After I made my first oral castor oil for hair loss post a couple of months ago, I received hundreds of DM's, private messages, YouTube comments, emails and tweets asking me to post an update.
Well, here it is.
After trying oral castor oil for hair loss for 2 months, I have concluded that it is an effective growth promoter, and is far more potent than topical castor oil.
Is it more effective than Minoxidil as a growth promoter?
No, however, it has a more tolerable side effect profile, is far cheaper, and provides results that are at least noticeable enough to justify it being worthwhile to explore further.
There are VERY FEW compounds that can effectively promote a healthier rate of growth.
However, that doesn't mean that they are sustainable long-term options for every one.
When considering the side effect profile for micro-dosing oral castor oil for hair loss, the worst side effect I have heard of so far is an upset stomach.
Fortunately, if your digestive system doesn't agree with castor oil, it is pretty easy to tell and immediately lower your dose, or discontinue your use.
This is what I noticed personally using at least 1 mL per day for 2 months straight.
Oral Castor Oil and Digestive Issues
When it comes to digestive issues, I've had none so far using as much as 1.5 to 2 milliliters per day.
On a typical day I will just take 1 mL, but occasionally I will bump it up.
There is no rhyme or reason to it, I just want to see how well I can tolerate up to 2 mL, but then some days I decide I probably don't need that much and should stick with 1 mL.
When I first started researching about oral castor oil for hair loss, there were a few guys who suggested that there is a point of diminishing returns once you hit 2 mL, and anything above that starts to put you into laxative territory.
However, as more and more people have tried this, it seems more likely that there is a dose dependent improvement in results.
So, there is a possibility that the more you can tolerate the better it will be for hair, but that will be individual dependent at the end of the day, and will only be determined via personal experimentation.
Gut health is very sensitive.
Some people can't even drink a cup of milk without destroying their guts, and then some people have iron stomachs and can eat like crap and be fine.
This is all individual dependent at the end of the day.
I will probably try tapering up in the future to see how high I can get my daily dose without digestive distress.
Despite the fact that I haven't had any digestive issues as of yet, that doesn't mean that it isn't common.
Over the past few months, I've spoke with dozens of individuals who have also tried oral castor oil for hair loss.
While the majority of them found that it was effective, a handful of them discontinued because of gut issues.
If you have compromised gut health as is (actually pretty common), adding castor oil on top of it probably won't help.
I would recommend optimizing your gut microbiome before you start taking oral castor oil, as it is fairly common to cause digestive distress, even at low dosages.
In general, it seems like most are having fairly good outcomes with high levels of tolerability.
One of my friends did actually discontinue because he thought that the quality of his sh*ts had started to show signs of digestive issues.
However, he was taking 5 mL per day.
In addition to that, his diet isn't 100% on point.
As mentioned, for me there's been no difference, so far.
I'm keeping it in my protocol for now and for the foreseeable future.
A Glowing Review Sent In By A Subscriber
I received this email shortly after posting my first video on castor oil and felt that it was worth including in this post.
His personal information is redacted for privacy.
Since I posted this article, a couple testimonials were commented on the YouTube video that I felt were worth including as well.
I do think that oral castor oil has positively impacted my growth rate to a notable degree.
I definitely have to shave more often and get my hair cut more frequently now.
I think my hair might even be getting a bit darker too, but that could just be me seeing things.
It's definitely growing quicker though without a doubt.
Mainly what it seems to do well is offset the cosmetic look of hair loss.
By improving your rate of growth relative to your rate of loss, you can create a more favorable ratio of hair follicles in the anagen phase relative to the catagen phase.
While this isn't directly preventing further loss be addressing the root of the issue, it can help you keep more hair on your head, and ultimately maintain a fuller head of healthy hair.
If you're a diffuse thinner, the benefits of oral castor oil will be even more evident as your issue more or less boils down to a horrible ratio of catagen to anagen activity.
Keep in mind, if all you're using is growth promoting agents like Minoxidil or oral castor oil, you're fighting an upstream battle.
The best strategy in my opinion is to lower your rate of loss as much as you can with compounds that address androgens directly, and then stack growth promoting agents on top of that.
If you only use growth agonists like Minoxidil, you will eventually run into the inevitable problem where androgen induced miniaturization has progressed so much that the artificial increase in circulation you've induced with Minoxidil is no longer sufficient to offset your loss of hair density.
Androgens are still wreaking havoc on your hair even when Minoxidil is in your system if you do not have something in your protocol that addresses androgens directly, or a part of the cascade that occurs as a consequence of androgens.
Simply increasing circulation with a potassium channel opener is not going to be sufficient to stave off androgenic alopecia.
I use the analogy of trying to row a canoe up a stream against the current to describe hair loss prevention.
If you try to row against the current, you might be able to hold your ground for a while, but you're fighting an uphill battle and the current doesn't stop.
Ideally what you would do is get the current to stop before you even get in the water (things like anti-androgens, 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, SARMs, Estrogen modulation, PGD2 inhibitors, etc.), and then get in the water and deploy your growth agonists as needed based on risk profile and tolerability (microneedling, oral castor oil, Minoxidil, growth hormone secretagogues, etc.).
With that being said, growth promoting options that appear to be fairly low risk (like microneedling) make sense to deploy concurrently with whichever strategy you have in mind for tackling androgens off the bat.
