Everything You Want to Know About Ecklonia Cava for Hair Growth

Let’s talk about using Ecklonia Cava for hair growth, such as treating thinning hair, a receding hairline and even stimulating new hair growth.


We’ll talk about the following:

What exactly is Ecklonia Cava?

Four Ways Ecklonia Cava Helps With Thinning Hair

Can Ecklonia Cava be Used by Men and Women?

Medicinal Value of Ecklonia Cava for Hair Loss


What Exactly is Ecklonia Cava?

In Asian countries such as China, Japan, and Korea, Ecklonia Cava has been eaten as food and used in traditional medicine for centuries. It is a brown seaweed that grows abundantly off the coasts of these countries.

A study in 2010 noted that nations that eat seaweed and those that do not have significant differences in rates of certain chronic diseases. For example, in a one-year period, the prostate cancer rate of a seaweed-consuming nation such as China is less than 1 man out of 100,000, but in North America, 117 men out of 100,000 will develop prostate cancer. What does this have to do with hair loss?

Finasteride is a prescribed drug in North America to treat prostate disease and hair loss. This is because Finasteride inhibits or blocks the same enzyme that causes both prostate disease and hair loss. This enzyme is called 5 alpha-reductase. As mentioned above, seaweed-consuming nations such as China are among the lowest for prostate cancer and hair loss. So if you are interested in an all-natural solution hair loss treatment for fuller hair and combatting hair loss without disrupting hormones by taking Finasteride, read on!

Ecklonia Cava - the Super Seaweed

Research has revealed that the seaweed Ecklonia Cava is a super seaweed with various health uses. This article will focus on its hair growth benefits.

The secret of Ecklonia Cava lies in its abundance of certain enzymes called polyphenols which are being studied because of their ability to affect hair growth.



Four Ways Ecklonia Cava Helps With Thinning Hair


Hair structure is shown including epidermis, dermis, sebaceous gland hair follicle wall, hair shaft, hair root and papilla which is featured in this image


1)  Enzymes Increase Papilla Cells 

A study in 2012 reports that enzymes extracted from Ecklonia Cava (especially one called Dieckol) increased the production of specific cells located at the bottom of hair follicles. These cells are called dermal papilla cells, which form, grow and cycle your hair. These cells are the heartbeat of your hair, and this is where hair growth happens. So, increasing the production and activity of dermal papilla cells means more hair for you.

The study compared minoxidil and Ecklonia Cava in the hair follicles of mice. After three weeks, Ecklonia Cava grew hair slightly faster than Minoxidil - which is impressive since Minoxidil is one of the lead products for hair growth.

Then in 2016, a study was done on human skin and hair follicles. Once again Ecklonia Cava significantly increases dermal papilla cells, which form, grow and cycle your hair. This time another enzyme in E. Cava (besides Dieckol) called PPE was found to significantly increase the hair shaft growth in humans - and once again, Ecklonia Cava beat out minoxidil!

comparison chart showing Ecklonia cava increased hair follicle length by 112.4% compared to Minoxidil surface which increased hair follicle length by 110.9% compared to control group




2)  Speed up the Anagen Phase of Hair Growth

Hair goes through 4 phases. According to Healthline, “The first three phases — anagen, catagen, and telogen — cover the growth and maturation of hair and the activity of the hair follicles that produce individual hairs. The anagen or growth phase lasts about 3-5 years. During the final, or exogen, phase, “old” hair sheds. In normal progression, a new hair is getting ready to take its place.” But what if a new hair is not ready to take its place?

If the first phase (anagen) is delayed for more and more hairs, and more follicles remain empty, then a person will notice thinning hair. If the anagen phase stops altogether, then a person will go bald.

This is the second area where Ecklonia Cava was found to treat hair loss. In the 2012 study 3 sets of mice were shaved to the skin. This activates the hair into the anagen phase. Until now, minoxidil has been proven to work by activating the anagen phase of hair. In this experiment, the shaved backs of mice were given (a) nothing, (b) Ecklonia Cava enzymatic extract and (c) 5% minoxidil. The goal was to see the effect of Ecklonia Cava and minoxidil on the anagen or growing phase of the hair.

In the results, minoxidil did better at first, but then the Ecklonia Cava ramped up hair growth by day 33. See the picture below. In the final analysis, both the minoxidil and the Ecklonia Cava group started the anagen phase (hair growth phase) quicker than the control group, which was treated with nothing.

33 day trial compares 3 groups of mice with shaved backs. 5% Minoxidil was applied to one group and 0.5% Ecklonia cava apple to another with control group receiving nothing. Both Ecklonia cava and Minoxidil groups started Anagen phase hair growth quicker than control group


So far, we have seen that both minoxidil and Ecklonia Cava cause the anagen phase to start quicker - with minoxidil taking the lead. However, once the anagen phase begins, E. Cava catches up by outperforming minoxidil in hair growth speed, producing longer hairs quicker than minoxidil.


3)  Block 5α-Reductase

Hair loss is a growing trend worldwide, and preventing it is not simple. Androgenetic alopecia (AGA), the most common alopecia, is a problem in men, mainly over 40, but more and more women are also being affected. Female androgenetic alopecia (FAGA) shows diffuse hair thinning over the central scalp, while the frontal hairline is usually retained.

Only 2 FDA-approved drugs have been available for Androgenetic alopecia: finasteride and minoxidil. Minoxidil is known for the previously mentioned effects but not for treating 5α-reductase - an enzyme that causes hair loss when excess amounts are in the body. That is why some feel minoxidil is not a long-term solution.

