s important to understand the precise mechanisms involved. Of course that’s far too financially prohibitive for pharmaceuticals. “It reduces 5-AR. Job done!”

        Sorry about the rant! But this raises another important point, Any of our ingested DHT inhibitors don’t just inhibit 5-AR(Similarly, this applies to all molecules purported to support a role in hair growth). The active molecule in each of the above (SPE and PSO), may have multitudes of effects within different physiological systems, that lead to improvements in hair quality. For example, if one looks at the SPE and PSO, the primary ingredients are fatty acids, MUFA and PUFA respectively. These molecules are involved in many of the key physiological processes in the body. So it remains a possibility that the benefits observed from these molecules may not be due to DHT inhibition, but any number of upstream or downstream processes. It seems unlikely to me that there is anything in these extracts/oils that contains specific molecules that target 5-AR specifically in the scalp.

        NB:- Isn’t it interesting how many of the purported natural cures, contain high concentrations of triglycerides/fatty acids?

        • I do apologise for re-iterating points detailed in Rob’s preceding post on TGB. And the careless spelling mistakes…..

        • Greg – awesome points, and no worries about the typos! I fixed a few for you.

          This debate – how the mechanisms of action are different for food-based DHT reducers (pumpkin seed oil and saw palmetto) versus synthetic DHT reducers (finasteride) – is the topic for my next article. So thank you for the comments! (And the inspiration to dive deeper into the research).

          Your mention about fatty acids is interesting. I used to take a hard stance on minimizing omega 6 fatty acids. But now there’s a body of research demonstrating that omega 6 fatty acids might be beneficial to our skin and hair. In fact, the research seems split right down the middle: omega 6 are bad when oxidized, neutral/beneficial when unoxidized.

          More on both of those in the next couple of weeks!

        • Hi Rob

          Thanks for that. Spelling errors are the bane of my existence. I’ve often wondered about the Omega-6 scenario. Certainly as a topical, I think there is a place for linoleic acid. Grape Seed Oil felt great on my skin, and is potentially the best carrier oil I’ve ever used. No residue whatsoever! Indeed, some of the panaceas for hair loss, are omega 6 oils; PSO, kanonji oil etc

          However, I’m still on the fence about ingested linoleic, unless its balanced by other omega-6, such as gamma-linoleic and conjugated linoleic acids (i.e. calendic acid), to reduce the conversion to potential pro-inflammatory arachidonic acid.

          However, we know very little about Omega-6 and the ‘pro-inflammatory’ eicosanoids, and more specifically when the group 2 prostaglandins are a bad inflammatory, or a good inflammatory. Obviously, we need inflammatory processes, it’s only when we enter a chronic inflammatory state, that these are potentially bad news. Then of course, we have Swiss Temple’s theory, which overcame an evil group 2 prostaglandin, with another pro-inflammatory prostaglandin (a vast oversimplification I know, but that’s the general gist). So the story is far from simple with a variety of feedforward and feedback loops within the Group 2 eicosanoids, interleukins etc then there are crossed effects from the group 1 and Group 3 eicosanoids, which are typically inhibitory to the Group 2s, and countless other interactions with other fatty acids, let alone other molecules found in each cell nucleus. So it certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibilities…..

          So just maybe chugging cashews, and swimming in vats of sunflower oil is the way forward. After having had a borage oil enema, of course……

        • Hi Rob

          I think the omega-6 issue is certainly worth exploring in an article. As you say, many health specialists inform us that omega-6 in large quantities are harmful, if not balanced by omega-3, less than 4:1 is recommended I beleive. However, the large quantities of omega-6 are tytpically ingested in the form of processed oils/margarines and/or junk food in the standard western diet, whereby the possibility is increased of these omega-6s becoming naughty trans-fats. I suppose the question would be is the consumption of whole foods with high omega-6 contents damaging? Is the omega 6 more stable when ingested from whole foods etc. I look forward to your thoughts.

          I know the Roddy/Peat Lobby are very ‘anti’ any PUFA, and some of the issues they raise are indeed important i.e. heat, stability and rancidity. However, whilst I agree with many ideas contained within this group pertaining to health generally, I do think their ideas on PUFA are blinkered.Indeed their writing suggests rather universally that PUFAs are bad, yet nearly every source of food in our diets contain these PUFAs to varying degrees. Similarly, their writings indicate thet prostaglandins are universally bad, which clearly is not the case under all circumstances. I would be interested on your thoughts on this

          If you could drop me a line, I’ve got some info that maybe of interest for your ongoing research pertaining to topicals…..

          All the best


        • Thanks Greg. The omega-6 issue is complex with a lot of conflicting literature. I think that omega 6 might be fine from whole foods – provided they’re not oxidized – and may even be pro-hair. But I also think there’s an upper limit, and that the upper limit is much lower than what most people believe (but not nearly as low as Roddy / Peat advocate).

          I’ll send you an email now!

        • Any chance you’ll elaborate in a future article? Perhaps with a catchy title like ‘PUFA or MUFA- that is the question’?


        • Hey Greg,

          It’s on my list! I’ll try to put together an article in the next few weeks. And if I use your title, I’ll absolutely have to credit you. 🙂

          Next week’s article is on the difference between food-based 5-AR inhibitors and Finasteride… Why the former isn’t typically associated with sexual side effects, but the latter is.

    8. I took saw palmetto as I heard it would stop hair loss. I feel like it did, I felt that my hair wasn’t falling out and overall just felt stronger. However, for me it gave me a crazy scary experience of shrinking my manhood and making me feel like it was a separate entity I had a couple of weird days and immediately stopped taking it. I did a little 20 hour fasting and weightlifting which brought me back to normal after a few days. I know not everyone experiences this because my brother said it didn’t do nothing of the sort to him. It did to me and I found others online who it had an even worse effect. So yea I might be part of that small percentage, but still I write this just to say be careful. It was soon after this that I found Robb’s stuff and it was only about 3-4 weeks in to doing the massages that I noticed that same firm non shedding irregularly scalp I felt I was experiencing from taking saw palmetto. So yea I’m almost two months in to the massages and seeing some hairs coming in. It’s pretty awesome.

      Side question: Hey Robb I sent you an email I had about changing head shape and wondering if firm massaging could effect scalp bone shape. Can it or is our head so hard that we’d have to apply super pressure to do so.


      • Hey Scotty – I followed up with you via email! In general, I think head shape changes are driven less by bone, and more by changes to skin density as a result of expelling any trapped sebum / dandruff.

    9. Rob, I’ve been shampoo and condition free for almost two weeks now which is a personal record.

      I rinse my scalp and hair with lukewarm water every day and I’m noticing a really nice texture and consistency and reduced bad hair days.

      Sometimes if it’s really frizzy I just use coconut/argan oil.

      Should I keep doing this no shampoo/condition routine indefinitely or should I shampoo maybe at the end of the month and then start over? Thanks.

      • It all depends. I’ve found no issues going shampoo- and conditioner-free for years. But if you’re using fat-based topicals regularly, you might feel like shampooing once in a while, just so that your hair doesn’t look too greasy.

    10. Saw palmetto is no doubt an effective dht blocker but it do have side effects that of propecia or any other finasteride. Pumpkin seed oil is also effective but it will take a longer time to actually show some results. They work best when tried with any hair regrowth treatment like minoxidil, castor/Olivia/jojoba oil or onion garlic topical application. But they all need devotion and commitment as they take atleast an year or so to show some results. Key to success is never lose hope.

    11. Question I can’t seem to find an answer: my MD thought testosterone 200 mg injections would help my energy levels. After just 2 injections over 3 week span I experienced demonstrable hair thinning. I am 65 and had a full head of hair, no balding. Stopped injections and added 1mg finesteride three days ago. Will my hair growth return to prior level? Any idea how long?

