Recent studies have revealed that hair follicular sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone derived from the male sex hormone, testosterone is one of the major reasons for androgenic hair loss in both men and women. DHT triggered hair loss is something that many people face, especially when they go through hormonal changes as they age. In men, DHT is synthesized predominantly in the prostate gland and testicles. It is responsible for the development of the male external genitalia at birth and subsequent secondary sexual characters at puberty.
Dihydrotestosterone in Women
Though little has been focused on the role of DHT in women, it has been shown to initiate the development of androgynous characteristics like facial hair, a deepened voice and hair loss (Kirschner, 1984).
Ovaries and adrenal glands are the principal sources of DHT in women (Burger, 2002). Nevertheless, diminutive quantities can trigger hair loss in a DHT sensitive individual. The DHT symptoms are more marked in perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause, when, there is a steady or sharp decline in female sex hormone levels (Micol et.al, 2011). This decline and subsequent hormonal imbalance perhaps facilitate the expression of DHT (Michael et.al, 2013).
Interestingly, the human follicular dermal papilla cells (DPCs) that play a crucial role in the human hair growth cycle are active sites for a specific enzyme that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (Liu and Yamauchi, 2008).
Thus, scientific attention has been off late, on novel phyto-nutrient supplements that would negate abnormal levels of DHT and check hair loss.
A recent study, to determine the potency of saw palmetto extract to inhibit the activity of 5 alpha-reductase enzyme that irreversibly converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) has shown that the extract effectively inhibits the enzyme and thus, the production of DHT (Pais, 2010; Wadsworth et.al, 2007; Habib et.al, 2005; Raynaud et.al, 2002).
The discovery of the anti-proliferative potential of curcumin compounds (an active component of turmeric) in androgen-dependent (testosterone and dihydrotestosterone) prostate cancer cells (Teiten et.al, 2011) and subsequent detection of anti-androgenic properties in six terpene group compounds from the plant Curcuma aeruginosa have opened up a new avenue in the phyto- investigation for androgenic modulators (Suphrom et.al, 2012).
The antiandrogenic modulating property of the common mushroom Coprinus comatus, the 5α-reductase inhibitory and hair growth promoting activities of Carthamus tinctorius, Phyllanthus emblica, Rhinacanthus nasutus and Puerariae have also been recently elucidated (Dotan et.al, 2011, Murata et.al, 2012 and Kumar et.al, 2012).
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial has ascertained the effectiveness of specific botanically derived inhibitors of 5 alpha-reductase in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia (Prager et.al, 2002). A more recent multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study has also established the validity of a novel botanically derived 5 α-reductase inhibitor from Curcuma aeruginosa in the treatment of male-pattern baldness (Pumthong et.al, 2012).
Attempts are underway to bring out an innovative Regenepure hair care nutrient supplement that has in it several of the stated natural DHT phyto regulator ingredients - in conjunction with an assortment of vitamins like thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, niacinamide, folic acid, biotin, minerals like zinc and iron, amino acids, soy oil, soy-derived phytoestrogens (McElwee et.al, 2003), polyphenols and other nutrients that aid hair growth.
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- Burger HG (2002).Androgen production in women. Fertil Steril. Apr; 77 Suppl 4:S3-5.
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- Michael T. Sellix, Zachary C. Murphy, and Michael Menaker (2013).Excess Androgen during Puberty Disrupts Circadian Organization in Female Rats. Endocrinology. Apr; 154(4): 1636–1647.
- Micol S. Rothman, Nichole E. Carlson, Mei Xu, Christina Wang, Ronald Swerdloff, Paul Lee, Victor H.H. Goh, E. Chester Ridgway and Margaret E. Wierman (2011). Reexamination of Testosterone, Dihydrotestosterone, Estradiol and Estrone Levels across the Menstrual Cycle and in Postmenopausal Women Measured by Liquid Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry. Steroids. Jan; 76(1-2): 177–182.
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- Pais (2010). Potency of a novel saw palmetto ethanol extract, SPET-085, for inhibition of 5alpha-reductase II. Adv Ther. Aug; 27(8):555-63.
- Prager N, Bickett K, French N, Marcovici G (2002).A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to determine the effectiveness of botanically derived inhibitors of 5-alpha-reductase in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia .J Altern Complement Med. 2002 Apr;8(2):143-52.
- Pumthong G1, Asawanonda P, Varothai S, Jariyasethavong V, Triwongwaranat D, Suthipinittharm P, Ingkaninan K, Leelapornpisit P, Waranuch N (2012). Curcuma aeruginosa, a novel botanically derived 5α-reductase inhibitor in the treatment of male-pattern baldness: a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. J Dermatolog Treat. Oct; 23(5):385-92.
- Raynaud JP, Cousse H and Martin PM (2002). Inhibition of type 1 and type 2 5alpha-reductase activity by free fatty acids, active ingredients of Permixon. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. Oct; 82 (2-3):233-9.
- Suphrom N, Pumthong G, Khorana N, Waranuch N, Limpeanchob N, Ingkaninan K (2012).Anti-androgenic effect of sesquiterpenes isolated from the rhizomes of Curcuma aeruginosa Roxb. Fitoterapia. Jul; 83(5):864-71.
- Teiten MH, Gaascht F, Cronauer M, Henry E, Dicato M and Diederich M (2011).Anti-proliferative potential of curcumin in androgen-dependent prostate cancer cells occurs through modulation of the Wingless signaling pathway. Int J Oncol. Mar; 38(3):603-11.
- Wadsworth TL1, Worstell TR, Greenberg NM and Roselli CE (2007).Effects of dietary saw palmetto on the prostate of transgenic adenocarcinoma of the mouse prostate model (TRAMP).Prostate. May 1; 67(6):661-73.
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