What Is a DHT Blocker and What Does It Do?
Normal levels of DHT promotes the production of facial, axillary, pubic, and body hair13 whereas excessive levels of DHT can contribute to baldness and prostate problems in men and female pattern hair loss in women. Using DHT blockers may help return your DHT levels to normal and allow your hair to regrow. Through extensive research our doctors have put together a list of the top 12 natural dht blockers. Read more to learn how these dht blockers work.
12 Best Natural DHT Blockers
1. Saw Palmetto
Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) is a small palm tree native to Florida and other areas of the southeastern United States. Today, saw palmetto is one of the most popular and best herbal DHT blockers in the country and is available in many forms including powders and extracts. The most potent form of saw palmetto is the extract which means that the active ingredient in saw palmetto has been concentrated.
Saw palmetto is thought to inhibit 5-alpha reductase in tissues from producing DHT. 4,22
2. Stinging Nettle
Stinging nettle, which is also known as nettle root, is commonly used as an alternative treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia. In one study, male rats that had excess DHT were given components of stinging nettle root as a treatment. Because excess DHT causes prostate enlargement in males, if stinging nettle works it would reduce prostate enlargement.
Researchers measured their progress based on ratios of body weight to prostate size, levels of serum testosterone, and prostate-specific antigen levels. Results showed improvements in all categories.
Stinging nettle may work by inhibiting the 5-alpha reductase enzyme that produces DHT while maintaining levels of testosterone to reduce hair loss.5
3. Pumpkin Seed Oil
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 76 male subjects who had varying forms of androgenetic alopecia were given a placebo or 400 milligrams of pumpkin seed oil every day for 24 weeks. Researchers evaluated their subjects throughout the clinical trial based on scalp hair count, scalp hair thickness, standardized clinical photographs, and patient self-assessment scores.
At the end of the 24-week period, those who had taken pumpkin seed oil showed higher self-rated satisfaction and improvement scores and had more hair than those who took the placebo. Those who took pumpkin seed oil also showed a 40 percent increase in average hair count, while the placebo group showed just a 10 percent increase.
Pumpkin seed oil still requires further study to determine specific mechanisms of action, but it’s understood that the oil contains phytosterols that can inhibit 5-alpha reductase to keep DHT levels in check.6
Lycopene is a pigment compound known as carotenoid. It acts as a powerful antioxidant, meaning that it can neutralize free radicals that can cause damage to cells and DNA.7
Studies show that lycopene may also help to control levels of DHT and the production of insulin-like growth factors in the epithelial cells of the prostate. This can help to improve hair growth and support prostate health.8
Lycopene can be found in:
- Pink guava
In American diets, tomatoes are the most common lycopene-rich dht blocker food. Nearly 85 percent of lycopene comes from tomato juice, tomato paste, and other tomato products. A cup of tomato juice contains about 23 milligrams of lycopene. Processing tomatoes with heat changes lycopene’s bioavailability, allowing for easier absorption and use.
Extracted from the bark of the African cherry tree (Prunus africana), pygeum is often used as an herbal supplement to help alleviate symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia.
In vitro studies have found that pygeum extract may help to reduce the increase of BPH by interfering with certain growth factors and their receptors. Pygeum has also been found to have anti-androgenic properties.
Similar to other natural DHT blockers, pygeum may operate by blocking 5-alpha reductase from producing excess DHT.9
6. Green Tea
Green tea is packed with a variety of vitamins and nutrients, as well as a group of water-soluble polyphenols known as catechins.10 The major polyphenol in green tea is epigallocatechin-3 gallate (EGCG). Studies have found that EGCG is a direct androgen antagonist that can help to blunt DHT receptors and inhibit 5-alpha reductase to promote hair growth.11
Along with your scalp, green tea has been found to help just about every organ in the body. Catechins may help protect the brain, heart, and liver, prevent the buildup of fats in your arteries, and promote the health and function of your blood vessels. Green tea catechins may also help to burn fat.
