Hair Growth Vitamins: Niacin and Strong Hair

vitamins for hair growth

Our hair needs all the loving it can get to become stronger, healthier and longer. If you’re looking for lustrous long hair, then I’m sure you’ve tried out various hair care treatments like oiling your hair and eating right. There’s another factor that plays a huge contributing role in promoting healthy hair – getting the right hair growth vitamins. Enter Niacin. Niacin is also known as vitamin B3 – a water soluble vitamin that works wonders for not only our hair, but also our skin and overall health.

Studies have been conducted by various medical institutions researching the effects of Niacin in helping hair growth and treating hair problems.  This one, for example, about topically applied Niacin for female pattern alopecia. It’s a popular ingredient with many users who want faster hair growth. Let’s find out what makes this nutrient so appealing.

What is Niacin?

Niacin is a B3 Vitamin needed for our bodies to convert carbohydrates into energy. The vitamin also helps distribute that energy to cells all over the body and also aids in maintaining the cell’s integrity. It should be a part of our daily diet as it prevents carbohydrates from being converted into fat. Niacin can be found in many food products like tuna, beets, beef, nuts, mushrooms, sunflower seeds and many dairy products.

hair growth vitamins
Wild tuna is the most Niacin rich food.

Why is Niacin one of the most important hair growth vitamins?

As it improves blood circulation, Niacin also brings oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicle – the main reason why it’s vital for healthy hair growth. You can’t have healthy hair without a healthy scalp. Of course, you need to include other vitamins for an overall healthy hair diet. Poor blood circulation is a huge factor in hair thinning and hair loss. By improving the blood circulation to the scalp, Niacin aids in faster and thicker hair growth. It also has other benefits for your body.

How does Niacin work?

Niacin causes blood vessels near the skin to open up, which can can cause a tingling sensation. A red ‘flushing’ of the skin is also commonly experienced by many users – another part of the benefits of Niacin. You can avoid this by consuming a B3 tablet after a meal or even by gradually increasing your dosage, and helping build immunity to the flushing experience. A typical flush should last around ten minutes, and also serves as an indication that you have taken enough Niacin. You should ideally use it in conjunction with other multi-vitamins to ensure your body has a healthy balance.

How do you know if you don’t have enough Niacin in your diet?

If you notice that your hair is thinning and you’re gaining weight, you might be lacking in Niacin. However, if you smoke, are an alcoholic and are on painkillers, anti-depressants and antibiotics, you may find that your body isn’t able to effectively absorb this vitamin, as the above reasons kill off your body’s natural ability.

The bottom line is that any vitamin that improves your vascular and circulatory systems is also effective in promoting a healthy scalp and – in turn – healthy hair. Your scalp needs to receive nutrient rich blood to feed your hair follicles. Also, your hair follicles need to recover from various stress factors like tight hairstyles that pull on your hair. Niacin helps in facilitating new hair growth and also in repairing damaged hair.

Can too much Sriracha cause Hair Loss?

Have you ever drizzled or even drenched your dishes with spicy Sriracha sauce? If you have, you may testify that it helps make any bland (or not so bland) meal taste better. For those who don’t know what Sriracha is – it’s the bright red hot sauce named after the coastal city of the Chonburi province in Eastern Thailand, Si Racha. It’s served in Thai and Vietnamese restaurants and is used as a dipping sauce for all kinds of foods, especially seafood.

What’s in it? Sriracha sauce is made of chili pepper paste, distilled vinegar, garlic, and salt – just like most other hot sauces. Some of the ingredients have great health benefits. Garlic has been long known to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and improve blood circulation. Chili peppers and jalapeños have two potent compounds in them – capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin. Capsaicin is known to boost metabolism, endorphins and serotonin, which can perk up one’s mood and enhance memory. Clinical studies show that in small doses it may help to grow your hair, but in larger does it can also quite possibly have a negative effect on your hair.

Capsaicin’s Benefits

While there isn’t any research on the effects of Sriracha specifically on hair, there’s a significant amount of research on the effects of capsaicin on your health.
Capsaicin is a pain reliever, and is an active ingredient in many topical pain creams and ointments. It has proven positive effects on:
• Pain including joint pain
• Inflammation such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
• Nervous system disorders such as diabetic neuropathy and shingles
• Headaches
• Skin conditions such as psoriasis
• Mouth sores due to chemotherapy or radiation
• Preventing ulcers and other digestive issues
According to a 2010 study performed by the UCLA’s Center for Human Nutrition, capsaicin is believed to help people lose weight and burn calories. It can increase serotonin levels in the brain and releases endorphins that uplift one’s mood. The list of benefits goes on.

