Man checking hair loss

Can Turmeric Stop Hair Loss?

Research suggests that turmeric and its curcumin compounds may help combat hair loss in a few different ways. It can even help reduce the stress associated with thinning hair loss, which can in fact contribute to more thinning loss. (xi.76-7785-87)

Natural Type II 5α-Reductase Inhibitor

Lab studies show that whole turmeric extracts inhibit type II 5α-reductase enzymes. This is the enzyme that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the hormone that causes androgenetic hair loss(xi.87-91)

Figure XI.9: Turmeric's Curcumin Compounds Inhibit 5α-reductase & DHT

Figure XI.9: Turmeric's Curcumin Compounds Inhibit 5α-reductase & DHT

Works Like Finasteride?

In this study curcumin's ability to inhibit 5α-reductase was less than finasteride, a pharmaceutical drug used topically to prevent further hair loss and promote regrowth of hair. However, another study showed that each gram of whole crude turmeric extract has as much enzyme blocking power as over 13 mg of finasteride. (xi.8791)

Turmeric and curcumin have a proven safety record and do not cause the suggested potential possible side effects of finasteride, which include erectile dysfunction and male infertility. Both adverse effects were reported by users of Propecia® and Proscar®, even after they stopped using the drugs. (xi.92-95)

Notably, the 5α-reductase inhibiting properties of a close plant relative of turmeric, Curcuma aeruginosa, appear to work as well as minoxidil in helping to regrow hair. In one clinical study involving men with common male balding, those who used C. aeruginosa, minoxidil, or a combination of both showed more hair regrowth than those who applied a placebo tonic. (xi.8796125)

Help for Scalp Conditions

The turmeric compound curcumin has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that could help resolve underlying conditions that cause hair loss, such as seborrheic dermatitis. A scaly, inflammatory scalp condition, seborrheic dermatitis can lead to temporary and permanent types of hair loss. (xi.497-100)

Turmeric compounds such as curcumin could also help counteract some of the triggers of seborrheic dermatitis (such as stress, Parkinson's disease, and HIV and AIDS. UV radiation from chronic sun exposure can stimulate seborrheic dermatitis, but can also cause hair loss on its own. Turmeric's antioxidant power can help quench free radicals produced by and UV radiation. (xi.44497-101)

Activating the Vitamin D Receptors in Hair Follicles

Vitamin D receptors (VDRs) are genes in hair follicles that help control hair growth cycles. Although vitamin D is not involved in hair growth cycles, VDR genes can be activated by other dietary compounds. In fact, mice and humans who lack functioning VDRs develop hair loss. (xi.102)

The proteins produced by activated VDR genes control signals in the hair growth cycle. First the proteins connect with partner molecules. Then they bind to other genes that have vitamin D responsive elements (VDREs). Binding suppresses activity that prevents hair follicles from moving out of the resting phase and into the growth phase(xi.102)

Studies show that the turmeric compound curcumin can activate VDR genes, which could promote hair growth. (xi.102)

Typically finasteride is prescribed in doses of 1-5 mg/day to block DHT. (xi.91)
Specifically, retinoid X receptors (RXRs). (xi.102)
Telogen phase. (xi.102)
Anagen phase. (xi.102)

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