What remedies for baldness work?

What remedy for baldness works?

With each baldness remedy I have divided myself into two categories: “medication” and “natural”. Both baldness remedies are said to work to some extent. There have been several clinical trials with the drugs (creams and pills), but on the downside, they are sometimes susceptible to unwanted side effects. Most of the time, natural remedies for baldness have not had clinical trials attached, just word of mouth recommendations, but they typically have fewer (at least less unwanted) side effects reported. If you are not sure which type to try, it is possible to try both (but consult a doctor before doing so).

ALOPATHIC REMEDIES FOR BALDNESS

Before starting any allopathic remedy for baldness, I have to explain the current thinking in the science behind the causes of hair loss so that the mechanism and effectiveness of the medications are easily understood.

Men convert excess testosterone into a more potent form called DHT by the enzyme 5a reductase. DHT is very active in hair follicle receptors, easily attaches to them and restricts blood flow to hair. This causes the hair to become thin and miniturized creating the “peach fuzz” look. Apparently, there is a higher amount of this enzyme in the scalp of men who are susceptible to male pattern baldness.[1]

Women, however, have an excess of the aromatase enzyme that converts their testosterone into a form of active estrogen called estradiol. The theory is that after women reach menopause, their natural estrogen levels decrease allowing testosterone to be converted to DHT, making them more susceptible to hair loss after menopause. However, that does not explain why post-andropausal men lose hair as they age and their testosterone levels decline.[1]

Well that’s the theory, so now let’s look at each baldness remedy and determine its effectiveness and availability as of July 2006. Below is a list of each baldness remedy:

Rogaine (minoxidol)

Propecia (finasteride)

ROGAINE

Mechanism: unclear. It seems to open up the availability of potassium to the hair.

Efficacy: the average increase in hair per cm2 was 18.5% after 48 weeks. From 1 to 3 months after stopping it, the condition of the hair returns to pre-treatment levels.

Side Effects: Dizziness has been reported. Local irritation, itching, dryness and erythema may occur with the use of topical minoxidil, probably caused by the formulation of the alcohol and propylene glycol vehicle.[2]

Availability: without prescription.

Cost: $ 10 to $ 15 per bottle (one month).

PROPECIA

Mechanism: inhibits the enzyme 5a reductase responsible for the production of DHT.

Effectiveness – A third study of 326 men with mild to moderate frontal hair loss found that after 1 year, men treated with finasteride had statistically significantly higher hair counts on the frontal scalp. Approximately 50% of the men treated and 30% of those who took placebo thought that the appearance of their hair had improved. Hair regrowth was not reported in older men taking 5 mg of finasteride.

Side Effects: Decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, or decreased ejaculation volume has been reported in less than 2% of patients, which is actually between 0.5% and 1% compared to placebo.[2]

Availability: Prescription only. Generic version now available.

Cost: $ 69.95 for 3 months

NATURAL REMEDIES FOR BALDNESS

Most natural remedies for baldness also work by blocking DHT, either by inhibiting the enzyme or blocking the hair follicle receptor, or by providing the nutrient for the DHT-blocking hair follicle receptor. There is also an alternative interpretation of the theory that “DHT alone causes hair loss.” Some believe that too many estrogen-like active substances, as well as too much DHT, are the culprits of prostate cancer and hair loss, and there is not enough free testosterone in the body.[3]

This sounds contradictory to the allopathic argument, and with regard to estrogen it is. Some naturopaths say that this is what blocks the hair follicle receptors. It is these protein receptors that attract nutrients to the hair. Both DHT and estrogen-like pollutants block the receptor.[3] Apparently, certain bacteria that eat fat produce estrogen-like substances.[4]and there is an excess of the aromatase enzyme (which converts testosterone to estrogen) present in the fat cells of obese and bald men. Aging, a high-fat diet, and lack of exercise can create too much estrogen and too little testosterone. Even if testosterone is at normal levels, active estrogen levels can still be too high.[3] Although this does not explain why women with high levels of estrogen do not have male pattern baldness.

Here is a list of each baldness remedy and the nutrients:

Beta Sistosterol (from the herb: Saw Palmetol)

Chrysin (from the herb: Passionflower)

Vitamin D

B12 vitamin

Biotin (vitamin B7)

Iron and L-lysine (for women)

Folligen (copper peptide)

Soy

Rooibos tea

BETA SISTOSTEROL

Mechanism: Blocks DHT from androgen receptor sites found in hair follicles.

Effectiveness – not proven. Mixed reviews from people on health forums.

Side Effects: None, but Saw Palmetol herb side effects can be male breast enlargement.[2]

Availability: without prescription.

Cost – 90 capsules 400 mg $ 7.95.

CRISINA

Mechanism: Increases free testosterone by inhibiting the conversion to estrodiol.

