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McDonald's French Fries Cure for Hair Loss

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There has been a lot of news recently circulating the web about a new way to help you grow your hair back; eating McDonald’s French fries. This theory is based on the findings of Professor, Junji Fukada of Yokohama University in Japan. Fukada and his team of researchers have studied the form of silicone called “dimethylpolysiloxane” that is used in frying oil at McDonalds to reduce frothing.

Fukada and his team of scientists developed a method for large-scale preparation of hair follicle germs (HFGs), the reproductive source of hair follicles that grow and maintain the hair, in vitro (out of the body). They used self-organization of cells by mixing mouse epidermal (skin) cells and mouse/human mesenchymal (pluripotent connective tissue) cells and seeded them in micro-wells (single-cell cultures). Over the 3-day culture period the cells showed typical HFG features; they first formed a randomly distributed single-cell mass and then they separated from each other. These self-sorted Hair Follicle Germs, known as ssHFGs, were capable of generating shaft and hair-follicles when transplanted under the skin in the backs of nude mice. This finding paved way for the preparation of about 5,000 ssHFGs in a micro-well tool made up of oxygen-permeable silicone. This showed that the oxygen supply through the bottom was needed to enable both the formation of ssHFG and hair shaft generation.

These researchers have been successful in mass-preparing thousands of HFGs which concluded that dimethylpolysiloxane can create the vessels where HTGs could grow, but that this alone cannot stimulate hair growth.

An article in Huffington Post debunks the hair loss treatment circulating the web. Huffington Post’s article “Sorry, McDonald’s French Fries Won’t Actually Cure Your Baldness” stated that ingesting McDonald’s fries or any other of their fried foods “will have no effect whatsoever” on your hair growth.

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Could it be that Vitamin D is the cure for baldness that scientists have been looking for all these years? New research on Vitamin D, and its receptors in hair follicles, has taken us down a previously untrodden 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.

One 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.

A third research 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.”

While the third group appears to be the closest to achieving hair growth from a Vitamin D-based treatment, viable treatments in humans are still many years away. As we have indicated in other posts on the Hair Transplant Blog, there is a great deal of ongoing medical research into the causes and treatment of hair loss. The way the field has progressed over the last 5 years it seems to be just a matter of when, not if, a cure for baldness is available to the public.

Read more about ongoing medical research on the causes of and treatments for hair loss

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