- DHT Blockers: The science seems good but can natural DHT blockers like saw palmetto, pygeum and nettle be powerful enough to have a noticeable effect on hair growth like Propecia does
- Propecia is effective, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. See my article “Should I take Propecia” to see why I would never take it
- So your next best bet after Propecia is a natural DHT blocker supplement
- How do you find an effective DHT blocker?
- There are a few key ingredients you need to look for. If you see all of these ingredients in a supplement, you’ve found a good one:
- Green tea. Green tea reduces PGD2 in the scalp. This is now thought to be key to stopping male pattern baldness
- Resveratrol: A study in 2014 and one in 2016 concluded that resveratrol suppresses PGD2-stimulated OPG synthesis through inhibiting p38 MAP kinase and SAPK/JNK in osteoblasts (Kuroyanagi, Gen et al., 2014), as well as the fact that Resveratrol could inhibit PGD2-mediated inflammation. (Devon et al., 2016). Read more here.
- Quercetin: A study published in 2012 on contact dermatitis and photosensitivity argued that Quercetin can effectively inhibit secretion of histamine and PGD2. When compared to Cromolyn, Quercetin significantly decreased contact dermatitis and photosensitivity and was argued to be a promising candidate as an effective mast cell inhibitor through sufficient oral absorption.
- Note that resveratrol and quercetin are also powerful natrual antioxidants
- Large amounts (500mg) of cysteine, lysine and taurine. These amino acids have been shown to increase hair growth in studies.
- Iron: According to MPB Research,
virtually all treatments for hair loss in both men and women are more efficacious with iron supplementation, whether you are “iron deficient” or not. Dr. Rushton maintains that this effect is dramatically enhanced when iron is used in conjunction with vitamin C and L-Lysine.
- Note that soy contains iron. This may be partly why soy isoflavones help reduce hair loss
- Pygeum: pygeum has DHT blocking effects, similar to Propecia but not as effective:
In a 2007 study those taking a treatment involving pygeum had 43.3% improvement, comparable to the results for finasteride (57% improvement) Finasteride.
- Vitamin D3 (unless you already get lots of sunshine)
- Anti inflammatory ingredients like curcumin, quercetin (also mentioned above). Why? It’s widely speculated that DHT causes serious inflammation in the scalp, which leads to male pattern baldness.
- Other ingredients worth looking out for include saw palmetto, pumpkin seed oil and capsaicin / cayenne.
The best supplements for blocking DHT
Here are what I consider to be the most effective DHT blocker supplements:
$88 for 120 Capsules
Wow, what can I say? This is the best hair loss supplement I’ve ever seen. I’ve been studying the hair growth effects of thousands of different nutrients and this supplement contains almost all the key nutrients that promote hair growth and prevent hair loss. It has the key amino acids, DHT blockers, inflammation reducers, key vitamins and minerals and several other beneficial nutrients. This supplement tops the list but is very expensive. So it’s worth checking out the others on this page (which are also very good) if you don’t want to spend this much.
- Contains saw palmetto, which has been shown in several small studies to block the enzyme 5 alpha reductase, which effectively reduces DHT levels
- Curcumin is highly beneficial for reducing inflammation, which is key to preventing progression of male pattern baldness
- Contains vitamin E, which is beneficial for hair and skin health
- Contains hyaluronic acid, which may improve skin health
- Contains cysteine, lysine and methionine — these are three of the 5 key amino acids identified as being effective at increasing hair growth
- Contain silica, which has been shown to improve health of skin and connective tissue and has been identified as a key nutrient for hair growth
- Contain resveratrol, a powerful natural antioxidant which has been shown to slow down aging due to antioxidant action on cells
- Contains Bioperine, a patented form of black pepper, which has been shown in studies to improve nutrient absorption
- Contains capsaicin (the ingredient which gives chilli peppers their heat), which has been shown to reduce male pattern baldness by increasing dermal IGF-1 — the growth factor required that seems to play an important role in hair growth
- Contains biotin, which is used by the body to transform amino acids into proteins like keratin, among other functions. It’s therefore vital for healthy hair and skin
- Contains vitamin D3 is required to regulate calcium levels and plays other important roles in hair growth. Studies show vitamin D deficiency may lead to hair loss
- Contains fish collagen. This is interesting because it’s similar to shark cartilage used in Nourkrin hair supplements. It’s what Nourkrin say makes their supplements work. However I’ve seen no research to suggest this does work. Still it’s worth a mention because there must be some reason fish/shark meat is used in hair supplements. It may be beneficial due to the amino acid content?
