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Interview With Giorgos Tsetis: Founder of Nutrafol

Interview With Giorgos Tsetis: Founder of Nutrafol

Nutrafol Hair Loss

From years of research to an effective hair loss supplement: Giorgos Tsetis talks about Nutrafol's creation, research and hair loss.

OUT: Nutrafol grew out of your life as a model experiencing hair loss. Can you take us back to the moment the idea for a new hair loss solution sparked?

Giorgos Tsetis: Before I was a model (like actually got paid to model), I was studying to become an engineer. As a model -- and I'm sure this will come across as a big surprise -- you are acutely aware of your appearance. So when the day came, and I will never forget the moment, I was sitting at my desk studying when I realized it was raining hair. All this hair kept falling and landing on my book. It really freaked me out, and immediately ran to see what visible damage was being done. That's also when I realized was genetically predisposed.

Flashes of my father and grandfather raced through my head. They both lost their hair in their early twenties. I felt doomed, but also that I needed to take action immediately and quickly started seeing doctors and dermatologists about what could be done. Shortly after my initial scare, I was prescribed Finasteride. Obviously, I listened to the man in the white coat, it was a drug that I heard of before and was "approved". I ended up taking the drug for about 8 years. In the beginning, life was good. I felt I was taking control and my shedding reduced significantly. But during my second year taking Finasteride, I hit a wall. I started to experience the side effect: decreased libido and sexual dysfunction. My confidence plummeted and started affecting my relationships and self-esteem. Not wanting to lose my hair (and then also the fear of losing my career) came with a very high price and I suffered in silence for years.

Finally, I shared my story with a dear friend and now, my current business partner, Roland Peralta. Roland had been suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and gained a wealth of knowledge in clinical research and nutraceutical ingredients in the process. He ended up not following a standard Western protocol butt instead treated himself effectively with natural, super anti-inflammatories. It was a program the research from the National Institute of Health (NIH). A side effect of his treatment ended up being that his hair health significantly improved.

In the beginning, I was very skeptical, but after looking at the clinical trial data, we recognized there was a correlation between inflammation and hair loss that nobody was talking about. This gave us hope and inspired further research.

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How did you transform an idea like that into a clinically-tested and effective solution for hair loss?

The idea started as a hypothesis. After years of research, we plugged our network for the best minds in the industry (Dermatology, plastic surgery, and anti-aging research). We knew hair loss and thinning hair was a multifactorial issue that required a much more comprehensive approach than what pharmaceuticals (ingestible and topical solutions) and vitamins offer. Meaning, Finasteride only addresses the DHT hormone (Dihydrotestosterone) and vitamins and minerals only address dietary deficiencies. Both are simply not enough.

First and foremost, we needed proof of efficacy on our ingredients. Because of my personal experience, personal health needed to be a priority and any solution we pursued would need to contribute to your overall wellness instead of taking away from it.

There are more factors than genetics that significantly affect healthy hair growth, and all need to be addressed for a formulation to work. We spent years researching underlying causes -- like inflammation, oxidative stress and cortisol, and of course genetics and hormones like DHT -- and then partnered up with leaders in ingredient research to produce specific phytonutrients to target these factors with clinical evidence. We continue to invest in human clinical trials. The more data the better we can serve our customers that require a healthy solution that works. Health is our responsibility and science and research will always remain our passion.

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What is one of the most valuable things you learned in the years of research that went into developing Nutrafol? And what's the most surprising thing you learned?

When you develop something new not in line with conventional thinking you will hit many roadblocks. One of the most valuable things I learned is that when you truly believe in something and keep challenging the status quo you always will be able to find a solution. It all depends how much you truly care and how passionate you are about making a tremendous impact in peoples' lives.

The most surprising thing I learned is not to be surprised when mistakes are made or things don't go according to plan. Keeping that in mind helps me be proactive and come up with quick and effective solutions.

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Thinking about this as a health problem, or a symptom of underlying health problems, why weren't there more safe and effective hair loss solutions available?

Look at the news, especially today. We are definitely an over-prescribed nation. The hair loss industry has been stuck for decades focusing on trying to identify a magic pill that will solve everything. That is the reason why there have been no new drugs developed since minoxidil in 1988. Finasteride's production happened only because hair growth was a side effect of drugs treating enlarged prostates. And that study is from the '70s. How is that possible? Everyone has been looking under the wrong hood so to speak. We have raised the bar and introduced a new category to the medical channel that remains untapped. Bringing nutraceuticals (pharma-grade-naturals) with clinical evidence of efficacy is how we changed the category. Hundreds of doctors are now prescribing Nutrafol as an alternative for men and women. We are slowly but surely changing the mindset of physicians in how they view hair loss.

Are the shortcomings of the drug and supplement industries mainly an American phenomenon? Did you find clinically-tested hair loss treatments like Nutrafol more readily available through international markets?

It's a worldwide shortcoming, I traveled the world and always actively looked to replace Finasteride for healthier alternatives. I found dozens of "natural remedies" but never something that was scientifically inspiring. What I find very surprising is how unregulated the supplement industry is here in the USA. The FDA does not properly regulate it. There are too many companies out there, blending sprinkles of ingredients and then marketing the resulting product to the public with no proof -- or clinical, human proof -- and zero substantiation. It perpetuates the skepticism surrounding hair loss solutions and makes it harder to parse through what is actually effective. Some skepticism is good -- it will motivate you to find your own answers. We at Nutrafol want to provide those answers, and this mission is a big reason why we are constantly posting and sharing clinically studies with our customer base, and strongly encourage people to reach out to us as we're here to help and educate in any way possible. We are constantly setting the bar higher because we know how much it sucks to lose your hair, and don't want others to feel adrift like we did.

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Hair loss is often something people deal with quietly -- especially women. Did you find there was a great need for a hair loss solution made for and marketed directly to women?

I agree with that, we have seen it a lot. It's an emotional problem that is not easily discussed. However, we have seen a great shift in this industry the last few years. It's not taboo anymore. There are 21 million of women losing their hair in the U.S.. It's a problem and the number is only increasing. We had the science and the knowledge to offer an effective solution and felt ethically responsible to develop and offer this to women in need.

How many people do you estimate are currently using Nutrafol? Where and how is it available?

Right now, a bit under 70 thousand. We're growing fast and becoming available in more locations. You can order Nutrafol our main website, Nutrafol.com, or buy from the 400+ dermatology and plastic surgery offices nationwide. We anticipate exponential growth in the next few months due to additional funding from Unilever Ventures and additional clinical data on the product.

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Just curious -- what do you think of the folks who bypass hair loss treatment and shave it all off?

Perfectly fine. Some men look great without hair -- bald is beautiful! This topic is so personal and I believe everybody has their own good reasons for making that decision. It all depends on how important your hair is to you. Some people simply accept it. But no matter what people say, there is always that first moment that you look in the mirror when you realize its "your turn", and that feeling is never pleasant. From my personal perspective, I simply never believe in giving up on something that its important to me. Nutrafol was born out of this, and now men and women have a healthy and effective alternative when choosing to take control of thinning hair and hair loss.

Nutrafol is available for both men and women online and in premiere salons nationwide. Receive an exclusive 15 percent off your first purchase by using code "besthead2017" during checkout. Find out more on the Nutrafol website.

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