      • Hey Bill,

        It’s hard to say if and how long it will take hair loss from steroids to grow back, as each case is highly individualized. Many temporary steroid users see their hair return to normal after stopping injections within a few months; others just see a stop in hair loss with no recovery.

        In regards to energy levels, have you also tried modifying diet, lifestyle, etc.? Those levers are typically less risky versus exogenous testosterone, and might be a better treatment long-term treatment approach.


    12. I recently watched an infomercial for a beauty (mainly for skin) regimine product that includes Saw Palmetto. This along with various other ingredients like Collagen, B vitamens etc. The inclusion of the Saw Palmetto was explained that because a patient had noticed her husbands hair and skin looking better since useing Saw Palmetto she decided to include it in her supplementation regimine as well. So these docs included it in their formula which is mainly advertised for women. My question, do you see any possible problems this might present for a woman to take this on a regular basis? (They do caution to never take this while pregnant, but thst is not an issue for someone of my age) I am interested in any natural supplement that can increase skin elasticity or firmness.

      • Hey Ginnie,

        It’s hard to say if saw palmetto will negatively impact post-menopausal women. The reason that they don’t recommend it for pregnant women is that DHT (which saw palmetto reduces) is incredibly important for prenatal and neonatal development, so you want as much as your body is producing at those times.

        You can certainly try the product (and if you do, please report back). Otherwise, if you’re interested in improving skin elasticity, I’d recommend looking into dermarolling, oral collagen supplements (like NeoCell), and bone broths — alongside addressing any nutrient deficiencies. More often than not, addressing those goes a long way.

    13. Hello!

      I am 21 years old. My father is pretty much bald. My oldest brother is 31 and hes losing hair pretty bad. He also washes his hair every single day and blowdrys it everyday. Other brother is 30, but hes got a good head of hair, doesnt was his hair everyday and never blowdrys.

      Anyways, i’m 21 and i’ve got a perfect head of hair. No hair loss at all. However, im scared about losing it eventually. For the past two years, i’ve stopped blowdrying it. Now, i wash my hair 2 times a week with natural shampoo and conditioner, no chemicals at all. I dont put any products on my hair, except from coconut oil and shea butter. Never blow dry it. I’ve noticed my hair has gotten thicker..so i guess thats good.

      To the important stuff now. I have two ways to prevent any real hairloss in the future.

      1. finasteride (propecia)
      2. Natural dht blockers.

      After doing a lot of research, these are some great natural blockers.

      Saw palmetto
      Reishi mushroom
      Pumpkin seeds
      White peony
      Ecklonia cava
      Polygonum multiflorum

      However i am stuck. Just like many, I am scared about the sides of finasteride. However i have a great vegan diet, and already take herbs for libido, blood flow etc.

      I also know about how unlikely it is to suffer from sides. What are your thoughts on this? How common are they? If i go into it with a positive mindset, could that not greatly reduce the risk of sides? Nocebo?

      Or should i go down the natural route? Potentially reduce the risk of any sides and still manage to keep my hair somewhat?

      This may sound like a silly question..but do the plants and herbs i mentioned even help with hairloss?

      Anyways im rambling now. Hopefully you get the gist of what im trying to ask.

      Any info and and advise would be greatly appreciated? If you could speak about the effectiveness of both and then give your honest opinion too, i’d be delighted

      Thank you and have a great day!

      • Hi Hamza,

        I think this article should help answer all of your questions. It’s a deep-dive into the literature on finasteride, “natural” DHT reducers like saw palmetto — and the things you should think about before deciding to start finasteride.


        There’s also an overview of the side effects from both finasteride and saw palmetto — and why finasteride side effects may persist for some people, but not others. I have many friends who take finasteride and have zero issues — but I’m also close with a few people who stopped its use due to side effects. After reading that article, you should have enough information to decide if finasteride is right for you.


