Dear Dr. Walt,
Do any supplements help for hair loss?
—Losing Hair in Hawaii
There is some very preliminary evidence that a specific oral saw palmetto extract and beta-sitosterol may be beneficial in androgenic alopecia (male-pattern baldness).
It is theorized that these substances may inhibit the same enzyme (5-alpha-reductase) that is inhibited by the medication finasteride, found in the prescription drugs for hair loss (Propecia or Proscar).
There is also some preliminary evidence that other forms of hair loss, such as alopecia areata (caused by autoimmune disease) and diffuse hair loss (a common form in women) may be improved by the application of lavender oil in combination with the essential oils from thyme, rosemary, and Atlantic cedar directly on the scalp.
In fact, in one small study, this combination improved hair growth in up to forty-four percent of patients after seven months of treatment directly to the scalp.
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