How Carnitine & Thioctic Acid Affect Hair

Carnitine & Thioctic Acid

Carnitine & Thioctic Acid

What does Carnitine & Thioctic Acid have to do with healthy hair growth? Let’s take a look.

Clinical studies published in PubMed explains the role of inflammation in common pattern hair loss. Chronic inflammation of the hair follicle (HF) is considered a contributing factor in the pathogenesis of androgenetic alopecia (AGA), also known as common pattern baldness.

In our lab at Hair Genesis V, the advancement of therapeutic formulas against AGA are facilitated via the critical analysis of hypothesis-driven data. In plain English this means that we test ideas through well-respected clinical trials and basic scientific assays. In our collaborative work with the Center For Functional Genomics, University of Albany, we sought to better understand how inflammation contributes to hair loss.

We found that several genes (including LTB4 & CXCL6 appear to modulate this negative growth cycle process.

Importantly, we were also able to demonstrate that our latest formula effectively suppressed the gene expression of inflammatory chemical signals associated with pathways involved in hair follicle inflammation and hair loss. Two substances in particular assist the blockade of tissue inflammation.

These are carnitine and thioctic acid. Carnitine, a readily available supplement represents a compound of great interest for its wide clinical application in various disorders: it may be of benefit in treating Alzheimer’s dementia, depression in the elderly, HIV infection, chronic fatigue syndrome, peripheral neuropathies, ischemia and reperfusion of the brain, and cognitive impairment associated with neurologic disorders.

Thioctic acid and its reduced form dihydrolipoic acid (DHLA), meet all the criteria for an ideal antioxidant because they can easily quench free radicals, can chelate metals, and they do not exhibit any serious side effects. Thioctic acid interacts with other antioxidants, such as carnitine, and may actually regenerate them. For this reason, thioctic acid is sometimes called an antioxidant of antioxidants.

Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, Bruce Ames, Ph.D., has been at the forefront of research into the synergistic role thioctic acid and carnitine may achieve. His work has largely focused on neurogenic and cardiac benefit via the combination of these two substances. One well-tested hypothesis shows that carnitine plus thioctic acid has an important positive modulatory effect on high energy demand tissues, including the brain and heart.

Because hair follicles represent one of the most rapidly proliferating cell types in the human organism, it was our thought that this combination of materials might offer benefit in that setting. Though more validation work should be done, our preliminary data suggest that the use of carnitine and thioctic acid in our proprietary hair revitalizing formula constitutes a sensible incorporation.

One of the challenges we have faced is the selection of supplement form and dosage. There are several isoforms of carnitine and thioctic acid. Not all forms work as well in solution as the composition we ultimately selected. Likewise, dosage is an important consideration because too much or too little of any given substance can reduce the desired clinical benefits.

How DHT and INFLAMMATION affect Hair Loss

It’s long been known that common pattern hair loss, also known as androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is triggered, in part, by the activity of dihydrotestosterone (DHT).  Think of DHT as the evil offspring of testosterone (T).  Conversion of T to DHT is mediated by the enzyme 5 alpha reductase.  Two flavors of this enzyme occur, one closely associated with a prostate disorder, the other linked to pattern hair loss.

Even today, most hair loss treatment products, drug based and non-drug based alike, have been designed to subvert the DHT pathway.  If DHT was the lone cause of pattern hair loss then this approach would make perfect sense.  On the contrary, however, AGA is known to be a complex trait disorder.  This means that multiple factors are involved.

One key distinction separating our lab from others in this industry is the fact that we have developed and tested hypotheses based on the notion that agents other than DHT are operative in pattern hair loss.  As we considered the potential elements that could strongly influence the negative progression associated with AGA, we came to realize that inflammation was probably near the top of the list.

In numerous pathologic syndromes, local inflammation is implicated as a disease causing component.  From the disabilities linked to aging, to infectious diseases, to autoimmune related afflictions, inflammatory processes are almost always near the center of the bullseye.

Because the hair follicle is exquisitely sensitive to perturbations of cell cycle dynamics, inflammatory cytokines and chemokines seemed to us to be reasonable targets for investigation.  Thusly, one of our key hypotheses has been to ask the question “what is the role played by inflammatory factors in modulating scalp hair follicle biodynamics in persons affected by pattern hair loss?”.

From this important question, we have begun to identify new therapeutic targets, apart from merely focusing on the dihydrotestosterone pathway, as so many others myopically pursue.  In our next installment, we will discuss the experimental basis for recent generational improvements that have led us to create a set of genuinely novel hair treatment compositions.

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