Researchers from the Republic of Korea's Pusan National University have confirmed that pumpkin seed oil increases hair growth among balding men.
The medical researchers tested the pumpkin seed oil on 76 male patients with moderate androgenic alopecia – male pattern hair loss. None of the patients had tried any previous medication, supplement or topical therapy for at least three months prior to the beginning of the study. The researchers recruited 90 patients, but excluded those with high liver enzyme levels.
The patients were divided into two groups and half were given a placebo. The treatment consisted of giving the patients 400 milligrams of the pumpkin seed oil per day in capsules. They were given two capsules before breakfast and two capsules before dinner.
After three months and at the end of the study at six months the patients were assessed using blinded practitioner analysis, and given a point score, which ranged from -3 (greatly decreased) to +3 (greatly increased).
Each scalp was also photographed using phototrichography – which is a polarizing technology, allowing the hair loss region to be targeted and measured from the center.
The researchers also conducted hair counts using two different lenses. In addition, the patients rated their own hair gain using the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS).
In the photographic analysis, the researchers found that 44% of the group taking the pumpkin seed oil slightly or moderately improved hair growth, while 51% were unchanged and 2.7% - actually just one patient – had slightly more baldness at the end of the six months.
In comparison, among the placebo group, 28% had increased baldness and 64% were unchanged, while only 7.7% were slightly or moderately improved in hair growth.
In the phototrichographic analysis, the pumpkin seed oil group had significantly higher hair counts – over three times more. The pumpkin seed oil group saw 30-40% increased hair counts while the placebo group showed 5-10% more hair count on average.
The researchers found the treatment to be safe, with only one report of mild stomach upset during the trial.
This contrasts greatly with conventional medical treatments such as topical minoxidil and oral finasteride. The latter has resulted in adverse effects including erectile dysfunction and gynecomastia – the enlargement of the male breasts. Meanwhile, side effects of minoxidil include scalp itchiness and scaling.