Scientifically known as Trigonella foenum-graecum, fenugreek is a popular herb that has traditionally been used to help increase libido and alleviate blood sugar metabolism problems, which suggests that it may possess anti-diabetic properties.
While the herb still requires further research, early studies suggest that fenugreek may help to increase testosterone by inhibiting 5-alpha reductase, which comes with the added benefit of reducing DHT levels. The most well-known compound in fenugreek is 4-hydroxyisoleucine, which has been shown to help normalize the metabolism of glucose.12
Soy contains several compounds that may help to promote hair growth and block DHT. One study found that equol, genistein, and biochanin A were found to be potent inhibitors of 5-alpha reductase.17 All three of these compounds can be found in soy beans. Genistein can be found in lupin, kudzu, and fava beans. Equol is a product of gut bacteria in the digestion of daidzein, an isoflavone found in soy beans. Biochanin A can be found in a variety of legumes.
9. Tea Tree Oil
Studies show that both tea tree and lavender oils may offer potent DHT blocking properties. Research found that topical application of tea tree oil could effectively block DHT production.18
10. Lavender Oil
In a mouse study, topical application of lavender oil to mice was found to promote hair growth. Results of the study showed significant increases in the number of hair follicles, hair follicle depth, and dermal layer thickness, all of which contributed to increased hair growth.19
Ketoconazole is an anti-fungal medication commonly used to reduce dandruff. Studies suggest that it may also help to block DHT and promote hair growth. A study comparing a topical ketoconazole solution and various concentrations of minoxidil found that using ketoconazole with minoxidil stimulates hair growth more than minoxidil alone.20
The common stimulatory ingredient found in coffee may also help to promote hair growth by blocking DHT. An in vitro study found that caffeine applied topically in concentrations of 0.001% and 0.005% could stimulate hair follicle growth. While the exact mechanism of action still requires research, this effect may come from the compounds ability to block 5-AR receptors.21
Zinc is one of the essential minerals for many metabolic processes in the body. Without it, many processes vital for normal function would not proceed. In one study of men with low levels of testosterone, zinc helped to normalize hormone levels. This group of men with low testosterone levels had higher testosterone and DHT levels once they were treated zinc. The group with normal testosterone levels also had higher DHT levels after zinc supplementation.24 While it does not appear to be a DHT blocker, zinc can help with hair loss caused by low zinc levels.25
5 DHT Blockers Natural Remedies
While DHT blocking food may be the most easily accessible source for natural DHT blocking compounds, you may find better success through other methods, including supplements, shampoos and conditioners, and topical serums.
1. DHT Blocker Supplements
There are a wide range of supplements containing DHT blocker ingredients on the market. If you're interested in a DHT blocking supplement, make sure it also has vitamins to support hair growth such as biotin. Biotin is a B vitamin that helps to convert fats, carbs, and proteins into usable energy. It can also help to maintain your skin, nails, and hair.13
DHT Blocker Pills
2. DHT Blocker Shampoo
Using the right shampoo and conditioner can also help to block DHT, wash away excess sebum, and support healthy hair. Make sure your shampoo is sulfate free and contains topical DHT blockers such as ketoconazole, tea tree oil, and lavender.
Shampoos should be sulfate free because sulfates are harsh and drying which can worsen hair loss.
Even if you use a sulfate free shampoo you should condition your hair after shampooing to restore moisture and reduce dryness. We recommend using a shampoo with jojoba oil as it is chemically similar to natural oils produced by the skin.
3. DHT Blocker Foods
There are many foods that are natural DHT blockers.1. Vegetable foods rich in zinc contain phytosterol, which blocks DHT production and reduce areas on the scalp and hair follicles where DHT can attach itself. These foods include spinach, white mushroom, kale, etc. Foods rich in lycopene such as tomatoes, watermelons, carrots, and mangoes naturally block DHT production.
2. Biotin-rich foods like berries, liver, legumes, oily fish, and bananas condition the skin and scalp creating an overall healthy environment for strong hair.
