Of recent popular discussion has been the suggestion that essential amino acids can be used to either prevent, or correct hair loss. Thus if you are looking for a natural and un-invasive remedy, essential amino acids might sound like the perfect plan. But is this treatment effective and how does it work?
Firstly, amino acids are the individual components which join together to create protein, including the protein found in hair. Our bodies are able to synthesize many of the amino acids required for our proteins but not all. The rest are supplied through diet and are referred to as the essential amino acids. Therefore it might make sense to assume that consuming more essential amino acids should equal more hair. Moreover, nutritional status has been correlated with hair loss, however in most cases adequate levels of essential amino acids are obtained through diet without the need for supplements (1). As has been discussed previously in this blog, there are many reasons for hair loss but poor nutrition on its own does not seem to be a common diagnosis. Although there does seem to be at least one documented exception.
An increased intake of the essential amino acid lysine in combination with iron has been shown to be effective for women specifically (2–4). A clinical study reported that over 70% of women noticing increased hair loss were also low in iron (2). Furthermore, menstruating women have a greater need for increased daily iron (1).
Overall, a diet that contains a moderate amount of the essential amino acid lysine as well as iron may improve hair loss in women. Try some lysine-rich choices including meat, fish and eggs as one step in maintaining your quality of hair.
Article by: Dr. J.L. Carviel, Mediprobe Research Inc.
- Rushton DH. Nutritional factors and hair loss. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2002 Jul;27(5):396–404.
- Rushton DH, Ramsay ID, James KC, Norris MJ, Gilkes JJ. Biochemical and trichological characterization of diffuse alopecia in women. Br J Dermatol. 1990 Aug;123(2):187–97.
- Kantor J, Kessler LJ, Brooks DG, Cotsarelis G. Decreased serum ferritin is associated with alopecia in women. J Invest Dermatol. 2003 Nov;121(5):985–8.
- Rushton DH, Norris MJ, Dover R, Busuttil N. Causes of hair loss and the developments in hair rejuvenation. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2002 Feb;24(1):17–23.