Does Tea Tree Oil Work for Dandruff & Athlete’s Foot?

Does Tea Tree Oil Work for Dandruff & Athlete’s Foot?
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Are the effects of tea tree oil anti-fungal or merely anti-inflammatory?

Discuss
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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Our entire understanding of the cause of dandruff shifted with this landmark article published in 1984. Instead of relying on secondary sources, reviews, editorials, and opinion pieces, he looked at the primary literature, the original studies, and “was amazed to find out how overwhelming was the evidence of the [true cause], and how it had been ignored because it was so well buried under the mountain of error” since some expert in the 1800s put forth some bogus theory.

We now know that dandruff is triggered by a fungus that lives and feeds on the human scalp—the two major implications being, first, how “alarming” it is that a bogus theory can remain in the medical literature unchallenged for a century despite evidence to the contrary; and, second, hey, if it’s a fungus, what about trying tea tree oil, which contains components that have “antifungal activity” against a range of fungi.

That was based on studies like this, though, where tea tree oil in a petri dish can fight off pathogenic skin fungi. But, you don’t know if it works for dandruff, until you put it to the test. A hundred and twenty-six men and women randomized to daily use of a “5% tea tree oil shampoo or placebo” for a month. The placebo worked a little bit, decreasing dandruff severity by about 10%, but the tea tree oil shampoo worked better—about a 40% drop. Looks like more than 40% from the graph, but that’s because they misleadingly started the Y-axis at -60. This is a classic deception featured in chapter 5 of the 1954 classic How to Lie with Statistics. The graph should really look like this, which makes the effect less impressive, but it was still statistically significant.

“[O]nly one patient [in the tea tree oil group] actually achieved a complete response,” though one in the placebo group did as well. Thus, it appears that the “tea tree oil shampoo would require ongoing application for control of dandruff.”

Speaking of fungus, what about tea tree oil in the treatment of athlete’s foot? That may actually be our most common fungal skin infection, affecting up to one in ten. So, about a hundred patients randomized into one of three groups, a 10% tea tree oil cream, tinactin (an antifungal drug), or a placebo cream. A month later, the fungus was wiped out in 85% of the drug group, but only about a quarter of the placebo and tea tree oil groups. This is somewhat surprising, since tea tree oil can kill off the fungus in a petri dish—but, apparently, not on toes.

That reminds me of some of the oral health data on tea tree oil. It can wipe out some oral pathogens in a petri dish, but have people swish a tea tree oil solution around in their mouth, and here’s the dental plaque buildup after 4 days of no brushing swishing with a placebo. Here’s swishing with a medicated chlorhexidine mouthwash, which keeps the plaque a bit at bay, but the tea tree oil mouth rinse? No effect.

So, if tea tree oil doesn’t influence the amount of plaque, presumably it wouldn’t help with gingivitis, the gum inflammation that’s caused by plaque buildup. But, no; here’s the twist. True, no reduction in plaque with a 2.5% tea tree oil gel—yet “significant reduction” in gingivitis scores. Since decreased gum inflammation occurred without a decrease in plaque, it appeared to just be helping more from an anti-inflammatory rather than antimicrobial mechanism.

Might the same thing be happening here? Yeah, from a mycological cure standpoint—a fungus cure standpoint—tea tree oil didn’t really do any better than placebo. But, though the drug wiped out the fungus in 85% of cases, in some of those cases, the patients actually didn’t notice an improvement in symptoms, or they actually felt worse after the drug—probably a reflection of tinactin’s “irritant side effect[s].” If instead of mycological cure, you looked at symptom improvement, tea tree oil works as well as the drug. So, “[t]his may be the basis for the popular use of tea tree oil in the treatment of [athlete’s foot].” But, people should realize that it’s just symptomatic relief, and they’re not necessarily eliminating the underlying cause. Of course, maybe they didn’t use a strong enough concentration.

And, indeed, if you go with not a 10% cream, but up to 25 or 50%, you can get “mycological cure rate[s]” above that of placebo, but still not as good as the drug. And, at those high concentrations, some of the patients applying tea tree oil “developed moderate to severe dermatitis”—they broke out in a rash. But, hey, if you have a patient that doesn’t want to use the medicated creams, then a 25% tea tree oil application has a decent chance of knocking it out without being too risky. But, the standard over-the-counter antifungal creams may work better.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Benjamin Zanatta via Unsplash. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Our entire understanding of the cause of dandruff shifted with this landmark article published in 1984. Instead of relying on secondary sources, reviews, editorials, and opinion pieces, he looked at the primary literature, the original studies, and “was amazed to find out how overwhelming was the evidence of the [true cause], and how it had been ignored because it was so well buried under the mountain of error” since some expert in the 1800s put forth some bogus theory.

