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We have been recommending against the use of Rogaine (Minoxidil) for many years as treatment for hair loss for several reasons. For starters it simply doesn’t work that well. For the vast majority, it has no effect whatsoever. For less than 50% it simply slows down hair loss for a limited period of time. For less than 20% it grows vellous (fine, peach fuzz) hair that typically last only a few months before shedding.
Our main concern regarding Rogaine though, it that there is hell to pay for having to discontinue its usage. It you are using Rogaine for any length of time, (i.e. 4 months plus) and have to stop for whatever reason, there is a dramatic shedding, medically termed an “effluvium” that sets in that results in hair loss above and beyond any retention or gains that in hair that were made in response to its usage. This specific effect was documented in the medical literature, and was shown to occur even when finasteride (Proscar, Propecia) was being concurrently used. Our recommendation (counter to that of most Doctors) is simply not to initiate its usage. If you have been using it for some time we would caution against discontinuation, however, you could economically avoid an effluvium by maintaining a once a day application at the lower 2% strength.
It was originally found that oral minoxidil, an ati-hypertensive drug, (Loniten), actually reliably grew hair in most on the scalp, and sometimes on other, often unwanted areas of the body. Its continued use was precluded by side effects, hence UpJohn pursuing FDA approval in the 1980's of minoxidil as a topically applied treatment for MPB. By all accounts, oral minoxidil’s effects on hair growth were significantly more pronounced compared to topical application. Oral (and topical) Minoxidil’s apparent stimulatory effects on hair growth are largely explained their ability to open potassium channels.
Potassium ion channels exist within the dermal papilla cells of human hair follicles, and have for years, provided a therapeutic target for hair loss intervention. Potassium ion channels have been implicated in a vast array of diseases ranging from Androgenetic Alopecia to Diabetes. These small pore-forming protein structures control the transport of potassium ions across the hair follicle’s cell membranes and are essential for maintaining the follicle’s full biological activity and function.
It has been conclusively shown that in Androgenetic Alopecia the function of potassium channels within hair follicles progressively degrade. The result is reduced membrane potential and impaired ion transfer across the follicle’s cellular membranes –culminating over time in atrophying follicles and loss of hair.
A research team led by Thomas Whitfield, an Oxford biochemistry PhD, formulated, tested and patented an oral complex of nutrients that essentially have the same effect on potassium channels and hair growth as oral minoxidil, (Loniten), without side effects, and significant cross over anti-aging health benefits. A biotech company, Oxford Biolabs, was formed specifically for the purpose of forwarding this treatment for hair loss, which they termed “TRX 2.”
This “propietary” complex of nutrients simply consist of a combination of Potassium choride, Carnitine, Branched Chain Amino Acids, Niacin, and Biotin.
According to Oxford BioLabs, this particular combination of nutrients has the effect of:
• Boosting energy levels in the hair follicles
• Maintaining The Cell Membrane Potential of Hair Follicles*
• Stimulating de novo Synthesis of Potassium Channels in Hair Follicles
• Stimulating Potassium Channel Activity & Functionality
• Promotion of Hair Growth by Hyperpolarizing Hair Follicles
Studies have shown that L-carnitine stimulates human hair growth; via its ability to increase proliferation and decrease apoptosis in follicular cells. Carnitine literally increases the energy supply to the hair follicle matrix, which is necessary for the full functioning of potassium channels in hair follicles. Oxford BioLabs is the first to combine Potassium and Carnitine as a component of their hair loss treatment.
According to Oxford Biolabs, “TRX2™ contains a compound that stimulates the synthesis of cardiolipin, a key component of the plasma membrane of dermal papilla cells in hair follicles. Cardiolipin plays a crucial role in maintaining the potential and integrity of hair follicle cell membranes. In short, TRX2™ provides the ideal lipid environment for potassium channels to flourish and function at peak efficiency.”
The specific potassium channel found in human hair follicles is comprised of the Branched Chain Amino Acids, L-Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine.
By utilizing these components in conjunction, Oxford BioLabs has “successfully found a way to replenish the membrane potential of hair cells and stimulate the synthesis of new potassium channels within hair follicles.”
L-carnitine helps maintain cellular energy metabolism by assisting in the transport of fat through the cell membrane and into the mitochondria within the cell, where fats are oxidized to produce the cellular energy ATP. This enhances potassium channel fuction and facilitates ion transport across the cellular membranes.
TRX 2 contains Niacin, which is structurally related to minoxidil. Niacin both maintains potassium channel function, which like oral minoxidil , stimulates hair growth.
Like oral minoxidil, this specific combination of compounds results in the hyper-polarization of the follicles membranes, which increase the size of miniaturized follicles, resulting in the gradual re-densification of hair over time with continued usage.
Unlike oral minoxidil these compounds have no negative side effects, and have a plethora of health and anti-aging benefits.
To name a few:
Carnitine- reduction in body fat, prevention of diabetes, prevention of heart disease.
Branched Chain Amino Acids- build muscle, improve energy levels, protection of liver function.
Niacin- Reduces cholesterol, treats anxiety, osteoarthritis and migraines.
Potassium Chloride is a liquid that can be readily obtained in any drugstore or supermarket. One medium sized banana contains about 425 mg of bioavailable potassium.
It is recommended that you use you the all of the above in combination to obtain the full reported effects of Oxford BioLab’s TRX 2.
This formula has been on the market for only a few months, and the existing feedback in the early stages has been uniformly positive.
Its unique mechanisms of action, as a hair growth stimulant, add a dimension to our other existing evidence based treatments that primarily function via anti-androgenic or anti-inflammatory mechanisms of action.
Oxford BioLabs states that TRX 2 is formulated for those in the relatively early stages of hair loss, Norwood stages 1-4.
They report that expected results with regular use include:
• “The cessation of hair loss”
• “The promotion of hair growth- including the frontal region and temple area.”
• “Visibly stronger and thicker hair.”
We do not specifically recommend substituting topical Rogaine with TRX 2 or the TRX 2 combination of ingredients due to the documented pronounced shedding that occurs with Rogaine upon cessation of usage. If you use TRX 2 in conjunction with Rogaine, you will enhance whatever benefit you may be getting. If you are not using Rogaine, TRX 2 will given its mechanisms of action, will deliver an equivocal, likely better benefit, along with other documented health and anti-aging benefits.
With his formation of Oxford BioLabs and TRX 2 Hair Loss treatment, Dr Thomas Whitfield of Oxford University was selected in 2009 as one of the country’s most promising young entrepreneurs, and was selected as one of this year’s Flying Start Global Entrepreneurs by the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship.