Supplements have been around for decades, everything from muscle building to sleep can be treated with the aid of supplementation. However, in recent years there has been an upward trend of buying supplements to treat hair loss. The supplements usually contain similar ingredients such as different vitamins, minerals and herbs. In this article, we will go over what causes hair loss and whether supplements can help treat the hair loss.
What Causes Hair Loss?
In order to understand whether a supplement will work to treat hair loss, the hair loss sufferer must first understand what kind of hair loss they are experiencing. There are several forms of hair loss, but the most popular form of hair loss is by far androgenic alopecia (genetic hair loss). Individuals who suffer from male and female pattern baldness inherit a gene that causes certain hair follicles to be vulnerable to the effects of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is the main hormone responsible for causing hair loss.
How Can Supplements Help?
Unfortunately, most hair supplements don't really treat genetic hair loss, because they only promote hair growth. In general, supplements do nothing more than possibly making the hair look healthier. However, they do not stop DHT from binding to the hair follicle receptors, which is how the hair follicle shrinks and dies eventually. Now there are some supplements that contain supposed "DHT blockers" however, most of these supplements contain Saw Palmetto, which has been around for decades with little to no success in treating genetic hair loss. With that said, some individuals may benefit from hair supplementation if they are suffering from certain vitamin and mineral deficincies like iron or biotin.
What Actually Works?
Currently, there are two hair loss treatments that have been approved by the FDA to treat androgenic alopecia. The medications are Propecia (finasteride) and Rogaine (minoxidil), these treatments have been clinically proven to be effective. Propecia (finasteride) is a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, the 5-alpha reductase enzyme is responsible for converting testosterone in to DHT through the blood stream. Propecia can inhibit up to 70% of DHT in the body thus slowing, stopping and even reversing hair loss in some individuals. Rogaine (minoxidil) is a topical vasodilator, it increases blood flow and prolongs the anagen (growth) phase of the hair follicle, which means that there are more terminal hair follicles on the head at any given time. Both of these treatments work best when used in tandem.
Written and published by,
Melvin- Editorial Assistant and Forum Co-Moderator for the Hair Transplant Network and The Coalition of Independent Hair Restoration Physicians
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