Vitamin B6 May Help Restore Hair
According to Dr. U, Vitamin B6 may be instrumental in supporting overall hair restoration strategies. Also known as Pyridoxine, it is part of the family of B complex vitamins. Besides the general health benefits associated with this vitamin, there are also research studies which suggest its potential effectiveness as a treatment for reversing hair loss.
What Exactly Are Vitamins?
It is common knowledge that vitamins are good for us. But they are not used as building blocks Rather, as co-enzymes, they help make carry out certain reactions that optimize certain functions in our body.
Background on Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 plays many different roles. It helps us process proteins and carbohydrates so that we can derive energy from them. Our bodies also make a compound known as hemoglobin, with iron being a central part of the final molecule. Hemoglobin is what transports oxygen to all our cells.
Vitamin B6 also aids in the formation of red blood cells, enhances the functioning of the immune system and converts tryptophan into niacin. According to the Linus Pauling Institute of Oregon State University, B6 can occupy androgen protein receptors on the hair follicles. This helps block the detrimental effects of a testosterone derivative known as DHT which causes these hair structures to be deprived of baseline nutrition as well as oxygen.
Also, in 1998, the British Journal of Dermatology published findings where it was found that a combination of B6 and azelaic acid was able to inhibit up to 90% of 5-alpha-reductase activity. 5-alpha-reductase is the enzyme which breaks down testosterone into DHT. Therefore, blocking it will lower the amounts of DHT that the follicles are subject to.
A variation of vitamin B6, known as pyridoxal 5-phosphate is involved in processing amino acids to build larger protein structures. This includes:
- catabolizing (breaking down) amino acids
- regulating the synthesis of polyamines (organic compounds with at least two amine groups)
During the formation of hair shafts, scientists have observed that vitamin B6 increases cellular metabolism.
Research on B6 and Hair Restoration
Here is a summary of several research studies which help provide support for the ability of vitamin B6 to help restore hair.
- A study by Brzesinska-Wcisclo L. et al. was published in a Polish journal called Wiad Lek in 2001. It is entitled, Evaluation of vitamin B6 and calcium pantothenate effectiveness on hair growth from clinical and trichographic aspects of diffuse alopecia in women. 46 women were injected on a daily basis with a combination of Vitamin B6 and calcium panthothenate for a period of six months. Researchers were surprised to learn that this reduced their hair loss and lead to overall improvements in hair growth.
- In 2007 The Journal of Dermatological Science published a study called theChemoprevention of smoke-induced alopecia in mice by oral administration of L-cystine and vitamin B6. L-cystine and Vitamin B6 were combined and administered orally. B6 helped reduce the effects of hair loss by enhancing the ability of hair follicles to take in L-cystine which is an amino acid.
- A study published in 2001 by the Polish journal, Wiadomosci Lekarski showed that injections of Vitamin B6 helped to reduce hair loss in female subjects and improve the overall condition of their hair.
Approach Hair Restoration From Multiple Angles
If you’ve been following our posts, you may have learned that hair loss is actually a rather complicated phenomenon. There are many possible contributors such as:
- hormonal dynamics
- effects of prostaglandins
- under or over active thyroid
- side effects from prescriptions
- food intolerances
- smoking and alcohol
- excessive sun exposure
Different people might be affected by different sets of factors, according to Dr. U. Therefore hair restoration and the prevention of loss, often requires a highly individualized and multi pronged approach. A physician would be able to help administer blood tests to help determine the needs of your body on a more specific level. Furthermore, he or she would also be able to issue diagnosis for relevant medical conditions which can help you better target the right treatment strategies to take.
Your Health and Taking Vitamins Properly
If you feel that your body could benefit from more B vitamins, like B6, start with choosing foods that are rich in this nutrient. Here are some examples:
- bell peppers
- potatoes with skin
- turnip greens
- sunflower seeds
Minimal use of heat can help retain their nutritional potency. And consider preparing these types of foods in ways that are most appealing to you. This will help you stay consistent with maintaining healthy eating habits. Aim for the long term when it comes to reaping the benefits from quality nutrition.
However, if you feel that you would like to take Vitamin B6 or other form of supplements, this would be a good topic to discuss with your doctor who can recommend proper dosage levels for your particular physiology. Here is a list of questions to have on hand during this conversation.
- Is a particular supplement brand safe?
- Will the supplement of interest interact with other medications that are being taken? Could it reduce or enhance the effectiveness of these other drugs?
- What possible side effects might be experienced
- Is the supplement safe for children
- Can the supplement be taken while nursing or pregnant
- What dosage should be used for a particular age group or weight?
- When will the effects start to become noticeable?
- Should the vitamin/supplement be discontinued if benefits are not apparent?
When choosing a supplement product, be careful of brands made outside the United States. Safety standards may be different in other countries. Also you may even want to consider looking online for reviews and information about past recalls.
Dr. U, who is an advocate of natural forms of treatment whenever possible, believes that plant extracts and thoughtful processing which helps retain the original properties of ingredients are most ideal. Other compounds that accompany the active ingredient within its natural environment help to produce a more balanced and harmonious effect with the rest of the body.