There has been a lot of chatter about using green tea to reduce hair loss, and as a potential DHT blocker. In this article I’ll review the scientific evidence to see if you should be adding green tea to your daily supplement list.
Green tea was originally grown in China, but now is grown in other places as well. It can be used either as a drink or an extract. The claims about what makes green tea effective is that it contains polyphenols and flavonoids.
The percentage of flavonoids in green tea is higher than can be found in most vegetables, fruits, or wine, all of which have fairly large amounts.
Flavonoids in particular are what gives green tea antioxidant and anticarcinogenic qualities. Green tea also contains vitamins A, E, and C, as well as zinc, selenium, chromium and manganese.
It is packed full of things that are recommended to improve the overall quality of your health, and possibly the quality of your hair.
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What Could Make It Work?
Many people who have used green tea to reverse their hair loss problems attribute the effects to the high levels of antioxidants. Other ways in which it could contribute to hair regrowth and prevention of hair loss are:
- Improves circulation of hormones and improves blood flow
- Helps stimulate testosterone and interferes with the conversion to DHT.
- Contains a potent antioxidant called EGCG.
Does It Really Work? Is There Scientific Evidence?
Researchers from the Saitama Cancer Center have published a paper that showed that a tumor that is implicated in cancer and arthritic diseases, the Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha, also has effects on the hair and can result in hair loss.
Green tea is able to suppress the production and development of TNF-alpha, which as a result might make it a cure for hair loss.
Additionally the paper included information on hair growth as a result of drinking a lot of green tea and the effect this has on DHT, the latter being linked to baldness and hair growth in puberty.
Another study showed that mice that were losing hare and that were given green tea regrew their hair, while the mice that didn’t drink green tea had no regrowth.
Study 4 provides contradictory evidence about the efficacy of green tea for hair loss:
Mice treated with black tea tended to have a greater serum testosterone concentration (34.4%, P = 0.50) and had a 72% lower DHT concentration than controls (P < 0.05), suggesting that black tea may contain components that inhibit the activity of 5α-reductase, an enzyme that converts testosterone to the more bioactive DHT.
Green tea tended to increase serum testosterone and DHT levels by 73.8% (P = 0.14) and 194% (P = 0.076), respectively. The combination of SPC and green tea reduced serum levels of DHT (P < 0.05).
Ultimately this study was performed on mice and cannot be taken as face value to be directly applicable to male humans.
So, there does seem to be some scientific evidence to support the use of green tea as a remedy for hair loss.
A common theme in the research is that green tea’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties seem to be very important in supporting the growth of new hair by supporting overall health.
Here’s my article on theaflavin extract for hair loss.
In order to get 250 mg per day of catechins, one needs 3 to 5 cups of green tea per day. The supplement form (extract) should not be taken on an empty stomach because there is some concern over liver injury (hepatotoxicity).
It is unlikely for this to occur when drinking the leaves brewed as a tea, but the extract form is much more potent.
There doesn’t seem to be an established recommended amount of how many milligrams per day are needed to improve hair growth, but 3 to 5 cups of tea per day is considered safe for most adults, unless you have an underlying liver problem.
If you do have liver issues you should speak to your physician before using green tea for hair regrowth. A high dosage is defined as 10 to 29 milligrams of green tea extract per kilogram of body weight per day.
Are There Any Known Side Effects Of Green Tea?
There have been no reported cases of toxicity from people who drink green tea. Toxicity can occur when using green tea extract though.
Green tea leaves contain polyphenols, and EGCG has the highest concentration of all the polyphenols.
This doesn’t cause any problems if you’re just drinking the tea, but an extract taken as a supplement contains a much higher concentration than just hot brewed tea.
It has been documented that high doses of EGCG can lead to liver damage and aggravate any existing liver problems.
Do remember that green tea extract should be taken with food, never on an empty stomach.
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If you are using green tea extract and develop any symptoms associated with liver damage (abdominal pain, unusual colored, dark urine or if you develop signs of jaundice), discontinue using it and see your doctor.
The Correlation between Green Tea and DHT
Dihydrotestosterone is a sex steroid and androgen hormone. It is synthesized from testosterone in three different places in the body, the testicles, the prostate and the hair follicles.
DHT is also the main culprit when it comes to gradual, natural hair loss.
The problem is that this hormone basically sticks to the follicle and piles up on it, slowly suffocating the hair follicle. When that happens, hair loss is not far behind.
