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Latest Research Lends Support to Tocotrienols for Hair Loss

      Carotech, a Bio-Tech firm located in Indonesia recently patented an oral formulation of tocotrienols for the treatment of Androgenetic Alopecia. Carotech’s oral hair growth formulation, “Super Absorbable Tocotrienols,” has been on the market for a couple of years and has a fanatically loyal customer base. It’s mechanism of action involves the reduction of oxidative stress in the scalp that is affected by Androgenetic Alopecia. Some independently presented, ground-breaking research at the 2013 World Hair Restoration Society conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, independently confirmed the role of oxidative stress in Androgenetic Alopecia.

Oxidative stress and cell senescence in androgenetic alopecia (AGA)
JH Upton1, A Bahta1, N Farjo2, B Farjo2, R Bhogal3 and MP Philpott1 1Centre for Cutaneous Research, Queen Mary’s University of London, Whitechapel, UK; 2Farjo Medical Centre, Manchester, UK and 3Unilever R&D, Colworth, UK

The hair follicle dermal papilla (DP) is essential for hair growth and is known to be a target tissue for androgens. However, the mechanism for decreased hair growth in AGA is unknown. We have shown that DP cells from balding scalp undergo premature senescence in vitro when compared to matched DP cells from non-balding scalp, and that this is associated with upregulation of p16INK4a and downregulation of BMI-1. Patient-matched DP cells from balding scalp have significantly higher levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), undergo fewer population doublings, and have higher levels of cell senescence when cultured at 21% O2 compared to 2% O2, and these differences correlate with changes in p16INK4a and BMI-1 expression. We also show that growth factor secretion by the DP is affected by O2 culture conditions differently in balding and non-balding DP cells. In addition, we show that the endogenous antioxidants catalase and total glutathione exhibit increased expression in balding DP cells, or cells grown under 21% O2 conditions. Conversely, reduced glutathione was expressed at lower levels in balding DP cells compared to non-balding DP cells when cultured under 2% O2. Oxygen conditions were also found to alter DP cell motility, with greater motility observed at 2% O2 compared to 21% O2. These data suggest that oxygen conditions significantly alter the function of DP cells and, by extension, oxidative stress may exacerbate the onset of androgenic alopecia by affecting senescence and DHT-induced TGF-β secretion, a known inducer of catagen and inhibitor of hair follicle growth.

      Super Absorbable Tocotrienols facilitate a reversal of Androgenetic Alopecia by specifically targeting oxidative stress.

Effects of Tocotrienol Supplementation on Hair Growth in Human Volunteers
1Lim Ai Beoy, 2Wong Jia Woei and 1Yuen Kah Hay* 1School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 USM, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia 2Hovid Bhd, 121, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, 30010 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Abstract: Studies have shown an association between oxidative stress and alopecia.
Patients with alopecia generally exhibit lower levels of antioxidants in their scalp area as well as a higher lipid peroxidation index. Tocotrienols belong to the vitamin E family and are known to be potent antioxidants. Hence, a study was conducted to investigate the effect of tocotrienol supplementation on hair growth in volunteers suffering from hair loss. Twenty one volunteers were randomly assigned to orally receive 100 mg of mixed tocotrienols daily while 17 volunteers were assigned to receive placebo capsule orally. The volunteers were monitored for the number of hairs in a pre-determined scalp area as well as the weight of 20 strands of 1 cm length hair clippings at 0 (before supplementation), 4 and 8 months. The number of hairs of the volunteers in the tocotrienol supplementation group increased significantly as compared to the placebo group, with the former recording a 34.5% increase at the end of the 8-month supplementation as compared to a 0.1% decrease for the latter. Nevertheless, the cumulative weight of 20 strands of hair clippings did not differ much from the baseline for both supplementation groups at the end of the study period. In conclusion, this trial demonstrated that supplementation with tocotrienol capsules increases hair number in volunteers suffering from hair loss as compared to the placebo group. This observed effect was most likely to be due to the antioxidant activity of tocotrienols that helped to reduce lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress in the scalp, which are reported to be associated with alopecia.

      In past years topical formulations of N-Acetyl Cysteine that targeted oxidative stress were used with some degree of success. Green Tea Extract, and the oral combination of Resveratrol and Curcumin, in addition to other mechanisms, reduce oxidative stress. If I for whatever reason, slack off in taking my anti-oxidants, I invariably notice within a few days, an up-tick in shedding and scalp itch.

      If anything this research underscores that hair loss is far from being a result of DHT alone. It also provides evidence that hair loss can be successfully intervened upon downstream of DHT, enabling one to avoid the side effects and health consequences of crudely and aggressively neutralizing DHT alone.

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