The ultimate guide to hair loss and DHT blockers
Most people don’t think much about their hair—until they wake up one day to find that some of it has gone missing. If you’re reading this article, this might be something you’re currently faced with.
But don’t fret, this guide will give you everything you need to know about hair loss and the role of DHT blockers.
- What causes hair loss?
- How is DHT produced?
- What are natural DHT blockers?
- What are the side effects of DHT blockers?
What causes hair loss?
Male pattern baldness, also known as androgenetic alopecia, is caused by a shrinking of follicles, interfering with the process of new hair growth. Follicle miniaturisation occurs when the male sex hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) binds to androgen receptors in hair follicles.
To explain the influence of minimised follicles on the process of new hair growth, the four stages of hair growth are described below:
- Anagen: This is the growing phase. It lasts 2-7 years.
- Catagen: This is a transition phase. The hair follicle adapts to switch from the growing to resting phase. It lasts 10 days.
- Telogen: This is the resting phase. It lasts around 100 days.
- Exogen: This is the shedding phase. The follicle prepares for the anagen phase again.
Smaller follicles will cause the anagen phase to shorten (hair has less time to grow) and the telogen phase to lengthen (a hair follicle will rest instead of producing more hair). This creates a gradual decline in overall hair regrowth, eventually leading to hair loss.
Some men are more susceptible to hair loss due to underlying genetics. Certain genes can cause DHT to bind more easily to androgen receptors, accelerating follicle shrinking. Thus, in order to prevent hair loss, the production of DHT must be blocked or its function inhibited.
How is DHT produced?
DHT is derived from testosterone, an androgen that leads to the male sex characteristics of the body such as deep voice, facial hair, or increased muscle mass.
Testosterone is converted to DHT with the help of the enzyme 5?-reductase (see visual below). The 5?-reductase enzyme is stored in the oil glands of a hair follicle.
In order to stop DHT from attacking hair follicles, DHT must be blocked. However, this must occur without influencing the amount of testosterone in the body. A decrease in testosterone could lead to a hormone imbalance.
This negative effect can be avoided while still reducing DHT by inhibiting the function of 5?-reductase or by blocking DHT from binding to the androgen receptors. There are many ways to naturally reduce DHT, some of which will be discussed below.
What are natural DHT blockers?
While hair loss cannot be completely prevented, the good news is that there are many foods, vitamins, and supplements that may help slow down the progression of hair loss in men. Here is a list of key nutrients that have been linked to a reduction in hair loss:
Saw Palmetto as a DHT blocker?
Saw palmetto is an extract derived from the berries of the saw palmetto palm tree (Serenoa repens). Research suggests saw palmetto may be able to inhibit the activity of 5?-reductase and can therefore function as a DHT blocker.
The use of olive oil has long been established as a way to promote and maintain healthy hair growth. Olive oil is a great remedy to prevent hair loss in men for two reasons. First, research has shown that olive oil can play a role in the reduction of DHT.
Second, the topical application of olive oil has also demonstrated a promotion in hair growth by inducing the anagen phase (growing phase) in follicles.
Although biotin has not been proven to play a part as a DHT blocker, it does have a strong correlation with hair growth. Dermatologists have sworn by this natural treatment for years, despite a lack of evidence to support this claim.
It is very uncommon to experience a biotin overdose through dietary intake, so it might be a good idea to add more biotin rich foods to your diet.
Foods That Contain Biotin: meats, eggs, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes, almonds, spinach, broccoli
Zinc is an efficient natural DHT blocker
Zinc has shown to be a potent inhibitor of 5?-reductase activity, blocking the production of DHT. The body cannot produce this trace element on its own, so it must be supplied through food and/or supplements. Too high of a dose of zinc can be detrimental, so it is advised to monitor consumption carefully.
Foods That Contain Zinc: oysters, shellfish, meats, baked beans, breakfast cereal, pumpkin seeds
There is no scientific evidence to suggest that coconut oil functions as a DHT blocker. However, if applied topically, it has been demonstrated to reduce protein loss from hair. In short, coconut oil can improve the health of the hair still present.
Can rosehip oil be used as a DHT blocker?
Similar to coconut oil, there is no indication that rosehip oil can be used as a natural DHT blocker. Some properties of rosehip oil are thought to enhance scalp health, benefitting overall hair health and growth.
Vitamin D helps stimulate cell growth, playing a role in the creation of new hair follicles. A deficiency in vitamin D can lead to hair loss, which can be devastating for someone already experiencing this issue.
Vitamin D can be created from UV rays from the sun or consumed through diet and supplements.
Foods That Contain Vitamin D: fish, milk, fortified cereals, orange juice, mushrooms
Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant, helping to prevent ageing caused by free radicals. In addition, it aids in the production of collagen, a vital component of skin and hair. Vitamin C does not work as a DHT blocker, but it does serve to promote overall hair growth. Vitamin C is present in a large variety of produce.
Foods That Contain Vitamin C: peppers, fruits (such as oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, strawberries), broccoli, brussels sprouts
Coffee increases DHT and should be avoided
As you can see, there are many nutrients that can be added to your diet or haircare routine to slow down the progression of male pattern baldness. One substance that you might want to consider avoiding is caffeine. A study suggests that chronic caffeine intake could actually lead to an increase in DHT.
Have you tried Dr. Balwi’s hair care products?
Thanks to a unique combination of ingredients your hair receives the essential nutrients that nourish the roots and hair, and prevent their loss. Our shampoos and sprays are highly concentrated in aloe vera and biotin. In addition unlike ordinary hair care products, ours tackle the problem at the root. Because a stronger and vitalised scalp produces resistant and, of course, silky hair!
What are the side effects of DHT blockers?
Now that you know the benefits of DHT blockers, it should be noted that there are some negative side effects to blocking the production and function of DHT. These side effects include:
- ejaculation problems
- erectile dysfunction
- decreased sex drive
- tenderness or excess fat in the breast area
Is blocking DHT bad? With research suggesting that DHT blockers can slow down hair loss while potentially promoting regrowth, it seems a very reasonable solution if you are faced with male pattern baldness. To minimize risk, any treatment for hair loss should always be discussed with your healthcare provider.
However one should take note of the many negative side effects of such a treatment. Plus once you stop using DHT blockers your hair will start falling again, leaving you in a catch 22 situation. Hair surgery is the better alternative if you are looking for a permanent treatment against baldness issues.
Hair loss is a condition suffered by a large percentage of men due to inevitable genetic predisposition. If you are experiencing male pattern baldness, there are many treatment options available to help you slow down the progression of hair loss and promote new hair growth.
An effective method used to prevent hair loss is reducing the influence of DHT in hair follicles. In order to minimise the impact of DHT without causing a hormone imbalance, the production and/or binding function of DHT must therefore be blocked.
Many natural DHT blockers exist to serve as a way for you to restore your manly mane. But those comes at the price of many negative side-effects unlike other less invasive alternatives – such as an hair surgery.
Do you have any questions or are you suffering from hair loss issues? Then feel free to to contact our friendly team who will answer all your queries. Furthermore, they can also offer a free and non-binding hair analysis!