When inquiring as to diet and its effects on hair loss, you’ll typically be told, especially by doctors, that a balanced diet is important to avoid any nutrient deficiencies that could lead to hair loss, but that diet per se, has no impact on hormone related hair loss. As opposed to wasting your time and insulting your intelligence with this inane answer, I will identify and rank order several, readily available, dietary components that can likely, based upon their identified mechanisms of action, significantly alter the course and progression of Androgenetic Alopecia. Integrating these health promoting dietary components into ones existing treatment regime, be it Natural or Pharmaceutical, will likely provide an added benefit
1. Coconut Oil– contains a significant quantity of Lauric Acid, which has been shown to down regulate DHT. One study in rats showed that dietary Coconut Oil shrank enlarged prostate glands equally as well as those receiving Saw Palmetto Extract. Another study showed Lauric Acid to be the most potent 5 alpha reductase inhibitor of several fatty acids analyzed. In addition to its anti-DHT effects, Coconut Oil has many documented health benefits, including improved insulin management, and the reduction of cholesterol and abdominal adiposity,(belly fat).
Recommendation: 2-3 tablespoons a day of Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, available in any health food store.
2. Flax Meal– Secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG), the main flax lignan, inhibits production of the enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT, called 5-alpha reductase. A small study by Acatris showed 90% of men with hair loss taking 50 mg of an SDG supplement showed an improvement in their hair growth after 6 months of usage. A reduction in sebum emission was also observed, further validating its anti-DHT properties. 50 mg of SDG can easily be obtained by consuming 1 tablespoon of Flax meal a day.
Recommendation: 2- 3 tablespoons a day of ground Flax Meal, not oil, as Flax Oil easily oxidizes and is a relatively poor source of lignans.
3. Soy Isoflavones– the ingestion of even a modest amount of Soy Protein results in the reduction of serum DHT. A meta analysis of published studies showed that Soy or Soy Isoflavone consumption had no effect whatsoever on testosterone levels in men, for those who are concerned about its feminizing potential in men. Soy’s effects on lowering DHT were significantly more pronounced, resulting in a 82% reduction, when Soy is combined with Green Tea.
Recommendation: consume either non GMO Soy Milk, Soy Protein, or for maximum DHT reduction effects, a Soy Isoflavone supplement combined with a Green Tea Extract supplement, daily.
4. Sea Vegetables– the best natural source of iodine. When the thyroid gland is functioning to its fullest capacity, metabolism is speeded up , which has a favorable effect on the quality and growth of hair. Iodine has a direct stimulating action of the activity of the thyroid gland. Slow, or hypothyroidism is epidemic, and implicated in hair loss. Unless severe, it can be readily corrected by the addition of a small amount of Sea Vegetables in one’s diet. Iodine is regularly used to increase wool production in sheep.
Recommendation: Dried Nori, other sea vegetable, or sea vegetable iodine supplement, such as kelp, daily.