Finasteride, on the other hand, is a 5α-reductase inhibitor. Can Ecklonia Cava inhibit or block 5α-reductase as Finasteride does?

Again in the 2012 study, researchers compared Ecklonia Cava's various extracts in different doses against Finasteride. It was shown that 2 extracts found in E. Cava called Eckol and Dieckol had the same action on 5α-Reductase as Finasteride. In fact, Dieckol at 100 μg/mL inhibited 5α-Reductase by 95.1%, which means it is just as effective as Finasteride which was also 95.1%.

Chart showing inhibition 5α-Reductase by of Finasteride compared to Dieckol an extract of Ecklonia cava. Dieckol at 100 μg/mL inhibited 5α-Reductase by 95.1% which was the same efficacy of Finasteride which was also 95.1%


So this tells us that Ecklonia Cava is a very exciting plant. It contains enzymes with the same actions as minoxidil and Finasteride but in one natural source.


4)  Increase Growth Hormones IGF-1, VEGF

IGF-1 and VGEF are growth hormones that stimulate the growth of cells and have been linked with hair growth. When the IGF-1 growth hormone decreases, one of the effects on the body is a decrease in hair growth. Less IGF-1 equals less hair.

In 2017 a case was presented where the patient had been prescribed a finasteride and minoxidil combination treatment but, after four years, saw no improvement. An extended personal history revealed the patient's IGF-1 serum level was far below normal. Since finasteride and minoxidil cannot treat GH/IGF-1 deficiency, it became clear why treatment was not working. The study noted that surprisingly little has been published on the effect of acquired GH/IGF-1 deficiency on hair, even though there is circumstantial evidence that IGF-1 signalling is involved in the hair growth cycle.

What about VEGF? VEGF stands for vascular endothelial growth factor. A 2013 study proved that VEGF stimulates hair growth by helping nutrients flow to the hair follicle resulting in wider hair follicles. The hairs treated with VEGF increased faster and thicker than those that were not treated.

What is the good news here? In the 2016 study, human follicles treated with an extract from Ecklonia Cava called PPE increased IGF-1 by 3.2 times and doubled VEGF at specific concentrations.


See HAIRMETTO's new topical Eckonia Cava Product here! 


Men and Women use Ecklonia Cava

As was mentioned at the beginning of the article, in Asian countries such as China, Japan, and Korea, Ecklonia Cava (E. Cava) has for centuries been eaten as food and used in traditional medicine by millions of men and women. It is a natural source of healthy extracts that have only been shown to benefit the bodies of the men and women who consume it daily.

Traditional medicines derived from nature are about bringing the body back into balance. You don't just treat one symptom by attacking it with drugs; rather, you nourish and heal the entire system.

Your hair is a system of phases, growth cells, hormones and nutrients that all work together. All systems must be healthy and functioning correctly for your greatest hair growth potential.

Ecklonia Cava doesn't just block 5α-reductase. It also supports a faster anagen phase, increase of papilla cells and growth factors that support nutrient uptake for total hair system support.

Asian woman harvesting seaweed of which Ecklonia cava is an important food source in Korea, Japan and China



Medicinal Value of Ecklonia Cava for Hair Loss

In the studies mentioned above, topical application of Ecklonia Cava was what had an impact on hair growth. This means it is best to apply it directly to the scalp. Ecklonia Cava can be purchased in powder form, but this is only a crude extract. This means the plant material is ground into a fine powder. Although pure, the polyphenol extracts such as Dieckol, Eckol and PPE are still locked within the tiny cell walls of the plant material.

In all of the experiments above, the polyphenols had to be further extracted from the crude material in a lab before benefiting the hair follicles. This means that you cannot simply mix the powdered Ecklonia Cava extract with a carrier oil and still get the benefits of the polyphenols. This would be like holding a K-pod of coffee in your hand and hoping to get a dose of caffeine. The caffeine still locked in the plastic k-cup needs to be further extracted with the coffee machine before you can get any caffeine.

Similarly, in most studies, an organic solvent extraction method is used to free the polyphenols from the powder extract. Because the polyphenols are organic material, you would also need to preserve the mixture just like anything else organic such as the food in your fridge.

Since 2014, HAIRMETTO® has been on the cutting edge of scientific discovery for all-natural hair growth treatments for fuller hair and combatting hair loss without disrupting hormones.

In 2023 HAIRMETTO®  is launching a Growth Styling Treatment with Ecklonia Cava as the star ingredient. This formula is the only one in the world. Polyphenols of Ecklonia Cava are extracted in a Health Canada-approved facility and combined in a carrier that quickly and easily penetrates the skin.




Ecklonia Cava Takeaway: Beats out Minoxidil and Finasteride

Studies have proven the humble brown Ecklonia Cava seaweed from the coasts of Korea, Japan, and China has within it the power found in the only 2 FDA-approved drugs to treat hair loss. The power to speed up the anagen phase of hair growth, to block 5α-reductase and to go beyond the limits of these drugs by also increasing dermal papilla cells and growth hormones IGF-1 and VEGF. In these cases, Ecklonia Cava beats out both Finasteride and Minoxidil!

Thanks to the efforts of scientists who are putting efforts into studying medicines that are good for us, this article and all its studies now put Ecklonia Cava among the heavyweights in the world of hair growth treatments. This will help you determine if Ecklonia Cava or any other treatment is the choice for you.


See HAIRMETTO® Topical Ecklonia Cava Growth Styling Treatment here


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