Much has been written about how an holistic approach to health can be beneficial to the scalp and, in turn, hair – with vitamins and minerals very much a part of the picture. Now a new study adds weight to the claim that, as well as playing a role in staving off hair loss, one such vitamin – vitamin D – may also be a factor in how quickly we submit to cognitive decline.
According to scientists at the University of California, Davis, older adults who don’t get enough vitamin D may experience cognitive decline at a much faster rate than people who have adequate levels.
The study looked at the vitamin D levels of 382 individuals once a year for five years, and found that, on average the participants with low vitamin D declined two or three times faster.
Exposure to the sun
Vitamin D is well known for the part it plays in healthy bones, and the most natural way of keeping stocked up on it is by exposing skin to sunlight and, specifically, the sun’s UVB rays. Supplements and certain foods including fatty fish, such as salmon, can help keep levels topped up.
The idea that low levels of vitamin D may in some way be linked to the autoimmune condition Alopecia Areata is something that has occupied the medical community for some years now. This autoimmune condition is characterized by the sudden or gradual appearance of rounded bald patches on the scalp. After androgenic alopecia, it is the second most common cause of hair loss in the world.
While hair grows back of its own accord within a year in up to 70 per cent of Alopecia Areata cases, for people with the condition the wait can be traumatic – especially given that there are no guarantees that hair will return, or if it does, the shedding may recur later on.
As a result, despite various treatments for alopecia areata already existing, multiple potential medications are generally being trialled at any given time, particularly to improve efficacy in the harder to treat, more severe forms of Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis. Research into the use of vitamin D as a possible treatment is something that many people involved in dermatology have suggested.
The realm of speculation
What is known is that vitamin D plays a role in the growth cycle of hair follicles, and that it can be used to help treat certain scalp conditions such eczema. Beyond that, however, is largely the realm of speculation.
On the one hand, for example, a recent study in Turkey found that 91 per cent of Alopecia Areata patients had low levels of vitamin D; on the other it was proposed that people with the condition may naturally be inclined to stay out of the sun.
What the California trail certainly does do is demonstrate that there is more to vitamin D than was previously thought, and that its overall health benefits have still to be fully understood.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.