Natural DHT Reducers Vs. Propecia: They All Cause Sexual Side Effects

Read time: 20 minutes

Propecia, And The Fear Of Sexual Side Effects

When it comes to treating hair loss, many men feel trapped between two terrible choices:

Choice #1: Start taking a drug forever that will help fight hair loss – but at the risk of developing sexual side effects (that are sometimes permanent).

Choice #2: Don’t take that drug… and instead, accept that you will continue to lose your hair.

This is exactly how I felt when, at 17-years old, my doctor diagnosed me with pattern hair loss and then prescribed to me Propecia.

Propecia – an FDA-approved drug – helps slow, stop, and even partially reverse hair loss by reducing the amount of DHT in our bodies (a hormone that may indirectly trigger pattern hair loss).

Unfortunately, the hormone DHT (dihydrotestosterone) isn’t just implicated in hair loss… It’s also critical for male sexual development. In fact, men who have never been able to produce normal amounts DHT tend to suffer from low libido and poor genital development. So it’s no surprise that the drug Propecia (Finasteride) – a DHT reducer – is associated with similar side effects: lower sex drive, poorer quality erections, and in rare cases, impotence. For an unlucky few, these sexual side effects persist even after they stop taking the drug.

As a high schooler with thinning hair, I didn’t want to risk impotence – no matter how small the chance. So I decided against taking Propecia.

But here’s something I never understood…

Many People Are Afraid To Take Finasteride To Reduce DHT, So They Instead Take “Natural” Supplements To Reduce DHT… But What Difference Does It Make?

Many hair loss sufferers who fear Propecia’s sexual side effects instead take what they call “natural” DHT reducers… supplements like saw palmetto or pumpkin seed oil.

Their rationale? They say that “natural” DHT blockers reduce DHT… but without the same sexual side effects as Propecia.

At first glance, that makes no sense. Propecia, saw palmetto, and pumpkin seed oil do the same thing: they decrease DHT. But DHT is required for proper sexual function. So how come Propecia has a history of sexual side effects… while, according to some supplement advocates, “natural” DHT blockers don’t?

Or maybe these supplement takers are wrong about their “natural” DHT reducers. Maybe these supplements do cause sexual side effects, but no one ever looked deep enough in the literature.

This article uncovers the answers. By the end, you will learn:

  1. Why the word “natural” is subjective, confusing, and misleading
  2. Do natural DHT blockers cause sexual side effects? The answer may surprise you
  3. How natural DHT blockers reduce DHT differently than Propecia – and how this relates to your sex drive
  4. If we stop taking DHT blockers – natural or synthetic – are we worse off than if we never started?
  5. Should we use natural DHT blockers to fight pattern hair loss? And if so, how?

Warning: this article gets technical. But if you’re considering taking any kind of DHT blocker – even if it’s naturally derived – then understanding this content is critical.

Let’s start by reviewing how DHT is connected to hair loss, how reducing DHT might help fight thinning hair, and where Finasteride comes into play.

The DHT-Hair Loss Connection

When I was first diagnosed with pattern hair loss, I asked my doctor why my hair was falling out. His answer:

DHT (a hormone made from testosterone) is higher in the scalps of balding men. For reasons not entirely understood, our hair follicles start to become more sensitive to DHT, and then begin to shrink over a series of hair cycles. The end result: pattern hair loss (and eventually baldness).

DHT Shrinks Hair Follicles

Beyond this relationship, the DHT-hair loss connection is cemented by two major findings:

  1. Boys who are castrated before puberty produce 95% less DHT for the rest of their lives. Interestingly, castrated prepubertal boys never go bald later in life.
  2. Some men have a rare genetic mutation that prevents DHT from binding to their scalp tissues. These men also never lose their hair to pattern baldness later in life.

While researchers still can’t explain why DHT causes hair loss, the evidence is clear: 1) men who can’t produce DHT don’t go bald; and 2) balding men have elevated DHT levels in their balding regions. So goes the DHT-hair loss connection…

These findings were the basis for pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs that could reduce DHT, and hopefully reverse pattern hair loss.

Enter Propecia… A Drug That Reduces DHT

Finasteride (branded as Propecia) reduces DHT. How? By inhibiting an enzyme known as type II 5-alpha reductase.

5-Alpha Reductase, DHT & Hair Loss: What You Need To Know

Remember how DHT is made from testosterone? Well, this conversion doesn’t just happen on its own. In order for testosterone to convert into DHT, it needs the help of an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase.

5-alpha reductase is an enzyme required for our bodies to convert free (unbound) testosterone into DHT. Without 5-alpha reductase, this conversion doesn’t happen.

The 5-alpha reductase enzyme comes in a few types, but the one that is of highest interest to hair loss researchers is type II 5-alpha reductase. Why? Because type II 5-alpha reductase is the exact enzyme needed to convert testosterone into DHT in our prostate tissues and scalp skin.

Do you recall that rare genetic mutation which prevents some men from going bald? That mutation is actually a type II 5-alpha reductase deficiency. The reason why men with that mutation don’t go bald is because they don’t have any scalp DHT, and the reason why they don’t have any scalp DHT is because their bodies can’t produce the type II 5 alpha reductase enzyme.

Finasteride’s goal: to do the same thing.

Finasteride Reduces Hair Loss By Inhibiting Type II 5-Alpha Reductase

The logic behind Finasteride is as follows: if we can stop type II 5-alpha reductase from forming, then we can stop DHT from binding to our scalps.

Finasteride (Propecia) does exactly this. It inhibits type II 5-alpha reductase, and in doing so, reduces DHT levels in our prostates and scalps.

Does Finasteride Help Fight Hair Loss?

Sort of. While studies show that Finasteride (Propecia) isn’t great at regrowing a lot of hair, it can significantly slow, stop, and even partially reverse pattern hair loss.

Unfortunately, this is sometimes at the cost of our sex lives.

The Evidence: Sexual Side Effects of Finasteride and Dutasteride (Type II 5-Alpha Reductase Inhibitors)

Depending on the dose, Propecia can reduce DHT levels by ~70%. And while this may help our hair, a DHT reduction this severe sometimes coincide with the following side effects:

  • Impotence
  • Depression
  • Lacking sexual appetite
  • Difficulty orgasming
  • Low volumes of ejaculation
  • Gynecomastia (or the more familiar term: man boobs)

Propecia’s manufacturers say these effects are rare and impact up to just 2% of drug users. But some studies suggests that incidence is much higher.

In one study, men taking 5mg daily of Finasteride saw a 15% incidence in sexual side effects within one year. And while this isn’t a perfect apples-to-oranges comparison (most Finasteride users take up to 2mg daily instead of 5mg), it’s an indicting example of how 5-alpha reductase inhibiting drugs can curb our sexual performance.

And it gets worse.

There are forums dedicated to helping men who once took Finasteride for hair loss, then stopped due to sexual side effects, but after stopping, never saw their sexual side effects resolve.

This is called Post-Finasteride Syndrome, and there’s even a foundation dedicated toward advancing research into why these sexual side effects persist for certain men but not others (expect an article on this soon).

These sexual side effect fears are what scare many hair loss sufferers away from Finasteride and Dutasteride, and toward other protocols for hair loss management.

The Good News: Finasteride (Propecia) And Dutasteride Aren’t The Only Things That Can Reduce DHT

There are many foods (and food derivatives) that also reduce 5-alpha reductase activity, and thereby DHT levels.

For example, studies show that the extract from saw palmetto fruit is a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. And some studies suggest the fatty acids in pumpkin seed oil also reduce DHT levels.

There’s also evidence that a seaweed extract called ecklonia cava may have DHT-reducing capabilities. And even the volatile oils inside rosemary and peppermint extracts show some ability to reduce 5-alpha reductase activity.

Many hair loss sufferers refer to these extracts and concentrations as “natural” DHT reducers. And as a result, most people also consider these safer.

But are these food derivatives actually safer than Finasteride? The research is more complicated than you’d expect…

…But even more complicated? People’s definitions of the term, “natural”… And why, for some reason, these DHT blockers are considered “natural” while Finasteride isn’t.

DHT Reducers: Why “Natural” Is A Ridiculous Term

When we define things as natural or unnatural, what do we mean?

Some people say that “natural” is anything that can’t kill you. According to these people, substances like cyanide or arsenic are unnatural.

Unfortunately, both cyanide and arsenic are naturally-occurring substances found all over the world. And they can kill us fairly easily.

Other people loosen their definition of “natural” to anything that isn’t harmful to our health – like water. But if we think about this critically, too much of anything can harm us. In fact, too much water can kill us.

Then we’ve got a group of “natural” thinkers who are sort of scientifically literate. They say that anything made in nature = natural. Anything made in a lab = unnatural.

I decided to poll ten people who agreed with this definition. When I asked if they considered steroids unnatural, 100% said yes.

Then I explained that synthetic estrogens (a lab-made steroid) are made from concentrations of the “natural” food source wild yams. And so came another tightening of their natural definition…

My point is this: people have wildly different takes on what is natural, and what isn’t. So before you go throwing out the term, make sure you know where your definition of “natural” starts and stops.

For purposes of this article, we’re going to draw a hard line too.

“Natural” DHT Reducers: Our Definition

I think a fair definition of a “natural DHT inhibitor” is one that is…

  1. Food-based
  2. Chemically unaltered

For example: pumpkin seed oil and saw palmetto extract fit my definition of natural DHT inhibitors. Why?

For one, both are derived from foods. Pumpkin seed oil is made by cold pressing the seeds of pumpkins. Saw palmetto extract is made by extracting the polyphenols and fatty acids from the saw palmetto fruit.

And aside from being highly concentrated, these extracts aren’t chemically altered. In other words, they’re not molecularly modified to look and act like a hormone in our bodies.

Now contrast this with Finasteride (Propecia).

Finasteride is synthetic. It’s made in a laboratory by modifying the chemical bonds of progesterone – an endogenous sex steroid released by the ovaries and the placenta during pregnancy.

And based on our research, Finasteride is not made from food. It’s a chemically altered derivative of progesterone that binds to a cofactor required for type II 5-alpha reductase expression, and as a result, stops that expression from ever happening.

As a result, I consider saw palmetto and pumpkin seed oil natural, and Finasteride more as unnatural (at least if I had to put definitions on them).

Natural = food-derived, chemically unaltered.

Unnatural = not from food, chemically synthesized.

Now that we know just how pure and “natural” saw palmetto and pumpkin seed oil are, surely they must be devoid of sexual side effects… I mean, they shouldn’t boast any sexual problems like the “unnatural” drug Finasteride… Right?

Wrong. (Sort of).

The Evidence: Sexual Side Effects of “Natural” DHT Inhibitors For Hair Loss

Saw Palmetto

While the evidence is mixed, there are some reports that saw palmetto is sometimes associated with sexual dysfunction such as decreased libido.

The good news? These side effects are significantly less common with saw palmetto when compared to Finasteride. And on top of that, Finasteride may also result in more varieties of sexual dysfunction – like impotence, difficulty achieving an erection, and abnormal ejaculation.

Better yet: the adverse effects of saw palmetto (if any) appear to be mild and infrequent, and don’t persist after discontinuing the supplement. And a recent large, multi-center study found no evidence of significant adverse effects (including sexual dysfunction) after 18 months of treatment with saw palmetto… at three times the typical dose.

We can’t say the same about mega-dosing with Finasteride, as that earlier study showed that 5mg daily dose resulted in a 15% incidence of male sexual side effects in just one year.

The bottom line: there’s some evidence that saw palmetto can cause some sexual side effects. But this appears to be much milder versus Finasteride, and even better, reports show a reversal of side effects after stopping its use.

But what about other “natural” DHT reducers – like pumpkin seed oil?

Pumpkin Seed Oil And Other “Natural” DHT Reducers: Any Sexual Side Effects?

There are reports that pumpkin seed oil may cause ejaculation problems. However, several recent studies on patients receiving pumpkin seed oil over 6-12 months have shown no significant sexual side effects.

We also haven’t observed any sexual side effects with topical rosemary oil use – another anti-androgenic extract. And ironically, the seaweed extract ecklonia cava may reduce DHT levels in men while simultaneously improving their sexual function.

The Takeaway: Natural 5-Alpha Reductase Inhibitors Reduce DHT, And With Far Fewer Sexual Side Effects Than Propecia

And this brings us back to our main question…

How can both natural 5-alpha reductase inhibitors and Finasteride reduce DHT… but only Finasteride is associated with higher rates of sexual dysfunction?

There are three possibilities. If you’re going to take any anti-androgens for hair loss, it’s in your best interest to understand each.

Theory #1: Natural DHT Blockers May Cause Sexual Side Effects, But We Don’t Yet Have The Studies To Prove It

There are an overwhelming number of studies on Finasteride and its sexual side effects. On the contrary, there are fewer studies on saw palmetto, pumpkin seed oil, and other natural DHT reducers. By the volume alone, the literature skews heavily against Finasteride. As a result, we might be making misleading conclusions about these “natural” DHT reducers.

