By Emily Murray
For the millions of men who stand by helplessly as their hairline recedes, new research may yield breakthrough treatment for male pattern hair loss. While the implementation of the new findings is still years off, the future of hair loss treatment may be taking a turn for the better.
Currently those who are experiencing baldness have several options. They may choose the surgical route, use topical treatments or take pills to help halt further hair loss or to help prevent it. What scientists have discovered however is that Vitamin D may actually help “wake up” hair follicle receptors and prevent hair loss from occurring though it’s ability to regrow hair doesn’t seem likely. It’s use as a preventative may be the key.
Why do people bald?
Typically hair loss occurs when the hair follicle enters the sleeping cycle (which all hair goes through) but it doesn’t wake from it. During this time, stem cells which would have become hair follicles become skin cells instead and a bald patch results.
As explained in a recent article about the topic in the Wall Street Journal, researchers continually struggle to apply their findings in the lab to actual hair follicles on the body. What works well to grow the follicles in the lab rarely works when applied to a follicle on the body. It appears that the actual Vitamin D receptor is what is responsible for spurring hair growth rather than simply the vitamin on its own.
This research has been applied to lab rats and has demonstrated that adding Vitamin D when the rats were growing certain hair cells actually helps manipulate the stem cells to become follicles rather than skin cells.
Many men currently undergo hair transplants where hair is moved to bald areas of the head. One obstacle with this is that each follicle only produces one hair and this is something researchers hope to be able to change with further research.
While Vitamin D does appear to help with hair growth, researchers have mentioned they must be mindful of the other affects the vitamin has on the body to be certain that adding it would not do further harm. When delivered to the body in excess it can lead to weakness of kidney problems.
While it may be years for us to see new treatments developed, this breakthrough research may possibly yield another natural option for those who are suffering from hair loss.