Effect Of Pumpkin Seed Oil On Hair Growth In Men With Androgenetic Alopecia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, April 2014
This randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study was designed to investigate the efficacy and tolerability of pumpkin seed oil (PSO) for treatment of hair growth in male patients with mild to moderate androgenetic alopecia (AGA).
76 male patients with AGA received 400 mg of PSO per day or a placebo for 24 weeks. Change over time in scalp hair growth was evaluated by four outcomes: assessment of standardized clinical photographs by a blinded investigator; patient self-assessment scores; scalp hair thickness; and scalp hair counts.
After 24 weeks of treatment:
- Self-rated improvement score and self-rated satisfaction scores in the PSO-treated group were higher than in the placebo group (P = 0.013, 0.003).
- The PSO-treated group had more hair after treatment than at baseline, compared to the placebo group (P < 0.001).
- Mean hair count increases of 40% were observed in PSO-treated men at 24 weeks, whereas increases of 10% were observed in placebo-treated men (P < 0.001).
- Adverse effects were not different in the two groups.
The study shows that pumpkin seed oil could improve androgenetic alopecia (AGA, male pattern baldness) and that it should be considered a potential alternative treatment.
Here are before and after photographs of a few men in the study. The effect wasn’t profound, but it was evident. This is after 6 months of pumpkin seed oil, 400 mg daily:
It’s likely the men taking pumpkin seed oil were also experiencing improved urination.
Women also experience androgenetic alopecia – female pattern baldness – especially after a drop in female hormones … from ovarian cysts, hysterectomy, pregnancy, or menopause. Women experience more diffuse thinning throughout the scalp instead of distinct male-pattern bald areas.
The mechanism for hair regrowth in men taking pumpkin seed oil may apply to women as well: pumpkin seed oil inhibits the action of 5-alpha reductase:
Testosterone converts to DHT with the aid of the enzyme Type II 5-alpha reductase, which is held in a hair follicle’s oil glands. Scientists now believe that it’s not the amount of circulating testosterone that’s the problem but the level of DHT binding to receptors in scalp follicles. DHT shrinks hair follicles, making it impossible for healthy hair to survive.
Other foods that inhibit 5-alpha reductase are flax seeds and green tea.
As you could guess, I don’t post this to promote taking a supplement. I’m more interested in the mechanism. There does seem to be something in these foods (pumpkin seeds, flax seeds) that benefit men. I particularly like the studies that show relief of symptoms of BPH (enlarged prostate). The hair regrowth is an add-on.