Luckily the process is usually reversible and once the problem is handled, the hair often grows back.
The reason why green tea could actually play a part in all that has a lot to do with the fact that its main compound is known for its ability to inhabit certain enzymes.
In this case, the enzyme that is responsible for the storage of dietary fat.
That is the main reason why Green Tea is so popular among dieters, and it does have some medically proven qualities that can actually play a big part in the fat loss process.
It also needs to be mentioned that it can lower cholesterol levels. Its ability to prevent cancer is highly debated though, and at the very least, questionable, but as a dietary tool, green tea is excellent and there is no question about that.
Could It Actually Effect Testosterone?
The compounds in green tea can inhibit aromatase too, which is an enzyme that turns androgens (male hormones like testosterone) into estrogen.
Contrary to the popular belief, men do have estrogen in their bodies, just as women have testosterone.
There is research out there which suggests that green tea’s compounds could inhibit 5-alpha reductase, the very compound that can synthesize DHT, the hormone that causes male pattern baldness.
The reason why many people question the legitimacy of that study, is the fact that the subjects drank a ridiculous amount of green tea, which would be practically impossible in real life, at least in the long run.
There are also scientists that suggest that consuming small amount of green tea could actually have the opposite effect, increasing the level of DHT, which is not a good thing when it comes to natural hair loss.
The studies seem to suggest that drinking excessive amounts of green tea can reduce testosterone levels, while small amounts can increase it.
How Can You Get More Green Tea into Your Diet?
In order to get real, measurable benefits from green tea, you will need to use it consistently and daily. It is recommended that you use it at least twice daily, in some form.
Brewing the tea leaves is the most common way of consuming it.
Depending on the quality of the leaves, brewing time can vary. If you use high quality leaves, they can be steeped in water that is less hot (about 69 degrees Celsius, 160 degrees Fahrenheit), for about 30 seconds.
If you’re using “spent” leaves (lower quality), the brewing time needs to be a bit longer-the recommended time is two to three minutes, at 87 degrees Celsius, which is 190 degrees Fahrenheit.
Other Ways to Consume Green Tea
Most people will consume hot green tea, but there are other ways to use it:
- Cold green tea
- Green tea in a pill or capsule form (an extract)
- Shampoos or conditioners that contain green tea, or lotion that contains it
- Blended into smoothies
Since green tea is less potent than other hair loss remedies, it’s best to incorporate more than one of these strategies into your daily routine.
For example, you could consume two cups of green tea daily, use a green tea extract supplement, and also use a hair product that contains green tea.
How To Make A Delicious Matcha Tea
Are There Any Alternatives To Green Tea?
There are a number of alternatives that can help to block DHT, which you should consider trying instead.
Keep in mind that blocking DHT is NOT the most important part of reversing hair loss. It is DHT sensitivity that is really the crucial difference that leads to hair follicle miniaturization.
So, instead of focusing on lowering your DHT levels, focus on lowering sensitivity. I reveal the key to doing this in my course.
However here are a few quick green tea alternatives:
Pumpkin seed oil: PSO, as it’s sometimes called has been proven to increase hair count when used as a supplement after 24 weeks.
And here are the visual results from the study:
Ecklonia Cava: This is a form of seaweed usually found along the Japanese and Korean coastline. Studies have shown that it reduces DHT almost as effectively as finasteride, but it does so naturally.
You can see the results below:
However, you should keep something in mind; even though you may be blocking the DHT production ‘naturally’ ie. using plants, there can still be side-effects associated with this.
That’s why I suggest you focus on DHT sensitivity instead. Here’s an article I wrote which I highly recommend you read about the best natural DHT blocker.
We’ve learned that green tea contains high levels of polyphenols and flavonoids. Flavonoids and an antioxidant called EGCG are what make green tea effective in boosting the immune system.
In order to benefit the most from using green tea, it’s best to not only ingest it, but to include topical products as well on a regular basis.
We see that drinking green tea (or consuming it in any recipe) prevents the problem of reaching a level of toxicity, as can be experienced when using green tea extract, so drinking it or eating it might be the safer way to go, especially if you are aware you might have liver issues.
The reviews on the efficacy of green tea are mixed, but overall there seem to be more positive outcomes than negative ones.
It has also been demonstrated that the use of green tea increases metabolism and contributes to improvements in a person’s general health and well-being but no firm evidence has shown it to be valuable enough to add to a daily hair care regime.