I wish it were as straightforward as you describe, but the varied experiences and reviews indicate that people respond differently. I read reviews on vitex, for instance, claiming it helps with hair loss. The herbalist who recommended it to me insists there is no way it can cause hairloss and exacerbate hirsutism...he told me an elaborate explanation on why this is impossible but then again my experience suggests otherwise.
Saw palmetto has 5a reductase inhibition properties. It decreases conversion of testosterone to dht and therefore pushes the reaction toward elevated estradiol. This has two distinct effects:
1. Estradiol opposes the action of testosterone and reduces it potency and side effects; and
2. Estradiol concentration is directly correlated to SHBG. Increasing estradiol increases SHBG that combines with free testosterone, decreasing the circulating free fraction. This decrease in free levels has a positive effect on acne.
Also, according to some things I read on this forum, too much progesterone can be androgenic, yet how do you explain the studies on inositol (as well as my personal experience) reducing acne thanks to its testosterone decreasing and progesterone increasing ability? I don't think it's a simple equation.
@ billiebean, I added vitex to my regimen for the 3rd time, this time after being on inositol since September. I mainly added vitex to see if it would help with histamines/ allergies and estrogen dominance symptoms, as my skin was almost clear on inositol alone. Inositol seems to have helped me grow some baby hairs on my head, so maybe it's something worth taking along with vitex to combat any hair loss from the vitex?
I understand what you are saying here and have a few thoughts.
1. None of us have the ability to collect a complete history, exam and order the correct lab work. Without this level of data, you have an incomplete clinical picture.
2. You have no idea if forum posts are based on truth. In other words, I can tell you Vitex is causing one thing and it may be doing the opposite. I may not even be taking it and making it all up.
3. Herbs are a wild card. They haven't been extensively studied and have more than one active ingredient.
4. Therapies should be prescribed based on the individual hormonal imbalance. You may be estrogen dominant and the next person may be estrogen deficient. Prescribing a hormonal therapy that has an impact on estrogen could have a dramatically different result.
5. The various nutritional supplements like inositol are also a wild card. We don't really know how it works to resolve acne/hair loss.
6. Generally speaking, this includes me, we don't want to address diet. Insulin plays a part in this puzzle and most people won't address it. There is just as much scientific prejudice among the general public on nutrition as there is in the medical community.
7. I'm not familiar with herbalists, their training or medical expertise. However, the things I read here that others claim they say appear questionable.
So, my take is that the best way to address acne is:
1. Create a complete food log for 3 days:
2. Get checked out by a doc that understands and is interested in bio identical hormone replacement. The history and exam should take about an hour and there should be an extensive questionnaire to complete before seeing the doc. This, of course, will include an extensive and thorough lab work up.
I know the whole thing is annoying. I try and focus on following principles that are well established. There is absolutely enough scientific data to correct any imbalance and resolve acne. The hard part is finding the correct individual to treat the problem.
Edited by jlcampi, 04 January 2014 - 08:54 AM.