Updated: Jul 9, 2020
Nettle leaf, or urtica dioica, is a very powerful plant that has been studied for hundreds of years for its range of benefits for the body, and more importantly in this case, the hair. It is one of the most beneficial plants you can consume if you are dealing with hair loss as it contains an abundance of nutrients as well as polyphenols and flavonoids. This is precisely why we included it in our hair formula.
Nettle leafs extensive nutrient profile includes vitamin a, b-vitamins, vitamin c, d, and k, protein, omega 3, iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, silica, phosphorus, sodium, sulfur, and iodine. These nutrients provide many benefits for the hair and scalp.
Before I dive into the important benefits of the nutrients in nettle leaf, I want to talk about silica. Silica is a compound that is very abundant in all living organisms. It is very important for hairs health because it sits inside of collagen and acts as glue to connective tissues. When silica is abundant, the glue is strong and this results in stronger, more elastic hair. It also helps repair and nourish damaged follicles.
Lucky for us nettle leaf contains silica. Have you ever touched or brushed up against nettle? If you have you would know it hurts, if you haven’t, don’t try it. The reason that it hurts to touch wild nettle is due to the little hairs covering the plant that can penetrate your skin. These hairs are the source of the silica. But don’t eat them raw, they need to be cooked or steamed in order to deactivate the stingers.
Here is a more in depth look at silica’s benefits for hair.
Unfortunately, as we age that abundance of silica that we once had as kids starts to deplete which can contribute to hair loss. This is why nettle leaf extract is a great option for someone who may be losing their hair. Not only does it address silica deficiency, but it also has other powerful benefits for the hair such as:
1. It Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is what happens when your body produces antibodies in response to real or perceived threats. NF-kB (nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer or activated B cells) is a protein complex that is directly involved with inflammation. It is a pro-inflammatory agent as it plays a crucial role in the activation and survival of inflammatory T-cells.
Inflammation can be triggered by a number of things, a lot of which are very common. Dermatitis (16.5 million Americans), eczema (35 million Americans) and overactive sebum production (occurs in most teens during puberty) are all common diseases that cause inflammation.
Many of nettle leafs nutrients contain anti-inflammatory properties. There have been multiple studies done showing the effectiveness of nettle at reducing inflammation at the cellular level by suppressing NF-kB and acting as a general anti-inflammatory as well. This effect of nettle helps address one of the most common underlying conditions that contributes to hair loss.
Read this study if you want to learn more about how nettle has potent inflammation suppressing effects.
2. Acts As An Antioxidant
Oxidants, specifically free radicals, are highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons. Free radicals are the result of oxygen molecules splitting into singles atoms. Having unpaired electrons, these atoms will do pretty much anything and everything to be paired again. This means they will search the body, causing damage to cells, proteins, DNA, and most importantly hair, until they find a pair.
Unfortunately, everyone has to deal with free radicals as they are inherently correlated with aging. When you are young your body’s balance between production of free radicals and its abundance of natural defenses is evenly balanced. But, as you age the proportion of free radicals to natural defenses shifts, causing aging effects such as hair loss. This can be a major contributing factor to hair loss throughout adulthood.
Oxidative stress can be brought on by a number of things including exposure to ultraviolet rays, air pollution, and even pesticides on food that we consume. Most notably, oxidation occurs during metabolism, so every time you eat you are putting oxidative stress on your body. Although oxidative stress through metabolism does not directly cause hair loss, it does increase the number of free radicals in your body.
Like stated earlier, nettle leaf contains polyphenols and flavonoids (plant chemicals). Both of these have been proven by scientific studies to show strong effects for reducing oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals and further preventing them from being produced. Beyond this, vitamins in nettle leaf protect cells from potential damaging effects of free radicals. Essentially what these compounds are doing is protecting hair that hasn’t been damaged yet and putting a stop to damage that is currently being done to hair follicles.
3. Suppresses DHT
Finally, nettle leaf has been shown to possess DHT blocking properties. It is important to note that I put this last. Although nettle has been proven by multiple studies to block DHT, prescription hair loss pills such as Finasteride or Dutasteride are the most effective DHT blockers available because they are able to block up to 98% of DHT in some cases. If you are only looking for something that works to block DHT, nettle leaf is not your best option.
But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it does partially inhibit DHT. It does this by blocking the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. This is important because 5-alpha reductase is what is responsible for converting testosterone into DHT.
No matter what you take for your hair, if you are suffering from male pattern baldness blocking DHT is the first thing you should be focusing on. DHT has been proven countless times to be the hormone that is mainly responsible for hair loss. You need to block as much DHT as you can before you can start re-growing your hair. After you have found something that you believe is sufficiently suppressing DHT (it varies by individual), then you can begin to address other underlying causes of hair loss such as inflammation or oxidative stress.
In conclusion, nettle leaf is a very powerful plant. It is rich in nutrients and other compounds that can benefit hair greatly. I have been taking nettle leaf for about 2 years now and it is an invaluable addition to my hair loss regimen. I highly recommend that if you are searching for a hair loss supplement, strongly take into account whether or not an ADEQUATE amount of nettle is included (at least 400mg to be most effective) as it is one of the most powerful ingredients a hair loss supplement can contain.
Check it out: You didn’t think I was going to mention that our hair formula contains 400mg of nettle?