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Topic Title: ESSENTIAL FATTY ACID deficiency may cause hairloss, especially those with Hypothyroid symptoms - Evening Primrose Oil
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Created On: 11/25/2005 02:53 AM
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 11/25/2005 02:53 AM
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chrome
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I am hypothyroid myself and found this article very interesting. It suggests that those with Hypothyroid symptoms may just be essential fatty acid deficient and supplementing may help stem the hairloss involved.

Its not just for hypothyroid hairloss sufferers...its for everyone: "So almost anybody with hair loss probably will benefit from evening primrose oil"




http://thyroid.about.com/cs/hairloss/a/hairloss_2.htm

When I have had major bouts of hair loss (despite low normal TSH and being on a T4/T3 drug), I took the advice of a doctor I interviewed for my book, [MI]Living Well With Hypothyroidism. Here's an excerpt from the book:

. . . evening primrose oil (also known as EPO) is a nutritional supplement that is frequently mentioned. In his book, [MI]Solved: The Riddle of Illness, Stephen Langer, M.D. points to the fact that symptoms of essential fatty acid insufficiency are very similar to hypothyroidism, and recommends evening primrose oil -- an excellent source of essential fatty acids -- as helpful for people with hypothyroidism. The usefulness of evening primrose oil, particularly in dealing with the issues of excess hair loss with hypothyroidism, was also reinforced by endocrinologist Kenneth Blanchard. According to Dr. Blanchard:

"For hair loss, I routinely recommend multiple vitamins, and especially evening primrose oil. If there's any sex pattern to it -- if a woman is losing hair in partly a male pattern - -then, the problem is there is excessive conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone at the level of the hair follicle. Evening primrose oil is an inhibitor of that conversion. So almost anybody with hair loss probably will benefit from evening primrose oil.As someone who has had a few periods of extensive hair loss since I became hypothyroid, I can vouch for the fact that taking EPO was the only thing that calmed it down. It not only slowed, then stopped my hair loss over about two months, but new hair grew back, and my hair was no longer straw-like, dry and easily knotted. When I take EPO, I usually take 500 mg, twice a day."




Edited: 12/12/2005 at 05:26 PM by chrome
 11/25/2005 03:56 AM
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Hair Loss Study Abstract:
Inhibition of steroid 5 alpha-reductase by specific aliphatic unsaturated fatty acids.



Title
Inhibition of steroid 5 alpha-reductase by specific aliphatic unsaturated fatty acids.
Author
Liang T; Liao S
Address
Ben May Institute, University of Chicago, IL 60637.
Source
Biochem J, 1992 Jul 15, 285 ( Pt 2):, 557-62

Abstract

Human or rat microsomal 5 alpha-reductase activity, as measured by enzymic conversion of testosterone into 5 alpha-dihydrotestosterone or by binding of a competitive inhibitor, [3H]17 beta-NN-diethulcarbamoyl-4-methyl-4-aza-5 alpha-androstan-3-one ([3H]4-MA) to the reductase, is inhibited by low concentrations (less than 10 microM) of certain polyunsaturated fatty acids.

The relative inhibitory potencies of unsaturated fatty acids are, in decreasing order: gamma-linolenic acid greater than cis-4,7,10,13,16,19-docosahexaenoic acid = cis-6,9,12,15-octatetraenoic acid = arachidonic acid = alpha-linolenic acid greater than linoleic acid greater than palmitoleic acid greater than oleic acid greater than myristoleic acid. Other unsaturated fatty acids such as undecylenic acid, erucic acid and nervonic acid, are inactive. The methyl esters and alcohol analogues of these compounds, glycerols, phospholipids, saturated fatty acids, retinoids and carotenes were inactive even at 0.2 mM.

The results of the binding assay and the enzymic assay correlated well except for elaidic acid and linolelaidic acid, the trans isomers of oleic acid and linoleic acid respectively, which were much less active than their cis isomers in the binding assay but were as potent in the enzymic assay. gamma-Linolenic acid had no effect on the activities of two other rat liver microsomal enzymes: NADH:menadione reductase and glucuronosyl transferase. gamma-Linolenic acid, the most potent inhibitor tested, decreased the Vmax. and increased Km values of substrates, NADPH and testosterone, and promoted dissociation of [3H]4-MA from the microsomal reductase. gamma-Linolenic acid, but not the corresponding saturated fatty acid (stearic acid), inhibited the 5 alpha-reductase activity, but not the 17 beta-dehydrogenase activity, of human prostate cancer cells in culture.

These results suggest that unsaturated fatty acids may play an important role in regulating androgen action in target cells.




Edited: 12/12/2005 at 01:53 AM by chrome
 11/25/2005 06:46 AM
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About Evening Primrose Oil

What is so Special About It?

The active ingredient in Evening Primrose Oil is an Essential Fatty Acid called Gamma Linolenic Acid(GLA). Essential Fatty Acids are vital for the proper functioning of the body, but cannot be manufactured by it. They are therefore obtained solely through diet. Fatty acids are found in every cell in the body. The key Essential Fatty Acid is cis-Linoleic Acid. It is used either as a source of energy, for tissue formation and repair or (most importantly), it is converted to GLA as a precursor to prostaglandins.

Another 2 reasons it may help reduce hairloss - its a powerful anti-inflammatory and helps relieve skin problems such as Eczema


"A trial* carried out in Glasgow using a combination of EOP and fish oil on 52 arthritis sufferers was highly successful. 50% of the patients were able to stop their anti-inflammatory drugs altogether and 50% were able to reduce their dosage."

"Eczema - It seems that patients with eczema have an inability to convert Linolenic Acid to GLA because of a faulty immune system. A clinical study carried out at Bristol Royal Infirmary on 50 adults and 39 children had a high success rate. The patients were given high doses of EPO capsules every day for 12 weeks. Generally the patients improved over the three month trial period and the symptom showing most relief was itchiness. This helped in containing the skin condition as scratching can spread the infection. DGLA levels were tested at the start and conclusion of the trial and in 80 of the 89 patients, levels were raised after three months, indicating that conversion of GLA to prostaglandins had occurred."

 11/25/2005 06:48 AM
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Pubmed study 2002 - Prostaglandin induced hair growth

Prostaglandin-induced hair growth.

Johnstone MA, Albert DM.

Glaucoma Consultants Northwest, Swedish Medical Center, Seattle, WA 98104, USA.

Latanoprost, used clinically in the treatment of glaucoma, induces growth of lashes and ancillary hairs around the eyelids. Manifestations include greater thickness and length of lashes, additional lash rows, conversion of vellus to terminal hairs in canthal areas as well as in regions adjacent to lash rows. In conjunction with increased growth, increased pigmentation occurs.

Vellus hairs of the lower eyelids also undergo increased growth and pigmentation. Brief latanoprost therapy for 2-17 days (3-25.5 microg total dosage) induced findings comparable to chronic therapy in five patients. Latanoprost reversed alopecia of the eyelashes in one patient. Laboratory experiments with latanoprost have demonstrated stimulation of hair growth in mice and in the balding scalp of the stumptailed macaque, a primate that demonstrates androgenetic alopecia.

The increased number of visible lashes is consistent with the ability of latanoprost to induce anagen (the growth phase) in telogen (resting) follicles while inducing hypertrophic changes in the involved follicles.

The increased length of lashes is consistent with the ability of latanoprost to prolong the anagen phase of the hair cycle. Correlation with laboratory studies suggests that initiation and completion of latanoprost hair growth effects occur very early in anagen and the likely target is the dermal papilla.

 11/25/2005 08:19 AM
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chrome
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GLA is also used in Revivogen:
http://www.revivogen.com/research/index.html#fattyacids

Gamma Linolenic Acid, Alpha Linolenic Acid, and Linoleic Acid

In the following studies, Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA), and Linoleic Acid were shown to be the most potent known inhibitors of type 1 and 2 forms of 5-alpha reductase and highly effective in decreasing the levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), when applied topically. More importantly this is accomplished without affecting any systemic effects.

The study further suggests that these fatty acids can be useful in the treatment of disorders related to dihydrotestosterone including male pattern baldness, acne, and excessive female body hair (hirsuitism).

STUDY A: Growth suppression of hamster flank organs by topical application of gamma-linolenic and other fatty acid inhibitors of 5 alpha-reductase.

STUDY B: Androgen action: molecular mechanism and medical application.

STUDY C: Inhibition of steroid 5 alpha-reductase by specific aliphatic unsaturated fatty acids.


 11/25/2005 08:20 AM
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chrome
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The 3 Revivogen studies:

---------------------------------------------

Gamma Linolenic Acid and Alpha Linolenic Acid

STUDY A: Growth suppression of hamster flank organs by topical application of gamma-linolenic and other fatty acid inhibitors of 5 alpha-reductase.