Scientific study: Capsaicins positive effects on hair growth

Capsaicin may have a positive effect on hair growth. Although not overwhelming, the results are conclusive. For example, there was a study performed on the effects of capsaicin intake on hair growth in mice and in humans who simultaneously suffered from alopecia (hair loss).

In both mice and humans, researchers observed and measured the levels of the Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1), a protein that plays a significant role in the regulation, growth and development of tissues and hair. One group of wild-type mice was given capsaicin and isoflavone (a plant-derived chemical) and the other group was given only capsaicin. Results showed that although one group experienced more hair growth than the other, both groups experienced an increase in dermal IGF-1 and hair growth.

The human study group that was given 6mg/day of capsaicin and 75 mg/day of isoflavone experienced hair growth after 5 months of oral administration. The study suggested that a combination of capsaicin and isoflavone may increase IGF-1 levels in hair follicles and promote hair growth. Thus, for those suffering from alopecia, men and women may benefit by including a regimen of capsaicin and isoflavone supplementation.

hair loss
All spicy chili based sauces contain capsaicin, which can effect hair growth and possibly lead to hair loss.

Different peppers – different capsaicin levels

The amount of capsaicin in a chili pepper is measured by the Scoville Heat Scale, founded by chemist, Wilbur Scoville in 1912. The scale measures how much a pepper oil extract needs to be sugar-water diluted until its heat is no longer detected. Sriracha measures 1,000 – 2,500 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). Ripened Sriracha measures on the upper end of jalapeño peppers – 2,500-8,000 SHU. While Sriracha is “hot,” it isn’t as strong as other hot sauces on the market – for example those containing scotch bonnet, or capsaicin-rich habanero peppers (which can measure anywhere between 150,000-350,000 SHUs). At this time, the Bhut Jolokia chili pepper holds the distinction of being the world’s hottest chili pepper. The Chile Pepper Institute of New Mexico State University reported that the capsaicin content of the Bhut Jolokia measures over 1,000,000 SHUs. Pure Capsaicin measures 16,000,000 SHUs.

(Note: 100 mg of chili powder contains 0.13 mg of capsaicin. One tablespoon of ground chili pepper would contain anywhere between 0.8 mg and 480 mg of capsaicin.)

Capsaicin’s Adverse Effects to Hair Follicles

Many capsaicin based pain and inflammation medications target the VR1/TRVP1 receptors. As these receptors are involved in mediating body temperature and transmitting heat and pain sensations, blocking them leads to a decrease in pain. The VR1/TRVP1 receptors can be found in large amounts in the Central nervous system (CNS), and the Peripheral nervous system. However, research has shown that the receptors are not just limited to sensory neurons and pain transmission. They are also expressed on the human scalp and hair follicles, and are involved in human hair growth and inhibition. More studies are needed to explore and define the physiological signaling.

One in-vitro study suggests that pure capsaicin has adverse effects on hair growth in a dose-dependent manner. The higher the capsaicin concentration exposed to the VR1 receptors, the higher the inhibition of hair growth (regression), which causes premature hair follicle catagen and activation of hair growth inhibitors as per the diagram below.

hair loss
This diagram shows that very little capsaicin can have an effect on hair growth.

According to diagram A, all it took was 1 mmol (.01 mg/dL) of capsaicin to lessen hair growth by approximately 1%. Respectively, 10mmol (.11 mg/dL) of capsaicin lessen hair growth by approximately 30%., and the largest amount of capasaicin, 30 mmol (or .34 mg/dL) lessened hair growth by approximately 50%, compared to the control group. .34 mg/DL, can be found in approximately 261.5 mg of chili powder.

Can too much chili pepper cause hair loss?

