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Medical research on Hair loss prevention

Updated on January 10, 2013

Investigating various supplements and treatments for hair loss

1. Advecia

Medical findings:

Advecia is one of the most used supplements which is considered by many as a potent treatment for hair loss or Alopecia. It helps the scalp to receive nutrients by delivering RNA nutrients into the small hair follicles which helps it become strong and thick. This is an important thing because most cases of hair loss involve the thinning of the hair follicles and thus becoming brittle. Nutrients from Green tea and Saw Palmetto is said to enhance the thickness of the hair follicle making it strong and less likely to break and fallout. It also helps revive hair as it eliminates any obstructions lodge inside the hair follicle, which are mostly dirt and accumulated dead skin cells. Once the hair follicle is unclogged of this debris, it will naturally return to its normal growth pattern.

The Journal of Alternative and complementary medicine cites Advecia as one of the most used treatments for hair loss, because of its effectiveness. They cite that because of the chemical present in the said herb, which clearly reduces the hair thinning effects of DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) a by-product of testosterone. Saw Palmetto and Arginine are one of the main ingredients in Advecia, it has been used by many naturopathic practitioners to help reduce and treat the degenerative effects of androgenic alopecia or male pattern baldness. These are some of the research made on the following ingredients used in Advecia

Research on Saw Palmetto extract

Saw palmetto is known to be loaded with beta sitosterol, which has anti-androgen properties that help people with androgenic alopecia and are the main ingredient of Advecia. Beta Sitosterol helps regulate the levels of androgen in the body. A study was made on Saw palmetto in 2002 showed the effectiveness of Saw Palmetto and researchers reported these findings in the journal of alternative and Complimentary medicine. The study involves the participation of 26 male volunteers in an experiment to validate the hair growth properties of Saw Palmetto. It showed 60% improvement in treating the balding effects of androgenic alopecia through the use of supplements with Saw Palmetto as its main ingredient.

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary medicine, 2002 issue, clearly states the positive effect of Saw Palmetto extract in inhibiting the devastating effects of DHT.

Research on Arginine

Another vital component of Advecia is Arginine, which is a type of semi-essential amino acids that are vital for proper hair growth. This compound is a protein building block that is needed in many functions in the body and one of those is the maintenance of proper hair growth. It has been speculated that hair growth is stimulated by an increase in blood vessel dilation in the scalp. Many believe that Arginine can help people treat their hair loss through this process of increasing blood vessel dilation. This may become a misconception especially if one assumes that Arginine alone can restore normal hair growth through increasing blood circulation. Though many still continue use of Argentine to help treat their baldness, one must not rely wholly on it to treat alopecia. There are various commentaries made on the effects of Arginine in treating hair loss. The Linus Pauling Institute states that considerable deficiency levels of Arginine can induce a hair loss effect for people however there is still no medical publication that shows a definitive proof on the effectiveness of Arginine to combat hair loss.

2. Minoxidil

Medical findings

Though there are no sure cures for hair loss, medication and treatment to help restore the ability of the scalp to produce hair has been developed, and one of these “hair-growers” is Minoxidil. The hair growing properties of Minoxidil has been discovered entirely by accident. Medical researchers are baffled by the peculiar side-effects experienced by people who were taking Minoxidil tablets to regulate high blood pressure. Most of the time, people experienced an increased rate of hair growth in various places on the body more often on the cheek and forehead. Researchers are baffled by this as 80 percent of all people under this medication experienced the same symptoms. It was only a matter of time when medical researchers concluded that Minoxidil can be used for treating alopecia or hair loss.

However, there are certain factors that draw concern to researchers about Minoxidil. They have observed serious side effects for some people who use the said medication to treat hypertension. Side effects may include fainting, difficulty in breathing, increased heart rate and a rare condition where fluids accumulate around the heart. This made doctors conclude that people with hypertension are not advised to try Minoxidil to treat hair loss.

In 1983, this conclusion was put to the test, when more than 2000 men with androgenic alopecia or Male pattern baldness volunteered to test the effects of Minoxidil. They have ensured that all participants are in good health and none have hypertension or other serious diseases that are linked to high blood pressure. The results were promising, and no side effects were observed which can be fatal. Each participant experienced an increased rate of hair growth on bald spots on the head.

The main reason why Minoxidil works is still highly debated. One of the suggested reasons is that Minoxidil helps dilate small blood vessels in the scalp, promoting efficient blood flow on the scalp which they attribute to hair growth. However, no evidence has been observed to verify the theory that good circulation of the blood increases hair growth. A more reasonable and plausible theory was proposed by Richard De Villez MD, Directory of dermatology in Upjohn in 1988. He said that Minoxidil simply “turns on” the matrix cells of hair follicles for it to grow. It is an extremely basic theory, but it might explain also the causes of androgenic alopecia once confirmed.

