Does Black Pepper Extract Reduce Hair Loss?
Black pepper extract has multiple health benefits including being an anti-inflammatory antioxidant. But one interesting thing is that it contains a substance called Picaridin. Picaridin is found mostly in black pepper, but it's also found in the piper nigrum leaf. And several studies have shown that it can reduce five alpha-reductase. For those of you who don't know, five alpha-reductase is responsible for converting testosterone to DHT, which is thought to be one of the main causes of hair loss in men and sometimes women.
This study, which was in Biological Pharmaceutical Bulletin* in 2007, showed that the in vivo or live anti-degenerative activity was actually effective in testosterone-sensitive men. There was a further study looking at the mix preparation of piperine capsaicin which is a kind of that pepper and curcumin in the treatment and found that this also was effective in hair loss but was not superior to minoxidil. And so what we're finding is that some of these herbal supplements are nice alternatives to Finasteride.
In my own personal hair journey, what I like to do is combine allopathic and Eastern medicine. And that seems to work well for my hair and for my patients. So I do a low dose of Finasteride so I can avoid some of the side effects and see some of the benefits of Finasteride, which include smaller prostate (No, you don't want a big prostate) and potentially preventing my heart from hypertrophy. I like combining that with a “super” hair supplement. Currently, I like Nutrafol and that's because it contains turmeric. But there are a bunch of other things that you can kind of add. You can include eating a lot of pepper in your normal diet or using black pepper extract because of the piperin. And so, multiple herbal supplements plus, having an allopathic medication like Finasteride in a low dose might be a nice way of preventing hair loss.
*Hirata N, Tokunaga M, Naruto S, Iinuma M, Matsuda H. Testosterone 5alpha-reductase inhibitory active constituents of Piper nigrum leaf. Biol Pharm Bull. 2007 Dec;30(12):2402-5. doi: 10.1248/bpb.30.2402. PMID: 18057734.