The following article, from a Massachusetts General Hospital publication validates what we posited, based on evidence several years ago. Despite the position of orthodox medicine, which states that circulation has absolutely nothing nothing to do with Androgenetic Alopecia, there appears to be much evidence to the contrary. DHT-mediated inflammation damages and deprives follicles of blood and nutrients.
A study in Japan found that blood flow to the scalp of young men diagnosed with androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness) was 2.6 times lower than in the normal control group. A research team at L’Oreal’s subsidiary, Inneov, identified diminished circulation as a critical element of the balding process that needs to addressed in the treatment process, if one is to obtain cosmetically significant results.
Diminished peripheral circulation has also been implicated in what is termed “senescent” or age related thinning, a universally occurring condition that results in thin wispy, see-through hair, that is common in both genders in their late 50’s and beyond. This is a type of hair loss that occurs independent of, though is often in a worse case scenario juxtaposed on, Androgenetic hair loss.
Androgen-induced inflammation can wreak havoc on micro-circulation in MPB, and is the reason inflammation looms so problematic. Countering inflammation and enhancing or preserving micro-capillary circulation, can often successfully prevent further hair loss and re-grow hair in varying degrees, precluding the need to resort to the cruder approach of having to use often side effect laden anti-androgens, such as` Propecia, Avodart, or Spironolactone.
Blood vessels hold the key to thicker hair growth
MGH researchers have succeeded in growing hair faster and thicker in mice, thanks to a protein that promotes blood vessel growth in their skin. The protein-treated mouse hair follicles — while no greater in number than those of normal mice – are individually bigger. Collectively, they increase the total volume of hair by 70 percent. This study appeared in the Feb. 19 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
If the protein has the same effects in humans, it could lead to the first angiogenic therapy for male pattern baldness. “In male pattern hair loss, it’s not that the follicles are gone. They’re just miniature follicles,” says Michael Detmar, MD, of MGH Dermatology and lead author of the study. “If anyone could find a way to make the follicles bigger, men might grow hair again.”
The discovery that increasing blood flow to the scalp helps stave off baldness may be old news to many barbers. For years, they have been advising clients to massage their scalps as a way of stimulating circulation and hair growth.
A few scientific studies have suggested that people with hair loss may have fewer blood vessels. But prior to the MGH study, no one had actually measured how closely blood vessel growth is correlated with hair growth, or what might cause scalp vessels to grow in the first place.
To explore these questions, Kiichiro Yano, a research associate in MGH Dermatology, and his colleagues compared two groups of mice, one normal and one genetically programmed to produce an abundance of VEGF, a protein known to trigger blood vessel growth. The VEGF-enhanced mice grew hair faster and thicker in the first two weeks of life than did the control mice.
The VEGF-enhanced mice also regrew hair faster. Shaved 8-week-old VEGF mice not only grew hair back sooner, they also exhibited a 30 percent increase in hair follicle diameter just 12 days after hair removal. “By overall volume, the hair was about 70 percent thicker than in wild-type mice,” says Detmar.
Blood vessels located in the skin surrounding the pumped-up hair follicles were 40 percent larger in diameter than those found in normal mice, suggesting that the VEGF-mediated angiogenesis was causing the hair to grow faster and thicker.
When normal mice were treated with an antibody that blocks VEGF activity and then shaved, their hair grew back slower and was thinner than the untreated mice. Twelve days after hair removal, the VEGF-deprived mice still displayed bald spots and overall reduced hair growth. “By modulating VEGF, we can directly influence the size of the hair follicles,” says Detmar.
As for how the VEGF-inspired blood vessels are plumping up the hair shafts, the researchers believe they may be delivering an extra supply of growth factors, in addition to oxygen and nutrients. Detmar and his colleagues are developing a technique to deliver VEGF topically to the scalp. “The question now is can we by this method improve hair growth in humans?” he says. “Applying it to humans will be the big challenge.”
Preserving and enhancing micro-capillary perfusion(circulation ) to benefit hair growth and myriad other health concerns, without waiting for the arrival of a VEGF timulating protein to hit the market, can be accomplished several ways.
Hyperbaric Oxygen- Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) has been anecdotally reported on many occasions to stimulate hair growth as a side effect when used in treating other conditions. Typically administered in pressurized tanks that can seat many people, it dramatically increases oxygen in the tissues of the body. It also stimulates angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels in areas that have compromised blood flow. This can be due to long standing inflammation and associated fibrosis(like MPB), or even necrosis,(tissue death) caused by injury,and radiation, including brain tissue. HBO is typically delivered for most long standing conditions in 20-40 sessions or “dives.” As a treatment for hair loss it is prohibitively expensive, however the oft reported occurrence of hair growth underscores the effects of acute blood vessel formation on hair growth.
Trental and Vitamin E– Trental, (Pentoxyfilline) in combination with Vitamin E, has been shown to be a powerful promoter of new blood vessel growth. Trental is a prescription drug that is used for the treatment of intermittent claudation, ie lack of circulation in the lower extremities. So potent are its effects, particularly when combined with Vitamin E, that it is used as a treatment for radiation necrosis of the brain, a situation whereby surrounding brain tissue has associated fibrosis and/or literally died as a potentially debilitating side effect of cerebral radiation treatments, typically for tumors or venous malformations. Not surpringly, hair growth is another reported side effect of this treatment. A closely related drug-theophylline, was patented in combination with Ginkgo Biloba and other co-factors, as a hair loss treatment. Xanthine compound formula for hair loss
Procyanidins-It is purified from grape seeds. It has proven to have potent scavenger capacity for free radicals.For the purposes of hair growth It has been also found that it stabilizes the capillary walls and prevents increased permeability which stops the edema in inflammatory reactions. (Zafirov D. Bredy Dobreva G. Litchev V. Papasova M. Acta Physiologica et Pharmacologica Bulgarica 16 (3). 1990. 50-54). Keeping healthy capillaries promote the blood supply of the hair follicles which make it, together with growth factors, potentially effective in high enough doses, as a singular treatment for Androgenetic Alopecia. Hair growth is frequently reported in response to using Grape Seed Extract in doses of 400 plus milligrams a day.