But for a moment, let’s assume this isn’t true.

Instead, let’s take the current body of evidence at face value: despite the fact that Propecia and food-based extracts reduce DHT, Propecia causes significantly more sexual side effects than saw palmetto or pumpkin seed oil.

The question is… why?

Well, there are two remaining possibilities.

First, that natural DHT reducers aren’t as effective at reducing DHT as a drug like Propecia, and as a result, produce fewer sexual problems.

And secondly, that natural DHT blockers reduce DHT through a completely different set of mechanisms, and that only certain DHT-reducing mechanisms are to blame for Finasteride’s negative side effects

Let’s take these one-by-one.

Theory #2: Natural DHT Blockers are Worse at Reducing DHT than Finasteride, And Thus Cause Fewer Sexual Side Effects

This is an uncomfortable truth for most “natural” DHT reducer advocates: these natural compounds are probably less effective at reducing DHT versus Finasteride.

Finasteride And Dutasteride Drastically Reduce Serum, Prostate, And Scalp DHT

Studies have shown that Finasteride decreases serum DHT levels by 71% after 24 weeks of use. Similarly, Dutasteride has been shown to lower serum DHT by 95 % after 24 weeks.

Finasteride and Dutasteride also reduce scalp DHT by 64% and 51%, respectively. Finasteride reduces prostatic DHT levels by 85%, and Dutasteride reduces prostatic DHT levels by 97% over 6-10 weeks.

Those are some serious reductions. So how do food-based 5-alpha reductase inhibitors compare?

Sadly, we don’t really know. But based on the evidence, these food-based DHT reducers are much less effective.

Natural DHT Reducers Only Reduce DHT By A Fraction Of Finasteride

In a randomized trial, saw palmetto reduced prostate tissue DHT levels by 32%.

Another study showed that saw palmetto inhibits the activity of type II 5-alpha reductase by 76%, and Finasteride by 82%. Unfortunately, there was no evaluation in actual DHT levels. And to make matters worse, when we compare half-lives and metabolism rates of saw palmetto versus Finasteride, the 5-alpha reductase reduction from saw palmetto appears much shorter-lived.

Even worse news: there are no studies evaluating “natural” DHT blockers and their reduction in DHT levels in the prostate or scalp. And when it comes to pattern hair loss, the scalp is where DHT reduction really counts.

Based on the limited evidence – if we control for dosage sizes, half-lives, and the studies above – our best guess is that natural DHT blockers reduce DHT levels by just 1/3rd of what a synthetic DHT blocker can achieve.

The take home note? With less of a reduction in DHT, fewer sexual side effects will arise. So it’s no wonder that food-based DHT reducers are associated with fewer sexual problems.

But this might not be the “big” reason why natural DHT reducers boast fewer sexual side effects. In fact, it might be due to the actual structure of these synthetically-made drugs.

Theory #3: Natural DHT Blockers Indirectly Reduce 5-Alpha Reductase, Whereas Finasteride Directly Reduces 5-Alpha Reductase… Which Explains Why Finasteride Has More Sexual Side Effects

5-Alpha Reductase Inhibitors: Steroidal Versus Non-Steroidal

Remember how we defined “natural” versus “unnatural”? Natural is food-based and chemically unaltered; unnatural is not from food and chemically synthesized.

Well, chemists also divide 5-alpha reductase inhibitors into two categories:

  1. Steroidal 5-AR Inhibitors: 5-alpha reductase inhibitors made from steroids
  2. Non-steroidal 5-AR Inhibitors: 5-alpha reductase inhibitors not made from steroids

Examples of steroidal 5-AR inhibitors: Finasteride and Dutasteride. Why? Because these drugs are chemically synthesized from the sex steroid progesterone.

Examples of non-steroidal 5-AR inhibitors: saw palmetto extract and pumpkin seed oil. Why? Because these compounds are simply food concentrations.

Why The Difference Between Steroidal And Non-Steroidal 5-AR Inhibitors Matters

Interestingly, steroidal 5-alpha reductase inhibitors may reduce DHT differently than non-steroidal 5-alpha reductase inhibitors.

Steroidal 5-AR Inhibitors Directly Reduce 5-Alpha Reductase

Remember our chart from earlier? Free testosterone is converted into DHT by the enzyme 5-alpha reductase…

But in reality, this process isn’t that straightforward.

Why? Because 5-alpha reductase doesn’t just pop up out of nowhere. It actually needs the help of a cofactor to form and mediate the DHT conversion process. And what is that cofactor? A coenzyme known as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate… or to put it simply, NADPH.

Finasteride works on a molecular level by binding to and altering the structure of NADPH. It changes NADPH it into a different cofactor – one that doesn’t allow 5-alpha reductase to form.

The end-result: a direct decrease in 5-alpha reductase expression.

This is an example of direct 5-alpha reductase inhibition. And based on the evidence, this is exclusively how steroidal 5-AR inhibitors reduce DHT.

But non-steroidal 5-AR inhibitors behave differently in the body. And these differences might explain the lacking sexual side effects.

Non-Steroidal 5-Alpha Reductase Inhibitors – How Are They Different?

Before we go any further – let’s be clear: non-steroidal 5-AR inhibitors like saw palmetto, pumpkin seed oil, rosemary extract, and ecklonia cava still directly reduce 5-alpha reductase.

For example…

Non-Steroidal 5-AR Inhibitors: Direct Mechanisms

Pumpkin seed oil is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (linoleic acid) and zinc. And interestingly, linoleic acid and zinc are non-steroidal elements which directly inhibit 5-alpha reductase. Here’s how:

Linoleic acid reduces 5-alpha reductase by altering the lipid bilayer in cell membranes. Conversely, zinc inhibits 5-alpha reductase by decreasing the expression of NADPH – the same cofactor needed for 5-alpha reductase to form.

These non-steroidal elements direct reduce 5-alpha reductase (5-AR). Why? Because they act on a molecular level to directly shut down 5-AR activity.

We see these same direct mechanisms are play with other natural DHT reducers – like saw palmetto and rosemary oil.

Saw palmetto extract inhibits 5-alpha reductase directly by competing with free testosterone to bind to androgen receptors. The more saw palmetto present, the less free testosterone can be converted to DHT. And just like saw palmetto, rosemary oil also appears inhibit 5-alpha reductase through direct actions on cell function.

But this isn’t the only way non-steroidal compounds reduce DHT levels. In fact, they also act on DHT indirectly… And evidence suggests that this type of DHT reduction – indirect – is probably much safer when it comes to sexual side effects.

