Propecia does have a reasonably well documented, positive effect on hair growth. The problem is, as most of you know, it causes side effects for many, including, but limited to reduced Libido, Sexual Dysfunction, Anxiety and Depression. These occur at a incidence that is well above the 2% reported by Merck and noted in the PDR. In fact many Dermatologists and Urologists ( who prescribe Proscar) feel pronounced side effects invariably occur in about 1 in 3 users, and subtle side effects in a slight majority of users. The lengthy subject of the current state of the seemingly ever expanding array and incidence of Propecia side effects will be the subject of a forthcoming update.
It has been assumed by many for years that the only Natural Propecia alternative was Saw Palmetto. This assumption is over-simplistic and largely false-Saw Palmetto, doesn't even share the mechanism as Propecia. Propecia produces hair growth effects by lowering plasma/serum levels of DHT by about 65%, while Saw Palmetto mildly inhibits DHT from binding to receptor sites, (which also produces hair growth effects to a lesser degree).
More recent research has conclusively identified several side effect free natural and combination compounds that not only lower plasma/ serum and follicular DHT, but confer an array of anti-aging health benefits as well.
Saw Palmetto Phytosterols in combination with Astaxanthin:Research conducted by Triarco, an American Biotech company, found that this combination not only lowers serum DHT, but Estrogen as well. In addition it was found to raise Testosterone, giving a multi-hormonal benefit for both hair growth, libido, and overall health. Triarco, an American biotech company, patented this combination, and made it available under the name Alphastat. This combination by be readily replicated and enhanced by using more recently formulated critical extracts of Saw Palmetto Phytosterols, such as those found in the Ultra Natural Prostate Formula, along with Astaxanthin that is compounded with phospholipids that dramatically improve its bioavailability.
Soy Isoflavones:Several studies have shown both dietary Soy, and even moreso, Soy Isoflavones, to have a documented DHT reducing effect. Studies done in mammal models have shown that human equivilant of of 225 mg of concentrated Soy Isoflavones consumed daily will drop serum DHT by about 60%, and RAISE Testosterone in a dose dependent manner. Soy Isoflavones have documented anti-aging effects on skin as well.
Soy Isoflavones in combination with Green Tea Extract:One well desigened animal study found that Soy Isoflavones COMBINED with Green Tea Extract lowered serum DHT by 80%, producing a synergistic effect that was greater for reducing DHT levels versus Propecia or Soy Isoflavones alone. Interestingly, this combination, unlike Soy Isoflavones alone, did not produce a concurrent rise in Testosterone.
Black Tea (Theaflavin) Extract:Studies in both humans and animals have documented the ability of Theaflavins to reduce serum/plasma DHT, reduce Estrogen and raise Testosterone, with a noted increases in libido and male function. Its ability to lower DHT levels by 72% are almost identical to that of Proscar,( a higher dose of finasteride of 5mg, vs 1 mg finasteride for Propecia) and superior to that of Propecia, which lowers serum DHT by 65%. Unlike either Proscar or Propecia, both Theaflavins and Green Tea Extract also provide additional anti-inflammation effects that are beneficial for hair.
Although Saw Palmetto by itself is documented to have hair growth effects (albeit slightly less than Propecia), it is documented in published studies that there are several other compounds that safely lower DHT levels , and additionally confer health and anti-aging benefits.
If you are rightfully concerned about the ever increasing side effect profile of Propecia, be assured, there are several viable alternatives to consider.
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