“I had to raise your hairline bro,” my barber said as he lined me up. I shed a tear for my youth, blamed my father for these genes, and imagined myself bald — all before my haircut was done.
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All men strive to grow that full head of hair that can be styled to best frame our face. For me, that look has always included a crisp hairline and a style that makes my thin hair look fuller. With what seemed like impending doom awaiting my hairline, I wanted to try something new to help my hair: Nutrafol’s DHT Inhibitor, a natural supplement with botanicals that target DHT hormone.
A crash course on DHT and how it affects hair
At the time of my haircut, I had already been taking Nutrafol supplements for about four months. I was thrilled with my results, but I knew that I needed more. Because I work for Nutrafol, I decided to speak with one of Nutrafol’s in-house naturopathic doctors to see what else I could do to help my hairline. (One-on-one consultations with Nutrafol’s team of doctors is a service available to all Nutrafol subscribers.)
Dr. Tess Marshall, ND, the director of product development and science marketing at Nutrafol, educated me on the hormone that could be wreaking havoc on my hairline, dihydrotestosterone (DHT). While DHT is not a bad hormone (it’s an androgen that helps give male characteristics like muscles and body hair), the problem arises when the DHT androgens attach to the hair follicles on your head. It triggers them to shrink — a process called miniaturization, which ultimately leads to thinning and permanent loss.
Once I found the culprit, I wanted to know what next steps I could take to block DHT.
My supplement routine
Dr. Marshall put together a DHT-balancing Nutrafol GrowthPlan® to help me achieve my hair goals. Keeping my hairline in mind, she recommended taking Nutrafol’s DHT Inhibitor and Hairbiotic in addition to Nutrafol For Men.
Nutrafol’s DHT inhibitor has saw palmetto, which is known to help slow down the enzyme that turns testosterone into DHT. The Hairbiotic was also included in my plan because a healthy gut biome helps support hormones that can affect hair health. These two boosters complement the Men’s Core formula to target the underlying reasons for my thinning hair.
A DHT-inhibiting diet
Hair health is also affected by diet, so Dr. Marshall advised a few dietary changes. She told me to add and eliminate the following foods that might affect DHT.
Add DHT-inhibiting foods:
- Lycopene-rich foods like tomatoes, watermelon, avocados and mangos
- Lysine-rich foods like walnuts, eggs, fish, and apples
- Zinc-rich meats (hormone-free, grass-fed) and oysters
Eliminate DHT-triggering foods:
- Processed foods and sugars
Tomatoes, watermelon, and mangos (my favorite) are rich in lycopene, which is a natural DHT balancer. As an avocado toast lover, I was pleased to learn that avocados also have DHT-balancing abilities. They double as a healthy fat, so the benefits of Nutrafol are better absorbed when I take it with foods like avocados.
I also included foods rich in lysine (walnuts, eggs, fish, and apples) and zinc (hormone-free, grass-fed meats and oysters). As an avid snacker, I made sure to keep walnuts and apples at my desk, right next to my Nutrafol, to make them readily accessible.
Adding things to my diet was relatively easy; the hard part was removing things from my diet. Dr. Marshall warned that processed sugars (and processed foods in general) can mess with your DHT and affect the hormonal balance of the body. Even though it was going to be tough, I realized I could definitely stand to lower the amount of sugar I was consuming. I went ahead and replaced my double chocolate chip cookies with mangos, strawberries, and small pieces of dark chocolate.
Lifestyle changes to help my hairline
To maximize my results, Dr. Marshall recommended making a few lifestyle changes as well.
- Meditate daily. As a young professional in New York, I’m always on the run and rarely take time to be mindful. But because stress can mess with hormones and hair, Dr. Marshall advised making daily meditations a priority.
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule. “Maintaining the same sleep/wake cycle schedule will keep cortisol and hormones in balance,” Dr. Marshall noted.
- Cut out alcohol. Like processed foods, alcohol messes with your DHT.
- Exercise. She told me to be active at least five times per week.
Switching up my routine
I found that remembering to take my DHT Inhibitor, Hairbiotic, and Nutrafol For Men supplements every day was easy, but sticking to my new diet was a little trickier. At first, it was hard to resist the sight of brownies, but after swapping out my “bad” snacks (cookies) for similar-but-healthier ones (fruit and dark chocolate), I finally made a change I could maintain — though I will still devour a slice of amaretto cake! I used to meal prep in the past and recently got lazy, but this receding hairline was enough of a reason to get it together in the kitchen again. And when it came to alcohol, I kept a dry January. (Not only does my hairline thank me, but my liver does, too.)
I’m pretty good at staying active, so I was able to make it to the gym several times a week. I also got into the habit of meditating, and I found that this practice was quite pleasant and helped with my focus at work.
Admittedly, it was difficult to keep a regular sleep cycle, but in time, I was sleeping by 11:30 pm and getting up by 7:45 am without an alarm clock. Getting more sleep reduced my stress enormously. I was no longer groggy in the mornings, and I even had time to scroll social media, spend some extra time getting ready, and still get to work on time.
This DHT-balancing regimen was very eye-opening. I knew that diet and stress affect hair, but I wasn’t aware of how deeply connected they were to the inner workings of my body and just how much impact DHT has on hair health.
Overall, I love the way I look and feel after making the supplement, diet, and lifestyle changes. In fact, I went back to the barbershop after starting my Nutrafol GrowthPlan® and when I looked in the mirror, I noticed that I couldn’t see through my hair as much, even under the shop’s bright lights. As my barber combed my hairline to line it up, I braced myself for the moment of truth. He paused and said, “Bro, what are you doing? Your hairline is looking thicker.” Needless to say, I was relieved.
I will definitely keep a lot of these changes for my overall wellness and look forward to continuing to kick DHT’s butt.