Non-Steroidal 5-AR Inhibitors & Indirect DHT Reduction

Unlike Finasteride, non-steroidal 5-AR inhibitors like saw palmetto and pumpkin seed oil reduce DHT through both direct and indirect means.

As a refresher:

  1. Direct – inhibit 5-alpha reductase directly (suppress 5-AR expression at molecular level).
    1. Steroidal examples: Finasteride alters the chemical structure of NADPH so 5-alpha reductase cannot form
    2. Non-steroidal examples: linoleic acid alters lipid bilayers so 5-alpha reductase cannot form; zinc decreases NADPH so 5-AR cannot form
  2. Indirect – inhibit 5-alpha reductase indirectly (by reducing inflammation)
    1. Steroidal examples: none.
    2. Non-steroidal examples: compounds in saw palmetto, pumpkin seed oil, and rosemary oil help reduce chronic inflammation, and as a consequence, reduce the amount of DHT in inflamed tissues

The definition of Indirect DHT Reduction is important – so let’s reinforce it.

Indirect DHT Reduction = Reducing Inflammation

When it comes to the causes of pattern hair loss, the question that no one seems to ask is…

If DHT levels are higher in balding scalps, then what causes DHT to rise in the first place?

Doctors have a simple answer for this: genetics. But it’s not necessarily true. In fact, new research shows that DHT doesn’t just increase it out of nowhere… instead, DHT likely increases as a response to chronic inflammation.

It’s far more likely that elevated scalp DHT in isn’t just due to genetic sensitivity, but rather, that this DHT is a response to inflammation in men’s scalp skin.

The causes of scalp inflammation are still debated. But one thing is clear: where there’s chronic inflammation, there’s also increased DHT.

The net: higher DHT levels are a response to chronic inflammation. And if we take away the inflammation, we can indirectly take away the DHT.

And that is how you indirectly reduce DHT levels. You take away the sources of inflammation.

Interestingly, non-steroidal 5-alpha reductase inhibitors appear to do just this…

Examples Of Indirect DHT Reduction: Non-Steroidal 5-Alpha Reductase Inhibitors

There are hundreds of studies showing how substances inside pumpkin seed oil, saw palmetto, rosemary, and ecklonia cava can reduce inflammation (and thereby DHT levels).

Covering all of them would turn this 5,000-word article in 100,000. So instead, we’ll just give a highlight reel.

Indirect DHT Reducing Mechanisms Of Non-Steroidal 5-AR Inhibitors

The following parts of pumpkin seed oil help reduce chronic inflammation:

  1. Pumpkin Seed Oil
    1. Antioxidants (tocopherols): decrease oxidation, decrease expression of transforming growth factor beta
    2. Linoleic acid: reduces COX-2 enzyme
  2. Rosemary Oil
    1. Polyphenols: reduce COX-2 enzyme
    2. Volatile oils: reduce COX-2 enzyme, pro-inflammatory interleukins, and tumor necrosis factor

This list could go on for pages. But you get the idea: natural DHT reducers don’t just reduce 5-alpha reductase… They also reduce the signaling proteins and enzymes that create chronic inflammation in our scalp tissues. As a result, they directly reduce inflammation, and thereby indirectly reduce DHT levels.

And that’s the difference between direct and indirect DHT reduction. It’s my belief that these natural-based compounds probably do more to reduce inflammation than they do to directly reduce DHT, and as a result, cause fewer sexual side effects.

And if even after knowing this, you’re still not worried about the effects of steroidal DHT reducers like Finasteride, then you should know one last thing.

The Hidden Cost Of Finasteride: Dependency, And Irreversible Remodeling Of Androgen Receptors

When it comes to Finasteride, there’s one thing that worries me most:

Finasteride appears to increase androgen receptor activity in the prostate. That’s not necessarily a big deal… But it gets worse: this change in androgen receptor activity doesn’t go away, even after stopping Finasteride treatment.

Why is this a problem? Well, if you get off Finasteride (Propecia), your prostate has remodeled to have an even higher amount of androgen receptors. DHT has a higher affinity for androgen receptors than many other testosterone derivatives. Because of this, there’s a good chance if you increase your androgen receptors, the more likely DHT will arrive to those sites.

In other words, if your prostate remodels and you get off Finasteride, your prostate is likely going to flood with more DHT than if you never took Finasteride to start.

Does Androgen Receptor Remodeling And DHT Flooding Carry Over Into Pattern Hair Loss?

We don’t yet know, but all signs point to yes.

In fact, this would explain why men lose hair so rapidly after dropping Propecia. More DHT floods the scalp and the hair rapidly miniaturizes. And some researchers are even looking into whether this androgen receptor remodeling might be responsible for the persistent sexual side effects some men experience even after dropping Propecia.

The reality is: anything irreversible scares people.  And for those who’ve already committed to taking Propecia, if you stop taking it today, you’re probably at a higher risk for hair loss now than if you’d never started taking it at all.

Do “Natural” DHT Blockers Like Saw Palmettor Or Pumpkin Seed Oil Remodel Androgen Receptors?

The answer to this question is that we don’t know.

There are no studies that have evaluated this issue. But what’s reassuring is that food-based DHT blockers…

  1. Are less potent than Finasteride
  2. Reduce DHT through direct and indirect means
  3. Aren’t associated with prolonged sexual side effects after stopping use

In addition, natural DHT reducers have other health benefits besides promoting hair growth – like reducing oxidation and chronic inflammation – processes not only detrimental to our hair, but to our entire body. And if you’ve been keeping up with these articles, you’ll know how just how closely these processes are associated with nearly all disease development.

Should You Include “Natural” DHT Reducers In Your Hair Loss Regimen?

Maybe.

Based on the evidence, “natural” DHT blockers – saw palmetto, pumpkin seed oil, rosemary oil, and ecklonia cava – seem to be somewhat effective at reducing DHT. And even better, they appear to reduce DHT both directly and indirectly – making them a more robust approach to treating the myriad causes of hair loss.

These supplements are also derived from food substances as opposed to chemically altered steroids – which probably make them safer. Why? The evidence suggests that steroidal 5-AR inhibitors like Finasteride act directly on 5-alpha reductase and irreversibly remodel our androgen expression – which might explain why Finasteride causes so many more sexual side effects.

Finally, drugs like Propecia appear to have no other benefits to cardiovascular health or longevity. Conversely, studies show that the substances inside “natural” DHT reducers have anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit the entire body.

