Hair Loss Restoration

DHT: The Hair Killing Hormone

DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) is a normal male hormone, or Androgen, that is produced from Testosterone by a very interesting group of enzymes, called 5-alpha reductase 1, 2, and 3.

The reason these enzymes are interesting is that certain families in the Dominican Republic, deficient in 5-alpha reductase, do not develop prostate enlargement and do not develop male pattern baldness! This observation, made in the late 60's, ultimately revealed the specific Androgen responsible for prostate enlargement and hair loss, namely Dihydrotestosterone or DHT.

It's important to note that Dihydrotestosterone is a normal male hormone or Androgen. This Androgen is especially important, allowing the male fetus to develop a normal urogenital tract; absence of DHT results in ambiguous genitalia in newborn males. In adults, DHT causes prostate enlargement and hairloss.

Propecia

It follows that if we block 5-alpha reductase from producing DHT, we would also block the balding effects of this hair killing Androgen. An FDA approved medication developed by Merck, called Propecia (Propecia is 1 mg of Finasteride), inhibits the conversion of Testosterone (T) to Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and is used to treat hairloss.

Avodart and Proscar

Another medication called Avodart, developed by GlaxoSmithKline, also inhibits the 5-alpha reductase enzymes, but in a more complete fashion than Finasteride. Avodart, or Dutasteride, is FDA approved for the treatment of prostate enlargement. Proscar (Proscar is 5 mg of Finasteride), is also FDA approved for the treatment of prostate enlargement.

Minoxidil

Minoxidil is a vasodilator medication originally developed in the late 1950's by Upjohn Company. Minoxidil, in the form of oral tablets, was approved by the FDA in 1979 for treatment of high blood pressure. Studies conducted for Minoxidil as a anti-hypertensive showed unexpected hair growth and led to its development as a treatment for hairloss. The over-the-counter product, Rogaine for men, contains 5% Minoxidil. Rogaine for women contains 2% Minoxidil.

Minoxidil appears to improve hair loss by its effect on hair growth; increasing the Anagen or growth phase of the hair growth cycle. This allows the miniaturized follicle to grow longer and gain greater diameter. The longer, thicker hairs have more volume and provide better coverage.

See Hair Growth Cycle for detailed description.

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Hair Loss Explained
DHT: The Hair Killer
Protecting the Follicle
Hair Loss in Women
The Science of Modern Hair Transplantation
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