We all know that Vitamin D is known as the "sunshine vitamin", could it be that Vitamin D is the cure for baldness? New research on Vitamin D, and its receptors in hair follicles, has taken us down a path that could, potentially, lead to new medical treatments for hair loss.
The Vitamin D receptor was previously known to stimulate hair follicles, which were in the dormant phase of hair growth, to grow hair when activated. The research into Vitamin D and its effect on hair and skin, centers around this receptor.
There are three main groups researching Vitamin D's role relative to hair loss. The first group of researchers — based in San Francisco, California — has discovered that a molecule, called MED, suppresses the Vitamin D receptor, thereby preventing the follicle from growing a new hair. Their research in mice found that blocking the MED molecule allowed mice to grow more hair. A second research team, from Harvard Medical School, has found a molecule that activates the receptor. However, they have been unable to use the molecule to grow new hair.
Another research third group, based in Japan, used Vitamin D to stimulate stem cells to become hair-producing follicles in rats. Dr. Kotaro Yoshimura says of the study, “The results suggest that it may be useful in expanding human [dermal papilla cells (DPCs)] with good quality, and help establish a DPC transplantation therapy for growing hair.” His colleague on the study, Dr. Noriyuki Aoi, said, “We found that treating the dermal papilla cells with [Vitamin D] significantly enhanced the growth of new hair over that of the control group. We also observed a better rate of maturation of the follicles. In other words, the hair grew thicker and lasted longer.”
Vitamin D deficiency can have serious health consequences, however excessive Vitamin D can be harmful as well. Vitamin D supplementation might offer health benefits for people lacking enough vitamin D, but they won't bring back lost hair, states Dr. Boden. Watch this video for more information.