Here's what the Ohio State University has to say about Zinc:
"Why do we need zinc?
Zinc, a mineral, plays an important role in the formation of protein
in the body and thus, assists in wound healing, blood formation, and
general growth and maintenance of all tissues. Zinc is a component of
many enzymes and thus, is involved in most metabolic processes."
Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet - Zinc
The US RDA for Zinc is fifteen milligrams per day. Johnny, youre
taking more than three times the RDA! Did your doctor tell you to do
that? If he didnt, you should cut back right away and discuss a good
dosage with him.
What about Zinc and hair loss?
Too much or too little zinc can cause hair loss.
Hair Loss Treatment: Zinc for Hair Loss - Safety/Side Effects
IWantHair.com likewise notes that overuse of vitamins can cause hair
There are many different causes of hair loss. Causes for losing hair,
thinning hair or baldness can range from zinc deficiency or excessive
use of vitamins to alopecia areata, crash dieting, damaging hair care
practice, thyroid abnormalities, serious illness, and severe emotional
Hair Loss - Male Pattern Baldness, Male Hair Loss
One should * never * take more than the RDA of any vitamin or mineral,
except under the supervision of a physician. Its OK to get more than
the RDA from your diet, but you should never exceed it on purpose,
because such tactics can (and often do) effect more harm than good.
According to at least one source, Zinc is not a cure for hair loss:
"I believe the short answer to whether zinc is a cure for hair loss -
is NO! Just because zinc supplements are frequently used by women to
treat hair loss, hair thinning and alopecia arreata, this does not
mean that lack of zinc is the main cause of hair loss. Zinc is
important for normal hair health; and when zinc deficiency is really
severe, then hair loss can occur as part of widespread changes in the
body. In this case, zinc treatment corrects all the signs including
new luxuriant normal hair growth within months. However, most
dernmatologists believe that the diet invariably provides sufficient
zinc for normal hair growth without adding extra supplements.
The number of diseases/abnormalities for which zinc has been
recommended (without objective evidence) reflect the knowledge gained
from known symptoms and signs of proven deficiency, and its normal
functions in the body e.g. acne, alcoholism, Altzheimer's disease,
anorexia, anthrax, body odour, bulaemia, Crohn's disease, viral
infections, diabetes, wound healing, psoriasis - and hair loss! One
must reiterate that hair loss alone, with no other symptoms or signs,
is never due to zinc deficiency - the diet copes."
Zinc supplements: a cure for hair loss? - Dr. Rodney Dawber, Oxford
ABC News references zinc deficiency as a contributing factor in hair
loss, but makes no claims about zinc as a cure:
Dandruff and hair loss are both conditions associated with zinc
deficiency. Zinc is a mineral that promotes cell reproduction and
tissue growth and repair. Zinc also functions in the maintenance of
the oil-secreting glands attached to hair follicles. The reference
daily intake of zinc is 15 milligrams for the average adult."
Diet and Hair Loss
MotherNature.com takes a blunt, pragmatic approach, suggesting that
zinc is not a cure for hair loss, but if your hair loss is caused by
severe zinc deficiency, you can slow the loss down:
If youre looking for a cure for male pattern baldness, you wont
find it here. Hair loss is a trait inherited through the maternal side
of the family.
If your moms dad or her brothers are bald, the cards are stacked
against you. Unless youre willing to spend hundreds of dollars a year
on hair-raising new drugs that may or may not produce results, youll
just have to resign yourself to a future of diminishing strands.
When a mineral or vitamin deficiency is at the root of your hair loss,
you simply need to correct the deficiency. Maybe its the result of
improper digestion, or perhaps youre not absorbing the necessary
vitamins and minerals as well as you need to, notes Elizabeth Wotton,
N.D., a naturopathic doctor at Compass Family Health Center in
Deficiencies of selenium and zinc generally lead to hair loss,
researchers have observed. These minerals aid in immune function and
in the utilization of protein that your body needs to help produce
Selenium and zinc are known as trace minerals because the body does
not need large amounts of them. Normally, plants get these minerals
from the soil, animals get them from plants, and humans acquire their
needed amounts of trace minerals with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
You can also try taking 30 milligrams of zinc daily and see if you
stop losing hair or even start to grow it back, says Dr. Wotton. If
your hair loss is due to a zinc deficiency, you could see regrowth in
as little as a week. You should talk to a doctor before taking this
amount of zinc, however.
HairLossPharmacy.com notes that while there is no cure for hair loss,
Zinc may help regulate the immune system (which helps keep hair from
Oral zinc has been shown to be of occasional benefit in Alopecia
Areata and appears to modulate the immune system in high doses.
Unfortunately, high doses of zinc may cause gastrointestinal side
effects like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Hair Loss Information: Medical Treatments For Alopecia Areata
Will Brink, who has been mentioned elsewhere as a Hair Guru, seems
to agree with Dr. Dawber (above):
"I don't think you are going to notice any great changes in hair
growth good or bad from oral zinc honestly and zinc only raises T in
deficiency states (i.e. its not a stimulator of T per se). A lack of
zinc is of course bad for your health, so general recommendation would
be to get adequate zinc in your diet along with all the other
essential nutrients we need, and forget about real pro and con issues
of oral zinc supps. I do think topical zinc and selenium
products/shampoos may be mildly helpful for MPB
He discusses Zinc and other vitamins and minerals on his Question and
Answer page, and notes that he doesnt lend much credence to any of
them assisting in hair regrowth because there have been no tests on
For example, saw palmetto is often sold as being able to prevent the
production of DHT. There are other lesser known nutrients and herbs
that show promise. Zinc, copper, cactus flower, fatty acids such as
GLA and alpha linoleic acid, as well as others. The problem is that
none of them have been looked at in vivo, that is in living animals or
Most of these studies come from test tube (in vitro) research. What
goes in a test tube and what goes on in an ultra complex biological
system (i.e. us humans) is two very different things. Some companies
like to make a big deal out of test tube research to sell you
something, but I wont recommend these nutrients for preventing DHT
related problems until I see either "real world" effects or in vivo
research. That's why you didn't see them mentioned in the article. We
just simply need more research with these things.
Will Brink Q&A
Professor Harry Seftel at iafrica.com wasnt impressed with a callers
use of zinc tablets to treat his alopecia:
Prof Harry: Zinc? Ill be perfectly honest Ive not heard of zinc
tablets for this condition. Can you go back to that dermatologist
because obviously your condition has not gotten any better. This is
not an easy condition to treat because we dont understand the cause
and therefore we dont have a cure for it. But we can try and control
it in various ways. A dermatologist should know about that.
Medically Speaking Hair Loss
Many people recommend various non-scientific treatments for hair
loss, including vitamins, zinc, tyrosine, amino acids, hair lotions,
tonics, etc. None of these has been shown to promote hair growth or
prevent hair loss.
Each year new treatments are recommended by non-medical practitioners.
A recent example is the use of lasers and again there is not
scientific evidence to support its use. If in doubt, check with your
doctor before committing to any of these treatments.
HAIR LOSS AND BALDNESS
So what does all this mean?
To summarize it, oral Zinc supplements are not scientifically proven
to aid in hair regrowth * unless * your hair loss is caused by a
severe Zinc deficiency. There have been no FDA studies conducted
which would indicate otherwise.
Most sources not bent on selling you Zinc supplements agree: research
in this area is insufficient to make a compelling case for Zinc being
a realistic remedy for hair loss. While Zinc does have its own
nutritional benefits, one should not take more than the RDA of this
mineral except under the supervision of a health care provider,
because ingesting too much will not help, and may in fact accomplish
exactly the opposite of your intentions.
Although topical Zinc application has shown some benefits in slowing
hair loss, oral Zinc supplements have not, and should only be used in
their recommended dosages. Drop that intake down to 15 milligrams a
day, and boost your seafood consumption instead!
I hope this has answered your questions about Zinc and hair loss.
Ill continue on now with untangling the information I have about DIM.
Of course, if Ive been unclear, or you need more information, just
ask and Ill be glad to help!
Search terms: [ zinc hair loss ]
DIM research in progress.
Clarification of Answer by
13 Feb 2003 23:09 PST
As promised, here is the continuation of my research for you, focusing
on the supplement DIM and its effects (or lack thereof) on hair loss.
This has certainly been interesting research! Lets break it down:
DIM, or diindolylmethane, is an extract from vegetables such as
broccoli and cauliflower which is said to help metabolize (process)
estrogen and prevent estrogen buildup. Decreased estrogen
metabolization can lead to obesity, atherosclerosis and heart attack
and has also been linked with some cancers,including breast, uterine
and prostate cancer.
DIM (diindolylmethane - preferred to I3C, indole-3-carbinol):
phytonutrient from cruciferous vegetables of Brassica genus (cabbage,
broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts), with three-day old broccoli
sprouts containing the highest content of DIM); eliminates estrogen by
increasing enzyme activity. DIM boosts "good" estrogens (2-hydroxy),
and reduces "bad" estrogens (16-hydroxy and 4-hydroxy) estrones (there
are high 16-hydroxy levels in beast cancer). Benign prostate
enlargement and some prostate cancer may be related to estrogen (not
Diindolylmethane (DIM) is another substance found in cruciferous
vegetables. Test tube and animal studies suggest that it may help
protect against breast cancer. However, no clinical trials with cancer
patients given DIM have yet been published.
