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Over the last decade, a lot has been said about the positive effects of both green tea and green tea extract. Green tea has a lot of benefits, and there’s no doubt that drinking it is good for your health.
Green tea is actually made from the same leaves as black tea. However, the processing of green tea and black tea is different. Both have been around for quite a while though. A Chinese book written all the way back sometime between 600-900 A.D. mentions this drink.
Not only has green tea been around for quite a while, but almost everyone has heard that this tea is really good for you to drink. However, few people can tell you exactly why green tea is supposedly so good for you.
So, let’s look at what exactly is in green tea and how it can affect both your body and, more specifically, your hair. We will also see if there is any evidence available for green tea as a way to lower your DHT levels, which is the main cause of male pattern baldness.
What Is In Green Tea?
There are a number of important things in green tea, both in terms of vitamins as well as active ingredients. The first thing in green tea is the purine alkaloids we all love so much, otherwise known as caffeine!
Green tea also has other, less familiar active ingredients, such as theobromine, theophylline, and catechins. There are different catechins out there, but the specific catechins found in green tea are known to relax blood vessels, kill certain kinds of bacteria, and act as antioxidants.
The antioxidant effects are what we’re interested in today. Since it’s these compounds that are believed to be responsible for green tea’s ability to help with anti-aging and combating hair loss. Green tea’s antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties are believed to come from one particular catechin, which is named epigallocatechin-3-gallate (ECGC).
When it comes to vitamins, green tea has multiple B vitamins including B-1, B-2, B-3, and Vitamin B-6, The first three of these are also known as Thiamine, Riboflavin, and Niacin respectively. In addition, green tea has a fair amount of Vitamin C in it.
Finally, green tea has a handful of minerals that are very important to your body. Perhaps the most important out of these are calcium, iron, and magnesium. There is also manganese, potassium, and a small amount of sodium.
There is also the tannin that is responsible for the slightly bitter taste that green tea can sometimes have. The longer you steep your tea and the hotter the water is, the more of this tannin is released. This is why you should never over-steep green tea.
Can Green Tea Help With Hair Loss?
By seeing what is in green tea, you should already have a fair idea that green tea can help with your hair. Keep in mind that some of this will depend on if you steep it correctly and how much water you use in your tea.
The B vitamins are some of the most important for your hair growth. Calcium and iron are equally important, and they also help give your hair its color. This means that if you are deficient in these you can go gray sooner.
The Vitamin C and antioxidants are both extremely beneficial to both your health and your hair. These nutrients in green tea help boost your immune system. Your immune system is vital to keep you from getting sick, which in turn helps your hair.
Finally, green tea also has a small amount of caffeine. Caffeine is something that can help increase the flow of blood. Since blood is needed to carry nutrients to your scalp in order for your hair to grow, this is a process that can help with your hair.
Is Green Tea Proven To Help With Hair Loss?
While green tea certainly can help with your hair, the real question is if it actually does. There have actually been a number of different studies done on green tea and how it can potentially affect your hair.
A study published in the Journal of the National Medical Association back in 2005 discovered a 33% reduction in hair loss in mice against a control group. Meanwhile, in 2006, researchers at the University of Seoul performed an investigation into the effects of the catechin ECGC on human dermal papilla cells.
Papilla cells are where the hair grows from. In this study, they discovered a positive impact when compared to a control group. However, the positive impact wasn’t anything astounding and required a large amount of ECGC.
While these findings are certainly a step in the right direction, they are the first pieces of research conducted on the efficacy of green tea as a treatment for decreasing DHT levels.
In 2015, however, there was a study done to try to prove that green tea was anti-inflammatory. But this study showed inconclusive results. At this point, there have been no large-scale clinical studies on the benefits of green tea on the prevention of either hair loss in general or, more specifically, male pattern baldness caused by DHT.
The trials above do shed some light question onto whether green tea extract can help with DHT, though they by no means provide a complete answer. These are only a few of the studies that have been done on green tea, but these all either showed some beneficial results or were inconclusive.
Does Green Tea Cause Hair Loss?
In addition to the problem of there being no large-scale study, there is some evidence that green tea can actually be bad for your hair. Green tea in and of itself may be good for your hair, but there are a couple of situations where you should avoid it.
The first case where you should avoid green tea is if you eat a lot of soy. This is because of evidence that comes from a study performed on rats at Harvard Medical School. They actually found that combining green tea with chemicals found in soy would increase the levels of DHT in your body.
Since an increase in DHT is commonly known to correlate with an increase in hair loss, this means that green tea combined with soy can possibly make you lose your hair.
The second case where you should avoid green tea is in large amounts and when combined with green tea extract. If you get too much of the catechin ECGC in your body, your liver has to filter out the extra that you are not using.
If you get too much of the ECGC, then this can negatively impact your liver. One study proved that it is possible to overdose on this catechin, with the result being liver toxicity and potentially complete liver failure.
Since this would require drinking an extremely large amount of green tea and green tea extract, it is highly unlikely that you would drink enough for this to be a problem for you. However, if you know you have liver problems, you shouldn’t be drinking multiple cups of green tea a day.
How To Use Green Tea For Hair Loss
Knowing the pros and cons of using green tea for your hair is one thing, but there is more than one way to use green tea. However, there is one main way that people use green tea that I will go over first.
The first option for using green tea on your hair requires you to make some green tea first. Using hot water and either a bag of green tea or loose green tea leaves, steep the leaves just like you usually do when you make tea.
You do not add sugar or cream to this, of course, but you can add other things. For example, essential oils, aloe vera gel, or other oils like coconut oil can be added in small amounts to the tea. Once made, you want to use it fairly quickly since green tea does not keep at room temperature for long.
You can use this green tea as a hair rinse. Keep the tea in your hair for 5 to 10 minutes and then rinse it out with water. You will have to rub the tea into your hair in order for it to get all the way to the roots.
You can also use green tea like this as a sort of shampoo. If your hair is not particularly in need of a washing, pour the green tea on your hair and rub it and then rinse it out just like you would do with shampoo.
Other than that, there is also the option that is much simpler, which is to drink the green tea itself. There are a few ways you can use green tea bags themselves in your hair. However, these take a number of tea bags and a lot of trouble.
Green Tea For Hair Loss: The Verdict
While the scientific evidence seems to lean slightly toward the fact that green tea extract can help in hair growth, there appears to be little actual evidence of this being the case. Green tea can be something that benefits you as long as you don’t go overboard with it.
You can even use green tea in addition to other hair treatments. This can be great if you are already taking some form of medicine to decrease your DHT levels and you want to do a little more without doing something that could potentially react with your medicine.
Let us know what your experiences with green tea and green tea extract have been – every experience documented helps us, and other MPB sufferers.
Leave a comment if you have experience with it, know someone who has, or is planning on giving it a try.