Hair loss prevention and regrowth - without sacrificing your sex drive or gains in the gym - Part 2
Pharmocological Hair Regrowth Products
Minoxil 2 – 15 %
Minoxidil was first used exclusively as an oral drug (trade name Loniten) to treat high blood pressure. It was, however, discovered to have an interesting side-effect. Minoxidil may cause increased growth or darkening of fine body hairs
One study in healthy males aged 18–50 years with androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness) found that compared to a baseline of 103 to 106 hairs/cm2, those who applied a 5% solution of minoxidil for 32 weeks increased their non-vellus hair counts by an average of 39 hairs/cm2, in contrast to 5 hairs/cm2 in subjects who received a placebo.
Minoxil is uslually delivered in a topical gel or foam and applied directly to those areas affected by hair loss.
After reading a lot of hair loss forums and minoxil reviews, it is apparent that an accumulation of approximately 100 new hairs would be considered a success. Usually after minoxil treatment ceases, the new hairs gained are lost anyway.
OTC Hair Regrowth Products
Vitamin E / Tocotrienols
Tocotrienol, a form of vitamin E, is a potent anti-oxidant and has been found useful in combating many health problems.
Although it has not been thoroughly studied, some promising research has highlighted how Vitamin E may be beneficial in hair regrowth and hair loss cessation.
Capsaicin / Isoflavone
In 2007, Harada et al. tested the hair growth response to oral capsaicin and isoflavone supplementation in humans.
As IGF-I is produced in the dermal papilla (group of cells that form the structure directly below the hair follicle), it may stimulate proliferation and follicle growth. Both capsaicin and the phytoestrogen isoflavone increase follicle IGF-I. The human part of the study used 48 subjects: 34 with androgenic alopecia (19 males, 15 females), 13 with alopecial totalis (6 males, 6 females), and 1 with alopecia areata (1 female). Some subjects received 6mg of capsaicin and 75mg isoflavone per day for 5 months, while others received a placebo. In all of the subjects receiving the capsaicin + isoflavone, serum IGF-I was increased after 5 months. 64.5% overall showed regrowth, while it was effective in 88% of subjects with androgenic alopecia.
OTC DHT Inhibitors
Saw Palmetto is an over the counter (OTC) supplement which has shown promise in reducing systemic DHT and has been used in the treatment of benign prostate hypotrophy (BPH) for a number of years.
Nizoral shampoos active ingredient is ketoconazole which is marketed as an anti-fungal and dandruff treatment. It is thought to displace DHT from receptors in your scalp, BUT also selectively displaces steroidal nuclei (read: DHT, test, estradiol, etc) from SHBGs (8). With that considered (in the context of our proposed pathology of hair loss) Nizoral is an excellent tool. Not only has it been shown to inhibit DHT in the scalp, BUT also estradiol - the likely bigger culprit as we have learned.
OTC Aromatise Inhibitors
Remember it's probable that hair loss follows that of prostate pathology? It is the interaction of SHGB, estrogen and IGF-1 that increases DHT receptors in the scalp.
IF we have to choose which one to inhibit, estrogen is the easiest and least risky (and far less anti-anabolic) than reducing DHT. Reducing e2 too much does have its own set of risks also; your overall health and libido can suffer (as well as your joints). The key is managing your estrogen to keep it in the low normal range (or the lower end of normal).
There can be no hard and fast rules here, each person will react differently to the reduction of estrogen, so with any aromatase inhibitor start on the lower end of the recommended dose and increase or decrease as necessary.
Here some over the counter options available in Australia:
Brassaiopsis glumerulata is the ingredient which provides this product with oomph. The scientific data that we currently have available, suggests that this particular shrub (extracts found there in) is a potent aromatise inhibitor.
Arimedex HD contains the following ingredient which is of importance:
(3s, 4s)-4-[(3, 4- dimethoxyphenyl)methyl] -3-hydroxy-3-[[3-methoxy-4- [(2s,3r, 4s,5r,6r) -3,4,5-trihydroxy-6-(hydroxymethyl) oxan-2-yl]oxy-phenyl]methyl] oxolan-2-one.
This is simply the seeds of the safflower – scientific name Carthamus tinctorius. Safflower seeds contain a lignan that blocks the effect of estradiol. The compound that does this is tracheloside. The substance itself does nothing to estradiol-sensitive cells, but reduces the effect of the hormone. The more tracheloside, the less effect the estradiol has.
Resveratrol is a well known compound originally identified in red wine. It is well known by many specifically for its properties on anti-aging. Recent data though has turned our eyes towards its potential to both decrease estrogen and enhance testosterone levels. It may do this in two ways. First, it may be a potent anti-aromatise, meaning it may actually help to block the enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen. In studies, resveratrol has been shown to repress the transcription of genes that encode for aromatise. At the same time, it is both a competitive and non-competitive inhibitor of aromatise with potent properties. It is also a natural estrogen blocker – potentially binding to the receptors and inhibiting its activity.
Ok, so we have learnt that to reduce, reverse or regrow your hair you have a number of different options. We can inhibit DHT systemically though over the counter DHT inhibitors, or topically with Nizoral (preferred). We can reduce estrogen or try other, lesser known substances.
So what would the stacking deck look like for the bodybuilding individual?
Nizoral 2% M, W, F (leave on for as long as possible)
Nizoral will displace DHT at the scalp (where it is most effective) – as well as estrogen! This leaves our serum DHT largely untouched (good), and reduced estrogen which could be used to create more DHT receptors. (8)
Toco 8 – 1 serving everyday
This supplement / vitamin E has a host of benefits, the fact it has shown some promise in the regrowth of hair (without DHT disruption) makes it a worthy addition.
Triazole – qd
This product is an effective AI. It will probably be unlikely that you’ll be able to afford to run this everyday of your life (we wouldn’t recommend this anyway), but if you run it periodically it will certainly be of assistance).
This vitamin is being shown to do more and more things. The fact that it has anti oestrogen properties means it is an invaluable addition to this stack (or any bodybuilding stack for that matter).
I3C – 400mg qd
Estrogen receptors are located on the surface of virtually every type of tissue in the human body. I3C has been show to be an effective estrogen channelling agent. This means that it will reduce results in less toxic oestrogen metabolites in the circulation. Although this might not be strong enough to result in long term reduction of serum e2, this is a product which could probably be used everyday of your life without complications.
To return to Part 1 of this Article, click here.
Androgenetic alopecia: an autosomal dominant disorder.
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Ketoconazole Inhibition of Testicular Secretion of Testosterone and Displacement of Steroid Hormones from Serum Transport Proteins