It may be quite possible that consuming too much Sriracha or any other hotter chili pepper over a period of time may stunt hair growth or cause your hair to go into premature catagen phase. Based on available scientific information, TRVP1 exposure to capsaicin causes excessive heat, abrasive damage and inflammation to nerves. Nerves are present around hair follicles and act as receptors to pain stimuli. In case of extreme exposure, capsaicin acts as an inflammatory stimulus, which triggers an inflammatory response by the body, which can lead to tissue damage.

According to research, capsaicin can lead to reduction in sensory function, and sensory nerve fibers. Thus, as TRVP1 is heavily present around hair follicles, sensory nerve endings, dermal blood vessels, sebaceous glands, mast cells, etc., inflammation caused by a high concentration of capsaicin can cause adverse effects to sensory nerves and tissues surrounding hair follicles. Over time, sensory nerve damage (sensory neuropathy) can cause changes in skin and hair, as well as to joints and bones.

Aside from capsaicin overdose; diabetes, kidney disorders, hypothyroidism, chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, and chronic deficiencies in Vitamins E, B1, B6, and B12 (which are essential to nerve health and functioning); can cause peripheral nerve damage and lead to hair loss and damage. Further human studies are needed to understand and confirm the physiological pathway.

Side effects of having too much chili sauce

The risk of accidental overdose or poisoning from hot peppers is almost zero, considering the low concentration of capsaicin in an ordinary hot pepper. One would need to consume a large amount of pure capsaicin crystals (chili pepper extract) to have damaging and lethal effects. There are other side effects more common with consuming capsaicin regularly or too much – including skin irritation, respiratory irritation, digestive problems such as upset stomach, stomach pain, and irritation, and nausea. If you are a heartburn or ulcer sufferer, consuming high or even moderate levels of capsaicin can increase the severity of the symptoms but will not cause either heartburn or ulcers. The same low risk of overdosing also applies to topical capsaicin which is available as low concentration capsaicin (generally in the range of 0.025–0.1%) creams, lotions, patches and ointments intended for daily use, and the branded capsaicin patch, Qutenza, for neuropathic pain is available as a single dose, 8% capsaicin patch.

Capsaicin supplements for weight loss

If you are considering taking a capsaicin supplement for weight loss, be cautious as to the dosage you are taking. Some supplements (cayenne pepper supplements) offer at least .25% of capsaicin or 25mg of capsaicin per 100 mg of chili extract. Too much usage can cause adverse reactions.

To cap it all off

For all those Sriracha and hot sauce fans – fret not!  In moderation, your capsaicin intake from spicy foods and condiments can be beneficial.  Of course, it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet, including all the necessary vitamins, minerals and nutrients for your hair and overall health.

References:

1. http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/02/24/281978831/sriracha-chemistry-how-hot-sauces-perk-up-your-food-and-your-mood
2. http://healthyconnectionscorp.com/2011/01/feel-burn-spicy-food-benefits/
3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17569567
4. http://www.acs.org/content/dam/acsorg/education/resources/highschool/
chemmatters/archive/chemmatters-dec2013-pepper.pdf
5. http://www.livestrong.com/article/447875-which-peppers-are-high-in-capsaicin/
6. http://ajp.amjpathol.org/article/S0002-9440(10)62320-6/fulltext#cesec130
7. http://inhumanexperiment.blogspot.com/2009/09/capsaicin-and-soy-isoflavones-grow-hair.html
8. Capsaicin induces degeneration of cutaneous autonomic nerve fibers
9. Topical capsaicin for pain management: therapeutic potential and mechanisms of action of the new high-concentration capsaicin 8% patch.
10. http://www.healthline.com/health/peripheral-neuropathy#Causes3
11. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/peripheralneuropathy/
detail_peripheralneuropathy.htm

12. 10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin
13. Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of Curcumin: a component of turmeric (Curcuma longa)
14. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21593771
15. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v418/n6894/full/nature00894.html
16. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022202X15342573

Does Adderall Cause Hair Loss? We found out!

Adderall cause hair loss

There are various types of medications that can cause hair loss. These include antibiotics, birth control pills, acne medications and blood pressure medications. But how about Adderall? Can Adderall cause hair loss?

First of all, we need to get into the specifics. What exactly is Adderall and how can Adderall cause hair loss? And lastly, if it makes you lose your hair, what can you do to grow it back again?

What is Adderall?

