Did you know that Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) increase is one of the most prevalent causes of hair loss globally? DHT is a hormone that induces hair loss and binds to the receptors in your scalp.
If you’re wondering how you can control or stop DHT hair loss, the great news is that multiple DHT blockers are available in the form of foods, medicines, and shampoos. Let’s find out what they are and how they can treat hair loss caused by increasing Dihydrotestosterone.
What is DHT?
DHT is a male androgen hormone that plays a critical role in male development and is responsible for several male body development characteristics, including deep voice, chest hair, and muscular body .
Women also produce DHT but in significantly fewer quantities. DHT is made in your body when the testosterone hormone is converted into the Dihydrotestosterone through the enzymatic action of 5-alpha reductase.
What Does It Do To Your Hair?
DHT is a derivative of the testosterone hormone (male sex hormone). An enzyme known as ‘5α-reductase’ is responsible for converting testosterone to dihydrotestosterone molecules in multiple tissues like the liver, prostate gland, skin, brain, and hair follicles.
Dihydrotestosterone is critical for developing male biological characteristics like muscles, facial hair, deep voice, etc. in an adult male. But, when produced at too high levels, dihydrotestosterone molecules bind to your hair follicle receptors, blocking the blood supply to your follicle cells.
This stops the dermal papilla from taking critical nutrients for hair growth, resulting in your hair follicles’ miniaturization.
While it is a widespread hair loss factor in men, called as male pattern baldness (‘Androgenic alopecia’), women too experience hair loss due to dihydrotestosterone imbalance (female pattern baldness). Here are some foods that may fight hair loss by blocking DHT.
Foods for DHT Blocking
Edamame beans are young soybeans usually enjoyed as an appetizer or snack. Apart from being packed with fiber and protein, edamame beans contain isoflavones, which are useful plant compounds that may lower dihydrotestosterone levels by blocking 5-alpha reductase action.
In one six-month study, 58 men were randomized to supplement their diets with either milk protein or soy protein high in isoflavones and soy protein with most of the isoflavones were taken out.
2. Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin is a symbol of fall festivities like Halloween and is a winter squash. Every pumpkin has hundreds of nutritious seeds rich in zinc, iron, magnesium, and antioxidants.
Surprisingly, pumpkin seed oil can promote hair growth in men.
In 24-week research in 76 men with Androgenic alopecia, those taking a 400-mg pumpkin seed oil supplement every day had remarkably more hair growth than those taking a placebo. However, there were no remarkable differences in hair thickness between the groups.
These conclusions were attributed to pumpkin seed oil’s ability to inhibit dihydrotestosterone production from testosterone by blocking the alpha-5 reductase enzyme. However, the supplement used for the research contained other active ingredients contributing to the results.
Additional trials in humans are required before pumpkin seed oil can be suggested for battling hair loss.
[Read: Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds]
Turmeric is an herb prevalently used in cooking and as a powder extract for its health advantages. It has been shown to improve cholesterol levels, reduce arthritis pain, and enhance exercise recovery, among other benefits .
These effects are related to turmeric’s high concentration of active compounds called curcuminoids, the most researched of which is curcumin. Preclinical trials have demonstrated that curcumin lowers dihydrotestosterone levels by blocking the action of the alpha-5 reductase enzyme.
However, whether these findings translate to humans remains unclear.
[Read: Benefits of Turmeric]
4. Onions (and other foods high in quercetin)
White onions add a sharp yet sweet flavor to an abundance of dishes. They have few calories but boast high amounts of antioxidants such as quercetin . In preclinical trials, quercetin has been shown to inhibit dihydrotestosterone production from testosterone by blocking the enzyme alpha-5 reductase action and decreasing oxidative stress.
For instance, when combined with a commonly prescribed medication to treat hair loss, quercetin decreased dihydrotestosterone production in rats. Despite these encouraging results, no studies have investigated the effects of taking quercetin supplements or eating onions on humans’ DHT levels.
Other vegetables and fruits rich in quercetin include spinach, asparagus, apples, kale, and berries.
5. Coconut oil
Coconut oil comes from the meat or kernel of coconuts. It’s generally used for cooking thanks to its ability to withstand extreme cooking temperatures. The oil also has several applications in skincare, haircare, beauty, and overall health.
Coconut oil has a high percentage of fat from MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides), primarily in the form of lauric acid, which has been demonstrated to block DHT production in animal and test-tube studies when given orally.
While these kinds of studies — called preclinical studies — help scientists identify whether a particular treatment may be safe or useful, their findings can’t be translated to humans.
Clinical trials in humans are required before coconut oil can be suggested to treat or prevent hair loss.
6. Green tea
Extracted from the Camellia sinensis plant, green tea is one of the most reputed drinks globally. Green tea leaves are steamed during production— and not fermented, as is usually the case with black tea and oolong leaves — which maintains more of the tea’s natural substances.
This includes green tea’s key plant chemicals known as EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which has been linked with health benefits like heart health, weight loss, and brain health.
Epigallocatechin gallate has also been shown to protect hair follicles — the part of your skin that grows hair — from hair loss caused by Dihydrotestosterone.
Dihydrotestosterone is a hormone that contributes to hair loss in both women and men. Onions, Green tea, edamame, and pumpkin seeds, among other beverages and foods, contain nutrients that may prevent hair loss and lower DHT levels.
However, based on the limited findings, additional studies in humans are required before — in the absence of a nutrient deficiency — specific nutrients or any foods can be suggested to prevent hair loss.