We now know that dandruff is triggered by a fungus that lives and feeds on the human scalp—the two major implications being, first, how “alarming” it is that a bogus theory can remain in the medical literature unchallenged for a century despite evidence to the contrary; and, second, hey, if it’s a fungus, what about trying tea tree oil, which contains components that have “antifungal activity” against a range of fungi.

That was based on studies like this, though, where tea tree oil in a petri dish can fight off pathogenic skin fungi. But, you don’t know if it works for dandruff, until you put it to the test. A hundred and twenty-six men and women randomized to daily use of a “5% tea tree oil shampoo or placebo” for a month. The placebo worked a little bit, decreasing dandruff severity by about 10%, but the tea tree oil shampoo worked better—about a 40% drop. Looks like more than 40% from the graph, but that’s because they misleadingly started the Y-axis at -60. This is a classic deception featured in chapter 5 of the 1954 classic How to Lie with Statistics. The graph should really look like this, which makes the effect less impressive, but it was still statistically significant.

“[O]nly one patient [in the tea tree oil group] actually achieved a complete response,” though one in the placebo group did as well. Thus, it appears that the “tea tree oil shampoo would require ongoing application for control of dandruff.”

Speaking of fungus, what about tea tree oil in the treatment of athlete’s foot? That may actually be our most common fungal skin infection, affecting up to one in ten. So, about a hundred patients randomized into one of three groups, a 10% tea tree oil cream, tinactin (an antifungal drug), or a placebo cream. A month later, the fungus was wiped out in 85% of the drug group, but only about a quarter of the placebo and tea tree oil groups. This is somewhat surprising, since tea tree oil can kill off the fungus in a petri dish—but, apparently, not on toes.

That reminds me of some of the oral health data on tea tree oil. It can wipe out some oral pathogens in a petri dish, but have people swish a tea tree oil solution around in their mouth, and here’s the dental plaque buildup after 4 days of no brushing swishing with a placebo. Here’s swishing with a medicated chlorhexidine mouthwash, which keeps the plaque a bit at bay, but the tea tree oil mouth rinse? No effect.

So, if tea tree oil doesn’t influence the amount of plaque, presumably it wouldn’t help with gingivitis, the gum inflammation that’s caused by plaque buildup. But, no; here’s the twist. True, no reduction in plaque with a 2.5% tea tree oil gel—yet “significant reduction” in gingivitis scores. Since decreased gum inflammation occurred without a decrease in plaque, it appeared to just be helping more from an anti-inflammatory rather than antimicrobial mechanism.

Might the same thing be happening here? Yeah, from a mycological cure standpoint—a fungus cure standpoint—tea tree oil didn’t really do any better than placebo. But, though the drug wiped out the fungus in 85% of cases, in some of those cases, the patients actually didn’t notice an improvement in symptoms, or they actually felt worse after the drug—probably a reflection of tinactin’s “irritant side effect[s].” If instead of mycological cure, you looked at symptom improvement, tea tree oil works as well as the drug. So, “[t]his may be the basis for the popular use of tea tree oil in the treatment of [athlete’s foot].” But, people should realize that it’s just symptomatic relief, and they’re not necessarily eliminating the underlying cause. Of course, maybe they didn’t use a strong enough concentration.

And, indeed, if you go with not a 10% cream, but up to 25 or 50%, you can get “mycological cure rate[s]” above that of placebo, but still not as good as the drug. And, at those high concentrations, some of the patients applying tea tree oil “developed moderate to severe dermatitis”—they broke out in a rash. But, hey, if you have a patient that doesn’t want to use the medicated creams, then a 25% tea tree oil application has a decent chance of knocking it out without being too risky. But, the standard over-the-counter antifungal creams may work better.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Benjamin Zanatta via Unsplash. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Doctor's Note

This is part of an extended video series on tea tree oil. So far, there’s:

For those interested in What’s the Best Mouthwash? Click the link!

There’s also another Natural Treatment for Acne and Fungal Infections, and here’s some on another inflammatory skin condition, eczema (atopic dermatitis): Eczema Treatment with Coconut Oil, Mineral Oil, vs. Vaseline and Best Foods to Avoid for Eczema.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

85 responses to “Does Tea Tree Oil Work for Dandruff & Athlete’s Foot?

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  1. Dandruff is funny stuff. Years ago I had a horrendous case. Scratching my head resulted in a snowstorm.

    It turned out to be a humidity problem in the winter. My small apartment had electric heat and vapor barriers in the walls and ceilings – no way for water vapor to escape.

    The problem completely went away when I installed a wood stove. The heat and constant draft up the chimney kept the living space quite dry and the dandruff completely disappeared.