Together, these points make a compelling case for choosing “natural” DHT reducers over Finasteride. But to reiterate: there’s not much evidence that these natural DHT reducers are as effective as Finasteride or other hair loss drugs at stopping or reversing thinning hair.

While we’ve seen one-off studies done demonstrating incredible hair growth from pumpkin seed oil, and while we’ve read studies that rosemary oil may be just as effective as minoxidil – the evidence of hair growth on these food supplements is still limited.

We need to do more studies. And while the chances appear low, we still need to ensure that these natural DHT reducers don’t cause the same cell remodeling effects as Finasteride. Until these questions are answered, the jury is still out natural DHT reducers.

Final Thoughts

You’ve got hundreds of “natural” DHT reducing supplements from which to choose. So which are the best? Unfortunately we don’t yet know. There are just too few studies to confirm. And if you read a website that says any of these natural DHT reducers are as effective as Finasteride – you should know that they’re probably lying.

You could try saw palmetto, pumpkin seed oil, rosemary extract, peppermint oil, castor oil, olive oil, and just about every essential oil out there. All of these appear to have some anti-androgenic effects.

But if you do decide to try a “natural” DHT reducer – commit to it for at least six months before determining if it’s helping your hair loss. And better yet, do it in conjunction with mechanical stimulation exercises. Chances are the two will create a synergistic hair regrowth effect (read the case study in our rosemary oil article).

Questions? Comments? Please reach out in the discussion section.

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46 Comments

  • Manish Umarwadia

    Reply Reply April 11, 2017

    Hi Rob,

    Great, thorough and scholarly article as usual! 2 comments:

    1) Many sources actually mention Saw palmetto and pumpkin seed oil as actually BETTER for sexual dysfunction. couple such links: https://draxe.com/saw-palmetto-benefits/ https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/saw-palmetto.html

    2) If you are taking the natural ones for BPH (to avoid BPH drugs for folks like me >50), then the hair benefit is just gravy.

    Untreated BPH itself causes sexual dysfunction if untreated.

    Was curious about your take on this.

    Manish

    • Rob

      Reply Reply April 12, 2017

      Thanks Manish. To answer your questions — I checked out the links and the primary sources each link cites. The first link actually warned of the sexual side effects from saw palmetto. The second link referenced saw palmetto as an aphrodisiac, but upon further examination, the primary source that link cites doesn’t actually make that claim. Instead, the primary source is an overview of how people use saw palmetto in Florida – and that some Floridans consider the fruit arousing.

      Unfortunately, study findings often get misconstrued when certain articles summarize them. This appears to be the case with that article from Organic Facts.

      I agree with you about the untreated BPH claims! For me, I think that elevated DHT isn’t the cause, but rather a symptom. If we want to treat BPH successfully, we can’t just treat its symptoms (high DHT) – we have to figure out what’s increasing DHT in the first place. The good news is that these herbal / food-based DHT reducers tend to provide far more benefits than just direct DHT reduction – on top of resolving the symptoms of BPH. So if you aren’t experiencing any sexual dysfunction from taking them, then keep at it!

  • James

    Reply Reply April 12, 2017

    As always, an exceptionally well-written and researched article. A few points:

    1) I’m highly skeptical that DHT causes (or even contributes to) hair loss.

    First, the DHT theory was not accepted by the mainstream medical community until Big Pharma had a synthetic drug to sell to hair loss suffererers. So the obvious profit motive behind the theory raises major concerns.

    Second, the study showing that castrated boys do not lose their hair in adulthood was conducted back in the 40’s or 50’s upon indigenous tribesman in some far away land. This study was not “clinical” but observational and, as far as I know, has not been repeated in modern times in American laboratories. It’s safe to assume that castration would cause a host of biological changes in a developing organism, including impact on skull expansion and galea muscle tension that are the more likely causes of male pattern baldness. Given these alternative explanations, we can never really know whether the attachment of DHT to androgen receptors in only certain parts of scalp is what causes hair follicles to cease production.

    Third, the idea that hormones affect certain parts of scalp, but not others, just doesn’t hold weight. If DHT was the cause of hair loss, then the entire scalp (including sides and back) would go bald. Also, if DHT / testosterone were the real culprit, then why does hair loss increase over age while testosterone levels decrease? The entire theory is counter-intuitive.

    Finally, the fact that more DHT is found in balding areas could simply be a symptom of hair loss rather than a cause. In other words, trapped DHT is just a by-product of fibrotic tissue – but it doesn’t cause the tissue to become fibrotic.

    2) With regards to synthetic (Propecia) v. natural (pumpkin seed / saw palmetto) substances, as a general rule I avoid taking any synthetic drugs (and yes, I have taken Propecia back in the 90’s without much success).

    I don’t know of any synthetic drug that lacks substantial side effects, likely because our bodies have difficulty metabolizing substances that are not themselves constructed as we are- from DNA. There’s an old axiom that whatever is natural cannot be wrong. Use of plant / herbal substances in the proper dosage to treat an ailment, in my view, are far preferable to a synthetic alternative, and do not carry any side effects (except for maybe digestive issues or allergic reactions).

    That being said, if you’re going to approach hair loss on the basis of the DHT theory, then use of saw palmetto or pumpkin seed in moderate dosage is probably not going to have detrimental impact on sexual health. I have experimented with these herbs myself and have not had any side effects; but I can’t say for sure that they have helped. But for those willing to try, I would avoid digesting these substances. Instead, I would apply the oil to the scalp and massage it in topically.

    • Rob

      Reply Reply April 12, 2017

      James – incredibly well-made points. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      RE: The DHT-hair loss argument–

      I 100% agree with you. There’s plenty of evidence that DHT expression increases in chronically inflamed tissues – and that when we target DHT, we might just be targeting a symptom of inflammation, and not the cause of hair loss.

      I was worried that the DHT counterargument might derail readers from the main objective of the article: to highlight that steroidal 5-alpha reductase inhibitors work differently than non-steroidal 5-alpha reductase inhibitors – and that this may explain the discrepancy in side effects between herbal DHT reducers and Finasteride. Looking back, I should’ve included it. Your points are well-taken and deserve mentioning.

      I’m 99% sure you’ve read and commented on these other articles – but for anyone else reading this – here’s a more detailed breakdown of where the DHT-hair loss argument falls apart:

      https://perfecthairhealth.com/the-leading-theories-of-pattern-hair-loss/
      https://perfecthairhealth.com/the-ultimate-hair-loss-flowchart-why-we-lose-our-hair/

      Another reader (Dante) has asked me to look more into DHT metabolites and whether certain metabolites might be implicated more so than others in MPB. So that’s my next research project. And if you have anything you’d like me to research, by all means please ask away.

      RE: topical use of saw palmetto and pumpkin seed oil–

      I’m very interested to see how this works out for people. Topical vs. oral use of these supplements is still up for debate, with no clear consensus in the literature. I’ve heard success stories from both topical and oral use. I’ve also heard of lacking success from both. In any case, I think adding in a massage would absolutely help!

      Best,
      Rob

      • James

        April 12, 2017

        Some useful research projects:

        1) Whether foods that boost Nitric Oxide production, thereby increasing vasodilation of blood capillaries, could help combat hair loss. https://www.amrapnutrition.com/interesting_other/fuel-performance-18-foods-nitric-oxide-production/

        2) Angiogenesis vs. Neurogenesis: the idea behind detumescence therapy is to restore blood flow to galea, but it remains to be seen whether mechanic stimulation of scalp can actually create new micro-capillaries. I suspect that it can. But there’s a related issue: I’ve noticed over the course of time that as the scalp becomes more pliable, there’s definitely new feeling or sensation in the scalp and decidedly less pain in affected areas. I’m thinking that massage not only adds new blood capillaries, but also may stimulate new nerve endings in scalp. This got me thinking – maybe there’s a neurological explanation of some kind for MPB.

  • dante

    Reply Reply April 12, 2017

    Hi Rob,
    Nice article. I didn’t know that fin alters the expression of 5-AR by messing with NADPH. I read somewhere that young people in general have high NAD+/NADPH ratio, the ratio decreases with age that is less NAD+ and more NADPH. Some people were hypothesizing that it might be low NAD+/NADPH ratio in the scalp environment that alters the “sensitivity to 5-AR”, hence the use of topical vitamin b3/niacinamide which is a great precursor to NAD+(but this is just a random hypothesis 🙂 )
    Some doubts –
    1. You wrote about zinc inhibiting 5-AR, i have read that it’s more of a biphasic response. At 5mg-15mg orally, it actually increases 5-AR but at very higher doses it inhibits it. The study you cited is this – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=8279712
    The study used rats who were supplied 10-20 mg intraprostatic zinc ,the rats weight was around 325 g. Now would this translate to 10 mg zinc to a human weighing 70 kg ? I am not sure how the conversion factor takes place but would be pretty sure that the amount required for humans would be much more. So, in reality the amount of Zinc needed to inhibit zinc would be much more than the RDA set at 11 mg imo.

    2.”The more androgen receptors you have, the more likely free testosterone will bind to them and become DHT” – Are you sure that this is the case i.e the more likely androgen receptors one has, the more likely free testosterone will bind to them and become DHT ( i am doubtful of this) ? I am not sure if anyone really knows how the actual mechanism happens in a real living organism though i might be wrong here (not talking about isolated cultured cells). As far currently known steroid chart is considered, this is a good one http://www.regeneruslabs.com/website/image/ir.attachment/25906_232a29a/datas though in reality there are going to many more hormones and links between them

    • Rob

      Reply Reply April 12, 2017

      Hey Dante,

      Thanks for reading. And you’re totally right – I should’ve called out that the study cited in rats was at zinc quantities that are unrealistic for humans. As far as zinc being a biphasic 5-AR inhibitor, could you link me to your sources? I looked into it a bit more, and found this study…

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3207614

      …which suggests that zinc sulphate at low thresholds inhibits 5-alpha reductase, with increasing inhibition at even higher thresholds.

      While that study is from 1988, the only one that I could find that suggested zinc increased 5-AR activity at low thresholds (and was biphasic) was this one…

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6200703

      …which predates the above study by four years. So maybe the type of zinc matters, or that the studies done so far are more or less inconclusive.

      RE: androgen receptors–

      Thanks. I reworded this to be more specific, and added a study into the text. The idea is that DHT has a higher affinity for androgen receptors than many other testosterone derivatives / metabolites. So all else equal – the more androgen receptors present in a tissue, the higher the chances that DHT will arrive to those tissues. The way I originally worded that sentence was too liberal. So I’ve changed it to fit more of what we know.

      Best,
      Rob

  • Chris Curley

    Reply Reply April 12, 2017

    Wow another great informative and well researched article. Rob never fails to impress. Pumpkin seed oil supplementation seems very safe to me from a perspective of a trained herbalist. As a food, pumpkin seed is very important to the male sexual function including the prostate. It has levels of zinc and essential fatty acids that are great nutrition for the body, as Rob mentioned. Traditionally Saw Palmetto as well as Pygeum Africans are strong medicine for BPH but they do carry the stigma of having effects on the libido and erection quality of some patients. I prefer to steer clear of prescribing them except in cases of a bonafide prostate issue, like cancer or a high PSA. Consuming the oil of pumpkin seed has a culinary history too, in the middle east going far back. I tend to view this as empirical evidence of safety. Also by consuming seed oils, which is a traditional practice versus eating the nuts(such as macadamia nuts, aborigines used the seed oil but did not eat the nuts) we can bypass some of the problems of eating too many nuts, namely high levels of anti nutrients such as physic acid which blocks mineral absorption. So to sum up my rambling comment. Pumpkin seed oil seems like a good choice, for me at least, in that it has a good nutritional value, it has specific prostate protective function, and it just might help with hair loss as evidenced of that one study that you mentioned, it was in Korea I believe. Plus it is mighty tasty on a salad or drizzled on top of a bowl of pumpkin, or sweet potato, or squash soup.

  • praz

    Reply Reply April 12, 2017

    Rob , amazing article.

    James – some great points .

    There is something coming together here.

    Ive read that Finisterdie doesant have an effect on temples ?

    And the results in general are mixed for people who use FIN.
    This needs more investigation , but this could be a vital lead.
    How can DHT or alpha reductuse in the temples behave differently ?

    The same could be said for minoxidil( whenn comparing with temples)

    Thanks

  • Kuba

    Reply Reply April 12, 2017

    Do you know site nicehair and this regimen for increase IGF-1? What do you think about it?

    • Rob

      Reply Reply April 13, 2017

      Hey Kuba – I’ve read some of his articles but have never gotten his stuff – so I can’t say. There’s absolutely a relationship with IGF-1 and hair loss (as it seems so far, the less IGF-1, the more baldness). But increasing IGF-1 is tricky and people often confuse studies that test serum IGF-1 and not tissue IGF-1 – and then take those findings and apply the recommendations to the scalp which isn’t necessarily comparable.

      With that said, I’m sure some people find success with Chris’ methods. I can’t comment on his research or his methodologies since I haven’t bought his book.

