Friday, December 28, 2007

Natural Cures Vitamins Herbs And Treatments For Hair Loss

A biopsy may be required to determine baldness type. A biopsy ascertains if hair follicles are normal.

Conventional choices can be used to treat hair loss: take better care of the scalp, use minoxidil (Rogaine®) and/or Proscar®, have hair transplants or a scalp reduction, or have hair replaced non-surgically.

Successful prevention and treatment of accelerated hair loss necessitates treating factors that are involved in contributing to the hair-loss process (excluding the genetic component).

DHT (the male hormone dihydrotestosterone) is associated with premature hair loss. A wide variety of anti-androgens are used to prevent or reverse premature hair loss: progesterone, spironolactone (Aldactone®), flutamide (Eulexin®), finasteride (Proscar®), cimetidine (Tagamet®), Serenoa repens (Permixon® and cyproterone acetate (Androcur/Diane®). The most effective anti-androgens are oral finasteride (Propecia®, Proscar®).

In hair-loss, an immune reaction caused by male hormones (e.g., DHT) has perhaps the most significant role. Stimulated by androgens, the immune system targets hair follicles in genetically susceptible areas and causes premature hair loss characteristic of male-pattern baldness.25

Growth Stimulators
Topical oxygen free-radical scavengers (e.g., superoxide dismutases, SODs, enzymes that counter excessive free-radical activity) are potent hair-growth stimulators. SODs inhibits oxygen radicals and may inhibit a localized immune response implicated in hair loss and offset damage and inflammation.26 Unless immunologic factors involved in hair loss process are effectively treated, potential for significant hair re-growth may be very limited.

Available agents (e.g., Rogaine®) stimulate some degree of hair growth in some individuals, but cannot by themselves produce healthy hair and cosmetic benefits. A multi-modal approach is required that combines anti-androgens, autoimmune system protective agents, oxygen free-radical inhibitors, and other hair-growth stimulators to halt hair loss and generate hair re-growth.

Finasteride (Proscar®) was originally developed to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It is available by prescription in 5-mg tablets. Finasteride (Propecia®) is FDA-approved for hair loss treatment. It is available by prescription in 1-mg tablets for men at $45 to $50 per month. Propecia cannot be taken by women. Finasteride was once thought to be useless for androgenic alopecia treatment because it primarily affected 5-alpha-reductace, the type 2 DHT-producing enzyme. However, finasteride in doses as low as 0.2 mg daily maximally decrease scalp, skin, and serum DHT levels.27

Finasteride can produce visible hair growth in most men with mild-to-moderate alopecia and can stop hair loss in a majority of patients. Finasteride (1 mg daily over 5 years) was well-tolerated, produced durable improvement in scalp hair growth, and slowed further hair loss progression that occurred with no treatment.28 The most common side effect is decreased sexual desire or lowered amount of ejaculate (less than 2%, although men receiving placebo experienced the same side effects). Initial results of the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial, produced concerns that finasteride might promote prostate cancer: finasteride was thought to reduce incidence of prostate cancer in men over 55 by one researcher; trial participants who developed prostate cancer had slightly more high-grade tumors.29

Dutasteride (GG745), similar to Propecia®, blocks enzymatic conversion of testosterone to DHT. Unlike finasteride, dutasteride blocks two enzymes that create DHT rather than one and may be a more potent treatment for hair loss.30

Azulfidine is an anti-inflammatory sulfa drug used to treat autoimmune disorders (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease). It is used in alopecia areata. Azulfidine completely reverses alopecia areata in 23% of participants. Although some re-growth occurred in other participants, the majority had no effect.31

Originally used to treat high blood pressure, minoxidil is now widely used as a topical solution applied twice daily to treat male-pattern baldness. It may improve hair growth in 10 to 20% and slow hair loss in 90% of users. How minoxidil acts is unclear, but when effective, minoxidil appears to prolong the growing phase in the hair growth cycle, enlarge follicles, and cause dormant follicles to grow. Minoxidil may take 4 months or longer to produce results. Treatment is relatively expensive and must be continued indefinitely. When minoxidil is stopped, re-grown hair falls out. Newly grown hair may not be as long or thick as normal hair. Minoxidil is more effective in young men and men with recent-onset hair loss.32

Hair Transplantation
Early hair-grafting techniques were somewhat crude, often leaving a “patchwork” appearance. Newer techniques transplant productive hair follicles from a donor area on the scalp to a balding area. Hair follicles are commonly taken in plugs of one or two hairs (micrografts) from the sides or back of the head and moved to the front and/or top, slowly reconstructing a hairline. Larger plugs of up to 10 hairs can be used. Donor sites with full hair produce more successful transplants. The flap technique transplants larger areas of hair from the sides and back of the scalp to the top of the head. Some scarring at the donor site may result. Transplanted follicles can be permanent or last only a few years.

