Vitamin E and hair loss
Vitamin E and hair loss

HOW CAN VITAMIN E HELP WITH HAIR LOSS?

Vitamin E is a group of eight fat soluble compounds that include four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant protecting cell membranes from reactive oxygen species.  Recently, Naziroglu and Kokcam [1] showed that there was a strong association between oxidative stress and hair loss. They found significantly reduced levels of glutathione and lower glutathione peroxidase activities and higher levels of reactive substances and peroxides in patients with hair loss when compared to concrols. Glutathione and glutathione peroxidase work to neutralise reactive oxygen species and peroxides to allow normal cell function.

Tocotrienols (from the vitamin E family) posses potent antioxidant properties, in 1991 Serbonovan et al showed that tocotrienols are more easily distibuted within the fatty layers of cell membranes and interact better with damaging lipid radicals [2].  In view of the association with hair loss and oxidative stress, a sudy was carried out to evaluate the efficacy of tocotrienol supplemenations in improving hair coverage of the scalp and preventing further hair thinning.

VITAMIN E AND HAIR LOSS; THE CLINICAL TRIAL

In a trial carried out by Beoy, Woei, and Hay in  2010, twenty one volunteers were randomly assigned to orally receive 100 mg of mixed tocotrienols ( 50mg 30.8% α-tocotrienol, 56.4% γ-tocotrienol and 12.8% δ-tocotrienol as well as 23 IU of α-tocopherol) while 17 volunteers were assigned to receive a placebo (600 mg of soya bean oil) twice daily after a meal.  The volunteers were monitored for the number of hairs in a pre-determined scalp area before supplementation and at 4 and 8 months.

The number of hairs in the volunteers of the tocotrienol supplementation group increased significantly when compared to the placebo group, with the recording a 34.5% increase at the end of the 8-month supplementation when compared to a negligible 0.1% decrease for the placebo group. This trial demonstrated that supplementation with tocotrienol capsules increases hair number in volunteers suffering from hair loss when compared to the placebo group. No adverse side effects were experienced by participants of the trial.  This effect was most likely due to the antioxidant activity of tocotrienols that helped to reduce lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress in the scalp, which are reported to be associated with hair loss [3].

Vitamin E increase hair density by 34%

Vitamin E and hair loss –  the results.  Supplementation of tocotrienol increased hair density 34% within 8 months.

WILL VITAMIN E WORK FOR ALL TYPES OF HAIR LOSS?

This trial shows that vitamin E is able to increase hair density in areas where hair loss is evident.  An analysis of more than one hundred human studies worldwide reported an average of 22.1 µmol/L for serum α-tocopherol, and defined α-tocopherol deficiency as less than 12 µmol/L. It cited a recommendation that serum α-tocopherol concentration be ≥30 µmol/L to optimize health benefits.

Vitamin E is likely to support hair regrowth, but any hair loss treatment plan is more effective when combined with other nutritional elements as well as vasodilators to increase blood flow to the hair follicle.

REFERENCES

  1. Rushton D H, Norris M J, Dover R and Busuttil N. (2002). Causes of hair loss and the developments in hair rejuvenation. International Journal of Cosmetic Science 24(1): 17–23.
  2. Serbinova E, Kagan V, Han D and Packer L. (1991). Free radical recycling and intramembrane mobility in the antioxidant properties of alpha tocopherol and alpha tocotrienol. Free Radical Biology and Medicine 10(5): 263–275.
  3. Beoy, L.A., Woei, W.J. and Hay, Y.K., 2010. Effects of tocotrienol supplementation on hair growth in human volunteers. Tropical life sciences research, 21(2), p.91.

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