DHT is unfortunately not the only hormonal player in androgenetic hair loss. If it were that simple we could all take Propecia or Avodart and go home looking like Brad Pitt, albeit possibly depressed, and with reduced libido.
Androstenedione, and an age related elevated systemic Estrogen, with its effects on insulin resistance and inflammation play pivotal roles as well.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you likely know that finasteride, (Propecia) was approved to treat MPB in 1998, and is a lower dose of the prostate drug, Proscar, which was approved in 1992 to treat BPH, or prostate enlargement. You probably know that finasteride works by lowering blood levels of dht between 65% – 70%, and at least stops hair loss in the majority of users and grows a modicum (rarely cosmetically significant) of users. In fairness, it is a pretty good hair retention agent.
You’re likely familiar with some of, but not all the side effects. The sexual side effects include, but are not limited to significant reductions in libido and volume of ejaculate, and erectile dysfunction. The Physician’s Desk Reference, (PDR), states that these side effects occur in less than 2% of the users and are transient. Keep in mind that the data provided for the PDR comes from the company that produces Propecia. Real world feedback suggests that the incidence of these sexual side effects, in varying degrees, is significantly higher. Other lesser known side effects include Gynocomastia, along with depression, anxiety, and cognitive dysfunction, due to its apparently damaging effect on the neurosteroid, Pregnenolone. Its negative effects on mood and cognition are not stated in the PDR, but are well documented in the medical literature.
There are several side effect free, evidence based ways to inhibit 5 alpha reductase , lower serum dht, and additionally inhibit androgen binding, that unlike Propecia and Avodart , do not cause sexual side effects via a concomitant increase in estrogen or neurological/psychiatric side effects. In fact, these measures have anti-aging and longevity implications that go well beyond prostate function, hair growth and hair loss prevention.
Fortunately we have a compound that combines these multiple components into one simple, two capsules a day treatment, giving benefits to health and hair that is light years ahead of Propecia. This compound, though named the “Ultra Natural Prostate Formula” addresses androgenetic alopecia on a number of fronts.
One of its primary ingredients is the critical extract of Sernoa repens, or Saw Palmetto. Saw Palmetto has been around for years, with variable reports as to its effectiveness. Keep in mind that finasteride was considered ineffective for hair loss by most users when it came out in ’92 because it’s effects for most don’t even began to manifest prior to 6 months or longer.
There are also largely unknown issues with the extraction process of Saw Palmetto that impact its efficacy. The standard chemical processes and low-pressure techniques often used to extract the saw palmetto berry’s bioactive ingredients paradoxically destroy many of them. An advanced high-pressure CO2 extraction technology, patented by Indena for the treatment of hair loss, has been developed that delivers intact a far greater proportion of saw palmetto’s beneficial, high molecular-weight compounds. The result is a carotenoid-rich extract that most closely reflects the composition of mature saw palmetto berries compared to typical saw palmetto extracts. Carotenoids have demonstrated protective effects against various androgen mediated disorders.
Highly-purified saw palmetto extracts provide benefits by blocking DHT production and inhibiting androgen binding to receptor sites. Compelling new evidence suggests that these same hormonal effects block and even partially reverse hair loss in men with common male pattern baldness!
In 2002, a group of leading-edge scientists recognized that saw palmetto’s DHT-binding inhibition properties might help in male pattern baldness. In a placebo-controlled, double-blind study, 60% of men receiving the active supplement showed significant improvement. A follow-up study suggests that in conjunction with adjunctive oral anti-inflammatory compounds, saw palmetto may reduce expression of inflammatory genes in hair follicle cells, slashing hair loss risk. The oral combination of Resveratrol and Curcumin has been shown to have specific anti-inflammatory effects in MPB, and quickly ameliorate stress related hair loss, caused by what is termed “Neurogenic Inflammation.”
The causes of male pattern baldness are complex. In addition to the shrinkage of hair follicles accelerated by higher DHT levels,sustained microscopic inflammation of hair follicles and remodeling of connective tissue, (fibrosis) may contribute to making hair loss permanent. Saw palmetto has demonstrated significant reduction of inflammatory markers. Thus, if used before hair loss is advanced, saw palmetto may be an option for addressing the underlying causes of male pattern baldness.