Scalp Reduction
Balding scalp areas can be surgically removed to decrease an appearance of baldness. Scalp reduction is usually used in conjunction with grafts or flaps. Prior to reduction, the scalp may be stretched to expand areas where hair is growing. Effectiveness of scalp reduction depends on degree of hair loss and scalp elasticity.

Life Extension Mix
Saw Palmetto
Green Tea Extract
Proanthocyanidins and Procyanidins
Complementary Topical Treatment
A healthy diet, low in fat and high in fiber, fresh fruit, and vegetables, can have a major role in inhibiting hair loss associated with aging and genetics. In Asian countries, where vegetables are prevalent in standard dietary practices, pattern-type hair loss is rarely observed. Botanically-based nutrients may prevent hair follicles from entering a permanent dormant state. Nutritional supplements can provide some benefit.

Life Extension Mix
Life Extension Mix™ contains 92 unique vegetable, fruit and herbal extracts, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and special antioxidants. Life Extension Mix™ formula is fortified with botanical extracts that help to maintain healthy cells via physiological processes separate from traditional antioxidants. Consumption of these types of plants is based on research from prestigious medical centers.

A United States patent has been issued for L-lysine for treatment of various types of hair loss, including androgenetic alopecia. L-lysine (an amino acid) inhibits 5-alpha-reductase.33

Hair follicles use nitric oxide to maintain and promote new hair growth. L-arginine is required to produce nitric oxide.34

Note: See Appendix C for Cautions and Contraindications

Saw Palmetto
Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) is a palm-like plant that is native to North America. An extract derived from saw palmetto berries contains fatty acids and sterols. Saw palmetto is commonly used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia because it inhibits testosterone’s action on the prostate. Extracts of Saw Palmetto block 5-alpha-reductase, reduce DHT uptake by follicles, and block binding of DHT to androgen receptors. The liposterolic extract of saw palmetto combined with beta-sitosterol (a phytosterol common to many plants and grains) produced marked improvement.35

Green Tea Extract
Topical agents such as finasteride inhibit type II 5-alpha-reductase in hair follicles. Agents from tea (catechins, (-)epigallocatechin-3-gallate and (-)epicatechin-3-gallate) affect type I 5-alpha-reductase activity responsible for converting testosterone to DHT. All tea is derived from the same plant species, but types and varieties differ according to where and how the plants are grown and how the tea is produced. Catechins in green tea leaves are more potent. Black pekoe is allowed to dry and ferment, but green tea is not, thereby preserving catechin integrity.36

Proanthocyanidins and Procyanidins
Proanthocyanidins and procyanidins (specifically OPCs, oligomeric proanthocyanidins) are a class of flavonoids found in woody plants. Two common sources of OPCs are grape seeds (Vitis vinifera) and white pine (Pinus maritima, P. pinaster). Procyanidin B-2 and procyanidin B-3, which directly stimulate epithelial cell growth and check the growth-inhibiting effect caused by TGF-beta2, are of specific interest. Supplementing with 100 to 200 mg proanthocyanidins daily in the form of OPC Grape Seed Extract is suggested for adults.37

Complementary Topical Treatment
Dr. Proctor's Hair Formulas
Dr. Peter Proctor has developed a unique, multi-ingredient hair formula for balding that requires no prescription. Dr. Proctor's Hair Shampoo includes 3-carboxylic acid pyridine-N-oxide (NANO, known as "natural" minoxidil). This product can be used as a shampoo.

Dr. Proctor's Advanced Hair Formula includes NANO with natural hair protection and hair growth agents: endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF) enhancers, SODs, and free-radical scavengers. Zinc sulfate and copper peptides are anti-androgens enhancing production of EDRF.38,39 This product is a liquid which can be applied to the scalp using eight to ten drops once or twice daily on thinning areas.

Several factors lead to hair loss in men and women, most notably androgenic alopecia, an inherited condition. Treatment is available. Early treatment produces better results. Balding is a cosmetic condition, usually resulting from genetic influences, aging, skin conditions, or certain medications. The most common forms of balding are male- and female-pattern baldness. Baldness has no cure. Oral prescription drugs such as Propecia® and Proscar® are available by prescription and over-the-counter preparations which contain minoxidil have benefits. Most hair-growth drugs prevent hair loss better than they re-grow hair. Taking aggressive steps today helps maintain healthy hair.



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