DHT is a sex hormone responsible for male characteristics such as body hair. However, excess DHT may cause hair loss in men – especially those genetically prone to male pattern baldness.
DHT is also believed to be a leading cause of baldness. DHT binds to the hormone receptors present on the hair follicles, which causes a change in the hair growth cycle and results in hair loss.
What is a DHT Blocker?
A DHT blocker is a substance or a compound that can help inhibit DHT production in the body or help stop the build-up of DHT in the scalp. DHT prohibits nutrients from getting absorbed by your hair follicles, which can block hair growth. DHT blocking foods such as tomato, green tea, spinach, flax seeds, among others, effectively reduce DHT levels in your scalp naturally.
Here’s an article on everything you need to know of DHT Blockers for a more detailed understanding.
What are the common DHT Blockers?
Some of the common DHT blockers are:
Here’s a complete guide on DHT blocking food to naturally control & reduce DHT levels in your scalp through diet. Keep reading.
How DHT Causes Hair Loss?
Hair loss in men can happen due to a plethora of reasons. But the most common reason why their hair could be thinning or receding is related to the androgen hormone known as Dihydrotestosterone or DHT. DHT is an essential hormone in men responsible for developing male features during pregnancy and other male characteristics during the adolescent years.
DHT is produced as a byproduct of testosterone in the body of males, and it doesn’t always affect everyone. It binds to androgen receptors that are present throughout the bodies of males and affects functions like hair growth and the size of their prostate gland.
But when the hormone binds to receptors in the scalp of a male, it can often damage their hair follicles and hinder the production of new hairs. According to some research, those negatively affected by DHT are usually prone to hair loss issues and are genetically predisposed to DHT sensitivity.
However, there are several ways to treat hair loss if it is happening due to DHT, and that includes blocking DHT using some medications and taking some alternate routes such as those mentioned below.
What are the DHT Blocking Foods?
DHT Blockers exist to combat this problem. As the name suggests, it “blocks” or slows down DHT in men, thus fighting potential hair loss. Many different foods act as DHT Blockers.
The DHT blocker foods can be put into three groups:
Group 1: Foods high in Zinc- example: spinach, kale
Group 2: Lycopene rich foods- example: tomato, mango
Group 3: Lysine rich foods- example: green tea, flax seeds
Apart from these three food groups, it is also essential to ensure that you are getting adequate amounts of vitamins as vitamins play a crucial role in ensuring hair health.
These vitamins can be obtained through the list of foods mentioned below or in the form of DHT blocking vitamin supplements that can be taken orally with food. DHT blocking vitamins is another way to reduce DHT levels in the scalp naturally.
What are the Zinc rich foods?
Zinc-enriched foods block the DHT, which causes androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness) and prostate enlargement. This is because zinc functions as a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, which prevents DHT formation.
Some of the best food sources of zinc that act as best DHT blocker foods are:
- white mushroom
- pumpkin seeds
Spinach as a DHT blocker
Spinach is a zinc-rich vegetable, one of the best DHT blocker foods. This means it contains phytosterol, which blocks DHT production and reduces areas on the scalp and hair follicles to which DHT can attach itself.
White mushroom as a DHT blocker
Like spinach, a white mushroom is a zinc-rich food containing phytosterol. It also contains vitamin D and pantothenic acid, which helps grow thick hair on the scalp.
Kale as a DHT blocker
Kale is another zinc-rich vegetable containing phytosterol to block off DHT. This natural DHT blocker food also has Isothiocyanates which play a primary role in excess detoxifying hormones from the body.
Pumpkin seeds are one of the best DHT blocker foods rich in magnesium and zinc. It's also rich in iron and antioxidants. Pumpkin seed oil acts as a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor that combats hair loss by blocking DHT production in men. Moreover, this is one of the best DHT blocker foods that promote hair growth in men.
Also, Pumpkin seeds act as one of the best DHT blocker foods due to the two compounds' presence.
