Pumpkins and Hair Loss:
As October rolls in, it seems appropriate to discuss pumpkins and one of the oils from the seeds - pumpkin seed oil (PSO).
Surprisingly, pumpkin seed oil (PSO) has been shown in previous studies to block the action of the enzymes 5-alpha reductase and to have antiandrogenic effects on rats.
Korean researchers undertook a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study was designed to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of PSO for treating male patients with mild to moderate androgenetic alopecia (AGA).
How was the study designed?
76 men with AGA received 400 mg of PSO per day or a placebo for 24 weeks. Four outcomes were closely followed in the study: assessment of standardized clinical photographs by a blinded investigator; patient self-assessment scores; scalp hair thickness; and scalp hair counts. Reports of adverse events were collected throughout the study.
What were the results?
At the end of the 24 week treatment, self-rated improvement score and self-rated satisfaction scores in the pumpkin seed oil-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 between the two groups.
Further studies are needed to understand the benefits of pumpkin seed oil in promoting hair growth. These results are encouraging, especially in light of their relative safety.
Cho YH et al. Effect of pumpkin seed oil on hair growth in men with androgenetic alopecia: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:549721. doi: 10.1155/2014/549721. Epub 2014 Apr 23.
Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Vancouver office at 604.283.9299