DHT is short for Di-hydro-testosterone. It is a sex hormone found in large amounts in men and it is believed to play a significant role in the development of male pattern baldness, also known as Androgenic Alopecia, or Androgenetic Alopecia.
Because of this link, many treatments for male pattern baldness focus on reducing DHT production or blocking it from affecting the scalp and therefore inhibiting its effects on balding and hair loss.
One of the most sought-after methods of blocking DHT is to do it naturally via DHT blocking foods. It's reasonable to think that blocking it naturally is your first priority. First, we'll talk about what DHT is, what does it do to your hair and then to our list of DHT blocker foods.
- Topical DHT Blockers: Everything You Need to Know
- What Is DHT And How to Reduce It?
- 8 Effective Ways How To Remove DHT From Scalp
How does DHT work and cause male pattern hair loss?
DHT is one of the sex hormones, also known as androgens, responsible for developing male characteristics during puberty. Among other things, it causes a deep voice, increased muscle mass and maintaining muscle mass, and increased body hair to name a few examples. After a man reaches adulthood, DHT helps maintain these characteristics and flows through the body freely in the bloodstream so it can do its job.
While DHT does certainly have its benefits, when it flows through the bloodstream and reaches the scalp, it attaches to receptors on your hair follicles and triggers them to shrink. When they shrink, they become weaker, and ultimately worse at retaining hair strands. This causes your hair to fall out.
DHT affects different men differently and its relation to hair loss depends a lot on your unique genetics. If male pattern baldness runs in your family, or you've noticed your dad or grandfather went through male pattern baldness, DHT is more likely to affect your scalp negatively and cause balding than in a man without male pattern baldness in his family. If you have noticed hair loss runs in your family, you should prioritize prevention early on for the best results and hair retention.
That's why people are seeking an effective DHT blocker.
DHT And The Hair Growth Cycle
On a healthy head of hair, each strand and follicle experiences a growth cycle that lasts between two and six years long. In each cycle, a hair strand grows from the hair follicle and when it reaches the end of the cycle, it falls out. After that, the follicle will rest without generating new hair for a few months before growing another strand and starting the cycle over again.
DHT affects the hair growth cycle by shortening it. If male pattern baldness runs in your family and you are genetically predisposed to experiencing it, the presence of DHT can shorten your hair growth cycle and weaken your follicles, ultimately causing hair to regrow thin and brittle, and fall out sooner than usual. High DHT level also lengthens the resting period in between growth cycles, so when your hair falls out faster than it can regenerate, you experience DHT hair loss.
Can you stop DHT from causing balding?
There are a plethora of treatment and prevention methods available that specifically target DHT and stop it from binding with receptors on your follicles and weakening them. DHT blockers prevent DHT from binding with receptors on your hair follicles in your scalp, while DHT inhibitors reduce your body's DHT production so less of it flows through the bloodstream and reaches follicles in the first place.
Both DHT blockers and inhibitors can be highly effective at preventing or at the very least slowing balding, and at encouraging new growth if DHT is the reason for your hair loss.
Other conditions can also cause hair loss, such as postpartum alopecia, traction alopecia, medication, trauma, grief, female pattern hair loss, autoimmune conditions, and stress.
DHT blockers and DHT inhibitors can only help if you have male pattern alopecia, which is caused by DHT and its effects on the scalp. If your hair fall is caused by anything else, DHT blockers and inhibitors will probably not help you much.
How to reduce hair loss from DHT and prevent going bald?
When it comes to slowing down or preventing hair loss caused by DHT, there are two avenues to pursue that can help you. Changes in either of these will block or inhibit DHT and enable hair to regenerate for a fuller head of hair.
What are the DHT Blocking Foods?
A DHT blocker is a compound that can help reduce the production of DHT or help stop DHT from accumulating in the scalp. There are pharmaceutical means to block DHT (including the topical medication, Finasteride) but many men around the world prefer testing out natural DHT blockers to see if they can stop their hair fall more naturally, without medication or chemicals.
As something consumed daily for your whole life, food has a heavy impact on all forms of health, including the health of your hair and scalp, and it is one of the simplest, easiest, and most effective ways to slow and even prevent male pattern balding and encourage new hair growth for a healthy, full head of hair.
DHT-blocking foods include coffee, pumpkin seed oil, sardines, cereal, flax seeds, spinach, tomato, green tea, among others, and they can naturally and effectively prevent DHT from building up in your scalp and damaging your hair follicles, causing male pattern balding.
There are a few things you can look out for in a food item that will help indicate whether it can help block DHT and prevent hair thinning.
Here's some DHT blocker food that acts as natural DHT blockers:
Leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale are rich in zinc and act as DHT blocking foods. You can also get zinc from foods like meat, shellfish, hemp seeds, squash, pumpkin, sesame seeds, nuts, cheese, milk, eggs, potatoes, dark chocolate, white mushrooms, whole grains like quinoa, rice, wheat, and oats, and legumes like peas, peanuts, soybeans, chickpeas, and lentils. Incorporating each of these as a regular feature of your diet will give your zinc levels the boost they need to effectively be natural DHT blockers.
Lycopene is another essential mineral to help reduce the effects of DHT on the scalp. Lycopene is found in abundance in guavas, beetroots, carrots, watermelon, grapefruit, papaya, red bell peppers, persimmon, asparagus, red cabbage, mangos, and tomatoes. Most purple, reddish, or orange fresh produce has lycopene. This is why it's important to 'eat the rainbow. Consuming this food regularly can help block DHT and slow or even prevent male pattern balding.
Lysine is yet another natural DHT blocking mineral you should remember to restore your hair to its former glory. Lysine can be found in flax seeds, spirulina, fenugreek, cheese, red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, soybeans, green tea, and legumes like soybeans, peas, peanuts, and lentils.
Smoothies are a fantastic and effective way to get lysine, lycopene, and zinc into your diet in abundance. Adding greens, spirulina, flax seeds, and colorful fruit will ensure you get all of these nutrients in your diet to help curb DHT-induced hair loss, among other great health benefits as a bonus!
A 2014 study found that caffeine caused hair to grow longer, and it also lengthened the growth phase of the hair growth cycle and promoted stronger hair by encouraging the production of keratin, the fibrous protein that makes up the hair. So consuming coffee and tea may fight the effects of DHT.
Using shampoos or topical treatments containing caffeine may also be beneficial. Consider homemade coffee scrubs for your scalp, and opt for coffee or tea daily to give your hair the growth boost it needs to beat hair loss.
Vitamin B6 and B12
Vitamin B12, as well as vitamin B6, can fight hair loss by improving circulation to the scalp. Circulation is a vital aspect of a healthy scalp, and that's why we offer specially designed scalp massagers to boost circulation and provide nutrients to the follicles. You can get your circulation-boosting B Vitamins from foods like fortified cereal, sardines and other fish, beef, milk and dairy, and eggs.
B vitamins are certainly worth supplementing for older people, vegans, and vegetarians, for their immune-boosting properties, but when it comes to the benefits for a healthy head of hair, it's worth supplementing already, so consider stocking up on B vitamin supplements.
Pumpkin Seed Oil
Supplementing 400mg of pumpkin seed oil has been proven to block DHT and preserve your scalp, even increasing hair density by an average of 40% in a 2014 study. If you don't want to take a supplement, consider adding pumpkin seeds to your meals for some extra crunch and a DHT-blocking boost.
Pygmeum Bark is a popular and widely used homeopathic treatment for hair loss. Most commonly known and used as an oral supplement, Pygmeum bark is derived from the African Cherry tree.
Pygmeum Bark is primarily a treatment for prostate conditions that are caused by DHT. Because of this it also has benefits for hair health. As a DHT-blocking food, Pygmeum Bark is also an effective treatment for hormone-induced hair loss and can help your scalp recover and stop losing hair.
Biotin is also known as Vitamin B-7. Also known as Vitamin H, Biotin has been shown to improve hair and nail growth. Treating hair loss effectively depends on two things: preventing hair loss, and encouraging new growth. Supplementing Biotin could be key to recovery by doing both, according to this 2015 study. This dual approach makes biotin a key food for hair loss treatment, slowing loss, and hastening growth for hair recovery.
Biotin can be found naturally in:
- nuts & nut butters.
- soybeans and other legumes.
- egg yolks.
- sweet potatoes.
Similarly, Biotin is usually found in a lot of DHT blocker shampoo on the market.
Almonds, cashews, and peanuts
Almonds, cashews, and peanuts are all rich in B vitamins and zinc which are both DHT blocking substances as discussed above. A handful of mixed nuts also makes a great healthy snack so they are a must-have pantry item if you are trying to block DHT naturally.