Today, the Food and Drug Administration, or (FDA) has approved the use of Minoxidil as a treatment for hair loss or baldness. This became the start of a large industry catering to the needs of people suffering from hair loss. Further studies have been made in order to gather proof on the effectiveness of Minoxidil in treating hair loss. The Scripps Clinic and research foundation in California conducted a study on the effects of the medication to 33 volunteers for 30 months. They applied Minoxidil on parts of the scalp that was balding. After 30 months of constant application and observation, the results show increased rate of hair growth at the first months of the experiment, however, after thirty months, the rate of hair growth decreased. This only shows that Minoxidil can indeed cause hair growth, but it is not the absolute cure for male pattern baldness experienced by most men today.

3. Vitamin and mineral rich Hair loss products

Malnutrition is the condition when the body has low levels of nutrients and minerals needed for it to function normally. The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) said that wrong diet, digestion problems, inadequate nutrient absorption and certain medical ailments and conditions are the main cause of malnutrition. According to the Medicine Plus (US National library of Medicine) one of the symptoms of malnutrition is the rapid loss of hair or alopecia and this can be avoided by the ingestion of the correct levels of minerals and nutrients through correct diet and supplementation.

There are many supplements today that are packed with Vitamins in order to combat the harrying effects of hair loss. The most famous of these supplements are the following;

· HairOmega – Practically incorporates all vitamins concerning hair loss

· Nisim Hair loss – Significantly adds biotin as the main ingredient

· Revivogen – Adds vitamin B6 and Zinc as one of its main ingredients

· Thymuskin – Includes Inositol – a part of the Vitamin B compound, as one of its main ingredients

These supplements aim to halt the adverse effect of hair loss through reliance on vitamins. Medical researchers on various vitamins linked to hair growth. These are some of the medical research published in scientific and medical journals here and abroad.

Vitamin D

A study conducted by the University of California, Department of Medicine and Veterans Affairs Medical center showed that the lack of working vitamin D receptors in the body of humans and mice led to hair loss or alopecia. In this study, they have observed that mice with healthy hairs but have low levels of vitamin D, which leads to the development of weak and brittle follicles and disrupt normal hair structure, which results in poor follicle cycling leading to permanent baldness. Mutated vitamin D receptors causes low vitamin D levels in the body because it inefficiently absorbs the said vitamin. This was the first study that showed the connection between vitamin D and alopecia.

The Department of Dermatology, the MD Anderson cancer center and the University of Texas have undertaken another study to further give light to the suggestion connection between Vitamin D deficiency and hair loss. They have also observed the connection between VDR (Vitamin D receptors) and the normalcy of the hair cycle. The study showed that if vitamin D deficiency can cause hair loss, supplementation may reverse the hair loss process and in turn, improve hair growth. However, further studies are still needed in order to pinpoint the function of Vitamin D in the normal growth of hair. Scientists were able to discover the role of vitamin D for possible treatments for the devastating effects of alopecia.

In line with the studies stated above, the Massachusetts General Hospital in cooperation with Harvard Medical School conducted another intensive study on the role of vitamin D in the normal growth of Hair follicles. They experimented with mice that have cases of alopecia or hair loss and have made genetically altered mice with “tweaked” Vitamin D receptors that virtually produced mice that do not experience the development of alopecia.

The most promising of all studies was conducted by dermatology specialists at Cedars Sinai Medical Center and in the University of California School of medicine. They have made strides in producing the Vitamin D3 that effectively stimulates the growth of hair on bald mice. This discovery was sensational as it proves that sufficient levels of vitamin D are necessary in order to promote the natural growth of hair. Though there are still limited experiments done on people, the study is promising as it gives direction to where scientists must probe into in order to find the right treatment for alopecia in human beings.

Biotin

Vitamin B is composed of eight different vitamins; however, those that are connected with hair growth includes B6 (Pyridoxine), B7 (Biotin), B9 (Folic) and B12 (Cobalamin). Vitamin B6 and B7 help the body break down necessary proteins in order for the normal hair growth. Vitamin B9 and B12 help the body to produce red blood cells which is vital for the proper growth of hair. Scientists all agree that in some extent, though not yet definite, Vitamin B6, B7, B9 and B12 are all essential vitamins that help the body in avoiding alopecia of hair loss. Deficiency of Vitamin B can reduce the natural hair growth of the body because of the following effects.

Vitamin B helps the body produce red blood cells thus help the body in the proper distribution of oxygen. Less oxygen to hair follicles will hasten the deterioration of the hair which will lead to hair destruction and in the long run, baldness. Also, Vitamin B deficiency hampers the repair and regeneration of hair. This is also the case for people undergoing chemotherapy as the chemicals destroy cancer cells, it also inadvertently destroy all vitamins present in the body including Vitamin B. Hair shedding is a common side-effect of chemotherapy, and this is one of its main reasons.

