DHT and Hair Loss –
While increased levels of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone may be desirable for males looking to boost muscle mass, sex drive, or other male characteristics, increased levels of DHT have been considered a prominent cause of male pattern hair loss. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is an androgen responsible for miniaturization of hair follicles leading to male pattern and female pattern hair loss. In men, the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase (5-AR) converts up to 10 percent of testosterone into DHT. If 5-AR levels increase, more testosterone is converted into DHT resulting in more hair loss. Therefore, DHT and 5-alpha-reductase may be detrimental to scalp hair growth though DHT may affect people in varying ways.
Blocking DHT –
With this in mind, DHT blockers may be effective for combatting hair loss. Speak with your Board-Certified Dermatologist about whether or not blocking DHT is the best treatment for your hair loss. While DHT blockers can be purchased, a more holistic approach may be a safer and more cost-effective route. Here, we will review foods that have an effect on DHT levels and your hair follicles. Some of these foods may directly block DHT; some foods may promote a balance of hormones to control levels of DHT; other foods will strengthen the hair follicle to boost its resistance to DHT. In addition to these foods to include, it is also important to note foods you may want to avoid to further block, control, and combat DHT effects.
Foods to Incorporate –
- Polyunsaturated Omega 6 Fatty Acids – these inhibit 5-alpha reductase which convert testosterone to DHT
- Nuts (walnuts, cashews, pecans, etc.)
- Seeds (flax seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.)
- Green tea
- Zinc-Rich Foods (oysters, shellfish, wheatgerm, etc.)
- Soy – contains isoflavones that may prohibit DHT from forming
- Phytosterols (wheat germ, sesame oil, peanuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, brussels sprouts, olive oil, rye bread)
- Biotin (egg yolk, liver, yeast)
- Beta-Sitosterol (avocados, extra virgin olive oil)
- Phytosterols (lettuce, capers, pickles, cucumber, sesame seeds, asparagus, etc.)
- Beta-sitosterol (found in almost all plants, rice bran, wheat germ, soybeans, peanuts & peanut products)
Foods to Avoid –
Try avoiding foods that can raise your blood sugar levels. An increase of blood sugar causes a release of more insulin affecting the hormonal balance in the body. Higher insulin levels can lead to reduced sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) levels which are needed as they bind to DHT and stop it from binding to hair follicles. Essentially, higher blood sugar can lead to higher insulin levels, reduced SHBG levels, greater risk of DHT binding to hair follicles, and greater risk of hair loss-amidst other medical conditions.
These foods include:
- Processed foods
- Foods high on the glycemic index (having a greater sugar than fiber content)
In Conclusion –
Increased levels of DHT has been considered a prominent cause of male pattern hair loss. Following a diet, such as a Paleo Diet, that is high in omega 6 fatty acids and free of sugars and high-glycemic foods seems a promising and natural way to combat Male Pattern Hair Loss by reducing DHT and its detrimental effects on hair growth and follicles. Consult with your Board-Certified Dermatologist to see if these dietary changes could be right for you. Dr. Nikki Hill of SOCAH Center offers virtual hair loss consultations to identify the cause of your hair loss. Schedule your virtual visit today at www.socahcenter.com or call 404.474.2301.