    Surprisingly, I had no problem with dandruff in the summer no matter how humid it got. Just in the winter. Strange.

    1. Living in the southwest America, a very dry place, my complexion changes completely when I live in other parts such as the south in America as I do at times.
      I think it is all a function of humidity.
      I heat with wood as well mostly, but I have a outside draft tube for air. We must typically put a kettle on the stove to prevent to little humidity which presents with some as nosebleeds.

    2. I first came across Tea Tree Oil as a recommendation from another doctor friend, for tinea pedis. I have always just put it on neat, the releif seems to last a lot longer than an anti-inflammatory releif effect would. I think concentration is probably the key here, and I’m puzzled no-one has done a trial of 100% oil as this is how it is sold, particularly here in the UK.

  2. I actually wrote a paper in elementary school in late 1950’s based on that book, “How To Lie With Statistics”!

    As for onchymosis (nail fungus) 10% may not be concentrated enough. All those I know who claim to have had success use if 100% full strength and that AFTER filing or sanding the infected nails down to paper thin.

      1. Honestly George as a kid at that age I did not know of that at all. We took a stab at graphs I do remember that.
        I find it remarkable GL did that.

        Curious what line of work GL went on to do in general? Seems gifted to me in the math field.

    1. Hello Nicholas. Thanks for your question.

      You might want to take a look at Dr. Greger’s video Natural Treatment for Acne & Fungal Infections >> https://nutritionfacts.org/video/natural-treatment-for-acne-and-fungal-infections/ – there’s also this video How to Boost Your Immune System with Wakame Seaweed which talk about the possible effectiveness of seaweed to treat cold sores, herpes, Epstein-Barr virus, and shingles.

      More about green tea to boost immune system >
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/benefits-of-green-tea-for-boosting-antiviral-immune-function/
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/boosting-immunity-through-diet/

      Hope it helps!

    1. Richy,
      Good question. I do not have a definitive answer for that. Mayo clinic says most people have fungus on their scalp, however, we know that in most people it does not lead to dandruff.https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dandruff/symptoms-causes/syc-20353850 Similarly, only certain people are susceptible to nail fungus and athletes foot. If it is fungal in origin I would try green tea, both to drink and to wash your scalp. Check out the following video.https://nutritionfacts.org/video/natural-treatment-for-acne-and-fungal-infections/

  3. Black walnut (husk of shell) alcohol extract topically is my herb remedy of choice for athlete’s foot, and it has been used successfully on cases of very severe scalp issues of a fungal nature, but for dandruff the black color might be an issue with blond or brown hair. I believe the reason it works so well is the high concentration of iodine in the herb.

    Garlic is also a great anti fungal agent, and an oil extract of that would also be useful.

    also of course the healthy vegan diet protocol goes a long way to cleansing and nourishing the bloodstream which ultimately strengthens/cleanses all organ systems including the skin. So often people try and use this or that herb to treat a symptom of underlying system failures, without actually treating the root cause.

    1. I also wonder the whole cause things considered…about 90 plus percent of us have fluoridated and chlorinated water….and we shower with it. Does that have a affect as well?
      I know back in the day when I swam 5 days a week in chlorinated pool, it affected my hair a lot.

  4. Love factoids so I enjoyed Dr. G’s information on tea tree oil and dandruff, however, I too want a conclusion. What is the best way to treat dandruff?

  5. It would be good to also compare the known side effects of over the counter athelete’s foot and dandruff medications compared to tea tree oil or other natural products.

  6. I used tea tree oil for years with varying success. Eventually foot and under arm conditions would not go away. I took dermatologist’s advice and stopped using soap in the shower, simply the water. Conditions disappeared and, two years later, have not returned. I suspect, from what he said, I am now not getting rid of good bacteria and these are in control of the rest.

  7. This is one of the many reasons I adore Dr. G and his crew. He gives us the straight science and lets us decide for ourselves if and how we want to apply it. Go nutritionfacts! Wooo!

  8. Have tried leaving dandruff shampoo on the scalp for hours at a time and it does give temporary relief, but the scalp can get dry and itchy afterwards. Tried the zinc, selenium, nizoral, coal tar versions, all the same.

    Eating tree nuts causes more sebum to release, even eruptions in the scalp. Especially walnuts.

    Using Dawn concentrated dishwashing soap is wonderful. Leave it on full strength for some hours and then rinse. Scalp does not feel dry afterwards and scalp is clean.

    1. I use that as opposed to a sanitizing hand wash as my hand soap….those sanitizing things I think have negatives. Years ago there was a major recall as it was found one type to do some real bad things(weakened bones I think I was) and Bonners seems to work. Good company also.

