|Treating Hair Loss
Hormone-related hair loss, known as androgenetic alopecia (AGA), is the common form of balding that affects both males and females, though usually it does not strike women until after menopause when their testosterone levels can rise, due to declining estrogen levels. (More about treating menopausal-related hair loss at the end of this article.)
Drugs designed for prostate problems, such as finasteride and minoxidil, have been approved by the FDA as treatment for this type of hair loss, because the mechanism of AGA is the same as that which causes prostate inflammation in men. Namely a breakdown of testosterone, by way of “5-alpha reductase”, into dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
However, the approved drugs work only moderately well, and if one stops taking them any hair re-growth is lost, and they can cause unpleasant side effects such as decreased libido and ejaculate volume, erectile dysfunction, and/or scaling and itching of the scalp.
Rat studies have found that pumpkin seed oil (PSO), long a natural treatment for prostate swelling, can block the action of 5-alpha reductase in the body, preventing it from degrading testosterone into the damaging byproduct DHT.
Recently a study sought to find if pumpkin seed oil would help humans treat hair loss. This placebo-controlled, double-blind study was done on 76 male patients with mild to moderate androgenetic alopecia (AGA). Subjects were given 400 mg of PSO, or a placebo, daily for 24 weeks.
After the treatment period the group who received the PSO had more hair than at baseline, compared to the placebo group. “Mean hair count increases of 40% were observed in PSO-treated men at 24 weeks, whereas increases of 10% were observed in placebo-treated men.”
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014; 2014: 549721. “Effect of Pumpkin Seed Oil on Hair Growth in Men with Androgenetic Alopecia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial.” Young Hye Cho, et al.
I mentioned at the beginning that PSO has long been considered a natural treatment for prostate swelling, and science has confirmed that property. Acknowledging that “previous animal studies have suggested that PSO may inhibit 5α-reductase, which produces DHT from testosterone,” this study on humans “confirmed that the intake of PSO at 320 mg/day over 12 months is clinically safe and effective as a complementary treatment for BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia – noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland). (Study)
As I also mentioned at the beginning, this type of hormonal-related hair loss can strike women once they are past menopause. I have had good feedback on a natural treatment program for women with this problem, though it might sound a little strange at first. That is because the first thing I give them is a prostate formula (usually Natural Factors Ultimate Prostate, or Dr. Julian Whitaker’s Prostate Health), which, while they do not have a prostate, will work to stop testosterone from breaking down into DHT, the root cause of this type of hair loss.
To that I add a biotin supplement (1,000 mcg to 5,000 mcg), which also seems to help reverse this type of hair loss, and a silica supplement, such as our bamboo silica product. The silica does not actually help with the hormonal-related hair loss, but it does make the hair that we retain both thicker and stronger, emphasizing what we have and preventing hair loss caused by breaking of the hair shaft.
For more up-to-date information on hair loss prevention and reversal visit this impressive website.
Painkillers for Heartbreak
In 2011 an experiment was done that had people who had recently experienced heartbreak view a photograph of their ex-partner and think about their rejection, while their brains where being scanned by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
These same participants were then subjected to intense physical pain while again undergoing fMRI. What was discovered was that the two areas of the brain that were activated during physical pain were the same two areas that were activated when viewing the photos reminding them of their emotional pain.
This information led to the idea that perhaps the painkillers that we use for physical pain would also dull emotional pain. So, researchers at UCLA took another group of volunteers and gave them either a nonprescription painkiller or a placebo, daily for 3 weeks while asking them to track their feelings of social rejection in their day-to-day lives.
Those who received the painkiller had a marked reduction in their daily sense of hurt feeling, starting around the 9th day and continuing until the end of the 3 weeks, while those who received the placebo felt no difference.
A second group of volunteers, also on either painkillers or placebo, were put into the fMRI scanner, and experienced being gradually socially excluded from a group-played virtual-reality game, leading to a sense of social rejection. Those who had been on painkillers for 3 weeks showed considerably less activity in those pain areas of the brain than those receiving the placebo.
Depression has been linked to inflammation in the brain, so it may be that sensitivity to social rejection and extreme emotional distress are also linked to brain inflammation. Since turmeric extracts have been shown to be effective in treating both inflammation and depression, it may be a viable alternative to over the counter pain medications (which can have side effects). (NutriStart Liposomal Curcumin/Resveratrol)