Hair loss: A review of the role of food bioactive compounds


  • Grace Wei
  • Danik Martirosyan PhD, President, Functional Food Institute, Dallas, TX



Background: The impact that hair loss has on an individual's psychological wellness, and subsequent quality of life, is widespread and long lasting. The current standard treatments for hair loss include surgery and medications, ranging from over-the-counter treatments to corticosteroid injections and immunosuppressants. Unfortunately, these current treatments are either expensive, invasive, or have extremely negative side effects. Recently, the role of vitamins, minerals, and functional foods with their associated bioactive compounds, have gained increasing recognition as a potential means to address this issue. Some of these compounds have been shown to decrease the risk of specific forms of hair loss, particularly alopecia, a form of balding that results due from an autoimmune disorder. These include experimental studies using black raspberry extract and egg yolks as well as epidemiological studies using Mediterranean diets and various micronutrients. Other compounds have been shown to promote hair growth on a more general scale, including in vivo studies using rice bran extract and mouse models using red ginseng oil and annurca apple polyphenols. This review identifies key hair growth promoting vitamins, minerals, and functional foods, as well as summarizes the relevant mechanisms of action of these compounds that have been elucidated. Knowledge regarding the effects of these nutriceuticals on reducing hair loss is rapidly expanding. However, it is imperative that further research be done in order to delineate mechanisms of actions for all compounds related to managing and treating hair loss and subsequently integrate these dietary modifications into clinical treatment recommendations for hair loss.

Keywords: Hair loss, alopecia, berry extract, mediterranean diet, rice bran, ginseng, annurca apple, thuja orientalis, marine supplement, honey, egg yolk, functional foods, bioactive compounds





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