      Best,
      Rob

      • Kuba

        April 13, 2017

        Rob , one more thing yet. A few weeks ago I found on youtube a certain lecture with monk or guy similar to monk. I don’t know who was he. Doesn’t matter. He claims that when you are bald you should concentrate on sebum on your bald spot and using honey. He talked that when you want to release excess of sebum you need to take some honey on hand , stick to bald spot and then tear them. Do this move by ten minutes a day. This method should help to get rid of sebum and feed the scalp. I have to say that this is the most weird regimen I’ve ever heard but It seems to have sense. Have you maybe ever heard about this? Now I am trying to look some information about this but it’s hard to find something.

      • Rob

        April 13, 2017

        I’ve never heard of this! Could you elaborate a bit? Honey and even bee sting extracts have been around for years, and there’s even a good amount of evidence that they might help with pattern baldness:

        https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/bpb/advpub/0/advpub_b16-00158/_article

        But as far as honey feeding the scalp and getting rid of sebum, I don’t quite understand what you’re saying here. But if you provide more information, I’d be happy to take a look.

      • Kuba

        April 13, 2017

        Completely can’ t find this video. I remember that he rather was not the monk , but homeopathist. I think russian homeopathist. I ve never seen this before but he was giving a lecture to people and I am thinking that he was respected by this people. He proposed two thing honey and onion. Of course everybody knows that these ingredients are popular in cure baldness but his regimen with honey was something completely new. I tried to do this and when you stick your palm on your bald spots ( palm covered appropriate amount of money) and then pull out , you have very mechanical feeling. As you see this is not only apply honey but rather a mechanical excercise. The worse thing is that you can pull out also your hairs so you need to be careful and use this technique just in bald spots.

        If I will find this video , I ll give you a link, but it can be hard I think… I am not sure that this video was talking in english. Probably there were englisch subtitles. I was found this video a few months ago and now I remembered this.

      • Kuba

        April 14, 2017

        I finally found this guy but he is talking in Russian and subtitles are in Polish.

        His name is Trehlebov.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmGTsE80t2E&t=103s, since 1:30 is showed how to do this.

        In short , he show how to do this and are giving a little bit information. What is very interesting, he recommend doing this for 20 min twice a day, like you and call this regimen massage, so this isn’t only rubbing but massage.
        He tell that we need to release fatty toxic substance from our follicles which kill them and honey have ability to heal them. When you heal your follicles, hairs will growing up , What else…When you have some hairs on your head he propose to cut off them all and starting doing this exercise because they can disturb.

        What do you think about it?

      • Rob

        April 17, 2017

        It’s an interesting idea. It almost seems like some form of hair tugging or even galea-loosening. There are some pro-hair benefits of bee byproducts. As far as the idea of releasing fatty toxic substances – this is where I get a little lost. For one, hair loss is associated with a decrease in subcutaneous fat. And while many toxins have a propensity to be stored in fatty tissues, I’d assume that with an erosion of subcutaneous fat in our scalps, we’d see fewer toxins. So the net: while the end-result might be hair growth from this guy’s techniques, it might be a different mechanism at play than what he’s saying.

  • Kuba

    Reply Reply April 12, 2017

    I actually doing regimen from your book but I am courius what he knows. If you something know, please tell me. Are they maybe also similar excercises like yours? or something else? Thx for response

    His site and name
    nicehair.

    Chris Carter

  • Paz

    Reply Reply April 12, 2017

    Kuba that’s interesting stuff. So DHT increase is linked with 1gf decrease.

    Rob ?

    So increasing 1gf in the scalp via ?
    Soy isoflavones? Capsaicin excerize ?

    • Greg

      Reply Reply April 13, 2017

      Hi

      The nicehair protocol is multi-faceted, much like Rob’s approach, however, there is more of a focus on topical agents to increase IGF-1 locally, specifically through deer antler extract, rather than through stimulating new growth through manual manipulation.

      • Kuba

        April 13, 2017

        Do you know his regimen? I mean 2 minutes excercises?

      • Rob

        April 13, 2017

        Thanks for the info Greg!

        Kuba – I don’t want Greg to have to rehash a researcher’s book here on another site – especially if some of the book’s contents are behind a paywall. So I’d like to refrain from getting too specific about the exact regimen, the exact exercises, etc. Those are great questions to ask Chris Carter, but not necessarily to ask on this site.

        Best,
        Rob

      • Kuba

        April 13, 2017

        Could you tell us more about using deer antler extract? For example what doses? What form? Spraying on tounge or scalp? I hear about this the first time… but I am very interested.

  • Slash

    Reply Reply April 13, 2017

    Beautiful and argued article as always, great Rob ;).

  • Greg

    Reply Reply April 13, 2017

    The regimen in it simplest form, addresses nutrition (to correct hormones, and support health)with a special green smoothie based around the TRX2 formula (though I believe this has been modified with user feedback), stress relief (positive affirmations, EFT), DHT (typical natural inhibitors), galea exercises (Tom Hagerty’s and general scalp laxity exercises) and a topical applied to the scalp daily concurrent with DR (not daily) to aid in delivery of topical rather than wounding itself. The deer antler extract is part of the topical purported to aid in increase in local IGF-1 levels (based around a Japanese groups research I believe). I’m afraid I can’t really comment as to its efficacy as I have not tried it in its entirety, but as has been discussed here before approaching hair loss from multiple angles is likely to yield more definitive results. I just happen to think that the manuals offer a more effective approach, than relying on topicals to do the job…….though i do cycle some topicals

  • Paz

    Reply Reply April 14, 2017

    Some places are selling IGF-1 deer antler topicals​.
    But they seem to fight the same causes as something like emu or Rosemary, anti inflammatory ect

    • Kuba

      Reply Reply April 14, 2017

      In answer Rob for my post about honey he attached study about honey. Honey also can increase IGF-1. See my previuos post and Rob’s study.

  • Alberto

    Reply Reply April 15, 2017

    Hello,

    sorry for being OT, but I’ve been experimenting with the massage thing for the past two weeks: in such a short time lapse, I’ve been able to turn my almost completely unpinchable scalp into a very soft skin layer.

    I was wondering if for you and your readers, the progression from hard to soft has been as quick as mine.

    Thank you, and keep up the good work!

    • Rob

      Reply Reply April 17, 2017

      Hey Alberto – what you describe isn’t abnormal. Some people experience dramatic shifts in the scalp environment, and in a very few short weeks. For others – this takes many months. I was of the latter – but I’ve spoken with several readers who experience the shift much sooner.

