One of the most common and difficult problems that doctors deal with is hair loss. I’m not talking about male pattern hair loss, which is genetic, and has no cure. And I’m not talking about hair loss due to thyroid problems, which is easy to treat.
I’m talking about the hair loss and hair thinning that millions of otherwise-healthy men and women experience as they get older. Until a few years ago, I had no idea how to stop this kind of hair loss. And then I met Mariana.
Mariana was a beautiful young woman visiting Carson City from Italy. Several years before her visit, despite being completely healthy, she started losing her hair. She told me it was “coming out in buckets in my brush and when I washed it.”
She went to various doctors and tried the different medications they gave her. But nothing worked. Finally, one of the doctors prescribed something that did the trick. Within four weeks, the hair loss stopped.
But after Mariana arrived in the U.S., she ran out of her pills and her hair started falling out again. So she wanted me to give her a replacement prescription.
Mariana showed me the box that the pills had come in. But everything on the box was written in Italian. So I had to use Google Translate to figure out what the medication was. Imagine my surprise when I found that the pills didn’t contain any medication at all!
They simply contained a single amino acid called l-cysteine. I told her that in the U.S. you don’t need a prescription to get l-cysteine. It’s available over the counter. In fact, I had some on hand at my clinic. So I gave her what she needed and off she went into the land of beautiful hair.
But that wasn’t the end of the story. Because now, I wanted to know what was going on. I went to the medical literature to learn more about l-cysteine and the nutritional aspects of hair loss in general. Here’s what I found.
A German research study looked at the role of l-cysteine in hair loss and regrowth. The researchers divided people who were suffering from what they described as “massive” hair loss into two groups.
One group was treated with a combination of l-cysteine, millet seed extract and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5). The other group got a placebo.
Not surprisingly, the placebo group showed no hair growth improvement. But the people in the l-cysteine group stopped losing hair within 8 weeks. And that’s not all. Their hair also started to grow back. But how? What’s so special about l-cysteine?
To understand this we first have to look at the structure of hair. Hair consists of three layers - the cuticle, the medulla, and the cortex. Of these, the cortex is the most important. It makes up 80-90% of a single strand of hair.
This cortex is full of keratin proteins organized in bundles. These keratin proteins are the key structural materials that make up hair and give strength to hair follicles. And get this: L-cysteine makes up a whopping 75% of these keratin bundles!
L-cysteine is also one of the few amino acids with the ability to form disulfide bonds in the body. These disulfide bonds hold together the keratin proteins of the hair shaft and keep hair thick and strong.
So how does your body normally get l-cysteine? There are two ways. One is through the diet. Certain foods like meats, legumes, certain beans, and dairy are high in l-cysteine. The other way we get l-cysteine is that we make it from another amino acid called methionine. But there are a few problems here.
One is that some people just don’t get enough l-cysteine or methionine in their diets. Another problem is that even when a person’s diet is high in foods that have l-cysteine, the digestive system might not be able to digest the amino acid effectively. This is especially true in people over 50.
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Lastly, some people cannot convert methionine to l-cysteine for genetic reasons. If any of these factors are present, you can get hair loss.
And l-cysteine is not the only important substance for healthy hair and skin. Studies show that another substance is very important in preventing hair loss as well. That substance is the B vitamin biotin. Biotin is necessary for the production of keratin - the substance I just mentioned that makes hair follicles strong and healthy.
One recent study looked at the effects of biotin supplementation on healthy hair and nails. In that study, researchers looked at all the published literature that reported on biotin use for hair growth. They found that out of 18 cases, every single patient showed evidence of improvement after receiving biotin.
In addition to the literature on biotin, I also found other studies showing that zinc, copper and silica can also be helpful for hair loss. So armed with this information, I started giving my patients a combination of l-cysteine and biotin along with zinc, copper and silica. And 8 in 10 patients reported that their hair stopped falling out within 6 weeks of starting the program!
Once I knew for sure that this combination was effective, I asked Advanced Bionutritionals to manufacture a single product that contains the same nutrients and doses. That way, my patients wouldn’t have to buy 5 different bottles of supplements or worry about taking the right dose.
Advanced Bionutritionals was happy to create this special blend. They call it Healthy Hair and Nails.
So if you notice more hair coming out in your brush, hair failing into the shower drain, or your hair getting thinner as the years roll by, then try Healthy Hair and Nails.
Start by taking five capsules a day. If it’s going to work for you, you’ll see the hair loss completely stop within four to eight weeks.
Once it’s stopped, you can then reduce the dose to one or two capsules a day to keep your hair and nails healthy and strong. You can try Healthy Hair and Nails by clicking here. Or you can call 1-800-791-3395.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD
Gehring,W., Gloor, M. Using phototrichogram analysis to evaluate preparations for hair growth stimulation in the example of a combination of sorghum extract, L-Cysteine, and calcium pantothenate. Magazine for Skin Diseases 2000; 75(7/8):419-423
Patel DP, Swink SM, et al. A Review of the Use of Biotin for Hair Loss. Skin Appendage Disord. 2017 Aug;3(3):166-169.