    14. hello for saw palmetto I read that it was necessary to be careful that is “extracts of bay” and not “dried berry”? you confirm that?

      • Hey Anthony — this is a hotly debated topic, and with no clear answers. Some studies suggest that liquid saw palmetto extracts contain both higher fatty acids and phytosterols:


        At the same time, you have to be careful what you read — especially if a published study was funded by a supplements company.


        Lacking data for extraction comparisons make answering your question nearly impossible. But in general, don’t trust what you read on a bottle of saw palmetto:

        There are many extracts on the market obtained using different extraction processes resulting in a lack of equivalence of these products. One study examining the content of saw palmetto in six commercial preparations compared with the amounts as stated on labels reported a −97% to +140% difference compared with the label claim. Half of the samples tested contained less than 25% of the stated amount.

        In general, quality depends on the processing pressure, extraction solvent, and extraction method — with both fatty acid and phytosterol content varying wildly depending on the method, brand, and berry quality. I wish I could give you a better answer, but research doesn’t demonstrate a clear winner yet!


        • Thank you I bought this one but I do not know if it is good.
          [link deleted at request of commenter]

        • can you delete the amazon link please ?
          a big thank you for your work. I am French and it is the only article as complete as I could find on the subject.

        • Rob,

          I enjoy your articles. Do you have a brand you recommend for both Saw Palmetto oil and pumpkin seed oil?

          I am planning on taking the suggested 325 mg of saw palmetto and 400 mg of pumpkin seed oil daily but wanted your advice on this as well.


    15. Hello . Here are the dosages recommended for the prostate, is it the same dosages to take for the hair? . Because 320 MG really depends on the dilution, if the dilution is more important it will take more than 320 MG? thank you

      “Dosage of the dwarf palm
      Benign prostatic hyperplasia

      Standardized extract (10: 1 to 14: 1, 85% to 95% fatty acids and sterols). Take 160 mg twice daily. It is with this type of extracts that the clinical trials were conducted.
      Standardized extract (4: 1, 25% fatty acids and sterols). Take 500 mg twice daily.
      Fluid extract (1: 1, g / ml). Take 1 ml to 2 ml, 2 times a day.
      Fluid extract (1: 2, g / ml). Take 2 ml to 4 ml, 2 times a day.
      Combined standardized extract: Take a daily supplement containing 240 mg of nettle extract and 320 mg of saw palmetto extract. “

      • Thank you James! I appreciate the studies. Have you had any success with curcumin for hair loss? In general, most concentrates that help reduce TGFB-1 or DHT are also likely helping to resolve inflammation.

        Where things get tricky is determining the cause of that inflammation — and depending on the pathology, if supplementation will help. For instance, if the inflammation in AGA is tension-related — then something like saw palmetto or curcumin is essentially acting like a bandaid and just muting the reaction to that tension.

        In my opinion, this is the reason why anyone taking a drug, topical, or supplement for hair loss who sees success — loses whatever they’ve maintained / gained after stopping that drug, topical, or supplement. They’re essentially acting as bandaids — muting the body’s inflammatory reaction to chronic tension.

        That’s not to say that these things won’t work. They certainly help a lot of people. This is just to elucidate that a more synergistic approach is likely to take drugs / supplements that reduce DHT and TGFB-1, and at the same time, target to relieve chronic scalp tension.


        • Hey, Rob.
          I do not know if turmeric is working, since I haven’t experienced hair loss. I have been consuming turmeric since I was 18 (I am turning 30 this year), but something I notice in particular is that my scalp is extremely loose. I do not eat meat since 2007, but I have plenty of the minerals and vitamins I need. I’ve found those researches about turmeric, because I was looking for a way to enhance vitamin A, DHA, EPA, etc. Then I ended up reading about a lot of unrelated studies on turmeric (which I was already consuming). But something that really caught my attention was that I have never consumed 1 gram of calcium in those 11 years, perhaps 450/500 mg at most (today, 250 mg), but I have consumed plenty of magnesium as well as copper, and zinc. I drank plenty of green tea from 2008 to 2012, and, that is funny, because when I was 24, I was almost hypochondriac, since I was worrying about foods that I was eating that apparently lowered DHT (I was doing bodyweight exercises). My testosterone was fine, I was building muscle, but in that time, I guess I was thinking too much about a lot of things.