  9. We used to use honey on athlete’s foot. You apply the honey before you go to bed, cover with a plastic bag and an old sock and after one of two treatments the AF is gone. Has anyone researched this?

    1. We eradicated toenail fungus by soaking the feet in white vinegar for 10 minutes a day. Doc wanted liver function testing before he started the expensive meds, so I looked up the side effects and we said, “No way!” The vinegar worked well – really well.
      I also sometimes use baking soda to shampoo and diluted AVC for conditioner that also works for the dandruff.

      1. I use diluted vinegar as conditioner too, makes my hair nice and soft with no odd chemicals and I havent had dandruff in quite some time either.
        Most fungi hate acid.
        For fun I make vinegars with distilled vinegar and fresh lavender flowers, rosemary flowers, or sage flowers in season for different ‘flavors’ and bonus antioxidant effect.

  10. Nice video…I think I have my own cure though…shaving my head. The beard seem not so much tending to this.

    1. I imagine this fungus will not persist on barren ground. But could be wrong, seems so though. I wonder if that has been in any manner studied?
      Is that a cure perhaps?
      As a brave young woman in Parkland Florida attested, in mass media display, it appears all may do that now.

      1. Funny how some will with opportunity define themselves by what they are, and some by what they are not.

        Curious that. It says a thing I suspect but really I can’t quite put a finger on it.

  11. How about the focus should be on why you have fungus infection in the first place?
    Working with diabetic patients who usually have these problems, makes me wonder if getting rid of all sugar, high carb food in the diet would improve immune function?
    Indeed, most fully controlled diabetics with normal blood glucose control do not have fungal problems.
    For mouth fungus I would use oil of oregano, diluted of course, as it is pretty strong.

    1. Personally I think a lot of this type thing is opportunistic. If we have poor diets or have a illness or are under severe stress they present.
      Not directly related, but under severe stress years ago, (I mean very extreme) I developed a planters wart. I resolved that through treatment but it never presented since nor before just when I had that extreme stress.

      I thought I was tending towards Rosacea a bit, several years back.. Though vegan for years, I was not consuming a whole lot of greens, kale, sprouts and this and that. Those things added, it seems I have no such tendency now which has been for quite a while.
      Far from scientific but I don’t think one can completely rule out personal experience.

  12. This was a fascinating video and I didn’t think it would be, since I have never really had a problem with dandruff.

    I am wondering how chlorine dioxide would fare up.

    That is what I used to get rid of my dog’s ringworm (my vet and groomer’s dogs both had ringworm and never mentioned it and my dog got it and my vet described a protocol of month after month after month of getting rid of spores in the atmosphere and treating every spot and he might need pills and daily baths and all sorts of things. People suggested throwing out the vacuum cleaner, because the spores are so hard to get rid of. They recommended that I use dandruff shampoo every day to prevent it in myself and I still have a few bottles of that shampoo, because I solved it faster than expected. People recommended tea tree oil and I tried it, but it didn’t work. Then, I read a person who healed it by swimming every day and the article said that it can actually survive for longer than I expected even with the chlorine in swimming pools, but it gets killed faster with chlorine dioxide and that can fog a room and get the spores, so I found some formulated for pets, fogged the house, fogged the car, treated my dog, bathed him for a week or so and the months and months of nightmares were gone.)

    http://www.jkatinc.com/chlorine-dioxide-study

    1. I love my dog’s vet so much.

      I talked to him today and he is so patient with me.

      He told me that he has had dog’s with this Cancer for all of the years he has been a vet and he is in his late 50’s, but I am the first person ever to try to heal it.

      I laugh, because his dog had ringworm, which wouldn’t go away and I researched left and right and I found the chlorine dioxide and it was gone in a week.

      I laugh, because the groomer, who probably gave it to my dog, banned my dog when she found out and six months later, when I saw her again, she still didn’t want to take my dog and I said, “He hasn’t had it since the week you banned him.” and she didn’t easily believe me.

  13. The reason topical treatments don’t work (at all) for toenaill fungus is they can’t penetrate the nail bed. I tried everything for me, countless creams, even the laser therapy at $500/pop, but ultimately the oral antifungal for $1 fixed my toes.

      1. Prescription fluconazole (0.05-0.10 USD/day in developing nations, 1.14-1.75 in the US), itraconazole (0.29 USD/day in developing nations, 6.36 in the US). Granted, when I lived nearer the Mexican border it was easier to have a fairly comprehensive medicine cabinet.

  14. I have tried to find information on how to reduce elevated CRP on Dr. Greger’s website but have had no luck. Has he ever approached this issue? I hope not to have to take statins.