Ginkgo Biloba– It is used in traditional medicine to help enhance memory, brain function and also treats circulatory disorders. Ginkgo supplements help to grow blood vessels and like the prescription drug Trental, also help to treat a condition called intermittent claudication, which is poor circulation in the legs. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that Ginkgo Extract improves blood circulation by reducing the stickiness of blood platelets and dilates blood vessels.
Improved haemorrheological properties by Ginkgo biloba extract (Egb 761) in type 2 diabetes mellitus complicated with retinopathy.
Clin Nutr. 2004 Aug;23(4):615-21
Abnormal haemorrheological property changes in erythrocyte deformability, plasma and blood viscosity, and blood viscoelasticity may play very important roles in the development of microangiopathies in diabetes mellitus (DM). In this study, we demonstrate the improvement in abnormal haemorrheological parameters in DM with ingestion of Ginkgo biloba extract 761. Haemorrheological parameters before and 3 months after Ginkgo biloba oral ingestion were determined in 25 type 2 DM patients with retinopathy. These parameters included lipid peroxidation stress of erythrocytes, erythrocyte deformability, plasma and blood viscosity, blood viscoelasticity, and retinal capillary blood flow velocity. After taking Ginkgo biloba orally for 3 months, the blood viscosity was significantly reduced at different shear rates. Viscoelasticity was significantly reduced in diabetic patients by 3.08 +/- 0.78 (0.1 Hz). The level of erythrocyte malondialdehyde (MDA) was reduced by 30%; however, the deformability of erythrocyte was increased by 20%. And lastly, retinal capillary blood flow rate was increase. In this preliminary clinical study, 3 months of oral administration of Ginkgo biloba significantly reduced MDA levels of erythrocytes membranes, decreased fibrinogen levels, promoted erythrocytes deformability, and improved blood viscosity and viscoelasticity, which may facilitate blood perfusion. Furthermore, Ginkgo biloba effectively improved retinal capillary blood flow rate in type 2 diabetic patients with retinopathy.
Bilberry– has a long medicinal history in Europe. It has been used to treat anything from kidney stones to Typhoid fever. During World War 2 British pilots noted that Bilberry jam before a flight dramatically improved night vision. Modern research now supports these claims. Bilberry contains anthocyanosides which are potent antioxidants which strengthen blood vessels and capillary walls, improve red blood cells, stimulate blood vessel growth, and stabilize collagen tissues such as tendons, ligaments and connective tissue in skin.. In addition, it helps to maintain the flexibility of red blood cells, allowing them to pass through the capillaries and supply oxygen. The herb is an established vasodialator that opens blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. Since the eyes and hair follicles have a high concentration of capillaries, bilberry may be particularly helpful in improving eyesight and helping hair growth. The herb has been shown to improve night vision, slow macular degeneration, prevent cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. Published studies have shown improvement in eyesight, circulation, angina, stroke and atherosclerosis. It is also used to improve varicose veins and has anti-aging effects on collagen structures, helping to maintain skin firmness as one gets older.
Here’s an excerpt from Natural News .com discussing vitamin E in this regard.
Disclaimer: Consider this feature on Vitamin E purely informational as there are no quoted studies by which to evaluate these assertions, to warrant any kind of recommendation. Nevertheless an interesting read.
“Vitamin E– is a vital nutrient known mainly for its benefits to heart health. But vitamin E has many other properties that maintain health and has long been used both internally and externally. Vitamin E has been shown to help with the growth of hair as well as preventing hair loss. The exact mechanism is not known but vitamin E may prevent hair loss by the same mechanism that it prevents heart problems. Vitamin E helps with the growth of capillaries. When there are more capillaries, the circulation improves and it is thought that the improved circulation to the scalp is the trigger for preventing hair loss.”
“Vitamin E grows hair because it causes capillary growth, vitamin E can help hair to grow. The increased circulation speeds the growth of hair in many people. The additional nutrition can prevent split ends, help heal hair damaged by excessive use of a hair dryer, and cure dry hair as well.”
Inversion Boots– Several have reported to me that they have grown hair by hanging upside down for several minutes a day. I cannot vouch for the credibility of these reports. I personally invert for 10-15 minutes a day, not for the effects on hair, but because of the mental clarity it imparts,and postural/abdomen reducing benefits. It stretches and decompresses your spine to the point where you literally feel like the parking brake is off for the remainder of the day. My hair is in excellent shape, and I have no idea if this factors into it.
Scalp Massage– Many swear by this but there is no evidence on its sustained impact on micro-capillary circulation. However it feels great and definitely wouldn’t hurt.
As discussed, there is irrefutable evidence that diminished micro-circulation *is* implicated in MPB. and not surprisingly that new blood vessel formation causes hair growth in animal models. The traditional medical line, that circulation has absolutely nothing to with hair loss, can itself be dismissed as an old wives tale, especially in light of recent evidence.