          *On a side note, my wound healing rate is really impresive, I consume a lot of vitamin K. I have never had any blood circulation problem at all. I consume a lot of beets since I was kid.

          But yeah, I didn’t stop eating turmeric, flax seeds, etc, even though I have read on different body building forums certain articles against them. I do not eat soy, nevertheless.

          I do agree that treating the symptom is not the same as fixing the problem. There are different approaches to a single matter. Sometimes you need to fight on different fronts in order to win a war.

          I hope you can understand my long post (sorry for my mistakes), since english is not my native language. I would love to expand more on different topics, but I guess I do not have the confidence (or skill) to do it in English at this moment.

          Rob, you are always taking care of your readers, you are a good example. Keep moving forward.

          Take care,

    16. Hello Rob

      I am female, 39 years of age and have been diagnosed with androgen alopecia.
      Over the last 5 years, my hair loss has been immense and got so thin that last year, I finally had a biopsy done to confirm my suspicion.

      Mine is an overall thinning vs the horse shoe area that men often exhibit.

      Since my diagnosis, I have stopped using drug store shampoos and instead, opted for natural ingredient shampoos with either rosemary, nettle root or lavender in them.

      I also apply Rogaine (for women) with 5% monoxidil and this seems to have helped the most. Although it has helped, I still lose way more than average to the point that it clogs my shower drain within a week if I don’t use a hair catcher.

      I know there are certain treatments like Finasteride, that as a woman, I shouldn’t be using, but I was wondering if sawpalmeto was ok to use? I have seen both topical and oral treatments of sawpalmeto.

      I know most of your questions come from men, so I’m looking for advice from you, as a woman who doesn’t want to use the wrong treatments for my gender. Should I be using different treatments or would you suggest any other options for me?

      Any help or insight, would be appreciated.

      Thank you in advance,

      • Hey Marianne,

        Thanks for reaching out. Have you and your doctor discussed using spironolactone? That may be an another option — and seems to produce far fewer side effects (both topically and orally) in women than in men.

        Otherwise, hair loss in women (at least the ones with whom I’ve worked) almost always is compounded with at least one of the following:

        -Nutrient deficiencies (typically vitamin D, vitamin B-12, iron, and/or zinc)

        Many of these compound with each other — meaning a SIBO infection could be responsible for both an array of nutrient deficiencies and PCOS. So testing for all of them is often a great place to start in terms of finding effective treatments. After all, we want to fix the root of the issue — rather than the symptoms (the hair loss).

        Based on the pattern of hair loss you describe, I’d focus attention first on testing for hyperparathyroidism — since that may be more commonly associated with overall diffuse thinning.

        Saw palmetto may reduce DHT levels in men, but in general, I’ve never seen saw palmetto (by itself) move the needle in terms of hair regrowth.


    17. Hi Rob,

      I’ve been following your blog over the past year and it’s been incredibly insightful so thank you for putting in the work. I’m currently 28 and have pretty good head of hair, not balding spots or receding hairline, but about 4 years ago I noticed some shed occurring (maybe 30-60 hairs a day) and over the years I’ll say I’ve noticed my hair slightly getting thinner all over, but still nothing alarming. So I thought I’d stay ahead of the potential downfall and start supplementing with Saw Palemtto, which I’ve been at for over 2 months now.