    1. Hi Lida, hs-CRP is a protein in the blood that increases with inflammation. https://labtestsonline.org/tests/high-sensitivity-c-reactive-protein-hs-crp
      It’s a marker for inflammation. Dr Greger does not address this lab test directly but does address
      how we lower inflammation levels in the body. https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/inflammation/
      In a nutshell, animal products, oils, and processed foods are inflammatory. You can see this discussed in the film Forks Over Knives. The gentleman in the film lowered his CRP dramatically by adopting a wfpb diet and eliminating animal foods.

    2. Dr Greger has reference in a video on chia seeds he put out just recently..
      “A randomized controlled trial, about two tablespoons of ground chia a day versus a fiber-matched control made of mostly oat bran. That’s how you know it wasn’t funded by a chia seed company, because they put it head-to-head against a real control, not just a sugar pill or something, to control for the fiber content. So, then, if there was weight loss, we’d know it wasn’t just the fiber, but something particular to the chia. And, those eating the ground chia lost significantly more weight, significantly more waist, in terms of waist circumference (a measure of belly fat), and, as a bonus, C-reactive protein levels—suggesting an anti-inflammatory effect, as well. So, maybe some of those 50,000 YouTube videos weren’t completely off.”

      I had not heard of CRP being a sole thing being treated however. It may be a indicator of inflammation but other things some diseases and such seem to present with increased CRP levels.
      The perils of inflammation is a topic he has versed upon and putting that in the search engine at the top of the page may help to prompt some others as well.

      Statins usually they treat high blood cholesterol levels.or known coronary artery disease.
      So please expound.. generally a whole foods plant based diet is thought to decrease inflammation producing a marker of this sort, and lower cholesterol blood levels as well. Did your doc say he was going to prescribe statins for CRP level?

    3. CRP isusually just a marker for either inflammation or infection, or so I understand. But a range of conditions including trauma can elevate CRP. If your doctor can rule out injury, infection and disease as a cause of elevated CRP, then you are probably experiencing elevated CRP as a result of a proinflammatory diet or other lifestyle factors

      Statins will ‘falsely’ reduce CRP and so will aspirin and other NSAIDs, So will magnesium supplementation for that matter. They do this by reducing the body’s normal anti-inflammatory response.
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441843/

      Far better though to address the root causes of the inflammation by diet and lifestyle imrovements. It will also save you a small fortune in prescrition drugs and medical procedures. Potatoes, cabbage, brown rice, whole grains and produce generally tend to be a whole lot cheaper than steak and salmon too

      In this study of overweight children for example, those who went on a no added fat plant based diet saw their CRP levels (and a bunch of other risk markers) drop significantly
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4380801/

      However, it is possible that this effect could simply be explained as a consequence of weight loss (fat loss) since reducing obesity will reduce inflammation levels including CRP.
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4304884/

      However studies also show that anti-inflammatory diets – ie diets high in antioxidants – are associated with lower CRP scores eg this Japanese study showing an inverse association between total antioxidant levels and CRP scores. Both the resuts and the discussion in the study are worth noting

      ‘Dietary factors represent one major modifiable factor related to CRP, and several previous studies have shown that increasing the intake of antioxidant nutrients (e.g., vitamin C and vitamin E) or foods (e.g., tea, fruits, and vegetables) is associated with decreased CRP concentrations [2, 3, 4]. In other studies, however, these single nutrients or foods were shown to have no effect [2, 5, 6, 7]. Accumulating mechanistic and epidemiological data suggest that antioxidants act not only individually but also co-operatively, and in some cases synergistically [8]’
      https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-11-91

      A plant based whole food diet is high in total antioxidants

      “[A]ntioxidant rich foods originate from the plant kingdom while meat, fish and other foods from the animal kingdom are low in antioxidants….”
      https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/antioxidants/

    4. Hello Lida. Thanks for your comment!

      C-reactive protein (CRP) is an acute phase reactant, a protein made by the liver and released into the blood within a few hours after tissue injury, the start of an infection, or other cause of inflammation. Markedly increased levels are observed, for example, after trauma or a heart attack, with active or uncontrolled autoimmune disorders, and with serious bacterial infections like sepsis. The level of CRP can jump as much as a thousand-fold in response to inflammatory conditions, and its rise in the blood can precede pain, fever, or other clinical indicators. The test measures the amount of CRP in the blood and can be valuable in detecting inflammation due to acute conditions or in monitoring disease activity in chronic conditions.