Health benefits and concerns
What Does DIM Do?
DIM interacts with certain enzymes in the body to help increase levels
of testosterone, and decrease levels of estrogen. It is this decrease
in estrogen which is said to be beneficial in preventing certain
cancers. DIM is intended to restore balance between levels of
estrogen and testosterone (androgens) to slow the aging process and
maintain an even libido.
DIM appears to be popular with bodybuilders, who use DIM supplements
to boost testosterone and suppress estrogen. Elevated levels of
testosterone allow an increase in muscle mass.
Diindolylmethane (DIM) is the most active and effective substance
within cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and kale
toward promoting beneficial estrogen metabolism.
Di-Indolin providing diindolylmethane, (DIM) has been shown to
consistantly increase this critical ratio by 75% of the good (2
hydroxy) estrogens which bind blood proteins (SHBG), to greatly
increased levels of Free Testosterone
.Diindolylmethane Decreases the bad estrogen" (16-hydroxyestrone) by
Diindolylmethane (DIM) is the dietary connection to a better
metabolism. DIM, a natural phytonutrient (plant nutrient) found in
cruciferous vegetables, improves metabolism -- the breakdown and
synthesis of substances in the body -- by adjusting the balance of
testosterone and estrogen, hormones that are active in both sexes.
Introduction to DIM (Diindolylmethane)
The same dynamics for maintaining higher total and free testosterone
levels apply to healthy aging in men. Estrogen metabolism slows as men
age, especially when coupled with obesity and regular alcohol use.
Avoiding overactive testosterone metabolism, and reducing the
conversion of testosterone into estrogen are goals of nutritional
support in middle-aged and older men.
It is well documented that estrogen accumulates in the prostate gland
starting at about age 50 (42) and that estrogen is associated with the
degree of prostate enlargement (43). Based on animal and human
testing, diindolylmethane is again preferable to I3C in the setting of
mens health. Men using diindolylmethane can minimize or avoid
accelerating their testosterone metabolism, especially the unwanted
conversion of testosterone into estrogen.
The Cruciferous Choice: Diindolylmethane or I3C?
Phytonutrient Supplements For Cancer Prevention and Health Promotion
by Michael A. Zeligs, M.D.
Our preparation contains the highest levels available of this key
phytochemical. Finally, we have included the powerful anti-estrogen,
Diindolylmethane, -the very latest breakthrough in estrogen
management. This chemical also down-regulates estrogen receptors and
even demonstrates an ability to affect the whole estrogen formation
process via gene expression! Diindolylmethane is, without doubt, the
greatest advancement in natural estrogen reduction ever.
Pro-Test is the worlds first endocrine support system, offering the
most effective natural testosterone elevation possible!
To boost your masculinity and enhance your body's normal
disease-fighting ability, eat more broccoli, cabbage and Brussels
sprouts. A recent study showed these veggies to be rich in
indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a phyto-chemical known to turn "bad"
estrogens (which shut down testosterone production) into good ones
which help to restore it's production. Fact:bad estrogens were cut in
half when seven healthy men took 500 milligrams of I3C a day for a
Jon Michnovicz, M.d., Ph.D, from Rockefeller University Hospital
stated "we have strong evidence to suggest that indole-3-carbinol is
active; it's doing the right things to the body's hormone system and
it's doing them in a safe and gentle way".
What does this mean to you? Aim for two servings a day of the various
cruciferous vegetables which include broccoli, Brussels sprouts,
cabbage, collards, cress, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, bak choy,
radishes, turnip greens and watercress. If you can't handle these,
300mg of another supplement diindolylmethane (also called DIM or
diindolin) which is derived from I3C does much the same thing.
Anabolic Hormone(Testosterone) Amplification
In men, diminished estrogen metabolism and estrogen accumulation are
central problems associated with aging. DIM strongly promotes it own
metabolism and in doing so increases a more active and beneficial
metabolism of estrogen. This estrogen metabolism is better because it
converts estradiol health promoting 2-hydoxy metabolites. These
metabolites help free testosterone from its binding protein for
greater testosterone activity and can reduce testosterone and estrogen
stimulation of the prostate gland. Together with a healthy diet and
exercise, the metabolic shift from DIM results in a "younger" balance
of testosterone to estrogen. DIM supplementation is compatible with
natural testosterone replacement.
How is DIM important in Women's and Men's Health?