- Hydrolyzed Fish Collagen
- Saw Palmetto
- BCM-95® Bio-Curcumin 25:1
- Sensoril® Ashwagandha (10% Withanolides)
- Tocotrienol (Tocomax® 20%)
- Hyaluronic Acid
- L-Cysteine Hydrochloride
- Horsetail std. to 7% Silica
- Horsetail (7% Silica)
- Black Pepper (95% piperine) BioPerine®
- Red Pepper (2% capsaicin)
- Camu Camu 4:1 Extract Powder
- Vitamin D3
- Vitamin A
Advanced Technology DHT Blocker with Immune Support
$36 for 120 Capsules
This is a superb all round DHT blocker supplement. Not only does it contain a powerful blend of DHT blocker ingredients; it also contains probiotics, which help improve intestinal health and support an alkaline PH level, which may be beneficial for healthy DHT levels.It also contains the amino acid lysine, which studies show, increases hair growth. This is a top DHT blocker supplement.
- Contains saw palmetto, which has been shown to reduce DHT levels
- Contains green tea, rich in polyphenols, which has shown great promise in fighting hair loss
- Evidence suggests nettle extract helps block DHT
- Studies show grape seed extract is beneficial for hair growth
- Pygeum extract is thought to be a strong natural DHT blocker
- Pumpkin seed is a good source of alpha linoleic acid, which may help reduce DHT levels. It’s also thought to be an anti-inflammatory, which may help promote hair growth
- Zinc is a mineral which is essential for hair growth and has been shown to have several benefits on hair health
- Contains green tea extract, which studies show reduces DHT and also contains EGCG which inhibits PGD2 — a major cause of hair loss
- Zinc (as Zinc Oxide) 25mgs
- DHT Blocker Proprietary Blend 1390mgs
- Saw Palmetto Berry Extract (Standardized to contain 45% Fatty Acids) (Serenoa repens)
- Green Tea Leaf Extract (Standardized to Contain 90% Polyphenols 60% Catechins, and 45% EGCG)
- Stinging Nettle Root (Urtica dioicia)
- Grape Seed Extract (Standardized to Contain 95% Proanthocyanidins) (Vitis vinefera)
- Pygeum Bark (Pygeum africanum)
- Pumpkin Seed Extract (Curcubita maxima)
- Immune/Digestive Proprietary Blend 525mgs
- *Lactobacillus Acidophilus (15 Billion/CFU)
- Grapefruit Seed Extract (Citrus paradise)
- Chicory Root 4:1 Extract (Cichorium intybus)
ReserveAge Organics Keratin Booster
$33 for 60 Capsules
Next on our list is ReserveAge Organics Keratin Booster, which combines natural DHT blockers with keratin, a nutrient necessary for growing new hair. This supplement is a great option for people who cannot include soy or gluten in their diets, as it is soy and gluten free, as well as organic!
- Contains high levels of antioxidants, which may benefit hair growth by scavenging free radicals
- Organic ingredients are richer in minerals
- Biotin 3 mg
- Cynatine HNS (Solubilized Keratin) 500 mg
- Pro Longevity Factors Proprietary Blend 40 mg
- Organic French red grape and vine (Vitis Vinifera)
- Full Spectrum Polyphenol Profile
- USDA Certified Organic muscadine red grape
- Seed and Grape Pomace (vitis rotundifolia)
- Plant phytosterol complex 300mg
- Beta sitosterol 120mg
- Campesterol 60mg
- Stigmasterol 40mg
- Quercetin DiHydrate 20mg
- Saw palmetto extract 160mg
Hairomega 3-in-1 DHT blocker $20 for 120 Tablets
Hairomega’s DHT blocker not only blocks DHT but increases blood flow to the scalp using various polyphenols, which aid in further hair growth once the hair follicles are restored. There are even other beneficial vitamins in the pill for your overall health, making this supplement a fantastic option for a DHT blocker!
- Contains vitamins and minerals that support hair growth
- Contains several potent ingredients that are strongly believed to reduce serum DHT, including saw palmetto, pygeum, nettle, green tea and pumpkin seed
- Contains quercetin, green tea, raspberry and broccoli, which are high in antioxidants
- Contains mushrooms and herbs, which may benefit hair growth
- vitamin e
- vitamin b6
- saw palmetto extract
- pygeum africanum
- red raspberry
- green tea
- cat’s claw
- tomato powder
- stinging nettle
- maitake mushroom
- shiitake mushroom
- quercetin dihydrate
- juniper berry
- uba ursi
- buchu leaf
- glutamic acid
- pumpkin seed
- burdock root
- cayenne pepper
- gravel root
- marshmallow root
- parsley leaf
Folliform DHT Blocker for Men and Women
$29.99 for 60 Capsules
Folliform DHT Blocker uses saw palmetto, nettle root extract, green tea, pumpkin seed, pygeum extract, and zinc oxide to help with hair growth. These ingredients form a natural DHT blocker, meaning that not only will your hair grow longer, but you’ll also only be adding all-natural ingredients to your body. Many users have seen not only hair growth, but improvement in nail health as well (which is just an added bonus!)
- All the ingredients used in this supplement are strongly believed to reduce serum DHT
- Green tea contains antioxidants, which may also be beneficial for hair growth
- Saw Palmetto
- Nettle Root Extract
- Green Tea
- Pygeum Extract
- Pumpkin Seed Extract
- and Zinc Oxide
Shen Min DHT Blocker 27.99 for 60 Tablets
Shen Men DHT Blocker is an all-natural DHT supplement that uses He Shou Wu, a Chinese root that has been shown to aid in blocking DHT in the body as its primary ingredient. Users have noticed fantastic results with this product. Several users reported results within 2-3 weeks, while most seem to see them within a couple of months!
- Contains a wide variety ingredients that are strongly believed to reduce serum DHT
- Quercetin is high in antioxidants, which may be beneficial for hair growth
- He shou wu is a potent Chinese herb that is believed to stop hair loss in some individuals
- Zinc (from Zinc Arginate) 10 mg
- Selenium (from Selenium Yeast) 100 mcg
- DHT Blocker Proprietary Blend 300 mg
- Phytosterol Complex (soy)
- Saw Palmetto Extract (Serenoa repens) (berry)
- Pumpkin Extract (Cucurbita moschata) (seed)
- He Shou Wu (Fo-ti) 12:1 Powdered Extract (Polygonum multiflorum) (root) 100 mg
- Kudzu Extract (Pueraria lobata) (root) 43.75 mg
- Isoflavones 17.5 mg
- Soy Extract (Glycine max) (soy germ) 6.25 mg
- Tomato Powder
- Dibasic Calcium Phosphate
- Cellulose Gum
- Stearic Acid
- Magnesium Stearate
NuHair DHT Blocker for Men and Woman $18.99 for 42 Capsules
Like the other DHT Supplements on this list, this is an all-natural DHT blocker that uses soy, saw palmetto extract, and other natural vitamins to block the effects of DHT. Also, like Shen Min DHT Blocker, it uses He Shou Wu to suppress DHT in the body. This product not only helps people who already have bald spots, but people who have noticed that their hair is thin and lacking luster.
- Provides a good array of anti DHT ingredients
- Contains He shou wu; a potent Chinese herb that is believed to stop hair loss in some individuals
- Zinc from Zinc Arginate 10 mg
- Selenium from Selenium Yeast 100 mcg
- DHT Blocker Proprietary Blend see Product Details 300 mcg
- Water Polygonum multiflorum (root) 100 mcg
- Water Pueraria Lobata [root] 43.75 mg
- Isoflavones 17.5 mg
- Soy Extract Glycine max [soy germ]
- Isoflavones 2.5mg
- Tomato Powder
These highly rated supplements are great options for men looking for a DHT blocker in order to regrow hair. However, like with all nutritional supplements, talk to your doctor before starting any program of supplementation, as you may have a pre-existing condition or medications that may interact with the ingredients found in these supplements.
