Effective DHT Blockers
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is the cause of Androgenetic Alopecia, otherwise known as Genetic Hair Loss. DHT is a by-product of testosterone caused by an enzyme known as 5 alpha-reductase. While DHT plays an important role during our puberty development, later on in life it can lead to male and female pattern baldness. The extent to which DHT can cause hair loss is determined by our inherited genes from our parents. Our genetics determine the amount and pattern of androgen receptors at the base of each hair follicle. Some are lucky and have no androgen receptors and therefore don’t suffer from Androgenetic Alopecia. Others aren’t so lucky and hair loss becomes a huge stress and worry.
It would seem that the easiest way to treat Androgenetic Alopecia would be to prevent the conversion of Testosterone to DHT in the blood vessels around the scalp. The most effective treatment for hair loss available today does just that. Finasteride is one of two FDA-Approved drug therapies to treat Male Pattern Baldness and works by blocking the production of the enzyme 5 alpha-reductase. Finasteride is only licensed to be used by Men due to the interaction it has with hormone levels. This drug therapy is normally taken as an oral tablet meaning that the effects are seen across the whole body. While topical versions of the medication are available, it has yet to proven to be effective as a lotion or cream.
There are other options available for more natural DHT blockers instead of the drug Finasteride. The most popular option is the fruit of the Saw Palmetto plant, a small palm tree. An extract from the fruit of the Saw Palmetto plant is widely sold as a dietary supplement. The effectiveness of Saw Palmetto to treat genetic hair loss is widely disputed with clinical trials showing promising but not conclusive proof. One study showed nearly half of the 25 participants increasing their hair count by 11.9% over 4 months of treatment with Saw Palmetto.
Saw Palmetto is generally considered to be safe to use with limited side effects, but you should consult with your doctor if you are concerned about any potential side effects. Saw Palmetto can interact with other medications so caution should be taken.
There are plenty of other natural extracts that are also thought to have DHT blocking abilities, but most are even more disputed than Saw Palmetto. For example, the amino acid Cucurbitin, found in pumpkin seed oil, is thought to have DHT blocking capabilities. In a double blind, placebo-controlled study of pumpkin seed oil, participants saw an increase of 40% in their hair count where they were experiencing hair loss.
Could Green Tea and Caffeine also have an effect at blocking DHT? An anti-oxidant called EGCG in Green Tea is considered a potential DHT blocker. A study has shown that it could potentially inhibit the enzyme 5 alpha-reductase, the enzyme responsible for the production of DHT. So far, the results are less than conclusive however. Caffeine has been clinically proven to extend the growth phase of hair follicles, but the method of its work is unproven. It is unlikely that Caffeine works by blocking DHT, but more so battles against the effects of it.
For now if you are looking for an effective DHT blocker, we are stuck with one option. Finasteride is the only proven effective DHT blocker available today.