The first is the phytosterol beta-sitosterol, which has been shown to inhibit the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase responsible for converting beneficial testosterone to dihydrotestosterone.
The second is a steroid called that is much less powerful than DHT. The steroid helps block DHT by specifically competing with it at the cell receptor sites, damaging hair follicles and the prostate gland.
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What are the Lycopene rich foods?
Lycopene is a plant nutrient with antioxidant properties.
Benefits of Lycopene-
Lycopene foods act as DHT blockers in the following ways.
- Inhibits DHT production.
- Controlling sensitivity of the skin to DHT
Some foods rich in lycopene:
Most vegetables with pink and red color pigments are also rich Lycopene sources.
It is always advised to eat these lycopene foods in their raw state to reduce DHT levels in the scalp naturally. Cooking and exposure to heat reduce these natural DHT blockers foods' nutritional content.
Here is how the food mentioned above items help in curbing DHT production and ensure hair growth:
Banana as a DHT blocker
Bananas are a great source of biotin, a B vitamin that helps hair growth. Bananas also have potassium, which allows the circulatory system to provide nutrients to the scalp efficiently. They also contain FOS (fructooligosaccharides) which helps to reduce DHT overproduction.
Mango as a DHT blocker
Mangoes contain lycopene, which inhibits DHT by regulating or inhibiting 5 alpha-reductase enzymes responsible for converting testosterone into DHT. Mangoes thus are one of the best natural DHT blocker foods that naturally block DHT production in the scalp.
Tomato as a DHT blocker
“Are tomatoes good for hair growth?” Is a very commonly asked question. And the answer to that is- ABSOLUTELY YES!
Lycopene in tomatoes inhibits the DHT by regulating or inhibiting 5 alpha-reductase. Antioxidants in tomatoes help to fight cells causing damage to the hair follicles. Beta-carotene helps to supply nutrients to the scalp for hair growth.
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Beetroot as a DHT blocker
Eating beetroot for hair growth has proven to be highly effective. Again, like all other foods with red pigment, beetroot is rich in lycopene, making it an extremely effective DHT blocking food. Beetroots are known to reduce DHT levels in the scalp naturally.
What are the Lysine rich Foods?
Most seeds and nuts commonly found are rich in lysine. This makes them extremely effective in controlling DHT levels of the scalp.
Benefits of Lysine
Lysine rich foods act as DHT blockers in the following ways.
- Helps Inhibit DHT production.
- It helps Control sensitivity of the skin to DHT
Some examples of lysine-rich foods are-
- flax seeds
- boiled egg
- green tea
- black tea
Flax seed as a DHT blocker
The alpha-linolenic acid found in flaxseed DHT blockers can help block the enzyme that creates DHT in the body. By preventing DHT from shrinking hair follicles, flaxseed helps prevent hair loss. The omega-3 fatty acids can also assist the body with stress, preventing another major cause of baldness. Telogen effluvium is the scientific name for hair loss due to stress, and flax seeds can help fight this. Thus, flax seeds serve as an effective DHT blocker food and hair loss combatant.
Peanuts & DHT blocking: Are peanuts good for the hair?
Yes, peanuts are extremely good for the hair. Peanuts contain L-Lysine and Biotin.
Both act as natural DHT inhibitors, and they are also a heart-healthy source of protein, unusually rich in Folate and Molybdenum. These naturally reduce DHT levels in the scalp. Folate and Molybdenum help scalp follicles utilize Iron and Copper to grow healthy hair. They are also rich in monounsaturated fats, which help keep hair follicles nourished by a healthy cardiovascular system. You can now eat your salt-free peanuts guilt-free as peanuts are perfect for the hair.
Coffee as a DHT blocker
The caffeine in coffee can help stimulate hair growth and stop hair loss. A 2007 lab study found that caffeine helped block DHT's effects in male hair follicles. It even resulted in longer, wider hair roots. It also prolonged the anagen duration, which is the hair growth stage. Coffee helps in DHT blocking, which makes it an effective DHT blocking food.