      Now I’m going to keep going at the very minimum for the full duration of the 6 months but I’ve noticed an increase in shedding (hair on my desk, living room, shower, etc). Definitely more than anything I normally would shed. I just wanted to get your thoughts on if this is standard side effects through the saw palmetto cycles or not?

    18. You clearly don’t understand what DHT is. You’re confusing DHT with testosterone as though they’re interchangeable.

      Lowering DHT does not effect your sex drive at all, not whatsoever. Lowering testosterone does, but testosterone is not DHT.

      You can raise testosterone, block it from converting to DHT and lower your cortisol levels and none of it would affect your sex drive, if anything, it’ll make your sex drive better. DHT increases with age, hence loss of sex drive with age. DHT is what causes the loss in sex drive, not lowering it.

      • Hey Rubin,

        Finasteride (a type II 5-AR inhibitor) decreases DHT to castration levels, and in doing so, increases testosterone and estrogen by roughly 20% in men. One of the side effects of finasteride is sexual dysfunction and low libido.

        Rat models show a relationship between DHT and erection quality:


        If you have any papers showing that an increase in DHT causes sexual dysfunction in men, I’d love to read them!

      • It’s a great question. While l-taurine may help attenuate DHT-induced transforming growth factor beta (which leads to fibrosis surrounding hair follicle cells), the studies demonstrating this were done on lab animals and worms — and those just don’t translate to human pattern hair loss sufferers.

        I think taurine is probably a great supplement to potentially reduce TGFB-1 levels overall, but as for a hair loss treatment — there’s just not enough data to support it.


        • Hey Shivam,

          Thanks for sharing the study. I’m a big fan of its corresponding author – Bruno Bernard – who’s a lead researcher at L’Oréal and who I’ve communicated with a few times regarding his other studies and my first paper.

          Taurine might certainly help as a topical. The key is to find a way in vivo for amino acid to uptake to the hair follicles. Wounding + taurine might be an effective strategy for downregulating TGFB-1 expression during the healing process and promoting better scar tissue resolution. Have you experimented with taurine at all?

          For what it’s worth, I don’t think oral taurine would be very useful. Taurine is a byproduct of methionine – one of the most readily available amino acids found in our diets and synthesized within our bodies. The key here is to get taurine to the right places (the hair follicle), and to find a way for our hair follicles to utilize it.


    19. Hi! Thank you for the insightful information.
      Do you have an opinion about the use of peppermint oil on the scalp to promote hair growth? I’ve seen a few articles on this. Following one suggestion I found online, I have mixed some of this oil into my shampoo bottle. It certainly has a a cooking effect.
      On the other hand, what’s your take on caffeine for the hair? I’ve seen a couple of comments referring to caffeine as a hair killer. However, some shampoo brands aimed and making the hair look ‘richer and fuller’ actually do so by having caffeine as a key ingredient.
      What do you think?

    20. Hello Rob,
      I am writing out of pure panick! I get married in 6 weeks and about a month ago I visited a plastic surgeon to correct some puffiness under my eyes. He gave me shots of steroids in the facial area and about 10 days later my hair has started falling out in handfulls. I had my blood work done and my SHBG is very high. Do you think I need a DHT blocker? Would Saw Palmetto Or Pumpkin seed help? Do you think the two steroid shots are cause my fall out? Is this reversible? Please help!

      • Hey Melissa,

        I’m sorry to hear about your situation. The good news is that I think your hair loss is likely more related to 1) stress, 2) the medication / steroids, or 3) both. In these cases — particularly for women — the hair loss is usually 1) non-scarring, 2) independent of androgens (like DHT), and 3) totally recoverable, and within a few month window.

        As a result, I don’t think a DHT blocker would be as relevant for your case. If you continue to experience hair fall without resolve, I’d look into making a dermatology appoint to determine what’s going on (for example, telogen effluvium or alopecia areata). Otherwise, hair loss from corticosteroid injects is extremely common!

        If your problems persist, please reach back out.

