Andrew Huberman Hair Loss: Recommendations & Tips

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Andrew Huberman, a professor of neurobiology at Stanford University, has discussed the science behind hair loss and potential treatments.

With hair loss impacting about 50% of men and women by age 50, it’s a prevalent concern.

In this post, we’ll summarize Huberman’s hair loss recommendations, including tips for regrowing hair and preventing further loss.

Let’s get started!

Huberman’s Recommendations
Topical Caffeine: Hair Growth Serum
Iron Supplement: Thorne Iron Bisglycinate
Shampoo: Biotin Hair Shampoo
Minoxidil Supplement: Minoxidil

Key takeaways:

  • Lifestyle factors, topical treatments, and oral or topical DHT blockers may help maintain hair and regrow lost hair, depending on individual factors.
  • Starting with more natural approaches before trying potent drugs reduces side effect risks.
  • Testing hormone levels provides insight into the best path forward.

Andrew Huberman Hair Loss Science

Man looking at his hair line in the mirror

Hair growth is a complex biological process that occurs in multiple phases, as Andrew Huberman explains.

Within each hair follicle are stem cells that divide and differentiate to produce new hair.

These stem cells reside in a niche at the base of the follicle, supported by a blood supply that delivers oxygen and nutrients.

Hair growth happens in three main phases:

  • Anagen phase – The active growth phase when hair is produced. For scalp hair, this lasts 2-8 years. Eyebrows have a shorter 1-4 month anagen phase.
  • Catagen phase – The transitional phase when growth stops and the follicle shrinks. Scalp hair has a 2-3 week catagen phase.
  • Telogen phase – The resting phase when the old hair detaches and falls out. This lasts 2-4 months on the scalp.

The duration of these phases helps explain why we can grow really long head hair but not long eyebrows.

In addition to stem cells, hair follicles contain melanocytes that inject pigment into the growing hair shaft.

This melanin provides our hair color.

People with blonde hair have less melanin than those with black hair.

The follicle stem cells and melanocytes are highly active during the anagen growth phase.

This requires significant blood flow to deliver oxygen and nutrients.

Anything that restricts blood supply, like wearing a tight hat, could potentially impact hair growth.

This explains why scalp massage is often recommended to nurture hair growth.

Andrew Huberman Hair Growth Recommendations

In addition to medications and procedures, Andrew Huberman outlines several lifestyle factors that may support healthy hair growth and slow thinning.

Related: Bryan Johnson Hair Care: Loss and Gray Prevention Protocol

Optimize Sleep for Growth Hormone Release

Getting sufficient high-quality sleep is important for stimulating hair growth, according to Huberman.

During the first few hours of sleep, especially between 10pm and 2am, the pituitary gland releases growth hormone.

Growth hormone activates the production of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which has been shown to extend the anagen growth phase of hair follicles.

If you miss the early critical sleep window, you may not get the full growth hormone pulse.

Therefore, having a consistent sleep schedule supports growth hormone release. Make sleep a priority and protect those precious overnight hours.

Exercise and Healthy Diet

Regular exercise and eating a nutritious diet help maintain insulin sensitivity, Huberman notes.

Insulin resistance or diabetes can restrict hair growth by inhibiting the IGF-1 pathway.

Get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily, along with plenty of vegetables, high-quality proteins, healthy fats and complex carbs.

Stay hydrated and minimize added sugar and refined flours that spike blood sugar.

Check Iron Levels

Iron plays an essential role in hair growth pathways, transporting oxygen to follicles.

Low iron, indicating anemia, can starve follicles of needed oxygen and nutrients.

Ask your doctor to test your ferritin levels.

Women need 25-100 ng/ml, while men should have 30-150 ng/ml.

If low, eat more red meat, spinach, lentils, and supplements as needed to support healthy hair.

Topical Treatments to Boost Blood Flow

Several topical treatments aim to increase blood circulation in the scalp to nourish hair follicles.

More oxygen and nutrients delivered via enhanced blood flow can reactivate dormant follicles to stimulate regrowth.

Minoxidil

Minoxidil is the active ingredient in Rogaine and other hair loss products. It was originally developed as a blood pressure medication.

Applied topically to the scalp, minoxidil causes localized vasodilation – it relaxes blood vessels and increases blood flow.

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This may help slow or stop hair loss in some people, but robust regrowth is unlikely with minoxidil alone.

It’s viewed primarily as a preventative measure to maintain existing hair.

Microneedling

Microneedling involves rolling a tool with many tiny needles over the scalp to puncture the skin.

This triggers mild inflammation and wound healing pathways that appear to activate follicle stem cells.

When combined with minoxidil treatments, microneedling enhances absorption and can help regrow hair, even in stubborn bald spots.

Consistent microneedling is key to see results after about 12 weeks.

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Caffeine

You may be surprised to learn that topical caffeine applied directly to the scalp can aid hair growth.

Caffeine blocks an enzyme called PDE that inhibits hair growth factors.

This helps extend the anagen growth phase.

Early research shows caffeine compares well to minoxidil for modest hair growth without minoxidil’s side effects.

Look for caffeine in specialized ointments or hair loss products.

Ketoconazole

Ketoconazole is an anti-fungal medication often prescribed for treating dandruff or psoriasis.

Applied to the scalp, it may also have mild anti-DHT effects to support hair growth.

It’s believed to reinforce the benefits of the scalp’s natural sebum oils.

Look for shampoos with at least 2% ketoconazole and let them soak in for 3-5 minutes before rinsing.

Hormonal Approaches to Block DHT

Man checking hair loss in the mirror

The androgen hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) can bind to receptors in hair follicles, suppressing growth.

This contributes to male and female pattern baldness.

Blocking DHT may help maintain healthy hair and stimulate regrowth.

Early research has also suggested Lion’s Mane for hair loss based on its effects on DHT.

Oral Finasteride

Finasteride works by blocking the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, which normally converts testosterone to DHT.

This reduces DHT levels throughout the body.

While beneficial for hair, lowering DHT too much can cause sexual side effects like decreased libido.

Experts recommend starting with a low dose of finasteride around 0.5 mg daily.

Give it at least 4-6 months to work before increasing the dosage if needed.

Topical Finasteride

Applying finasteride directly to the scalp with a solution or foam provides more localized DHT reduction.

This lowers systemic absorption, potentially decreasing sexual side effects compared to oral finasteride.

However, it still gets absorbed into the bloodstream, so side effects are possible.

Huberman suggests starting with the lowest concentration of topical finasteride, like 0.25% or 0.5%, and gradually increasing if needed.

Dutasteride

Dutasteride is a similar DHT-blocking medication that inhibits both forms of 5-alpha-reductase.

It reduces DHT by up to 95%, more than finasteride.

However, it has a higher incidence of side effects like decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, and depression.

If prescribed dutasteride, take the lowest effective dose for your DHT levels.

Higher doses do not proportionally lower DHT much more.

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About the Author

Drew Wilkins is a fitness and nutrition expert with a Master's in Biokinesiology (emphasis in Sports Science) from the University of Southern California and over a decade of experience as a personal trainer, nutrition consultant, and wellness coach. An avid surfer and soccer player, he brings a unique perspective to his research, advocating for a balanced approach to health that includes physical fitness, nutrition, and mental well-being.

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