Adderall is an amphetamine, a central nervous system stimulant used to treat disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Some popularly used and prescribed amphetamines in the U.S. contain dextroamphetamine. Adderall is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, making it a widely prescribed pharmaceutical in the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy.

Does Adderall cause hair loss? If so, how?

Amphetamines are in general well-tolerated by the human body but may come with some side effects. With prolonged use and addiction, the side effects are much greater, including hair thinning and hair loss. The hair loss is typically spread across the scalp and not just concentrated in one particular area.

In women, the hair loss may be very noticeable. In men, the hair loss from Adderall use may be more difficult to detect.

There are many potential side effects of Adderall but here are some of them that can be connected to hair loss:

1. Appetite Suppression

A healthy diet is a must for a healthy hair. When you take Adderall you might loose your appetite, and hair loss can be a result of the resulting nutritional deficiency.

2. Sleep Problems and Restlessness

Extended use of Adderall may cause a lack of sleep which can lead to hair loss. Lack of sleep also leads to increased stress which is one of the main causes for hair loss in an individual. A study by the American Journal of Pathology, stated that stress and the release of hormones, neurotransmitters, and cytokines during a stress response can significantly influence the general growth of hair.

3. Elevated Cortisol levels

Temporary and prolonged use of amphetamine stimulants such as Adderall raise cortisol levels. High cortisol levels in the blood is another main cause of damaged hair follicles, and hair loss.

4. Rash and Itchy skin

Skin problems, such as acne or rash, as a result of taking Adderall can occur. An irritated scalp can in itself lead to hair loss, but hair loss from a rash can also be the result of excessive scratching of the scalp.

Therefore, looking over your Adderall dosage recommendations may prevent hair loss or limit the amount of hair loss you experience. If your hair loss is severe, you can talk to your doctor about safely discontinuing the medication altogether and wait for your hair to grow back naturally.

If you’re experiencing decreased hair quality from Adderall use and want to take action, it’s important to look for a supplement for hair that nourishes your hair from the root.

You may wish to consider taking a hair health supplement like Nutrafol – no matter what supplement you choose, it’s important that it contains the right vitamins and minerals that together help to support strong, healthy hair growth, such as Biotin (Vitamin B7), Vitamin C and Zinc.

 

6 Tips and Natural Remedies Against Hair Loss

Remedies Against Hair Loss

Bald spots are sometimes unsightly, and you may feel like your hair (or lack thereof) is all people see. If you’re ready to bring back health to your hair and hide those bald spots, here are 6 tips and natural remedies for hair loss to help you get started today.

1. Go to the doctor

Health is the largest factor associated with hair loss and thinning, so if you’re experiencing this you should rule out larger, much more sinister, causes. Your doctor will check your blood and your hormone levels, and make sure that everything is normal. Once that’s done, you can consider it’s possibly due to one or several of the many other causes, like stress or diet.

2. Reduce your anxiety

You’re probably rolling your eyes at this one, but bald spots and hair loss can be made worse by stress and anxiety. If you have an especially stressful job or home life, you need to consider what steps you can take to reduce anxiety in those settings. Sometimes this is difficult, but you’ll notice a dramatic difference, not just on your hair but on your general well being, too.

3. Eat better

If you’ve been to the doctor and they can’t find anything indicating why you’re experiencing hair loss or thinning, you may be really frustrated. However, a well-balanced diet can actually prevent or reverse hair loss. Important nutrients to get through your intake of food are iron, magnesium and beta carotene, among others. Omega 3 foods like nuts and fish, as well as more wholesome dairy, like yogurt and eggs are also beneficial for hair health. Cut out processed junk, sugar, and caffeine as these are all known to cause hair loss and bald spots.

Remedies Against Hair Loss
A green juice made with spinach provides iron –  important for  healthier and stronger hair.

4. Try natural home remedies for hair loss

Some people are willing to try almost anything to cover their bald spots. If you’re at this point, you could start with something natural – like radish and onion juice, which you can buy or make on your own. Rubbing it on your scalp is said to stimulate hair follicles and encourage growth. It’s worth a try! Other at-home remedies are castor oil, spinach juice and egg yolk.

5. Stop smoking and/or drinking

If you’re a smoker and a drinker, it’s no wonder your hair health might suffer. Studies in twins with different balding patterns show that the twin who smokes and/or drinks frequently is much more likely to develop random, patchy bald spots compared to the twin who doesn’t. Smoking and drinking rid your body of healthy vitamins, something that can quickly lead to hair loss. Cut it out!