        All my best,

    21. Hi Rob,

      I went through your article in search of some relief. My sister is 28 years old and has had PCOD since the start of her puberty and she started losing her hair 10 years back and because of lack of treatment available back then we could not do much except for homoeopathy. Last month she got her DHT tested for the first time and the results are too high (1210 pg/ml). Her Insulin and Testosterone is under the normal range. We have tried PRP but it did not help. Doctors have refused to do Hair Transplant on her because of the negligible success rate of it on women. Her endocrinologist refused to prescriber her any medicine for DHT as he is unable to understand if her insulin and Testosterone is normal, then why DHT so out of range. Would DHT blocker help her in any way? If yes what kind would you suggest and where can I purchase it from?

      Also, I am 4 years younger to her and am extremely worried for her now and I too have started losing some hair from the crown but my DHT is under the normal range and am awaiting my Thyroid results.

      Will be really glad if you could help in any way.
      Thank you

    22. Hola, what do you think about Christopher Walker and Danny Roddy regimen? They don’t think DHT is the problem (maybe Nitric Oxide?). And they don’t recommend PUFAs (O3 Fish Oil included)

      • Hey Quique,

        Based on what I’ve read and watched of both Christopher Walker and Danny Roddy, they tend to apply a lot of research on hair shedding disorders and animal molting to androgenic alopecia (AGA). This is why they come to the conclusion that DHT isn’t necessarily the problem.

        If we focus our research on just androgenic alopecia, a defining characteristic of the condition is hair follicle miniaturization. This is NOT observed in hair shedding disorders (i.e., telogen effluvium from hypothyroidism). Where AGA does overlap with these conditions is that AGA and hair shedding disorders also show elevated telogen:anagen ratios. But again, hair shedding disorders don’t show hair follicle miniaturization.

        In hair shedding disorders, research doesn’t generally implicate DHT. In hair follicle miniaturization, DHT is absolutely implicated.

        Having said that, DHT doesn’t explain all aspects of AGA pathology. So, it’s not like DHT captures every single reason why hair follicle miniaturization takes place. For instance, there are women who develop female pattern hair loss and yet cannot produce any androgen activity.

        For these reasons, research is now focusing not only on DHT as a mediator of hair follicle miniaturization, but also on PPAR pathways and retinoid receptors. I’d recommend diving into this article for a few alternative explanations:


        As far as eliminating PUFA – it’s nearly impossible to do, and I’ve never seen a single case where it’s improved pattern hair loss outcomes. Having said that, we should absolutely minimize our exposure to oxidized PUFA – at least to benefit overall inflammation.


    23. do you think that using a DHT blocker on the body would reduce body hair since DHT on the body increases body hair? do oral prescription DHT blockers do this? would anything in your guesstimation? this could be a corollary to understanding the nature of DHTs effects on the follicle, no?

      • Thanks Mark!

        I took a quick look at the video. The presenter uses mechanistic data through mega-dosing in mouse models as a means to show that nettle root can inhibit 5-alpha reductase, and thereby lower DHT. Here at Perfect Hair Health, we caution against taking this approach of hypothetical modeling, and for dozens of reasons:

      • Mechanistic data (in vitro) doesn’t always translate to real life (in vivo). This is because of issues with bioavailability and half-lives of a substance that is dropped in a petri dish versus a substance that must be ingested or applied topically and then pass through the intestinal tract, uptake into the body, and get utilized.
      • Mouse models rarely translate to humans. This is especially true with hair loss (take the research on oleuropein or peppermint oil, for example. Those show great hair growth outcomes in mice (even better than minoxidil), but very little improvements in humans with androgenic alopecia.
      • Using the same logic of the presenter, I could build the case that almost anything causes hair loss or promotes hair growth. That’s not to say stinging nettle doesn’t do anything; I’m sure it does something. But the presentation wasn’t very compelling – at least to the degree needed for us to update any information here.

        Having said that, we’ll have an article on stinging nettle soon!



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