Inhibition of 5 -reductase in genital skin fibroblasts and prostate tissue by dietary lignans and isoflavonoids
B A J Evans, K Griffiths and M S Morton
Isoflavonoids and lignans, constituents of many plant foods, have been proposed as protective agents in those populations with a low incidence of hormone-dependent cancers. They may act by their inhibition of the metabolism of growth-promoting steroid hormones. This report describes the inhibition of 5 -reductase and 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase by six isoflavonoids and two lignans in human genital skin fibroblast monolayers and homogenates, and in benign prostatic hyperplasia tissue homogenates. In genital skin fibroblasts, genistein, biochanin A and equol were the most potent inhibitors of 5 -reductase activity, each resulting in greater than 80% inhibition at a concentration of 100 µm. The IC50 values for genistein and a seven-compound mixture were approximately 35 µm and 20 µm (2•9 µm of each compound) respectively. Of the lignans, enterolactone was the most potent inhibitor. Inhibition by biochanin A was shown to be reversible. When genital skin fibroblast homogenates were used, biochanin A was found to inhibit 5 -reductase isozymes 1 and 2 to differing extents (30% and 75% respectively). Genistein was shown to inhibit 5 -reductase 2 in a non-competitive nature (Vmax and Km values without and with inhibitor were 30 and 20 pmol/mg protein per h and 177 and 170 nm respectively). All of the compounds tested inhibited 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase activity in genital skin fibroblast monolayers. When prostate tissue homogenates were used, the compounds tested were better inhibitors of 5 -reductase 1 than 2. It is possible that a life-long dietary exposure to these lignans and isoflavonoids may have a significant influence on the development of hormone-dependent tumours
Enterolactone such as that derived from Norway spruce and Flax lignans acts via numerous mechanisms to benefit aging men’s health. Androstenedione, and increasing estrogen levels in aging men are believed to implicated in the development of both benign prostate enlargement, prostate cancer, and androgenetic alopecia. Enterolactone functions via several mechanisms to reduce estrogen levels and downregulate Androstenedione.
Enterolactone inhibits the aromatase and 17 beta hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase enzymes that are responsible for converting testosterone into estradiol (a potent estrogen), and raising androstenedione levels. By inhibiting the aromatase enzyme, aging men can reduce excess estrogen while simultaneously increasing beneficial free testosterone.
The other well known enzyme involved in male pattern baldness and malignant prostate disease is 5-alpha reductase. The 5-alpha reductase enzyme converts beneficial testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a potent metabolite. DHT provokes an inflammatory and catabolic effect on the hair follicle matrix.
Enterolactones have been shown to inhibit 5-alpha reductase, reducing levels of DHT, which causes significant prostate discomfort and male pattern hair loss in those genetically predisposed. Not surprisingly, researchers have recently discovered that plant-derived lignans both treat hair loss and help relieve the symptoms of enlarged prostate in men.
Nettle Root Exract, has also been found by researcher R. Hartmann to inhibit both the 5 alpha reductase and aromatase enzymes. Combining Nettle Root Extract with Pygeum Extract has been shown to more effectively inhibit these two enzymes than either one alone.
Supplemental Lycopene interferes with peripheral androgen activation by down regulating 5 alpha reductase, according to Dr Jacqueline .Limpens. As a consequence the activation of androgen related target genes is also reduced.
5 Lipoxygenase is a member of the lipoxygenase family of enzymes. It transforms Essential Fatty Acids, (EFAs) into leukotrienes (fatty molecules of the immune system that contribute to the inflammation seen in MPB ) and is a current target for pharmaceutical interventions and patents in a number of diseases, including Androgenetic Alopecia. Minocycline, an antibiotic with well known hair growth effects is a 5 Lox inhibitor, as is “5 Loxin”, an extract of Boswellia, a bioactive plant compound used in Ayurvedic medicine for a variety of inflammation mediated disorders.
The Advanced Ultra Natural Prostate formula provides scientifically validated standardized plant extracts that have been shown to comprehensively address the multiple hormonal and to some degree, inflammatory facets of hair loss, and promote hair growth via several mechanisms. No other formula provides such a broad array of components to address the multifaceted androgenic and estrogenic factors involved in preventing hair loss and maintaining healthy hair growth.
Each 2 capsule serving contains:
USPlus® Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) CO2 DeepExtract™ (fruit) [std to 85%-95% total fatty acids and sterols (272 mg)]
Cernitin® Flower Pollen Extract (Secale cereale L.)
5-LOXIN® (Boswellia serrata) extract (gum resin) [std. to acetyl-11-keto-ß-boswellic acid (AKBA) minimum 30% (21 mg)]
Stinging nettle extract (Urtica dioica) (root)
Pygeum (Pygeum africanum) extract (bark) [std. to 11.7% sterols as beta-sitosterol (11.7 mg)]
Lycopene (from tomato extract)
Phytosterol Complex [std. to 59% free total sterols (400 mg) and 26.6% free beta-sitosterol (180mg)]
Proprietary Enterolactone Precursors Blend HMRlignan™ Norway spruce (Picea abies) standardized lignan extract (knot wood); ActiFlax™ Flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) standardized SDG lignan extract (seed)
Boron (from boron citrate, glycinate, and aspartate)
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) extract
Other ingredients: gelatin, glycerin, pumpkin seed oil, purified water, lecithin, beeswax.
*There is some evidence to suggest that Saw Palmetto is slightly more effective if taken in a singular dose as opposed to divided doses. You may want to consider taking the recommended two capsule dose of Ultra Natural Prostate Formula at the same time of day.