      As we’re talking about inflammation, you might want to check Dr Greger’s videos on that topic: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/inflammation/

      I think that these ones can be the ones that helps you the most:

      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/inhibiting-platelet-aggregation-with-berries/
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/effects-of-avocados-and-red-wine-on-meal-induced-inflammation/
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/which-spices-fight-inflammation/
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/amla-vs-drugs-for-cholesterol-inflammation-and-blood-thinning/
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/why-was-heart-disease-rare-in-the-mediterranean/

      Hope it helps!

  15. I’ve never had a dandruff problem. I do see a loose hair or two on my shoulder once in a while though. Damn, I hate when that happens.

    1. Well, stop wearing glasses YR, or contacts, or wait a bit, likely the situation will self resolve. Dandruff actually the only known solution to cure it beyond a doubt and always, is the same.
      Lancet I think published a study a bit ago on that.

      1. Not sure what you’re addressing here, MVR. I should take off my glasses to avoid seeing a loose hair on my back? How does dandruff come into play here? Lancet’s study referred to what?

        Details, man, we want details!

        1. Yes I was joking. Works with dandruff as well.

          Sorry thought it was obvious..guess not.

          Have a nice day.;)

          1. AHso…..now I see what you meant. (I think.) If I take off my specs I’ll see neither the one hair on my shoulder NOR the non-existent white stuff. :-)

            Am pretty sure if I ever had dandruff, I’d find it flecked all over the collar and/or back of a dark jacket or sweater. Never have.

            Do have a smashing day yourself! Discoursing on the boards and such. :-)

  16. I started mixing pure rosemary essential oil into my shampoo at a 3% concentration so it’s very strong smelling but I haven’t had a episode of dandruff in over a year and a half since I started.

    1. I soaked my feet in a salt water bath for half an hour or so while I drank a big mug of tea and watched the evening news. Took about 3 or 4 months to eliminate the toe nail fungus. Much cheaper than tea tree oil too.

  17. Hi,

    My question isn’t related to this video, but the FAQ said to post questions under the latest video.

    I’ve been a vegetarian for over 8 years, but only went plant based/vegan a few months ago. I have a 14 month old son, who eats a vegetarian diet with dairy a few times a week. I would like to cut dairy out of his diet, but our pediatrician is against it. He is healthy, but is in the 3rd percentile for both weight and height and our ped. wants us to focus on helping him gain weight. We’ve had a few tests done to rule out any diseases or nutritional deficiencies, and everything has come back normal.

    So she wants us to give him high calorie foods to help him gain weight, but her only recommendations are animal products. We give him avocado or almond butter at most meals, but would love some recommendations for other plant based foods we could give him to help him gain weight.

    Thank you!

    1. Cassie,

      I feel for you.

      It is hard to go against these authority figures and they don’t understsnd WFPB well enough to make an informed decision.

      It is hard to ask permission from someone who doesn’t understand.

      People get hostile about things like this.

      I am going through it now with my dog. My dogs vet cares about my dog enough to work with me, but people are downright hostile that I would do vegan to get rid of Cancer in a dog.

      I get that I could also do keto with him and that there is a logic for doing that with a dog and there are things like taurine which they need and if I don’t supplement the whole WFPB thing back fires and he would get heart issues.

      I don’t know if this is the right thing to do, but he wasn’t vegsn and got Cancer so I chose this. I had someone who is rabid keto challenge me to make him raw meat diet and I don’t understand a concept that Rae meat doesn’t have risks of viruses and diseases?

      Anyway, her dog has had multiple surgeries and my other friend who gave raw had her dog die of Cancer young, so it isn’t always protective.

      Hard to make these decisions.

      Get the right kind of doctor if you have one near you.

      My state doesn’t have a lit.

      1. Thank you for the support! It is hard to find a doctor who supports and understands a plant based diet. I hope your dog makes a full recovery.

    2. Hi there Cassie, many thanks for you comments.

      First, note the following quote from a position paper from the ADA: “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”

      Also note this quote from Dr. Greger’s book, How Not To Die, page 411-412: “Vitamin B12-fortified plant-based diets can offer health benefits for all stages of the life cycle. [When] Dr. Benjamin Spock, the most esteemed pediatrician of all time,…died at ninety-four, he advocated children be raised on a plant-based diet with no exposure to meat or dairy products. … ‘Children who grow up getting their nutrition from plant foods have a tremendous health advantage and are much less likely to develop health problems as the years go by.’ ”

      PCRM is the Physician’s Committee For Responsible Medicine, headed up by Dr. Barnard. Dr. Greger has mentioned Dr. Barnard and PCRM favorably in posts and his book. Here are two articles from PCRM that I think contains the type of information you are looking for: http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/vegdiets/vegetarian-diets-for-children-right-from-the-start and http://www.pcrm.org/pdfs/health/info_advchild.pdf
      .
      I’ll also refer you to a site called the Vegetarian Resource Group, VRG. Their articles are usually very well researched and Dr. Greger has mentioned VRG favorably at least once. VRG has a whole section on kids on their website. Here’s the main page. Scroll down to the Nutrition section: http://www.vrg.org/family/kidsindex.htm // http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/kids.php

      Finally, Becoming Vegan, Express Edition is a great over-all reference book for the whole family. It also has an entire chapter on children and what to feed. It also includes an age-based chart where you can get ideas on how much of each of the main nutrients your child needs at various ages. The authors of that book have been guest bloggers here on NutritionFacts. They are very well respected and extremely knowledgeable about nutrition science and how it applies to all ages.

