Hormone blocking potential
Resveratrol is a natural product found in plants. It's often produced by plants that are injured or when the plant is infected with bacteria and fungi. Blueberries, grapes and raspberries are loaded with resveratrol.
So, why would a hair doctor take interest in resveratrol? It blocks some of the androgen hormones that have been implicated in hair loss. We don't yet know if resveratrol actually helps those with hair loss, but let me share some new information.
Researchers from Poland and the US undertook a study to look at the effects of resveratrol in women with a common endocrine disorder known as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
The researchers performed a randomized double blind study comparing the benefits of 1500 mg of resveratrol to placebo. 30 patients took part in the study.
Resveratrol treatment led to a significant decrease of total testosterone by 23% and a 22% decrease of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate. Other changes seen were a decrease of fasting insulin level by 32%.
Resveratrol lowers androgen levels in women with PCOS. More studies are needed to determine if these reductions translate into clinical benefits - including benefits for hair loss. Hormone blockers including the prescription drug spironolactone, are used for treating hair loss in women with PCOS. They too lower testosterone and DHEAS and help a significant proportion of women. Whether resveratrol has any such similar role remains to be seen. In high doses resveratol can cause diarrhea and nausea - such as the dose used in this study. Typical dosing is 150 mg twice daily rather than 1500 mg. More studies are needed.
Effects of Resveratrol on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Trial.
Banaszewska B, et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2016.
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