What DHT Has to Do With Hair Loss

Woman pulling hair out of brush
ipopba/Getty Images

From hair plugs to Rogaine and newer developments like stem cell and nutritional treatments, we'll probably never stop looking for ways to prevent hair loss or ways to grow fuller, thicker hair. Luckily, scientists are learning more and more every day about what really causes hair loss, and how we can fight it. One of the newest developments is the observation of how a hormone called DHT affects our hair's follicles.

The Correlation Between DHT and Hair Loss

DHT stands for Dihydrotestosterone, a male sex hormone that increases in our bodies as we age. As DHT levels rise in the blood they affect the most important part of the hair follicle, the dermal papilla, which is responsible for the hair's growth.

The dermal papilla is fed by the skin's blood capillaries, getting all of its essential nutrients for proper hair growth. DHT binds to receptors on the dermal papilla, blocking proper blood flow and starving the hair, ruining it's overall integrity and even resulting in hair loss. Scientists have concluded that by lowering DHT in our bloodstreams, we can fight hair loss from the inside out.

Herbal Treatments

There are several herbs that help to fight DHT naturally. They included the following:

  • Saw Palmetto: Saw palmetto is a low-growing palm tree found in the West Indies and in coastal regions of the southeastern United States. The berries that grow on these trees have been shown to be an effective DHT blocker.
  • Pygeum: The African cherry tree, pygeum africanum, is an evergreen found at higher elevations across Africa and it has been used for medicinal purposes since the 1700s. When used in combination with saw palmetto, this duo has been shown to drastically reduce levels of DHT.
  • Pumpkin Seed Oil: Pumpkin Seed oil has been proven to be a very effective DHT blocker. It contains a steroid called delta-7 sterine, which blocks DHT buildup in the hair follicle. Some swear by taking it orally, but it's also been used directly on the scalp as a topical treatment.
  • Nettles: Stinging nettles will wreak havoc on your skin, but they have some major benefits when taken orally. The good stuff is found in the root of the nettles. Concentrated tinctures of the root can be taken to fight hair loss. Nettles not only block DHT, but they work overtime when combined with other DHT blockers like saw palmetto and pygeum.

Ingesting these DHT blockers won't cure hair loss overnight, but there's more and more evidence every day about just how effective this type of oral treatment can be. Along with any vitamin therapy, the trick is to keep taking your supplements. Consistency is key.

Along with taking DHT blockers, there are many other supplements that can feed and support healthy hair. Biotin, vitamin B12, niacin, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D, vitamin A, zinc, MSM, and iron can all be added to help thicken the hair and even make it grow faster.

Watch Now: 7 Shopping Tips for Budget Savvy Shoppers