Eggs are well known to be a rich source of biotin
, an important B-complex vitamin also known as vitamin H, which, when consumed in recommended quantities, can help to promote normal healthy hair growth.
Though biotin is not a hair loss remedy, a February 2018 study states that chickens' eggs contain a key hair growth factor which could potentially be used in the fight against hair loss
in both men and women.
Genetic and non-genetic hair loss
The study was carried out by a team of researchers from Pharma Foods International Co. Ltd, Charle Co. Ltd and Osaka's Department of Regenerative Dermatology, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, in Japan and the Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Hallym University, Gangwon-do in the Republic of Korea.
Entitled 'Naturally Occurring Hair Growth Peptide: Water-Soluble Chicken Egg Yolk Peptides Stimulate Hair Growth Through Induction of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Production', it was published in the online Journal of Medicinal Foods
in July 2018.
Researchers started their investigation from the point that hair loss conditions
are either androgenic or non-androgenic -this essentially means that they are either genetic in nature or not, given Androgenic Alopecia is the medical term for Female Pattern Hair Loss
and Androgenetic Alopecia is Male Pattern Baldness
. As such it is important to understand how androgens factor into these two permanent hairloss conditions.
Androgens are hormones, such as testosterone, that are important for the development of male sexual characteristics during pre-natal development and puberty, as well as regulating hair growth and sex drive in both men and women.
The androgens bind to and react with androgen receptors in bodily tissues. In cases of Androgenic or Androgenetic Alopecia
, androgen receptors in the susceptible areas - along the top of the scalp, from crown to hairline and temporal regions - are 'attacked' by a testosterone by-product known as dihydrotestosterone, or DHT
. Although this is not an androgen - it is an androstanolone or stanolone - it has a similar but far more potent effect on the androgen receptors in these areas.
By binding to the androgen receptions in hair follicles of people predisposed to Male or Female Pattern Baldness, DHT essentially crushes them, though this can take quite some time. It causes the hair growth cycle to shorten, and produce increasingly finer hairs that are slower than usual to appear once hairs are shed. This is why the outward appearance is of gradually thinning hair
in men and women, and/or a receding hairline
and eventual baldness in men; women's hair loss tends to be more diffuse across the top of the scalp and rarely results in the full baldness seen in men.
Non-androgenic (non-genetic) forms of hair loss are often temporary and caused by environmental or lifestyle factors, such as stress. They tend to present as diffusely thinning hair where hair fall occurs all over the scalp, rather than just along the top (vertex) or hairline, and include Telogen Effluvium
and its more persistent form, Chronic Telogen Effluvium
Egg yolks contain 'hair growth peptide'
The Asian research teams state that, ''Whereas hair develops after birth in mammalian species, hair mostly grows in a precocial bird, in the chicken, between hatching days 14 and 15. Therefore, we hypothesized that the chicken egg contains a key hair growth factor. In this study, we demonstrated that water-soluble peptides derived from the egg yolk stimulate VEGF [vascular endothelial growth factor] production and human hair follicle dermal papilla cell growth. We also found that these peptides enhance murine hair growth and improve hair growth in FPHL.
Finally, we characterized that water-soluble egg yolk peptides induce VEGF expression through insulin growth factor-1 receptor activation-induced hypoxia-inducible factor-1α transcription pathway. We have given the name “hair growth peptide (HGP)” to this water-soluble egg yolk peptide.'
What the next steps are for turning this peptide into a safe and effective hair growth product or hair loss treatment, and how it could potentially be administered are not discussed. Topical application of egg yolks - usually mixed with olive or coconut oil - to the hair as a mask is traditionally thought to have cosmetic benefits, such as improving shine. As with a number of nutrients, when consuming eggs and especially egg yolks, it is important to be mindful of the recommended intakes
- especially for those who are pregnant or have high cholesterol - as well as proper storage, given eggs can be a prime source for food poisoning.
The credibility of this latest egg yolk study is unknown; what is well-established, however, is that biotin - found in egg yolks as well as in liver, nuts and seeds - is a key nutrient needed for healthy hair growth. This is why Belgravia
includes it in the formulations for its highly-targeted, exclusive hair supplements, Hair Vitalics for Men
and Hair Vitalics for Women
, alongside zinc and selenium for the maintenance of normal hair growth.
These one-a-day hair supplements are not designed to treat hair loss, nor to replace a balanced diet. They are a supplementary product often taken in addition to using the clinically-proven topical and/or oral hair loss treatments
licensed by the MHRA and approved by the FDA for genetic hairloss.
Anyone who is concerned about thinning hair or unusual hair loss would be best advised to seek professional advice as a first port of call. That way, a hair expert can provide the necessary diagnosis - so that you know what you're dealing with - and personalised treatment recommendations based on their findings.