Hair grows from hair follicles, which are organs found in the skin. Hair growth happens in phases, which include a growth phase, cessation phase and a rest phase. Some hair follicles can become stuck in the resting phase leading to permanent hair loss.
Researchers have found that vitamin D and its receptors in the skin may be crucial to the regeneration of hair and the stimulation of hair follicles.
The role of vitamin D in bone and skin health has been well researched and understood. However, not much is known about the role of this vitamin in hair growth.
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Professor Mark Hessler, at the University of Arizona, discovered the vitamin D receptor in 1969. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal he noted the importance of the receptor in the regeneration of hair.
Researchers at the University of Tokyo conducted a study using rats to determine the mechanism of hair regeneration using vitamin D. They found that vitamin D supplements stimulated stem cells to become follicle cells. Many of these follicles matured and produced hair.
The results of this study and others like it could have a huge impact on the number of treatments available for men and women suffering from alopecia, or other forms of hair loss.
While most people are lack vitamin D, taking too much of the vitamin can cause serious side effects. More research must be done to fine-tune the amount of vitamin D necessary to obtain the desired affect.