Efficacy: It has been shown to be effective in stopping aromatase in Petridish, but not in the body. It is not known if it helps with hair loss.[5] It is not a proven remedy for baldness.

Side effects: none.

Availability: without prescription.

Cost: MRM, Chrysin 500, 30 capsules. $ 14.99.

VITAMIN D

Mechanism: it binds to the numerous vitamin D receptors on the scalp and hair follicle.

Efficacy – Has been shown to dramatically stimulate hair follicle growth in “nude” mice.[6]

Side Effects: None, unless more than 50 micrograms are ingested per day.

Availability: without prescription.

Cost – 400iu (10 micrograms) 60 capsules $ 4.99.

B12 VITAMIN

Mechanism: deficiency causes hair loss.[7]

Effectiveness: 40% of Americans are deficient. It has not been proven to remedy hair loss if taken.[8]

Side Effects: None, unless you take more than 100 mcg a day.

Availability: without prescription.

Cost: 1000 mcg, $ 7.99 tablets.

BIOTIN (VITAMIN B7)

Mechanism: increases blood flow to the hair follicle.[9]

Efficacy: It can promote hair growth in high doses, although it is not a proven remedy for baldness.

Side effects: none.

Availability: without prescription.

Cost: 300 mcg tablets $ 2.99.

IRON AND L-LYSINE (for women)

Mechanism: Deficiencies in these two nutrients have been associated with hair loss in women.[10] Interacts with zinc and copper.[11]

Efficacy: Proven effective remedy for baldness in women with hair loss.[10]

Side Effects: None unless you take more than 250 mg a day (iron).

Availability: without prescription.

Cost – 100 tablets $ 7.29

FOLLIGEN (copper peptide)

Mechanism: more effective blocker of the production of both types of 5a reductase enzyme.[12]

Efficacy: Low levels of copper and zinc enzymes caused hair loss in mice.[13] A topical copper peptide solution created near perfect hair rejuvenation in 6 months in a woman with 10% of her hair at the beginning.[14] There are no studies on the baldness remedy Folligen itself, but there are some reports of success from women on forums.

Side effects: none.

Availability: without prescription.

Cost: 2 oz tube, $ 21.95. 2 months.

SOY

Mechanism: promotes the production of the good inactive estrogen. It blocks active estrogen receptor sites and inhibits 5a reductase.[3]

Efficacy: It has been shown to inhibit the enzyme 5a reductase.[15]

Side effects: none.

Availability: without prescription. A food substance, not a baldness remedy.

Cost -?

ROOIBOS TEA

Mechanism: unclear.

Efficacy: In a 10% lotion called herbasol, 89% had increased hair growth rate. 45% saw an increase in hair growth. 78% reported that they had not lost any more hair.[2]

Side effects: none.

Availability: without prescription. A food substance, not a baldness remedy except as noted above.

Cost -?

Personally, I would recommend trying Beta Sistosterol with a powerful multivitamin and mineral supplement along with the Folligen solution as a good baldness remedy.

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[1] Have Scientists Accidentally Discovered the Answer to Hair Loss?

http://www.emaxhealth.com/65/6131.html

[2] Treatments for hair loss.

[http://www.hairlosstalk.com/download/sawaya1.pdf]

[3] Grow young and slim

[http://www.growyoungandslim.com/articles/Mens_Health_102a.pdf]

[4] Health Loss Education

http://www.stuff4beauty.com/page/hairlosseducation.htm

[5] Crisin: Is it an effective aromatase inhibitor?

http://www.vrp.com/art/1208.asp

[6] Vitamin D3 analogs stimulate hair growth in nude mice.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=12399436&query_hl=41

[7] Diet and nutrition: vitamin B12.

http://www.internethealthlibrary.com/DietandNutrition/VitaminB12.htm

[8] Do you need B-12?

http://thyroid.about.com/cs/newsinfo/l/blb12anemia.htm?terms=vitamin+B12+and+Tufts+

[9] Biotin and hair growth

http://www.add-hair.com/Biotin-hair-loss.htm

[10] Nutritional factors and hair loss.

http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/links/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2230.2002.01076.x/abs/

[11] Interaction of iron, zinc and copper in the body of animals and humans.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=2700243&dopt=Abstract

[12] Folligen

http://www.folligen.com/

[13] Age-related loss of cochlear hair cells is increased in mice lacking copper / zinc superoxide dismutase

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=10466888&dopt=Abstract

[14] Have Scientists Accidentally Discovered the Answer to Hair Loss?

http://www.emaxhealth.com/65/6131.html

[15] Regulation of male sex hormone levels by soy isoflavones in rats

http://www.leaonline.com/doi/abs/10.1207/S15327914NC422_9;jsessionid=nFFp1FovOhX-OhcS3V?cookieSet=1&journalCode=nc