Does DIM Increase Testosterone Levels?
Diindolylmethane is said to raise testosterone activity and to
restore their youthful hormonal balance
(result: better fat burning and more appetite for sex!).
From sources consulted thus far, yes, DIM does appear to increase
testosterone levels particularly free testosterone, which makes up
2% of total testosterone. Free testosterone is the most active
component of testosterone levels which are too low can cause
fatigue, loss of libido, depression, and loss of strength.
[ Source: A simple way to raise low testosterone levels...
Low testosterone levels may be caused by increased estrogen levels.
DIM is intended to help * balance * these androgens. In men with
normal testosterone levels, DIM helps increase these levels to aid in
building lean muscle mass and burn off fat.
This is where it can get tricky. Though DIM is said to help increase
testosterone production, how far it boosts it is unclear and appears
dependent upon several factors, including dosage, diet and exercise.
Naturally acquired indole (ingested through diet) is thought to be
more beneficial than DIM supplements. Its also considered unwise to
use DIM supplements without the advice and supervision of a physician
[ Source: Consultation, Claudias Health Foods ]
Does Using DIM Cause Hair Loss?
Although using DIM does help increase testosterone production, Ive
been unable to establish a clear connection between the use of DIM and
Searching on [ Diindolylmethane "hair loss" ] returned 21 results,
none of which discussed any link to DIM and hair loss.
Google Search Results
Is DIM a pro-hormone?
No. There are two classifications of pro-hormones testosterone
precursors and nandrolone precursors.
These pro-hormones can contribute to hair loss, as discussed in the
RFC above dealing with andro pro-hormones. DIM is sometimes used
in conjunction with certain pro-hormones to aid in balancing androgen
levels (by knocking out bad estrogen).
Does Using DIM increase DHT Levels?
Maybe. Maybe not. No clear connection has been established either
While DIM usage is said to help increase testosterone production, it
appears that DIM might actually help prevent testosterone from
converting into DHT:
Although testosterone is a wonderful muscle enhancer it also can
produce negative effects. These negative effects are a result of
testosterone conversion to estrogen and (DHT) Dihydrotestestosterone.
Whether it's the production of natural or synthetic testosterone, a
portion will convert to estrogen, which can lead to increased fat and
Diindolylmethane (DIM) is the active constitute or metabolite of (I3C)
Indole-3-carbinol. I3C is a naturally occurring anti-aromatase
component of cruciferous vegetables. When I3C is consumed it is
converted to DIM in the gut. The only problem with I3C is the oral
bioavailability. In other words, a great deal of the compound is
destroyed in the gut. The direct supplementation of DIM provides an
adequate amount of active compound. DIM has been shown to regulate
estrogen by several different mechanisms. This means that it may have
the ability to regulate the aromatization or conversion of
testosterone to estrogen. Diindolylmethane in vivo has been shown to
inhibit the Cytochrome P-450 enzyme responsible for this conversion.
Adaptive Hormonal Regenerating Agents
Searching on [ diindolylmethane increase "DHT" ] returned only 23
usable results, with only the one noted mentioning any connection
between DIM and DHT.
Google Search Results
Whether or not DIM has an effect on hair loss (either positive or
negative) is not clearly established. To date there have been no FDA
clinical trials to address either its benefits or side effects. There
is simply insufficient research available to make an accurate
determination either way.
It would probably be helpful to understand why youre taking DIM,
considering that its primarily used by bodybuilders (which you
havent mentioned being ;) ) and older (50+) men (which IIRC, youre
definitely not) with prostate concerns.
What benefit are you looking to obtain from use of this supplement?
If your aim is to slow down the aging process, youre way ahead of
yourself. At 21, you dont need to worry about that just yet.
If your aim is to build more lean muscle mass, you might consider
doing away with DIM and simply changing your diet and exercise
regemins. Since the use of DIM seems to be linked to increased
testosterone production and the link to DHT is unclear, you might
consider the potential risks of DIM (possible link to increased DHT)
to be greater than the potential benefits (possible quicker
acquisition of lean muscle mass).
Do also keep in mind that when using any dietary supplement, you
should always consult your physician or a nutritionist to make sure
that youre getting not only the supplements that are most beneficial
for you, but also the correct dosages. As indicated above, too much *
and * too little of any nutrient or supplement can have ill effects,
and its important to assess whether or not any given supplement will
be of benefit to you.
I hope this has sufficiently untangled the function of DIM for you.
If I can be of further assistance, please let me know, and Ill be
glad to help you.
Its about 2AM EST, probably time for me to engage in serious
communion with my teddy bear. Good night, Johnny!
Search terms: defined in answer.