Beta Sitosterol — Nature’s Hair Loss Supplement

Could Beta Sitosterol be the cheapest most effective natural male hair loss supplement? One fella going by the nick name of WidowsPeak thinks so — using beta sitosterol not only has he halted hair loss, he’s actually regrown new hair. I’ve mulled over whether or not I should give beta sitosterol a whirl for a while. Initially the slightly scary name put me off, but on further inspection there is not much to be worried about, in fact quite the opposite.

All Natural Goodness

Beta sitosterol belongs to a group of plant extracts called phytosterols. Chances are you eat it every day already as it’s found in rice, wheat germ, avocado, various oils and other plant based foods. An old study showed that unless we get fresh beta sitosterol daily our body will become depleted of it. The study concluded that beta sitosterol should to be taken daily for “optimal functioning” (Metabolism of beta-sitosterol in man. J. Clin. Invest., 49, 952-967, 1970).

Commonly beta sitosterol is sold as supplement for a wide range of health benefits in particular to help reduce cholesterol levels and for prostate health, but it has been shown to have anti cancer effects and it also gives the immune system a helping hand. Sounds like good stuff, but how will this help re-grow hair?

Beta Sitosterol To The Rescue

Exactly how beta sitosterol helps prevent hair loss is not totally clear. Studies seem to indicate that it works by stopping the enzyme 5 alpha reductase dead in it’s tracks (J Altern Complement Med. 2002 Apr;8(2):143-52.). This enzyme converts testosterone into another hormone called DHT, and if you didn’t know DHT is bad news for hair. So if beta sitosterol can stamp out the action of 5 alpha reductase then a major cause of male pattern hair loss can be fended off.

*UPDATE* Just found a study, perhaps the only study, looking at the effect of beta sitosterol on androgenic alopecia (male balding). The study tested 26 males aged between 23 and 65 with mild to moderate hair loss. They were given 50mg of beta sitosterol a day for four months. The outcome…

On the basis of the investigative staff assessment of change in the patient’s scalp hair growth from baseline, treatment with the active study formula demonstrated 60% of the subjects rated as “improved” at the final visit as compared to baseline. In contrast, only 11% in the placebo group were rated as improved. Further, the Subject Assessment analysis of the appearance of the bald spot at the final visit compared to baseline showed that in the treatment group, no subjects deteriorated. In contrast however, the placebo group reported three subjects as deteriorated.

(Nelson Prager, Effectiveness of Botanically Derived Inhibitors of 5AR in the Treatment of Androgenetic Alopecia: Alternative and Complimentary Medicine, Volume 8, Number 2, April 2002)

Not the biggest study ever done, but one certainly gives me more confidence in beta sitosterol. And then consider the best results with beta sitosterol comes from over 12 months of use, yet 60% of the test subjects noticed an improvement after just 4 months. At the worst it may be enough to stop any more hair shed at the best I may be able to spark new life into hair follicles that were nearly dead.

The study also makes some interesting points comparing natural substances like beta sitosterol with synthetic ones like Rogaine and Propecia…

These botanicals have not been linked with the spectrum of negative side effects, adverse reactions, or teratogenicity, associated with the pharmaceutically derived alternatives.

Not only does it appear that beta sitosterol may prevent new DHT being made, it may also prevent hair loss by stopping any existing DHT binding to androgen receptors, but I couldn’t find any studies to confirm this. And that’s not all…

It is thought that beta sitosterol has estrogen blocking effects. High estrogen levels in men are strongly linked with balding and a whole host of other nasties (prostate problems and man boobs!).

Another study revealed that beta-sitosterol may possess anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is also a significant factor in hair loss, so if this can be limited too then there may be protection against hair loss from several different angles.

And finally beta sitosterol has been shown in numerous studies to have a variety of anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal actions. Having micro creepy crawlies on your scalp is certainly not good for you hair. All in all beta sitosterol sounds like a potent hair loss supplement.

What to expect, are there any side effects?

WidowsPeak used 350mg a day of the product, this seems a safe level, especially when you consider some Doctors recommend up 5000mg a day. Roger Mason author of the book “The Natural Prostate Cure” states 300mg supplement is more than safe.

As for side effects, the odd beta sitosterol user has reported a decrease in libido, if this happens to me I will cease using the product – hair is good, but not THAT good. Generally people have reported an increase in libido. Also, for the first couple of weeks you may experience an oily itchy scalp, apparently this is a “pre-cursor to regrowth”.

Another possible problem with beta sitosterol is that it can interfere with how the body absorbs beta-carotene and vitamin E and, but taking a decent multi-vitamin should balance that out.

I’ll need to stick with it for an extended period, WidowsPeak reported new small baby like hair initially, but it took months to see thick new hairs…

5 months is nothing, took me 12-18 months to really start seeing overall thickening, takes a LONG time for velous hairs to turn terminal, but the fact that they are there means the follicles are not dead. I think some of the terminal new hairs you saw were hairs on the way to dying but the sprang back to life. They were not so far gone that the first thing to sprout is peach fuzz. Be patient, just stopping the fallout etc is great. Regrowth takes time.

This would indicate that beta sitosterol would probably work better on people who have only just started losing hair, rather than those who have been bald for years who’s follicles are more likely to be dead.

I’m giving beta sitosterol 18 months use at 375mg every day. I’ve been on it for 7 days, no side effects to mention as yet. I’ll be taking some “before” pictures soon so I can make an accurate comparison. I brought my supply of it from vitacost, it’s fairly cheap… Beta Sitosterol Supplement

On a final note, if your wondering why this supplement isn’t more popular for hair loss you have to consider that it is inexpensive and a natural substance so the big drug companies cannot claim exclusive rights to it which means very small profits.

I’ll be writing updates and posting pictures every few months, hopefully I’ll be reporting back with a few more hairs on my head.

Further Reading…

Update 1: Growing my Hair Experiment with Beta Sitosterol

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This article was written on May 15, 2006 was posted in these categories DHT Blockers, Hair Nutrition, Hair Products .