The University of Maryland Medical Center or UMMC explains that taking Vitamin B6, B7, B9 and B12 can help in preventing hair loss. As vitamin increases the development of red blood cells and the increase of vitamins necessary for protein breakdown, normal hair growth is its positive side effect. This is one of the main reasons why many hair growth supplements today are all adding Vitamin B-complex into their products. However, it is still not confirmed that the intake of Vitamin B supplements will stop the onset of hair loss, but it has been observed that it can lessen the effects dramatically.

Vitamin A

This vitamin is a powerful anti-oxidant which helps the body reduces the dreadful effects of free radicals and toxins. Medical specialists observed that free radicals are a leading cause of hair loss as it damages the hair and makes it brittle. Vitamin A does not help the body in promoting hair growth; it helps the body by preventing free radicals from destroying hair follicles. The side effect of ingesting Vitamin A is reducing the chances of developing hair loss by lowering the levels of oxidation due to free radicals and toxins.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is not only a powerful anti oxidant it is also vital for the normal health of connective tissue, and because of this property, Vitamin C can affect the normal growth of hair. Alopecia or hair loss is caused by hormonal changes and imbalances in the body. One of the greatest contributors of hormonal changes is either illnesses or stress. These two are one of the most influential factors that dictate the hormonal balance of the body. People suffering from alopecia need the constant intake of vitamin C to counter the hormonal imbalance created by stress.

As hormonal imbalance is the frequent cause of Hair loss, researchers are finding ways of resolving these hormonal problems by supplementation and augmentation through the intake of vitamins and minerals that are thought of to be helpful in slowing down the progression of alopecia. Vitamin C is one of the most used ingredients in many supplements due to its antioxidant properties. This is what makes vitamin C one of the most popular vitamins ever. Incidentally, as some cases of Alopecia or hair loss is linked to the presence of free radicals and toxins, the use of vitamin C, for many alternative medical specialists, is the logical course of action. However, the deficiency of vitamin C does not increase the risk of people from contracting alopecia.

Vitamin C is extremely beneficial for the body as it provides adequate levels of tyrosine which is necessary in maintaining normal hair structure. This is the main reason for the seeming importance of this vitamin in the treatment of alopecia or hair loss. More so, vitamin C is needed in order to help the body produce Collagen which is essential for the maintenance of tissue structure and repair. Also, it helps in the production of red blood cells, which is crucial because it helps in the proper circulation of nutrients and oxygen throughout the body. Without proper oxygen levels, strong connective tissues weaken and adequate levels of tyrosine are not maintained and as a consequence one will experience hair loss in no time. Taking vitamin C is hugely beneficial in order to continue maintaining a full head of hair.

As stated by National institutes of health, people are among the few species on Earth that do not have a natural process of producing vitamin C. This is the reason why most medical specialists, especially those focused on alternative treatments suggest ingesting more than 1000 (mg) of vitamin C every day. This is to prevent the rapid depletion of vitamin C, which is vital for many key functions and processes in the body. Linus Pauling Institute states that the body needs at least 10mg of Vitamin C a day in order to prevent the onset of a famous vitamin C deficiency condition called “Scurvy.” This old sickness normally observed and noted by sailors during the 16th century was a dreadful condition with symptoms such as sores, mouth ulcers and hair loss. Deterioration of Collagen is the main reason for the shedding of hair seen on people with scurvy. However, this condition is normally the result of an extreme depletion of Vitamin C, which is relatively rare these days yet in the United States; scurvy is still under the list of dangerous conditions that occur due to extreme vitamin C deficiency.

Selenium and Zinc

Medical studies have shown that hormones produced by the thyroid gland help prevent alopecia. People suffering from any thyroid problems may experience hair loss symptoms. That is why certain minerals that can help the thyroid gland function properly are much needed. The minerals needed for the proper functioning of the thyroid glands is selenium and zinc. Selenium is mainly responsible for the health of the thyroid glands. Nuts, eggs, dairy products and fish are prime sources of this mineral.

Zinc, on the other hand, helps in the development of the protein structures that affect normal hair growth. This mineral is also abundant in seafood, red meat and dairy products. Most hair growth products add these two minerals in order to induce renewed hair growth for people suffering for baldness. However, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, an excessive amount of zinc intake can result in side effects such as nausea, lethargy, vomiting and fatigue. It has been prescribed that the daily amount of zinc needed by an adult body is 15mg per 2,000 calorie diet.

Conclusion

These are some of the remedies, treatments and possible cures for hair loss or alopecia. It is crucial to take into consideration these small treatments as it can certainly change the course of one’s life, especially for any person suffering from hair loss or alopecia. Hair loss has always been one of the most life changing conditions that can happen to a person. Through these simple treatments, one can find hope in reversing the effects of hair loss. However, one must always consider that through the correct outlook in life, one can still find happiness and self confidence even in the midst of hair loss

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