Boiled egg & DHT blocking- Is boiled egg good for the hair?
Yes, boiled egg is good for the hair. Egg white contains avidin (protein) that binds to biotin. Eggs contain cysteine, an essential amino acid for hair growth & found in hair keratin. Boiled or cooked eggs act as better DHT blocking food than raw ones.
Green Tea & DHT blocking- Green Tea for Hair loss
Green tea contains high amounts of the plant compound EGCG, supporting hair growth by blocking DHT from damaging hair follicles. It is one of the best DHT blocker food that combats hair loss by combating DHT naturally.
Black Tea & DHT blocking- Black Tea for Hair loss
The primary chemical constituents of tea are polyphenols, and the predominant polyphenols are catechins.
The catechins have antioxidant properties, due to which these catechins exhibit DHT inhibiting properties. Both black tea and green tea act as effective DHT blockers and help with hair loss. Green tea and black tea are extremely good for the hair. Alongside your diet, use other DHT blockers such as a DHT blocking shampoo to reduce DHT completely.
Soya Beans or Soy Protein for Hair
Soybeans and other Soy Isoflavones play a significant role in curbing DHT of the scalp. Isoflavones derived from soy act as effective hair growth agents. Soy isoflavones are organic compounds that work like phytoestrogens. They push DHT out of the hair follicles, reducing DHT accumulation.
The activity of isoflavones competes with DHT at the hair follicles' sites. That means less DHT accumulates in the hair follicles, leaving more space for nutrients from the blood to pass through and nourish the hair follicles, thereby promoting hair growth.
Edamame Beans as DHT blockers
An imbalance of the hormone known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT) contributes to hair loss.
Eating soy-rich foods like edamame beans and tempeh inhibits the formation of DHT.
Edamame beans are rich in iron, omega-3, vitamin B2, magnesium, and 75 gms of soya week will certainly help curb the excess production of DHT in the scalp.
Turmeric as DHT blocker
Turmeric has a high concentration of active compounds called curcuminoids. This compound helps control DHT levels in the scalp. Clinical studies have demonstrated that curcumin lowers DHT levels by blocking the action of the alpha-5 reductase enzyme. Including turmeric in its natural state ( uncooked) will most certainly help keep the DHT levels checked.
Edible Powders or Churna for Hair
Apart from DHT blocking foods, other natural herbs help control DHT-related hair loss.
These herbs can be consumed as a powder, mixed with milk or water, or made into churna balls.
Some of the most effective edible herbs in fighting DHT related issues and promoting hair growth are-
Ashwagandha for hair- Ashwagandha powder or ashwagandha churna can be used to improve hair health. This herb works as an adaptogen and helps balance hormones in the male body. An excess of testosterone can be handled using a daily dosage of ashwagandha. Want to know more about how to take ashwagandha for hair?
Shatavari for hair- Shatavari is yet another powerful herb that can help strengthen the hair shaft and the hair follicles.
Jatamansi for hair- One of the most potent herbs in Ayurveda for hair is Jatamansi. Here's everything you need to know about how to use Jatamansi for Hair
Are you looking for a complete list of herbs? Here is the list of ayurvedic herbs for hair growth.
Other Ways to Treat Hair Loss
There are several ways one can slow down hair loss in men. For instance, studies have shown some foods contain nutrients that effectively lower DHT production. This is a niche that could provide more solutions if appropriately researched.
Medications are one way to fix this issue, with notable prescriptions being minoxidil (Rogaine) and Finasteride (Propecia). Minoxidil, a vasodilator, dilates your blood vessels, and Finasteride, a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, blocks DHT production. But again, medications aren't supposed to work for everyone and come with many side effects.
Another way to treat the hair loss issue is to check if you have any vitamin or mineral deficiency that could result in your hair loss. The deficiency of nutrients like protein, zinc, iron, and vitamins C and A often contributes to hair loss.
But before you treat your hair loss, it’s essential to know the primary reasons behind your hair loss. It’s always a good idea to choose the appropriate treatment by setting up an appointment with a healthcare provider who can study your medical history and pinpoint any specific or underlying reasons for your hair loss.
Summing Up on DHT Blocker Foods
It is common to stress when you notice hair loss or a receding hairline. But it’s always good to know that its reasons can be traced back to DHT or other nutrient deficiencies, which can be treated considerably.
When it comes to DHT, intake of green tea, edamame, onions, pumpkin seeds, and other DHT blocker foods and beverages can lower DHT levels and prevent hair loss. Similarly, taking vitamin or mineral supplements can help the issue if hair loss happens due to their deficiency.
How do I permanently block DHT?
Apart from foods that reduce DHT and medications like Finasteride and Minoxidil, there are other ways to hinder the production of DHT in males:
- Pumpkin Seed Oil - This is one of the most effective and natural ways to inhibit DHT and has been backed up by years of research.
- Light therapy - Low-level laser light therapy (LLLT) is an indirect method of tackling DHT and inducing hair growth in men.
Is Almond good for DHT blockers?
Yes, almonds are the best DHT blocker food when it comes to natural DHT blockers food options. They are rich in Vitamin E that enhance the production of healthy hair strands. Again, they are rich in L-lysine, which helps in interfering with the actions of DHT.
How much lycopene to block DHT?
To solve DHT-related hair loss, ensure you are consuming at least 2 portions of foods rich in lycopene daily. This, over time, will help curb lycopene production by enabling new hair follicles' growth.
How can I reduce DHT naturally?
You can consume natural DHT blocker foods that reduce DHT effectively and naturally. Foods high in zinc, lycopene, and lysine are the best DHT blocker foods that naturally block DHT creation. Spinach, kale, pumpkin seeds, green tea, beetroot, banana, flax seeds are some of the best natural DHT blocker foods.
What is the best natural DHT blocker?
Some of the best natural DHT blocker foods are the foods high in zinc, lycopene, and lysine, which help combat DHT and hair loss naturally and effectively by acting as a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. Some of these natural DHT blocker foods are- tomato, mango, beetroot, spinach, white mushrooms, turmeric, boiled egg, and kale.
Is Blocking DHT bad?
No, blocking DHT is not bad. On the contrary, it helps combat hair loss, androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness) and even successfully promote hair regrowth. Moreover, there hasn't been any noticeable side effects of DHT blockers. Men using DHT blocker foods or even top DHT blocker drugs haven't reported any side effects.
Does zinc reduce DHT?
Yes, zinc is an effective DHT blocker as it acts as an effective 5-alpha reductase inhibitor that can block the formation of DHT that causes hair loss. Moreover, it also helps regulate the hormone levels to combat hair loss. Some of the best food sources of zinc that also act as excellent foods that reduce DHT are- spinach, kale, pumpkin seeds, white mushrooms.
- Ann Dermatol, May 2016; Epigallocatechin Gallate-Mediated Alteration of the MicroRNA Expression Profile in 5α-Dihydrotestosterone-Treated Human Dermal Papilla Cells- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4884709/
- Sanja Pavlica, Rolf Gebhardt; Protective effects of flavonoids and two metabolites against oxidative stress in neuronal PC12 cells - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19891977/
- Cancer Science, April 2018; Modulation of AKR1C2 by curcumin decreases testosterone production in prostate cancer - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5891173/
- Mol Med Rep, September 2014; Curcumin analogues with high activity for inhibiting human prostate cancer cell growth and androgen receptor activation - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25060817/
- Evid Based Complement Alternat Med; Effect of Pumpkin Seed Oil on Hair Growth in Men with Androgenetic Alopecia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4017725/