  • praz

    Reply Reply April 15, 2017

    I will include more Soy Isofalvanes in my diet, and may even supplement. There seems to be some hype around their ability to increase IGF-1

  • Jd

    Reply Reply April 17, 2017

    Hi rob.. just read through your amazing content. It looks very promising and i want to be a part of it. I just had one query.. how to reach you if i get a doubt in between?? do you reply on your mail?? we get a seperate email id to contact you? how does it go?

    • Rob

      Reply Reply April 17, 2017

      Thanks for the kind words Jd. My email is inside the book, and I respond to everyone (though sometimes it takes me a few days).

  • Jules

    Reply Reply May 9, 2017

    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for the great info. I was particularly interested about how you mention that finasteride remodels the androgen receptors..

    “And for those who’ve already committed to taking Propecia, if you stop taking it today, you’re probably at a higher risk for hair loss now than if you’d never started taking it at all.”

    I recently turned 40 and decided to stop finasteride after taking it for 8 years for several reasons including all the side effects mentioned above. If what you’re saying is true about increased levels of DHT due to the remodeling of androgen receptors, would taking the natural DHT inhibitors (even though they’re not as effective as finasteride) allow me to pick up where I left off (so to speak) or am I screwed because of the DHT flooding since I stopped finasteride?

    Appreciate your help..

    • Rob

      Reply Reply May 9, 2017

      Thanks Jules. Unfortunately I don’t have a great answer to your question (I’m also not a doctor, so I can’t legally advise you). But if I were in your position, I’d absolutely consider looking into non-steroidal 5-AR inhibitors – zinc, saw palmetto, or linoleic acid (pumpkin seed oil – topical or oral). This should help quell the potential DHT-flooding effects of androgen receptor remodeling, while at the same time, minimizing your risk for side effects. If there’s anything we’ve learned from 5-AR inhibitors or DHT-reducers in general, it’s that anything derived from steroids tends to reap far worse (and sometimes irreversible) side effects versus non-steroidal DHT reducers. See this four-part series for more information:

      https://perfecthairhealth.com/part-1-of-4-attacking-dht-a-master-guide-the-best-and-worst-ways-to-fight-dht-for-hair-loss/

      Otherwise, please keep us posted with your transition. I know of two people who’ve transitioned off long-term Finasteride use and instead started using non-steroidal 5-AR inhibitors. Both reported that they 1) didn’t lose hair during the transition, and 2) feel much better and are no longer experiencing any side effects. I hope your experience is the same!

  • Sean

    Reply Reply May 15, 2017

    I think herbs like Saw Palmetto and Beta Sitosterol can initially increase sexual function for men who are suffering from some degree of BPH (enlarged prostate). However, once the prostate size is reduced, continued use of these substances seems to have a libido-lowering effect. Therefore, I agree with the thesis of this article, that—natural or pharmaceutical—DHT/5AR inhibitors lower libido.

  • Maaya

    Reply Reply May 15, 2017

    Hey i am just started using your methods,i said i will gonna try this and e mailed you 2-3 months ago,need to ask a few questions.

    Do you wash your hair after massage session with just plain water? i usually take shower at mornings but i started to wash my head after night sessions cuz it feels discomfortable to sleep with that sebum.(on no-poo for 3 weeks)

    Secondly,when i eat chili food,i am sweating mildly from the balding spot(which is in crown,aprox a baseball size,no any loss in any other parts of scalp-very funny hair loss-)and my scalp is becoming itchy,is this can be related to calcification ?

    And by looking your older pictures,you had that kind of balding too, i want to learn that due to your experiences is it easier or harder to grow hair on crown with your methods?I have really thick hair at other parts and my hair grows very fast normally.

    I started to lose hair agressively 3-4 years ago,only at crown,i was finding 100s of hairs on my pillow everyday.I had succes with minox in 4-5 months,then got sloppy and missed some sessions,eventually hair worsened and i stopped it,then i started again and stopped 4 weeks ago again 🙂 And i believe i went through the shedding phase after minox earlier.(didnt have much gains in 2nd usage)

    I am moderate alcohol drinker(weekly) and daily smoker,doing exercises regularly.

    BTW i bought the book,just some questions in mind.

    • Rob

      Reply Reply May 17, 2017

      Hey Maaya,

      Thanks for your support! To answer your questions–

      I wash my hair with just water.

      As far as the chili sauce-induced sweating is concerned — it depends. We’d need to know if you sweat from your bald spot just as much in other scenarios – like with other foods, or when beginning to workout, etc. And even then, I’d categorize this more as a reaction to the food substance, and not necessarily a sign of calcification (sweat and calcification are two different things).

      People typically report that regrowth at the vertex happens more quickly than the temples, though if the case studies on the site have shown anything, it’s that both temple and vertex hair regrowth are possible.

      Best,
      Rob

  • Ed

    Reply Reply June 17, 2017

    A few years back when my hair loss started in earnest and wanting to avoid pharmaceuticals, I tried saw palmetto. Sure enough my libido went almost completely and it took a while for it to return, even having stopped taking it.
    Personally, I think green smoothies or juicing do the best work for my hair in terms of nutrition (I have diffuse hair loss).

    Ed.

  • Nick

    Reply Reply June 24, 2017

    What are your feeling about natto? Other than the special taste, would it be beneficial for us? Natto is fermented soy beans, containing lots of K2.

    • Rob

      Reply Reply June 26, 2017

      Hey Nick — I’m a fan of natto! I think the benefits of the K2 outweigh the concerns of natto’s goitrogen / lectin content. I eat natto weekly and stir it into a white rice dish.

      • Nick

        July 2, 2017

        Made 2 pounds of natto yesterday! Anyone looking for a great source of K2 natto is among the highest. You can even make it yourself cheap. Just get organic non GMO soybeans and some natto starter culture. It will take some trial before I get it top notch but it looks alright at first try. I will eat about 50g of this a few times every week.

  • Adrian

    Reply Reply June 28, 2017

    Rob,

    An excellent article as always. I distinctly remember the day I decided against Propecia; my anxiety had swelled as a result of taking it, and I learned that it can break the blood brain barrier. This article is further confirmation I made the right choice. The first thing suggested to me in my hair recovery journey- this is prior to discovering your work- was nettle root, a “natural” DHT inhibitor. I was recently muscle-tested on it, and my body can benefit from a small daily dosage (I would encourage anyone looking to supplement to first get muscle-tested by a Chirorpractor to determine the necessity of and dosage). I’m considering checking out ecklonia cava as my next step.

    Thanks!!’n

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