A just released study indicates that more than 90% of those with Telogen Effluvium and Androgenetic Hair Loss (AGA; MPB, FPHL), are actually deficient in specific amino acids, that have been shown in published studies, to stimulate hair growth.
Prior research, done by Dr. Whitfield in the UK confirmed that the oral administration of Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAS,: Leucine, Isoleucine,Valine), and Acetyl-L-Carnitine, along with small amounts of Niacin, Biotin and Potassium increases hair growth with the exact mechanism of action of topical Minoxidil, via stimulation of Potassium Ion Channel function.
Dr Whitfield formulated a an oral combination supplement, TRX, which actually outperforms topical Minoxidil, and is considered a viable Rogaine alternative, for those who are reluctant to use Rogaine due to the pronounced shedding caused by even short term discontinuation.
Int J Trichology. 2017 Jul-Sep;9(3):101-104
Prevalence of Nutritional Deficiencies in Hair Loss among Indian Participants: Results of a Cross-sectional Study.
Gowda D, Premalatha V, Imtiyaz DB.
Nutritional deficiencies are known to be associated with hair loss; however, the exact prevalence is not known.
The aim of this study is to evaluate the prevalence of nutritional deficiencies in participants with hair loss.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
In this cross-sectional study, 100 enrolled participants were divided into telogen effluvium (TE), male-pattern hair loss (MPHL), and female-pattern hair loss (FPHL) based on the type of hair loss. All participants underwent laboratory estimation for micronutrients and amino acid levels.;
Participants with hair loss showed varied amino acid and micronutrient deficiencies across all types of hair loss. Nutritional status did not vary much between the types of hair loss. Among the essential amino acids, histidine deficiency was seen in >90% of participants with androgenic alopecia and 77.78% of participants with TE while leucine deficiency was seen 98.15% of participants with TE and 100% with FPHL. Valine deficiency was also very common across alopecia subtypes. Among the nonessential amino acids, alanine deficiency was observed in 91.67% FPHL, 91.18% MPHL, and 90.74% TE. Cysteine deficiency was present in 55.58% and 50% of participants with MPHL and TE, respectively. A relatively higher proportion of participants with TE had iron deficiency compared to androgenic alopecia (P = 0.069). Zinc deficiency was seen in 11.76% of participants with MPHL while copper deficiency was seen in 29.41% and 31.48% of participants with MPHL and TE, respectively.
Nutritional deficiency is a common problem in participants with hair loss irrespective of the type of alopecia. The findings of our study suggest need for identification and correction of nutritional deficiencies in patients with hair loss.
This study also identifies a deficiency of Cysteine in at least half of those with MPB. Cysteine along with Taurine are sulpher based amino acids that are established to have hair growth stimulation effects. Taurine in particular, when consumed as a free form amino acid prevents and ameliorates to some degree, existing peri-follicular fibrosis, which is considered a consequence of long standing, DHT induced inflammation. Although LOreal’s Hair Mass for Men and Women only contains 150 mg of Taurine, we recommend at least 1,000 mg, which is even at this dose, a cost negligible intervention, (approximately 4 dollars US a month).
Cysteine was first acknowledged for its hair growth effects in 1982 by Durk Pearson in his groundbreaking at the time book, Life Extension: a Practical Scientific Approach. Cysteine speeds up hair growth rate (by about 20%) and increases hair shaft diameter. Those using either Taurine or Cysteine at a dose of 500 mg or more will have to get their hair cut more often. N-Acetyl-Cysteine at the same dose functions even better than Cysteine in this regard and confers additional health benefits. When using either Cysteine of N-Acetyl-Cysteine, it is important to take at least 3 times as much Vitamin C to keep it lipid soluable.
The TRX, internal Minoxidil alternative formula, has relatively small doses of BCAAs and L-Carnitine, and due to being manufactured in Europe, is quite expensive. It is far more potent and cost effective to take more advanced forms of Carnitine, along with a BCAA supplement, along with a small dose of niacin, biotin and potassium. This combination used orally will, according to Dr. Whitfield, produce the same hair growth effects as topical 5% Minoxidil due to its stimulating effect on potassium ion channel function.
What is particularly fascinating about this study is that of all the micronutrients that could have identified, the Indian research team identified specific amino acids that have hair growth effects documented by the Western scientific community.