Substances of Natural Origin For Treating Hair Loss
adenosine, amino acids, azelaic acid, beta-sitosterol, biotin, caffeine, essential fatty acids, folic acid, iron, magnesium, methylsulfonylmethane, PABA, panthotenic acid, procyanidin, retinoic acid, silicon, sulphur, Vitamins B, zinc
AZELAIC ACID is a saturated dicarboxylic acid found naturally in wheat, rye and barley. It is commonly used in the treatment of inflammatory acne vulgaris. In one laboratory study, azelaic acid (and zinc sulphate) was proven to be a potent inhibitor of 5-alpha reductase. This ability has yet to be confirmed in vivo (in humans). Nonetheless, numerous generic products combining minoxidil and azelaic acid are already available on the market.
RETINOIC ACID, also called tretinoin, is the acidified form of vitamin A and the generic name for a drug found in several products, such as Retin-A and Renova, which are used to treat acne. Retinoic acid can also be used to remove fine skin wrinkles and roughness. It works essentially as a chemical peel, enabling better penetration of minoxidil into the scalp. Instead of burning the skin with retinoic acid, you can increase minoxidil's absorption into the scalp by applying it shortly after washing your hair or using a minoxidil foam. This substance cannot be recommended for long term use.
PROCYANIDIN, also called proanthocyanidin, is a flavonoid occurring in green tea, grape seeds and skin, apples and is abundant in red wine. Procyanidin is a strong antioxidant. Besides its many beneficial, therapeutic properties, it is assumed to promote hair growth. In one small clinical study conducted in Japan, topical procyanidin B-2 extracted from apples was shown to grow hair and increase its diameter. Further research on larger groups of patients is needed in order to evaluate the claims of procyanidin's B2 positive effects on hair growth.
ADENOSINE - this nucleoside plays an important role in biochemical processes, such as energy transfer and signal transduction. In one clinical study, topical adenosine was proven to considerably thicken vellus hair but it could not change hair density. Adenosine is approved as a hair growth cosmetic in Japan and sold under the brand name Adenogen.
CAFFEINE is used as the principal active ingredient in Alpecin. The manufacturer of Alpecin claims that caffeine protects the hair roots from dihydrotestosterone (DHT) attacks and provides them with the necessary growth energy. No substantial evidence can be found to support the manufacturer’s claim that caffeine could promote hair growth. The only available research supporting the claims made by the Alpecin manufacturer was conducted at two universities in Germany. An independent study is still lacking.
BETA-SITOSTEROL is one of several phytosterols with chemical structures similar to that of cholesterol. It is found in saw palmetto, pumpkin seeds, pygeum africanum, rice bran, wheat germ, corn oils, soybeans, etc. Beta-sitosterol reduces levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream and it is believed to be a natural DHT blocker and plays some role in the possible benefits of herbal therapy of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). There have been no clinical trials to study its effects on male pattern baldness.
Beta-sitosterol, being one of the assumed active substances of many DHT blockers of herbal origin, might be a stronger DHT blocker than its herbal peers. However, there is a lack of evidence that it works. Nevertheless, if one wishes to try some natural DHT blocker, this should be a safer and a more powerful option than either saw palmetto or pygeum africanum (see also: Beta-Sitosterol for Hair Loss).
ZINC, IRON, SILICON, MAGNESIUM, SULPHUR, VITAMINS B (PANTOTHENIC ACID, BIOTIN, FOLIC ACID, PABA, etc.), ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS, AMINO ACIDS and other nutrients are responsible for hair growth. Though diet poor in essential nutrients may contribute to hair loss, it is not likely to happen to an average healthy person living anywhere in the civilised world. The occasional intake of nutritional supplements will not hurt but used alone it will not reverse one’s hair loss either.
ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS are a key component to healthy skin, hair and nails. They have been shown to inhibit 5-alpha reductase in rats and thus reduce DHT levels. However, no clinical studies in humans have yet been conducted. Many herbal remedies such as saw palmetto or pumpkin seeds derive their hair claims among other things from the fact that they are rich in essential fatty acids.
METHYLSULFONYLMETHANE (MSM) is an organosulphur compound that occurs naturally in fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, fish and grains. Amongst other things it plays a major role in the structural maintenance of the scalp capillaries. MSM will help your hair grow about as fast as it is able to and in some people it can temporarily improve the thickness of their existing hair.
Commercial Hair Loss Products of Natural Origin
Adenogen, Advecia, Alpecin, Avacor, Crinagen, Dermenodex, Fabao, Follicare, Hair Genesis, Inhairit, Min New York, Nanogen, Nioxin, Nisim, New Hair, Procapil, Procerin, ProFollica, Provillus, Regenix, Revivogen, Scalp Med, Spectral DNC, ThymuSkin, Tricomin, Viviscal