6. Avoid harsh chemicals and over-styling

People, especially women, who use harsh chemicals in their shampoos or styling products, tend to see more shedding than people who don’t. If you want to try to regrow hair, change your hygiene habits. Try using a gentle shampoo and conditioner, not blow drying or damaging your hair daily, and rubbing your scalp with hair oil once a week. Also, avoid combing or yanking your hair while it’s wet, and don’t style it too tightly. Men – don’t slick it back or over-gel it to make it stay! The less you mess with or handle your hair, the easier those follicles can grow hair without it getting damaged. However, the thought that washing your hair too much is responsible for hair loss is just a myth.

The Role of High Prolactin Levels in Hair Loss and Hair Health

high prolactin levels
MEDICALLY REVIEWED BY
DR. NICOLE KLUGHERS, ND

on April 1, 2016

Prolactin is a hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary gland. Its major function is to stimulate milk production in women after childbirth. However, recent studies have also shown a connection between high Prolactin levels and the health of our hair – or lack thereof. It has been observed that higher levels of serum Prolactin are associated with excessive hair loss in the human body.

Hyperprolactinemia, i.e. high levels of Prolactin, is a normal change during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but in non-pregnant women it can be a sign of disease. This condition leads to progressive hair loss because of its effect on the levels of testosterone in the body.

Prolactin acts by increasing the receptors of Luteinizing Hormone in the Leydig Cells, testosterone producing cells that are found in men‘s testicles and women’s ovaries. The increased testosterone secretion can cause hair loss in certain individuals because their hair follicles are genetically more sensitive to the elevated levels of the hormone, which causes the follicle to shrink.

Research on Hair Loss Due To High Prolactin Levels

In a recent study, organ-cultured human scalp was treated with a very high dose (400ng\ml) of Prolactin. The normal level of Prolactin is below 18ng\ml in men and 29 in women. The result was a significant decrease in the elongation of the hair shaft along with more hair prematurely moving into the catagen phase, when the hair gets cut off from its blood supply and stops growing. There was also elevated Apoptosis, which is increased natural cell death of the hair bulb keratinocytes (cells in the skin with a protective function), which can lead to hair loss.

Reasons for Increased Prolactin Secretion

Hyperprolectinemia can be caused by the following:

• Prolactinoma, a non-cancerous swelling of the pituitary gland, which leads to increased secretions of Prolactin.
• Increased secretion of TRH (Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone) due to Hypothyroidism, stimulates the secretion of Prolactin.
• Excessive use of anti-depressants such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), Benzodiazepines (such as Alprazolam, Diazepam and Lorazepam), and Tricyclic Antidepressants (such as Imipramine, Amitriptyline, and Nortriptyline).
• Any psychotic disorder or chronic anxiety syndrome.
• During pregnancy and lactation there is increased secretion of the hormone Oxytocin which in turns stimulates increased secretion of Prolactin.
• Increased levels of Estrogen during the end of the gestational period also causes elevated levels of Prolactin. Paradoxically, Estrogen is also said to prolong the growing phase (anagen phase) of the hair cycle, which is why women’s hair can be thicker during pregnancy. More on Estrogen and how it affects the hair can be found in this article.

Reasons for Decreased Levels of Prolactin

• Excessive exposure to sunlight can decrease levels of Prolactin in the body.
Increased release of Dopamine by the Hypothalamus also inhibits Prolactin’s secretion.

Pharmacological Treatment of High Prolactin Levels

One recent study has shown that use of Dopamine Receptor Agonists such as Bromocriptine, Cabergoline, Pergolide and Quinagolide significantly reduces the levels of Prolactin in the body due to increased secretion of Dopamine.

All of these dopamine agonists have the same mechanism of action and minimal side effects. However, studies have shown that Cabergoline has the highest efficacy and drug tolerability for children and adolescents. Hence, Cabergoline should be the drug-of-choice for the treatment of Hyperprolactinemia, especially in young children and teenagers.

High Prolactin levels are emerging as a potential reason for increased hair loss in many people. Hence, levels of Prolactin should be checked in case of massive hair loss or Alopecia in order to treat these issues accordingly.