In this feature, we shall focus upon a newly understood causative factor behind the progression of AGA (MPB) apart from the known hormonal factors; specifically Prostaglandin imbalance. The role of prostoglandins in hair loss and growth is an exciting new avenue of research and treatment.
Prostaglandins (PG) are a group of physiologically active lipid (fat) compounds called eicosanoids that produce hormone-like effects in mammals, in all tissues. There are 4 primary types of Prostaglandins: PGD2, PGE2, PG12, and PGF2a.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) levels were three times higher in the scalp of men who were balding, versus those who were not. and the association of significantly higher levels of PGD2 with the miniaturization of hair follicles has definite implications for developing targeted interventions for treating AGA. Resveratrol, at a dose achievable by supplementation, strongly suppressed concentrations of PDG2.
The opposite function of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), an established hair growth stimulator, was additionally supported by detection of significantly higher levels of PGE2 in areas of the scalp unaffected by AGA induced miniaturization. The discovery of Garza and other research teams conclusively validates the role of the balance between PGE2 and PGD2 in maintaining continued hair growth. An imbalance between the two, which in cases of AGA, means increased PGD2 relative to PGE2, is according to them, the most significant contributing factor to AGA. They have concluded that the exogenous application of PGE2, or PGE2 precursor would play a therapeutic role in either the stabilization or reversal of AGA.
Allergan, a pharmaceutical company, has developed a PGE2 analog, Bimatoprost, (which is approved for stimulating eye lash growth), in trials done thus far on MPB, stimulate hair growth significantly better than 5 % Minoxidil.
Emu Oil, which is established to stimulate hair growth, also happens to increase PGE2. Oleic acid, a mono-saturated fatty acid, in addition to inhibiting 5 alpha-reductase, increases PGE2, and may be the most a significant factor by which Emu Oil stimulates hair growth. Emu oil is a natural anti-inflammatory oil. Oleic acid is a major fatty acid constituent of emu oil, comprising over 40% of the total fatty acids. In addition to being a 5 alpha reductase inhibitor Oleic acid has also been shown to increase PGE2 production.
Emu Oil is comprised of a specifically unique blend of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) that is almost identical to that of human skin. These essential fatty acids are critical for cellular function, and according to this recent research, play a critical role in regeneration of both skin cells and hair follicles.
Lab analysis has found some striking similarities between the fatty acid composition of human skin and Emu Oil, in that they are nearly identical.
|Composition (%) of Fatty Acids
from the Emu and Human Skin
|Fatty Acid||Emu||Human Skin|
These ratios, unique to Emu Oil, account for why Emu Oil is so compatible with, and better absorbed into human skin. Although Olive Oil and Avocado Oil are also naturally high in Oleic Acid, their absorbability and subsequent residence time compared to Emu Oil is limited. Both Olive and Avocado Oils penetrate 3 layers of 7 layers dermis when topically applied. Emu Oil by comparison, due to its unique fatty ratio penetrates all 7 layers, which is optimal and far superior for skin and hair follicle regeneration.
Logical extrapolation would favor the therapeutic role of supplemental PGE2, via Bimatoprost or Emu Oil and inhibitors of PGD2 signaling by Resveratrol or DP-2 antagonists such as indole acetic acids, phenyl acetic acids or tetrahydroquinolines.
Both supplemental Resveratrol which functions as a PDG2 Inhibitor, and Emu Oil, which stimulates PGE2 production, via its Oleic Acid content and unique ability to completely penetrate all layers of human skin, are viable interventions effectively modulating Prostaglandins in a way that favors hair growth.
Bimatoprost, which is sold under the name Latisse, which is approved for eye lash growth, cost about $90.00 for a month supply. Emu Oil (which is frequently used to stimulate eye lash growth as well) by comparison, cost approximately 26.00 for a 2 month supply.