What is dihydrotestosterone inhibitor?
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is an androgen sex hormone. When testosterone combines with an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase in our body, it produces DHT. This compound may cause harm to our body, especially our scalp.
When DHT is in our scalp, it combines with an “androgen receptor” located in the hair follicles, causing the size of the follicles to become smaller, thereby thinning out our hair.
So based on this knowledge, to cure hair loss as a result of DHT production, we need to block the activities of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme. That is to say, we need a DHT blocker.
Ingredients that block DHT
Studies have shown the ingredients below may reduce DHT levels when consumed orally.
Saw palmetto comes from a palm-like plant that grows in the United States. It has been shown to inhibit the activity of 5-alpha reductase enzyme, hence it blocked producing DHT. In a study to compare the effectiveness between saw palmetto and finasterile, the researchers divided the male participants into two groups. The first group received saw palmetto for 2 years. The second group received finasterile for the same period of time. The results showed that the saw palmetto group had an increase in hair growth (1).
Nettle is a common weed that has a sting when you touch it. It has the same function as saw palmetto by blocking the activity of 5-alpha reductase enzyme, thus reducing the production of DHT (2).
Pumpkin seed oil
Pumpkin seed oil has been proven to block the activity of 5-alpha reductase enzyme and to have anti-androgenic efficacy on mice. In a clinical trial to discover the effectiveness of pumpkin seed oil for treating male patients with moderate androgenic alopecia, male patients either received pumpkin seed oil or a placebo for 6 months. The research team concluded that the group receiving pumpkin seed oil had more hair than the control group (3).
Besides the other herbs that I described above, rosemary extract is another promising candidate both to add to your diet and to cure hair loss in the long run. It works on inhibiting the 5-alpha reductase activity. A study was performed on mice which were given testosterone to cause hair loss. These mice were treated with rosemary extract. The results showed that the higher the dose of rosemary extract, the less hair loss they had (4).
Green tea can be used to treat patients with androgenic alopecia thanks to its mechanism of blocking DHT. Epigallocatechins extracted from green tea leaves had the highest 5-alpha reductase inhibitory ability (5).
Pygeum is known as African plum tree. It is believed to inhibit the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme, thus helping to treat patients with alopecia although there haven’t been any clinical trials so far (6).
An important warning about DHT blockers
If you are a man who wishes to reduce his DHT levels, remember that these supplements may reduce prostate gland size. Why is this important? If you have a prostate examination it’s important that you tell your doctor that you have been using supplements that reduce DHT levels, so that your doctor can take that into account when examining your prostate size.
References and further reading
- Rossi A, Mari E, Scarno M, Garelli V, Maxia C, Scali E, et al. Comparitive effectiveness of finasteride vs Serenoa repens in male androgenetic alopecia: a two-year study. International journal of immunopathology and pharmacology. 2012;25(4):1167-73.
- Nahata A, Dixit VK. Ameliorative effects of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) on testosterone-induced prostatic hyperplasia in rats. Andrologia. 2012;44:396-409.
- Cho YH, Lee SY, Jeong DW, Choi EJ, Kim YJ, Lee JG, et al. Effect of pumpkin seed oil on hair growth in men with androgenetic alopecia: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM. 2014;2014:549721.
- Murata K, Noguchi K, Kondo M, Onishi M, Watanabe N, Okamura K, et al. Promotion of hair growth by Rosmarinus officinalis leaf extract. Phytotherapy research : PTR. 2013;27(2):212-7.
- Jain R, Monthakantirat O, Tengamnuay P, De-Eknamkul W. Identification of a new plant extract for androgenic alopecia treatment using a non-radioactive human hair dermal papilla cell-based assay. BMC complementary and alternative medicine. 2016;16:18.
- A.G. M. Pygeum and Hair Loss 2017 [Available from: http://www.livestrong.com/article/546657-pygeum-and-hair-loss/