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Vitamin D - The Vitamin for Hair Loss
It seems that the vitamin for hair loss is vitamin D. Research on mice shows that vitamin D, namely 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D regulates the expression of genes of the skin. When scientists knocked out those genes, the mice displayed vitamin D deficient symptoms of rickets and hair loss. They had total hair loss at 8 months old with the formation of dermal cysts starting at the age of 3 weeks.
This is a strong indication that hair loss in young men could be a result of a lack of vitamin D. It isn't conclusive since scientists deliberately knocked out the genes responsible rather than depriving the mice of vitamin D itself. It also doesn't rule out many other factors which could be involved in the process of hair loss.
Is vitamin D the only possible vitamin for hair loss, or are there other nutrients which link to the biological processes of this vitamin? Omega 3 happens to be one of them.
The Essential Fatty Acid link
Maybe it isn't the modern indoor lifestyle which is to blame, but the increasing deficiency of Essential Fatty Acids in our diet, especially Omega 3. It has been shown that the essential fatty acids help eliminate eczema, psoriasis, dandruff, help prevent hair loss by controlling the flow of oils and nourish collagen, the supporting structure beneath the skin.
So, what is the link to vitamin D? Believe it or not essential fatty acids aid in the production and excess removal of cholesterol. As well as being necessary for many vital bodily functions, cholesterol is required for the body to manufacture its own vitamin D, which, as I have shown, seems to be the key vitamin for hair loss.
If you suffer from a scalp condition, such as flaky scalp or psoriasis as well as hair loss, then this would seem to be the problem. As well as vitamin D and the essential fatty acids, I would recommend a shampoo treatment such as those which contain coal tar. Is it just these two nutrients that we should be concentrating on? Well, there's more.
Iron and L-lysine deficiencies
Serum ferritin provides a good assessment of iron content in the body. For the last 40 years it has been shown that a low level of serrum ferritin has been associated with female hair loss. The same is true for L-lysine, the essential amino acid. In a double-blind study, women with hair loss responded well to both iron and L-lysine therapy.
Copper and zinc deficiencies
According to scientific studies on mice, excess zinc causes hair loss due to the out of balance ratio between copper and zinc. It's not the zinc itself that caused the hair loss; in fact, zinc sulfate was found to be an inhibitor of DHT production (DHT is the chemical which is said to cause hair loss in men).
Also, lack of copper is also known to breakdown proteins, including those in both nails and hair. A different experiment showed that deficiencies in the copper / zinc ratio causes hair cells in mice to die off. Again, copper as copper chloride, although not fully tested, has shown to have positive results for hair loss. Incredibly, new research (June 2006) shows that a copper peptide injected into the skin induced very strong hair follicle growth. This all points to a lack of copper as a real cause of hair loss (and allergies).
The message here is not to overdose on zinc without taking copper as well. In fact high dosages of both might be beneficial; although, copper really does seem to be the mineral for hair loss.
Sesame and flaxseed are believed by Chinese women to be good for the hair and scalp. Sesame has unsurprisingly high amounts of copper and zinc, plus lignans.
Soybean extract and isoflavones
Ingredients in soy, namely the isoflavones, reduced DHT in the blood plasma (DHT is said to be responsible for hair loss). DHT is converted from testosterone by an enzyme called 5a-reductase. Soy extracts were shown to inhibit this enzyme. It should also prevent prostate cancer as prostate cancer is also reported to be associated with an increase in DHT.
Vegetarianism and hair loss - vitamin b12
Vegetarians often lack vitamin B12. In fact, 40% of the American population does according to a study by Tuffs university in 2001. But the study says that it isn't people aren't eating enough meat but that the vitamin isn't being absorbed. Also what is interesting is the fact that young people in their twenties had the same deficiencies as those 65 and older. Lack of vitamin B12 is a known vitamin for hair loss. So how do you increase your absorption of vitamin B12?
The digestive system
If you are not absorbing vitamins and minerals correctly, then the gut is not working properly. Before taking any vitamin for hair loss, or any other nutritional supplement, the gut has to be cleansed. The poor absorption could be due to parasites and bad bacteria working in the gut. Clinical grade acidophilus can fix the bacteria, and herbs or the Sputnik capsule at the Turner Clinic can take care of any parasite infection. Parasite infection is more common than most people realize, especially those with pets.
Copyright © 2006 Alastair Hall. This article may be reprinted on condition that the links in the “about the author” section remain.
About the Author: Alastair Hall is an editor and researcher on the environmental causes of common ailments. The original article "vitamin for hair loss" can be found at his website The Alternative Health Daily