Oxidative stress, and its associated inflammation, is considered to be a more direct cause of Androgenetic hair loss, than DHT per se, which simply initiates an inflammatory, hair follicle miniaturizing process in those genetically predisposed. According to this just published study and other data, effectively neutralizing oxidative stress in the hair follicle could provide a viable treatment/prevention strategy for Androgenetic (MPB) and other types of hair loss. As we have featured in prior updates, there are several studies that validate the effects of oxidative stress on MPB.

      This paper identifies a specific transcription factor, Nuclear Factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (NRF-2), that when activated, stabilizes oxidative stress, and counters Androgenetic Alopecia (MPB). Since NRF2 has now been identified in the human hair follicle, the positive effects on hair growth of these compounds can be more clearly elucidated. 

Bioessays. 2017 Jul 7. 

Oxidative stress management in the hair follicle: Could targeting NRF2 counter age-related hair disorders and beyond?

Jadkauskaite L, Coulombe PA, Schafer M, Dinkova-Kostova AT, Paus R , Haslam IS.


      Widespread expression of the transcription factor, nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (NRF2), which maintains redox homeostasis, has recently been identified in the hair follicle (HF). Small molecule activators of NRF2 may therefore be useful in the management of HF pathologies associated with redox imbalance, ranging from HF greying and HF ageing via androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata to chemotherapy-induced hair loss. Indeed, NRF2 activation has been shown to prevent peroxide-induced hair growth inhibition. Multiple parameters can increase the levels of reactive oxygen species in the HF, for example melanogenesis, depilation-induced trauma, neurogenic and autoimmune inflammation, toxic drugs, environmental stressors such as UV irradiation, genetic defects and aging-associated mitochondrial dysfunction. In this review, the potential mechanisms whereby NRF2 activation could prove beneficial in treatment of redox-associated HF disorders are therefore discussed.

      There are multiple components of our hair loss treatment recommendations, some longstanding, that function as particularly potent NRF2 activators.


      We were apprised years ago by a rather adamant to say the least, Durk Pearson ( Author of Life Extension: A Practical Scientific Approach) that anti-oxidants had, among many health benefits, a significantly positive effect on human hair growth. In 2011 we became aware of the pivotal role of NRF2 activation as a mechanism of action. Subsequent research has revealed that polyphenolic compounds, such as those found in Resveratrol, Green Tea Extract, Grape Seed Extract, and Curcumin, Tocotrienols, along with Caratenoids such as Astaxanthin, all have the ability to activate this transcription factor. As you are likely aware, we have been recommending all of these as interventions for hair loss for several years. When activated by any of these compounds, NRF2 can initiate the endogenous production of high levels of key protective/antioxidant enzymes, protecting the hair follicle from inflammation and miniaturization.

      Here are some studies, among many, confirming the activation effects of these natural compounds on NRF2. 





Green Tea Extract

      This just released study strongly reinforces our prior recommendations to utilize some or all of these compounds in any hair loss intervention. If using just one or two, it would appear that the combination of Resveratrol and Super BioCurcumin, is particularly potent at addressing oxidation, and inflammation, both androgenetic and when exacerbated by acute stress. I personally use all of them, and may consider moderately increasing my intake. In addition to the benefits for hair growth, NRF2 activation has positive implications for anti-aging, cancer prevention, and overall health.