Castor Oil Long Term Safety Profile
Tolerability as a laxative sheds light on the safety of micro-dosing oral castor oil for hair loss prevention in the short term, but in the long term, that remains to be seen.
According to the Food and Agricultural Organization and World Health Organization, up to 0.7 milligrams per kilogram of castor oil per day is safe for men [R].
Oral castor oil is also generally recognized as safe and effective for use as a stimulant laxative by the FDA.
I've been using one milliliter per day on average, which is next to nothing by clinical standards.
Women are given upwards of 60 milliliters in a single dose to induce labor [R].
For constipation in adults, 15-60 milliliters in a single dose is commonly prescribed and generally recognized as safe [R].
Minoxidil Vs. Castor Oil Efficacy
Minoxidil is a more effective growth promoter than oral castor oil.
However, oral castor oil seems to have a much better side-effect profile.
In addition, this isn't a one or the other choice that needs to be made.
They can be used in conjunction with one another for an even better effect.
When you compare them to one another, Minoxidil will win hands down in efficacy.
However, oral castor oil will not cause you to shed horribly when you start it, and it also won't cause a massive shed if you stop taking it.
Both of which are huge limitations of Minoxidil.
Minoxidil use backs you into a corner, and you have to think long and hard before you introduce it into your protocol as it can be very mentally taxing to make it through the initial shedding phase, and if you encounter intolerable side effects, you will have another shed when you stop using it.
In addition, forcing the potassium channels to open more can have deleterious outcomes on the cardiovascular system, and it isn't uncommon for individuals to report premature aging of their skin with Minoxidil as well.
Those are two massive limitations of its use that oral castor oil does not seem to have.
Don't get me wrong, Minoxidil can be a great addition for some individuals, but it is certainly not a low-risk treatment and should be approached with caution.
The only limiting side effect of castor oil that I'm aware of as of now is its gastrointestinal effects that may not be tolerable for all individuals.
Other than that, it's extremely cheap, seems to have a very favorable risk profile, and is at least in the same ballpark as Minoxidil in regards to efficacy.
That is more than you can say for any other growth promoting agent out there with a stamp of safety approval by the FDA.
The only other growth promoting agent I can think of off the top of my head that's formidable to Minoxidil and oral castor oil is MK-677, or literal growth hormone injections.
But, is that really a long-term sustainable practice just for hair density?
Ideally, you don't want to potentially put yourself in a state of compromised blood glucose control just so you can get a better growth rate on your head.
When it comes to growth promoting agents, I believe that oral castor oil is one of the most cost-effective and well-tolerated options there is for a beginner.
Oral Castor Oil Vs. PGE2 Applied To The Scalp
The reason oral castor oil works is the Ricinoleic Acid in it that increases PGE2 in the body as discussed in my first post.
Logically, one would assume that using straight PGE2 instead of oral castor oil would be even more effective for hair growth, as the end goal of using castor oil in the first place is increasing PGE2 in the body.
In practical application though, oral castor oil actually seems to work better than literal topical PGE2.
In the past, I would microneedle my scalp with the Derminator (a microneedling device) set at 1.5 mm and then apply straight PGE2 to my scalp afterwards.
In theory, this seems like a great idea to tip the scales in the body to a more favorable PGE2 to PGD2 ratio.
After a lot of experimentation, I believe that oral castor oil is superior for a few reasons.
The first being that PGE2 is extremely expensive.
Castor oil is literally 1/1000th the price (maybe even less).
In addition, PGE2 is measured in such small quantities (micrograms) that trying to avoid overdosing it while still getting sufficient scalp coverage is near impossible.
By using castor oil, you give your body the ability to regulate how much PGE2 it converts, rather than overloading your system with a massive spike in PGE2 that could potentially have deleterious consequences long term.
Also, the results I got from oral castor oil were better than what I experienced with diligent PGE2 applications.
Now, at the end of the day, this all still stems back to androgens causing this whole cascade of events.
The whole process can be mitigated just by addressing the Testosterone and DHT at the beginning.
But, obviously for people that aren't willing to manipulate their hormone profile, or aren't willing to implement certain things that they perceive as too experimental, things like castor oil can be excellent additions to a protocol.
And for those who are willing to manipulate their hormones a bit more, or use higher risk treatment options, castor oil is still something I see as a potentially low risk addition to help solidify a strong, comprehensive regimen.
Where Does Castor Oil Fit Into A Hair Loss Prevention Protocol?
Something that will be asked is how oral castor oil compares to traditional treatment options.
The compound accomplishes what its meant to do, but it will not replace anti-androgens, or other compounds meant to do completely different things in the body.
At the end of the day, a comprehensive protocol should address all factors, or address the root of the issue early enough in the cascade so sufficiently that nothing else matters.
You can't compare a PGE2 agonist to an anti-androgen, so keep that in mind.
Where To Buy Food Grade Castor Oil
You want to buy 100% castor oil, not Jamaican black castor oil.
It's clear and a pale yellow color.
Food/Pharma grade (USP or BP) is ideal as it ensures a high enough standardization of Ricinoleic acid.
Ricinoleic acid is the component of castor oil that boosts PGE2 and we care about.
NOW Solutions Castor Oil is third party tested and meets our criteria for a high quality Castor Oil, and is also what I use personally.