4. Pumpkin seeds
5. Black pepper
6. Sesame seeds
7. Bone soup.
4. Topical DHT Blocker Serums
Another option for using DHT blockers is to use hair growth serums that contain DHT blocking ingredients. Using a hair growth serum allows the active ingredients to get absorbed into the scalp, directly targeting hair follicles. Unlike shampoos and conditioners, topical serums are not rinsed off, which allows them to work for longer throughout the day. These topical solutions most often come in the form of serums or foaming serums.
Hair growth serums are best used after you have washed your hair with shampoo and conditioner. This ensures that you won’t wash off the active ingredients in the serum. Similar to choosing the right shampoo and conditioner, make sure you check the ingredients of your serum, and avoid DHT blocker hair growth serums that contain hormone disrupting parabens or irritation causing alcohol.
5. DHT Blocker Natural Exercises
Practicing a healthy lifestyle can help reduce DHT levels naturally. This includes regular exercise, quit smoking, reduce stress, take time to rest, and do scalp exercises like massages to reduce tension and increase blood flow.
How to Choose a DHT Blocker
There are many things to consider when choosing a DHT blocker including formulation, price, and effectiveness.
1. Formulation: The main thing to keep in mind is the ingredients. Along with the active ingredients mentioned above, make sure you find a product that is formulated using all-natural ingredients. Artificial preservatives, scents, and other additives can contribute to scalp irritation, which can irritate your scalp and worsen hair loss.
DrFormulas® DHT blockers are formulated with the best and most effective ingredients to help support hair growth.
Do DHT blockers work for hair loss?
Yes, DHT blockers are used in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. Androgenetic alopecia includes male and female pattern hair loss caused by excess DHT. It is important to note that there are other forms of hair loss besides androgenetic alopecia. Even the best DHT blockers will have minimal effect on hair loss not caused by excess DHT, like telogen effluvium (caused by stress and traumatic events) or alopecia areata (an autoimmune disease).4
Can DHT blockers regrow hair?
It depends on the cause of hair loss. If the hair loss is caused by DHT then DHT blockers will help. Regularly using a hair DHT blocker can help to manage DHT levels in the scalp, which may eventually help the hair follicles return to normal function. However, if the hair follicles are damaged, scarred, closed, or have not generated a hair in years, you may not be able to regrow hair. The best natural DHT blocker ingredients will support hair regrowth or improve the health of existing hairs (even thinner hairs) if the hair follicles are healthy and intact. Keep in mind that results will vary from person to person.4
What is the best natural DHT blocker?
While finasteride is currently the only DHT blocker ingredient approved by the FDA for hair loss, there are a wide range of effective, natural DHT reducers to choose from. Saw palmetto is one of the most widely studied ingredients for its effects on regulating DHT levels and is a popular herbal remedy for managing prostate issues in men caused by excess DHT. The best natural DHT blocker is will combine multiple DHT blocking ingredients for better results. If you’re not sure where to start, we recommend using a product that includes several natural active ingredients that can inhibit DHT.
Are DHT blockers bad for you?
Natural DHT blockers are generally well-tolerated by all users. Topical DHT solutions, including shampoos and conditioners, should not present any problems as their effects are localized to the scalp. However, any product that modulates hormones can have side effects. Some DHT blockers may include common food allergens, so make sure to read the label.
What are the side effects of DHT blockers?
Studies about the potential adverse side effects of DHT blockers remain limited, and most current studies focus primarily on the prescription DHT blocker finasteride. 1.5% of men using finasteride reported reduced libido and sexual dysfunction. Since DHT blockers modulate hormones they are not recommended for women who are pregnant or nursing. Other potential side effects of DHT blockers include gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, and headaches. Isolated reports in women suggest potential menstrual changes, dizziness, and acne.23 More studies are necessary to determine any potential side effects of long-term prescription DHT blocker use.
Depending on the ingredient, natural DHT blockers have side effects as well. Some side effects of natural DHT blockers such as saw palmetto include: reduced blood pressure (hypotension), nausea and indigestion, thinner blood, and increased urine production. If you experience persistent side effects from using natural DHT reducers, consult your doctor.
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