Carnitine is an amino acid that occurs naturally in the human body and is essential for turning fat into energy. Local active energy metabolism is an essential prerequisite for healthy, sustained hair growth.
Research has conclusively shown that in balding areas of the scalp in both men and women, the membrane potential of the hair follicle is significantly diminished, in response to an androgenetically mediated reduction in potassium channel function within the hair follicle.
Mitochondrial membrane potential improves to some degree with supplemental Carnitine and even more so with Acetyl-L-Carnitine, which actually strengthens the functioning of mitochondria itself.
Dr. Thomas Whitfield, of Oxford University and Oxford BioLabs found that “L-carnitine stimulates energy production and cardiolipin synthesis within the cell membranes of hair follicles. It transports nutrients to dysfunctional potassium channels and helps to restore functionality.”
In a recent experiment with balding human hair at the University of Lubeck in Germany, Carnitine was shown to promote hair growth, stimulate hair shaft elongation and reduce hair cell death.
The authors of this study concluded, “Our findings suggest that Carnitine stimulates human scalp hair growth by up regulation of proliferation and down regulation of apoptosis in follicular keratinocytes in vitro. They further encourage one to explore topical and nutraceutical administration of l-carnitine as a well-tolerated, relatively safe adjuvant treatment in the management of androgenetic alopecia and other forms of hair loss.”
Carnitine has been significantly upgraded in the last 2 years, resulting in forms that are more bio-available, even conferring documented cognitive benefits.
Acetyl-L-carnitine is the acetylated ester of the amino acid L-carnitine. Acetyl-L-carnitine is an endogenous mitochondrial membrane compound that helps maintain mitochondrial bioenergetics increasing Potassium Channel function and lowering the increased localized and systemic oxidative stress associated with aging. Although Acetyl-L-carnitine and L-carnitine are absorbed into the bloodstream efficiently and are effective at carrying long-chain fatty acids across the membrane into the mitochondria where they are burned for energy production, Acetyl-L-carnitine also guards against oxidative damage. Acetyl-L-carnitine exerts protective effects against such neurotoxicity and oxidative stress.
Acetyl-L-carnitine arginate (ArginoCarn®) is a patented form of carnitine. Cell studies suggest that unlike Carnitine alone, it promotes the growth of neurites that facilitate communication among nerve cells in the brain.
GlycoCarn® is another patented form of carnitine. This form offers such benefits as enhanced fatty acid metabolism, membrane potential, antioxidant activity and like minoxidil, increased blood flow and significantly increased nitric oxide production.
Optimized Carnitine with GlycoCarn® combines these three recently developed forms of carnitine in one single formula to maximize the membrane potential of the hair follicle, which in cases of hereditary Androgenetic Alopecia, diminish over time. The effects on hair follicle membrane potential of these advanced forms of Carnitine well exceed that of L- Carnitine, which is used in a patent pending formula in combination with Branched Chain Amino Acids, Niacin and Potassium Chloride to restore Potassium ion channel function to hair genetically affected by androgens.
This patent pending oral minoxidil mimetic, (TRX2) developed by Dr. Whitfield, has had encouraging results in phase 2 trials (18 month point), released in October of 2011.
There were 59 participants, men and women affected by Androgenetic Alopecia.
Hair counts increased an average of 49.2%
Hair thickness increased 38.7%
Terminal hair change, (vellus to terminal) 36.4%
In all, 87% have reported cessation of hair loss.
Dr. Whitfield’s TRX2 formula is comprised of Carnitine, Branched Chain Amino Acids, Niacin, and potassium chloride. This formula can also be readily replicated at a higher potency by simply obtaining these ingredients separately, and even enhanced by using more advanced forms of Carnitine.
Our recommendation for Potassium Ion Channel restoration for hair growth consist of :
Optimized Carnitine with GlycoCarn: 1-2 capsules a day
Branched Chain Amino Acids-: 2-4 capsules a day
Niacin: 1 capsule a day
Potassium Citrate: 1 capsule a day
Thanks to the painstaking research conducted by Dr. Whitfield, the systemic stimulation of Potassium Ion Channel Function (minoxidil mimetic) can now be used as a sole intervention, or integrated into an existing hair loss treatment regime of natural DHT inhibitors and anti-inflammation agents. Although it is likely through the mechanisms identified by Dr. Whitfield, that both Carnitine and Branched Chain Amino Acids offer some benefit to hair loss on their own, it is the combination of the above mentioned compounds that would appear offer optimal benefit for both health and sustained hair growth.