      I really hope this helps!

  18. Dairy products are associated with greater growth in chidren so your paediatrician is basing her/his advice on the currently available evidence. They also deliver iodine and B12 etc which may be lacking in some totally vegetarian diets.

    However, the causes of the supposed effects of dairy on child growth are usually ascribed to the high levels of so-called ‘quality/complete’ protein and high levels of IGF1 growth factor in dairy foods. Soy bean products are just as high in protein and IGF1 as dairy foods and may be an appropriate substitute for dairy foods. It might be best to choose soy foods fortified with B12, iron etc

    That said, you should really seek the advice of a plant-based dietitian on this. Other sources of helpful advice include Government health websites and eg PCRM

    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/vegetarian-vegan-children/
    http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/vegdiets/vegetarian-diets-for-children-right-from-the-start

  19. I had a problem with dandruff and dry skin (esp in winter)until I started taking a tablespoon of flax oil a day and lugols iodine (2-4 drops 15%) and my dandruff has gone and my skin is vibrantly healthy. Flax oil provided critical omega 3 and iodine is also necessary for healthy cells. Can’t recommend this enough.

  20. This is completely off-topic but interesting I think. It comes from Dr Mirkin’s latest newsletter and contains some valuable links/references

    ‘Vegetarian Diets Help to Control Diabetes

    It is long established that diabetics should restrict sugar and other refined carbohydrates. Now research shows that diabetics should also restrict meat. A review of nine separate trials showed that diabetics who switched to vegetarian diets had significantly lower HbA1cs (a measure of cell damage from high blood sugar levels), fasting blood sugar, LDL (bad) cholesterol, body weight and waist circumference (Clinical Nutrition, June 13, 2018). The following values did not change: fasting insulin, HDL (good) cholesterol, triglycerides or blood pressure. The studies included 664 diabetics who were taking oral sugar-lowering drugs, insulin, cholesterol-lowering drugs and/or blood pressure medications.

    Meat Also Increases Risk for Becoming Diabetic
    In another study, researchers followed 63,257 Chinese adults aged 45–74 for an average of 10.9 years and found that eating red meat was associated with increased risk for developing diabetes. The authors suggest that it may be the iron in meat that could cause diabetes (American Journal of Epidemiology, May 23, 2017). See my report on Why Meat May Increase Risk for Diabetes. Many other studies also associate meat with increased risk for diabetes (Am. J. Clin. Nutr, 2011;94:1088–1096; Ann. Nutr. Metab, 2008;52:96–104; JAMA Intern Med, Jul 22, 2013;173(14):1328-35; Am J Epidemiol, 2016;183(8):715-728). Epidemiological studies show that vegetarians have a significantly lower incidence of diabetes than people who eat meat (Diabetes Spectrum, May 2017;30(2): 82-88).

    Most cases of Type II diabetes are caused by insulin resistance, the inability of cells to respond to insulin. Just four weeks on a high-meat diet increased risk for people not being able to respond to insulin (Metabolism, March 2017;68:173–183) as did four weeks on a high dairy diet (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Dec 17, 2015).

    Everyone should expect blood sugar levels to rise after eating. To keep blood sugar levels from rising too high, your pancreas releases insulin that lowers blood sugar by driving sugar from the blood into the liver. However, if your liver is damaged or full of fat, your liver will not accept the sugar and blood sugar levels rise even higher. See Meats Linked to Fatty Liver and Diabetes

    My Recommendations
    To prevent or control diabetes, you do not need to be a strict vegetarian, but your diet should be very high in plants and low in animal products. Many studies show that a vegetarian diet helps to lower high blood sugar levels and treat diabetes. A vegetarian diet helps to keep iron intake low and reduces other factors that increase diabetes risk, such as weight gain and lack of dietary fiber. High blood sugar levels can also be reduced by:
    • losing excess weight
    • exercising
    • restricting refined carbohydrates such as foods made from flour, sugar-added foods and all drinks that contain sugar
    • restricting fried foods
    • eating lots of vegetables, beans, nuts and other seeds’

  21. I tried tea tree oil for dandruff some years ago (diluted 10:1, left in), smelling like an Australian forest the rest of the day, and it was about 20% successful.

    What did work for almost complete remission is an antifungal shampoo (Nizoral, 1% ketoconazole), left in for 15 minutes (I dry off and do chores, rather than stand in the shower), and perhaps just as important, reducing shampooing frequency from daily to once every two weeks or so. Given my curly hair type, this actually improved daily appearance, but I suspect it also permitted my scalp microbiome to recover and compete more effectively against fungi.

  22. This is off-topic, but I couldn’t find a place to ask a question somewhere else.

    I’ve been cooking without oil, and I’m using Teflon non-stick pans right now. I’m pretty sure one should not use aluminium (as it leeches into the food). I’ve heard the same about cast iron. I’ve read things about Teflon maybe not being safe, so I’m wondering which pans and pots are safe to use, preferably non-stick.

    Also, I was wondering whether or not browning vegetables, like onion, without oil is unhealthy or not, since the temperatures may be too high?

    1. Ryan, as handy as they are,I don’t trust those non-stick pans. They say they’re especially dangerous when using high heat. And, on the contrary, I’ve heard it’s good to use a cast iron….unless you have an overload of iron in your system.

      If you saute with water in a stainless steel pan (like I do), eventually the water evaporates and the onions do turn brown. Gotta watch it, though. The onions, mushrooms, etc. can also burn and stick to the pan. Then there’s hell to pay. :-)

      1. In many of Dr. Greger’s videos it’s claimed that you should watch out with iron intake, since it’s a double-edged sword. You want enough, but not too much, since it can act as a pro-oxidant in our bodies.

  23. Special tea tree oil shampoo is expensive, but it occurred to me that this is something that is easy to make. Get your favorite cheap, unscented shampoo and add tea tree oil 5% by volume. This works out to around 2 teaspoon per 8 oz.

  24. At one time I used “Head and Shoulders” anti-dandruff shampoo. Then I switched to “Prell”. Then I switched to “Baby Shampoo”. Currently I use “Tresemme” shampoo. They all seem to work great.

  25. Hi I’m a RN health support volunteer. Dr. McDougall, another plant based advocate and friend of Dr. Greger’s, has address this:
    https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2006nl/april/pdf060400teflon.pdf
    “My conclusion is that high-quality, non-stick pots and pans present very inert surfaces unless they are misused—
    specifically by overheating which causes the release of toxic fumes (chips from the surface are inert and inconsequential
    if swallowed). Look at the surfaces of your pots and pans to be sure they are in good condition and covering
    the aluminum bases. Unless future evidence of actual harmful effects from using PFOA-based non-stick cookware
    becomes available, I will continue to recommend their use, because presently the real-life advantages outweigh
    their theoretical risks.”

    All the best,
    NurseKelly

  26. Fungus isn’t the only cause of dandruff; some forms of dermatitis and psoriasis (an adrenal gland deficiency) cause it, too. With psoriasis for the last 23 years, the only time my psoriasis (and dandruff) completely disappeared was with Enbrel. I’ve since quit that because it’s so dangerous (and expensive for my insurance)–the psoriasis was pretty bad at the time. The next best treatments are topical steroids and coal tar baths. I sure wish there were _effective_ things to treat it that weren’t so bad for me or the environment. Any help?

  27. It was an eye-opener that dandruff is caused by a fungus. It made me wonder if eczema, which also causes showers of skin flakes from whatever part of the body is currently most affected, might also be caused by a fungus? Has there been any research to that effect? I’ve been tormented by eczema itching for years, and currently it’s in my scalp, where I can’t even apply anti-itch cream.

    1. Gracia,
      Thanks for your question. I have not found any research indicating that eczema can be caused by fungus. However, eczema can be aggravated by fungal infections. See this link https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC126862/
      Eczema is often associated with food allergies and/or sensitivities. Check out this video on the foods likely to contribute to eczema.
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/best-foods-to-avoid-for-eczema/

  28. Hi, Gracia Fay Ellwood. In a quick search of the literature, I did not find anything related to fungal causes for eczema. There is a relationship between allergic rhinitis, asthma, and eczema, and these other conditions can be triggered by mold exposure. I will take more time for a thorough search later, and get back to you if I find anything. Meanwhile, you can access everything on this site related to eczema here:
    https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/eczema/
    I hope that helps!

  29. Hi I’m a RN health support volunteer. Vitiligo is not thought to be caused by a fungus. If it was, it would be much more treatable. It’s thought more to be hereditary and autoimmune- where the immune system attacks the skin cells.

    NurseKelly

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