By the time the average American male celebrates his 50th birthday, he has about a 50/50 chance of experiencing some degree of hair loss. Those aren’t great odds, which is why news coming out of Japan about a potential baldness cure is creating some buzz.
Vitamin D research has really ramped up over the past decade, but most studies have been focusing on what the “Sunshine Vitamin” might be able to do in terms of promoting a healthier, stronger immune response. Japanese researchers are the first to discover that vitamin D appears to stimulate hair follicles.
How It Works
Hair follicles go through a sleep/wake cycle similar to your body’s circadian rhythm (the sleep/wake cycle you experience every day/night). This cycle involves several years of hair growth, followed by a dormancy period of a few weeks or months, after which a new hair begins to grow. When a person starts to go bald, the hair falls out and the follicles fall asleep permanently, never awakening from their dormancy.
During their research, Japanese scientists discovered that vitamin D has the right features to connect with hair follicle receptors, essentially awakening the receptors and stimulating new hair growth. Not only does it seem to cause hair to grow, it can also help generate new stem cells that can turn into new follicles...meaning hair can start to grow again on what was a bald head.
What Does This Mean?
The hope is one day these preliminary findings will be turned into a cure for baldness, as awakening these hair follicle receptors may be the key to shutting down hair loss.
“It’s how the vitamin D is being handled by the receptors in the follicles that may be part of the puzzle of why we begin to lose our hair as we get older,” explained Dr. Marc Avram, professor of dermatology at New York’s Weill Cornell Medical College. “In the next few years, we will have many other options that ultimately one day will make hair loss a voluntary thing.”
A new treatment for baldness using vitamin D may also provide a much more cost-effective alternative to today’s hair replacement procedures that carry a price tag of as much as $12,000. According to statistics, about 100,000 of these operations take place each year, likely only by those who can afford the high price. Vitamin D therapy will be much more accessible by the millions of men who suffer from hair loss.
Scientists caution men not to simply rush out and start taking massive doses of vitamin D supplements. More research needs to be done to refine techniques and translate the work from lab to humans. Excess vitamin D can lead to a buildup of calcium, which can cause issues with heart rhythm, kidney stones and constipation.
Read more in the following WSJ.com article: http://ow.ly/dGGsq
As always, I wish you the very best of health,