Hair loss is usually a harmless sign of ageing or a stressful episode that will subside. Either way, the effect it can have on your self-confidence should not be dismissed. In fact, the popularity of products purporting to treat hair loss is a sign of the lows it can cause.
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Unfortunately, scam artists are acutely aware of people’s deep-seated insecurities.
It would be wise to bear this in mind when browsing the internet for products.
There is a surfeit of sham products out there but you shouldn’t rule them out altogether.
Some natural remedies are backed by evidence and one example of this is probiotic supplements.
In fact, a recent study concluded that probiotics could reverse hair loss.
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that provide myriad health benefits, especially for your digestive system.
According to Dr Deborah Lee from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy, a group of male patients with stage two to five patterns of hair loss, and females with stages one to three patterns of hair loss, were given 80ml twice a day of a probiotic kimchi and cheonggukjang probiotic product.
The stages of hair loss are the generally recognised phases in which hair loss becomes weaker and thinner with each cycle.
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As Dr Lee reported, one of the bacteria used to ferment, cheonggukjang, contains poly-γ-glutamic acid (UHMW γ-PGA, which has been shown to inhibit the activity of 5-α reductase in mice.
Why is this significant?
5-α reductase or 5AR is an enzyme which converts the hormone testosterone to dihydrotestosterone or DHT.
DHT is an active form of testosterone that’s considered to be responsible for scalp hair loss or male pattern hair loss so suppressing DHT can stop hair loss.
What did the results of the study reveal?
“The results showed that hair count and hair thickness had significantly increased at one month, and at four months, with no adverse effects for example, no diarrhoea,” said Dr Lee.
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The authors suggested that probiotics improve gastrointestinal health and have a positive effect on hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia and atherosclerosis – all of which may affect hair growth, she noted.
“They also improve metabolism and insulin sensitivity. Use or probiotics could result in improved blood flow to the hair follicles,” added Dr Lee.
Other treatments for hair loss
If natural remedies do not yield results, you can pursue cosmetic options but some of them are not available on the NHS.
Cosmetic procedures include:
- Steroid injections – injections given into bald patches
- Steroid creams – cream applied to bald patches
- Immunotherapy – chemical applied to bald patches
- Light treatment – shining ultraviolet light on bald patches
- Tattooing – tattoo used to look like short hair and eyebrows
- Hair transplant – hair cells are moved to thinning patches
- Scalp reduction surgery – sections of scalp with hair are stretched and stitched together
- Artificial hair transplant – surgery to implant artificial hairs
It is also important to note that losing hair can be upsetting so emotional support may be worth considering.
“If your hair loss is causing you distress, your GP may be able to help you get some counselling,” advises the NHS.
You may also benefit from joining a support group, or speaking to other people in the same situation on online forums, it notes.
Try these online support groups:
- Alopecia UK
- Alopecia Awareness
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