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Do natural preventatives help?

There has also been a lot of hype surrounding saw palmetto and its antiandrogen properties. Several companies market hair loss products listing it as a main ingredient and touting its effects against hair loss. Studies show that saw palmetto may help with enlarged prostates for many men, but says that it hasn't been studied for hair loss. Paula Begoun notes, "There are absolutely no reliable studies that have investigated saw palmetto in relation to hair growth." She goes on to say, "Further, there is no reason to assume that saw palmetto is safer than Propecia. In fact, there are reports of similar side effects."

Some physicians emphasize the importance of good nutrition for preventing hair loss. Better Nutrition magazine points out that in Asian countries where vegetables play a bigger role in the diet, AGA is rare. They say, "B vitamins in particular are crucial to healthy sebum production and new cell generation."

Other doctors point to iron deficiency as a culprit for hair loss. In fact, hair loss is a common symptom of iron deficiency anemia, but doctors interviewed by Cosmetic Surgery Times believe that it may play a role in other forms of alopecia as well, including pattern baldness. These doctors researched 11 studies published between 1963 and 2003 and "found evidence that supports a relationship between iron deficiency and many forms of hair loss." They said that "if a patient presents with virtually any form of hair loss and has iron deficiency with or without anemia, treating the iron deficiency can enhance hair growth."

A recent study found that there may also be a link between smoking and AGA. The study, as reported by the New York Times, looked at 740 Taiwanese men and found a greater rate of premature hair loss among smokers. The risk continued to grow with increased smoking. Researchers suggest that the link may be caused by "severe disease that speeds aging".

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