Carrots are not only good for healthy eyes. They are also pretty effective in reducing 5 alpha-reductase and blocking DHT. 5 alpha-reductase is the enzyme that turns testosterone into DHT. Ultimately, it's responsible for the production of DHT, and reducing your 5 alpha-reductase reduces your DHT levels, which makes for a great head of hair. Carrots are also rich in lycopene, a natural DHT blocker, so they are a great vegetable to incorporate into your diet if you're trying to slow or reduce male pattern baldness.
Tomatoes are another food item high in lycopene. With a good amount of DHT-blocking lycopene, tomatoes tackle the issue at the cause and help result in healthy hair growth and retention. They're also a key ingredient in a bunch of delicious recipes so your hair loss recovery journey doesn't have to be boring and plain!
Eggs are more infamous for their high protein content, but they're also a great source of vitamins and minerals, particularly lysine, which is another DHT-blocker derived from food. Keep your protein intake up and simultaneously reduce your hair loss with a regular egg recipe in your diet.
Bananas are chock full of biotin and they also help prevent DHT from forming from testosterone by reducing your 5 alpha-reductase levels. Bananas are also super-rich in potassium, which increases blood circulation to the scalp and helps bring more nutrients and oxygen to the follicles. Bananas also help maintain healthy DHT levels by helping you develop a healthy gut and prevent your body from overproducing DHT. Bananas are your go-to DHT blocking food! Keep some in your pantry!
Mangoes are another great source of Lycopene, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E, all of which help fight hair loss by blocking DHT and soothing inflammation respectively. Lycopene blocks DHT while Vit C and Vit E soothe the scalp and reduce inflammation for healthy and happy hair.
Oysters are more well known as an aphrodisiac, but they also help your scalp recover from male pattern baldness. Oysters are super-rich in Zinc, especially when consumed raw as they retain their nutrients with less cooking. They also have a lot of Potassium and Magnesium, both of which improve circulation to help deliver nutrients to the hair follicle of the scalp.
Oysters also provide a suite of other vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy hair including Phosphorus, Copper, Calcium, Selenium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. Like bananas, oysters are a hair health superfood you should consider eating more frequently.
Turmeric, Ashwagandha, Shatavari, and Jatamansi
Turmeric, Ashwagandha, Shatavari, and Jatamansi are all-powerful superfoods that are natural anti-inflammatories, immune-boosters, hormone regulators. As such, they provide much-needed balance to the male hormone and can help slow male pattern balding by regulating DHT production. They are fantastic and simple additions to smoothies so you can get your fill easily and deliciously with minimal nutrient loss from cooking.
What medications can you take to block DHT?
Finasteride is a pharmaceutically developed medication proven to be highly effective at blocking DHT and reducing, even reversing male pattern balding. Finasteride molecules bind to the receptors on the hair follicle that DHT binds to triggering the tightening of the follicles. By binding to those receptors, Finasteride prevents DHT from doing so and causing further hair loss.
Minoxidil is another hair loss medication. Unlike Finasteride, it doesn't block DHT, but it helps the scalp recover from DHT-induced hair loss by encouraging regeneration and new growth. When used in combination with Finasteride, Minoxidil will have incredible effects on your hair loss recovery journey.
Stimulating hair growth with Scandinavian Biolabs
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DHT is responsible for hair loss for 66% of men, but it can be treated with DHT-blocking foods and a healthy and diverse diet, DHT-blocking medication, scalp massage, and our specially formulated anti-hair loss hair care routine. Through understanding DHT and its connection to hair loss, specialists have found ways to biohack hair loss through DHT-blocking foods, so you can recover from hair loss one mouthful at a time.
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Cho Y H, Lee S Y, Jeong D W, Choi E J, Kim Y J, Lee J G, Y H Yi, & H S Cha. "Effect of Pumpkin Seed Oil on Hair Growth in Men with Androgenetic Alopecia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial" in Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014; 2014: 549721. Published online 2014 Apr 23. DOI: 10.1155/2014/549721. PMCID: PMC4017725 PMID: 24864154. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4017725/
"Top 12 Foods That Are High In Vitamin B-12", Arlene Semeco. Healthline, 2020. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-b12-foods#2.-Clams