A healthy diet, low in fat and high in fiber, fresh fruit, and vegetables, can have a major role in inhibiting hair loss associated with aging and genetics. In Asian countries, where vegetables are prevalent in standard dietary practices, pattern type hair loss is rarely observed. Botanically-based nutrients may prevent hair follicles from entering a permanent dormant state. Nutritional supplements can provide some benefit.
Comprehensive Multi-nutrient Formula
A comprehensive multi-nutrient formula containing a unique combination of vegetable, fruit and herbal extracts, as well as amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and special antioxidants is essential in maintaining healthy cells via physiological processes separate from traditional antioxidants. Consumption of these types of nutrients is based upon research from prestigious medical centers.
A United States patent has been issued for L-lysine (an amino acid) for treatment of various types of hair loss, including androgenetic alopecia. L-lysine inhibits 5-alpha-reductase.33
Hair follicles use nitric oxide to maintain and promote new hair growth. L-arginine is required to produce nitric oxide.34
Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) is a palm-like plant that is native to North America. An extract derived from saw palmetto berries contains fatty acids and sterols. Saw palmetto is commonly used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia because it inhibits testosterone’s action on the prostate. Extracts of saw palmetto block 5-alpha-reductase, reduce DHT uptake by follicles, and block binding of DHT to androgen receptors. The liposterolic extract of saw palmetto combined with beta-sitosterol (a phytosterol common to many plants and grains) produced marked improvement.35
Green Tea Extract
Topical agents such as finasteride inhibit type II 5-alpha-reductase in hair follicles. Agents from tea (catechins, [-]epigallocatechin-3-gallate and [-]epicatechin-3-gallate) affect type I 5-alpha-reductase activity responsible for converting testosterone to DHT. All tea is derived from the same plant species, but types and varieties differ according to where and how the plants are grown and how the tea is produced. Catechins in green tea leaves are more potent. Black pekoe is allowed to dry and ferment, but green tea is not, thereby preserving catechin integrity.36
Proanthocyanidins and Procyanidins
Proanthocyanidins and procyanidins (specifically OPC’s, oligomeric proanthocyanidins) are a class of flavonoids found in woody plants. Two common sources of OPC’s are grape seeds (Vitis vinifera) and white pine (Pinus maritima, P. pinaster). Procyanidin B-2 and procyanidin B-3, which directly stimulate epithelial cell growth and check the growth-inhibiting effect caused by TGF-beta2, are of specific interest. Supplementing with 100 to 200 mg proanthocyanidins daily in the form of OPC’s from grape seed extract is suggested for adults.37
Bio-enhanced Tocotrienol Complex
Using a supplement with tocotrienols can be pivotal in addressing the various physiological mechanisms that lead to thinning hair.38 A natural, orally administered, bio-enhanced tocotrienol complex can be taken to support youthful hair thickness and growth. In an unpublished study involving 30 volunteers who took tocotrienol supplements for eight months, nearly all the subjects showed significant improvement in hair thickness and density.38
Complementary Topical Treatment
Dr. Peter Proctor has developed a unique, non-prescription, multi-ingredient hair formula for balding. Dr. Proctor's formula includes 3-carboxylic acid pyridine-N-oxide (NANO, known as "natural" minoxidil), with natural hair protection and the following hair growth agents: endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF) enhancers, SODs, and free-radical scavengers. Zinc sulfate and copper peptides are anti-androgens enhancing production of EDRF.39,40 This liquid product, which may be used as a shampoo, can be applied to the scalp as follows: eight to ten drops once or twice daily on thinning areas
For a really serious hair loss problem, you may need to try Dr. Proctor's most potent formula, which contains an array of natural hair growth protectors combined with several drugs compounded into a cream. This European hair formula is available by prescription and contains topical anti-androgens which increase EDRF levels and oxygen free radical scavengers. These agents are combined with the following drugs: Minoxidil, phenytoin (dilantin), tretinoin (Retin-A) and spironolactone. The European hair formula is available by prescription from a compounding pharmacy. Call (713) 960-1616 for details.