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In recent years the search has been on to discover natural treatments to fight hair loss. Most people don’t want to resort to medications, and there’s been a growing interest in finding alternative hair growth treatments. Now we can add Pumpkin seed oil to the list of natural hair loss treatments.
Hair loss can affect between 50 to 70% of men after they reach the age of 50. Many men had to simply accept this as a fact of life as they got older, but this is changing.
Ever since the internet forums were developed, men were sharing their concerns freely, and together over the years, people have discovered various ways to slow down hair loss.
It’s only in recent years that we’ve gotten confirmation that natural treatments can be effective in some people, and therefore, due to the lower risk of side effects, men may want to give them a try before resorting to hair loss medications.
In the hair loss study, the researchers saw a huge 40% increase in hair count over a period of 6 months.
It’s pretty impressive!
So let’s dive into the details of the study.
What is Pumpkin Seed Oil?
Fist off, pumpkins are not just used for Halloween. Pumpkins are part of the squash family of plants and are a delicious healthy food which can be enjoyed in many ways. In North America, most people consume them in the winter, but you can pick up a bag of pumpkin seeds at any time during the year.
The seeds themselves are oval-shaped with a green color. They can be consumed either by themselves or with other foods for a nice little snack.
Pumpkin seeds are a great source of Zinc, Magnesium, Potassium, Iron, Phosphorus, and Calcium.
Extracting oil from Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seed oil is sourced mainly from various parts of Europe and has been cultivated for more than 300 years. Most often, pumpkin oil is sourced from Austria.
Depending on the thickness of the oil, the color can be light or dark green or even a dark red color. Pumpkin seed oil contains many different fatty acids which are beneficial to human health. It has a strong nutty taste and is often used as a dressing for salads and other foods.
Notable health benefits
- Found to be beneficial for depression
- Improves skin and hair health
- Reduces the risk of heart disease
- Improved symptoms of enlarged prostate in men and urinary symptoms
What were the results for men treated with pumpkin seed oil for hair loss?
The study itself was conducted in South Korea, and patients were deemed eligible for recruitment into the study if they suffered from mild to moderate hair loss, which is between Norwood-Hamilton type II to V.
To make sure that there were no other factors which would interfere with the results of the study, the researchers made sure that no patient was using any kind of hair loss medication or treatments.
What they were taking
Each of the patients in the treatment group received in total, 400 mg of a supplement called Octa Sabal Plus in capsule form.
They were required to take it 100 mg, 4 x per day for 6 months.
What was measured in the study?
To investigate whether or not the treatment was working, they measured several things including:
- Self-rated improvement scores: Subjective score on a scale of 0-10
- Pictures were taken and rated: Assessments were done at 12 and 24 weeks
- Hair counts by phototricography: Hairs taken from one part of the head at 12 and 24 weeks
- Scalp hair thickness: Measured at 12 and 24 weeks
So now to the exciting part. Men who were taking the supplement experienced a significant increase in hair growth at both 12 and 24 weeks.
- At 12 weeks there was a 30% increase in hair growth
- At 24 weeks there was a 40% increase in hair growth
The men who were assigned to the placebo group saw very little growth with just a 5% and 10% increase at 24 weeks.
Was it really the pumpkin seed oil that regrew hair?
I looked into the exact supplement that was used in the study because it was unclear from articles I’ve read online.
What I found was quite interesting…
The study actually used a supplement which also contained several other ingredients which may have contributed to its effectiveness in treating hair loss.
The other ingredients include:
- Mixed vegetable powder
- Evening primrose powder
- Corn silk extract powder
- Red clover powder
- Tomato powder
Based on previous research, both red clover and tomatoes may help slow down hair loss in men due to their ability to inhibit 5-alpha-reductase, which converts testosterone into DHT (the hormone responsible for male pattern baldness).
Due to the fact that pumpkin oil was not used just by itself, it’s difficult to know whether or not the effect they saw was due to the oil or the other ingredients.
Nevertheless, without question, these were some impressive results, and more research should be done to see if pumpkin oil by itself is effective.
What are the health properties of pumpkin seed oil and how could it help hair growth?
We know that hair loss can be caused in many different ways, and the cascading effects which lead to hair loss could be prevented by pumpkin seed oil.
Before going into the main properties of pumpkin seed oil, take a look at the results with a picture taken from the study:
Let’s take a look at those mechanisms by which the oil could help.
Pumpkin seed oil has been found to have a significant impact on dampening the level of inflammation in the body due to its healthy fatty acid profile.
We know from studies that one of the main processes that lead to hair loss is through inflammation, which is triggered by DHT.
As the blood vessels become narrow, oxygen and nutrients are not delivered to the follicle, and this, in turn, sends off signals and attracts immune cells, which give of pro-inflammatory mediators, and this leads to a downward spiral until the death of the follicle.
By blocking inflammation, you are putting a wedge in the downstream effects of DHT, which may help break the cycle, giving the hair follicle time to regenerate.
Linoleic acid, which is found in pumpkin seed oil, help reduce pro-inflammatory mediators like COX-2, TNF-a, and cytokines. It also helps reduce levels of MMP enzymes, which are responsible for the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin.
Pumpkin seed oil is known to possess powerful antioxidant effects in the body. One of the processes of hair loss is an elevated level of oxidative stress.
In one study, it was found that pumpkin seed oil possessed antiperoxidative properties (another factor in hair loss).
One of the most important reasons why pumpkin seed oil may be so effective in treating hair loss is because it contains many phytosterols, which have been proven in animal studies to inhibit 5-alpha-reductase. This means you end up with less DHT attacking your hair follicles.
Pumpkin seed oil is a source of trace micronutrients, which are helpful in hair growth. Low levels of zinc can be responsible for high levels of DHT in men. Zinc is able to effectively suppress DHT, while at the same time raising Testosterone to a more youthful level.
Low levels of zinc can be a significant cause of hair loss, especially for people who are eating a plant-based vegetarian or vegan diet.
If you think you might be deficient in zinc, then you should consider taking zinc picolinate for hair growth.
Regulation of blood glucose
Pumpkin seed oil is able to help with the regulation of glucose. We know that diabetes and high glucose levels can lead to accelerated skin aging and also hair loss.
There have been studies showing that pumpkin oil when applied topically to the skin can be helpful in healing wounds due to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects.
Both bacterial and fungal infections of the scalp can be major contributors to hair loss, and therefore, pumpkin oil could be useful to apply externally, not just internally.
The use of pumpkin oil to stop hair loss sounds almost too good to be true, but the results of the study speak for themselves.
Given these findings, I would recommend that you give pumpkin seed oil a try.
However, due to the fact that other ingredients were also included in the treatment group, we really need another study using pure pumpkin seed oil to see if its effective in treating hair loss from androgenetic alopecia.
If you have any questions or have already tried pumpkin seed oil, please leave me a comment below! 🙂
1. Effect of Pumpkin Seed Oil on Hair Growth in Men with Androgenetic Alopecia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial