Treating Male Pattern Baldness the Easy Way: Effective Over The Counter Supplements

Most men who’ve investigated treatments for their hair loss are familiar with pharmaceuticals called Proscar and Propecia. These drugs are known to limit the levels of dihydrotestosterone, a hormone made from testosterone, which has been implicated as the primary cause of genetically-related hair loss. But what about over-the-counter vitamins, herbs and minerals? Could these too do the same thing, at a potentially lower cost, and perhaps with less side effects? The evidence is in that this is not only possible, but probably a more effective way to go in the long run.

Our tendency to believe synthetic chemicals produced by the scientists in well-funded labs MUST be making drugs more effective than nature. At the same time, these same scientists are spending millions of dollars and lots of time looking for natural compounds to extract, and then patent a unique delivery system so they can call them their own. But when you think about it, there’s nothing their doing that evolution hasn’t been doing already — making new chemicals! It’s just that the pharmaceutical companies then spend millions of dollars in research on humans to prove their chemicals work just a little bit better than a placebo — where this isn’t financially feasible in the case of herbs and nutrients.

And there are studies which clearly support the efficacy of natural treatments. They tend to be small in scale, and often focus on the effects of the herb extracts “in-vitro”. This means than it can be shown that chemical X can inhibit the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT. This is the same thing the pharmaceutical does. But the study to get 100 men involved to take the pill with the herb for six months and evaluate their hair loss (or re-growth) is very costly, and the herb companies can’t afford it. (Though actually some small scale studies are in fact just producing the data we’re looking for — whether the FDA allows it to be used in marketing literature is still another matter).

Research on male pattern hair loss itself indicates three important considerations: blocking the formation and binding of DHT, reducing inflammation at the hair follicle, and ensuring an adequate supply of nutrients for hair growth (some of which seem to be important in signaling hair to grow, not just provide the necessary nutrients for the physical formation of hair).

To prevent DHT formation and block its binding at hair follicles, the big supplements are saw palmetto berry extract, nettle root extract, flax seed lignans, and soy isoflavones. There are more, but these are the ones that everyone agrees upon will do what you need. Note that the saw palmetto berry should always be an extract, not just the berry itself (it won’t be strong enough). Same with the nettle root.

Do be sure to take several of these extracts together, as they’ll each address a different biochemical pathway or process — synergising to create a greater overall reduction in dihydrotestosterone production and activity. Look for high-quality, name brand products designed for support of prostate gland health. It turns out that lowering DHT production and binding is just as important for the prostate gland as it is for certain hair follicles.

Soy extract supplements may seem a little strange for treating hair loss, but it’s been noted for many years that while Asian men still living in Asia have little hair loss, those now living in Western countries experience it at a significantly higher rate. The cause has been narrowed down to their soy intake. It turns out that beneficial bacteria in the gut uses certain constituents of soy to make one of the most potent natural chemicals known for the prevention of dihydrotestosterone formation.

On to inflammation: Chronic inflammation (as opposed to “acute”, which is the result of an injury of some kind) has been implicated in all sorts of aging processes. Specifically, it seems to be what kills off the hair follicles we so desperately want to keep alive. So find any good quality supplement designed to reduce inflammation throughout the body — the best might be one that contains an easily absorbed form of “curcumin”, an extract of the Indian spice “turmeric”.

Finally, there’s a few common nutrients that might be of help. The amino acid “l-arginine” is thought to play an important function in the stimulation of hair growth, but its exact roll is as of yet unknown. B-vitamins are important, specifically biotin — it helps the formation of new hair. Lecithin is also necessary for hair formation, as is the mineral sulfur. If you wish to supplement for sulfur, use a supplement called MSM. The amino acids taurine and lysine may also be helpful. Taurine prevents the hardening of follicles before they “die”, and lysine seems to actually support every other hair growth supplement in some yet-to-be-understood way. Last but not least, eating a tablespoon of virgin coconut oil and hempseed oil each per day also seem to have a beneficial effect — not only on the hair, but on the brain as well.

This is a fairly comprehensive list of the currently recommended natural supplements for treatment of male pattern baldness. By taking several of these, your almost assured of results as good as any one pharmaceutical preparation. The critical thing is to believe in them as strongly as you would if you’d received them from your doctor and pharmacist, and keep taking them daily for several months. You might even think about combining them with some topical natural treatment, such as a blend of essential oils. The oils used in “aromatherapy” are actually potent medicines themselves, many of which are known to have constituents which signal the growth of new tissues and cells — like hair follicles — and could synergize well with your internal supplement program.

For more on the wonderful therapeutic aspects of aromatherapy essential oils, visit The Ananda Apothecary of Colorado.

categories: aromatherapy,essential oils,hair loss,vitamins,herbs,supplements,beauty,self improvement,natural,health

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