AUTHOR
Liang T; Liao S

JOURNAL
Journal of Investigational Dermatology: 1997 Aug; 109 (2): 152-7

ABSTRACT
Certain unsaturated aliphatic fatty acids, such as gamma-linolenic acid, inhibit 5alpha-reductase activity in vitro and in vivo. Hamster flank organ growth, as measured by the increase in the area of pigmented macule, is dependent on androgen. When one of the paired flank organs of a castrated hamster was treated topically with testosterone, the treated organ, but not the contralateral flank organ, became larger and darker. Topical application of gamma-linolenic acid to the testosterone-treated flank organ suppressed this testosterone effect. Other fatty acids that were not inhibitors of 5alpha-reductases were not active. Topical treatment of hamster flank organs with 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone also stimulated the growth of the organ. This 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone-dependent activity, however, was not significantly affected by gamma-linolenic acid, suggesting that flank organ growth was dependent on 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone and that gamma-linolenic acid acted by inhibiting 5alpha-reductase. With intact male hamsters, the endogenous androgen-dependent growth of flank organs is also suppressed by topical treatment with gamma-linolenic acid. The effect of gamma-linolenic acid is localized at the site of its application; topical application of gamma-linolenic acid did not affect the androgen-dependent growth of other organs such as testis, epididymis, seminal vesicle, and prostate. gamma-Linolenic acid, with low toxicity and absence of systemic effect, therefore may be potentially useful for treatment of androgen-dependent skin disorders.

RETURN TO RESEARCH


Gamma Linolenic Acid and Alpha Linolenic Acid

STUDY B: Androgen action: molecular mechanism and medical application.

AUTHOR
Liao S

JOURNAL
Journal of Formos Medical Association: 1994 Sep; 93 (9): 741-51

ABSTRACT
Androgen action in many organs, such as prostate and skin, is dependent on the conversion of testosterone by 5 alpha-reductase to 5 alpha-dihydrotestosterone. 5 alpha-Dihydrotestosterone then binds to the androgen receptor to regulate specific gene expression. Inhibitors of 5 alpha-reductase are useful for the selective treatment of prostatic cancer, benign prostate hyperplasia, acne, baldness and female hirsuitism, without affecting spermatogenesis, sexual behavior and smooth muscle growth, that do not require the conversion of testosterone to 5 alpha-dihydrotestosterone. Certain unsaturated fatty acids, such as gamma-linolenic acid, are potent 5 alpha-reductase inhibitors, suggesting a linkage between unsaturated fatty acids and androgen action. Mutations in androgen receptor genes are responsible for many cases of androgen-insensitivity. In some prostate cancer cells, some antiandrogens may act like androgens in stimulating the proliferation of the cancer cells because these antiandrogens can bind to a mutated androgen receptor and transactivate target genes. Prostate cancers are usually androgen-dependent initially but can lose dependency and responsiveness. Tumor cells which are resistant to endocrine therapy ultimately proliferate. Androgen-independent or androgen-repressive cells can arise from androgen-sensitive prostate cancer cells by changes in specific gene expression over time in a clonal isolate. This change in androgen responsiveness was accompanied by a change in androgen receptor expression and transcriptional activity as well as expression of some oncogenes.

RETURN TO RESEARCH


Gamma Linolenic Acid and Alpha Linolenic Acid

STUDY C: Inhibition of steroid 5 alpha-reductase by specific aliphatic unsaturated fatty acids.

AUTHOR
Liang T; Liao S

JOURNAL
Journal of Biochemistry, 1992 Jul 15, 285 ( Pt 2):, 557-62

ABSTRACT
Human or rat microsomal 5 alpha-reductase activity, as measured by enzymatic conversion of testosterone into 5 alpha-dihydrotestosterone or by binding of a competitive inhibitor, [3H]17 beta-NN-diethulcarbamoyl-4-methyl-4-aza-5 alpha-androstan-3-one ([3H]4-MA) to the reductase, is inhibited by low concentrations (less than 10 microM) of certain polyunsaturated fatty acids. The relative inhibitory potencies of unsaturated fatty acids are, in decreasing order: gamma-linolenic acid greater than cis-4,7,10,13,16,19-docosahexaenoic acid = cis-6,9,12,15-octatetraenoic acid = arachidonic acid = alpha-linolenic acid greater than linoleic acid greater than palmitoleic acid greater than oleic acid greater than myristoleic acid. Other unsaturated fatty acids such as undecylenic acid, erucic acid and nervonic acid, are inactive. The methyl esters and alcohol analogues of these compounds, glycerols, phospholipids, saturated fatty acids, retinoids and carotenes were inactive even at 0.2 mM. The results of the binding assay and the enzymatic assay correlated well except for elaidic acid and linolelaidic acid, the trans isomers of oleic acid and linoleic acid respectively, which were much less active than their cis isomers in the binding assay but were as potent in the enzymatic assay. gamma-Linolenic acid had no effect on the activities of two other rat liver microsomal enzymes: NADH:menadione reductase and glucuronosyl transferase. gamma-Linolenic acid, the most potent inhibitor tested, decreased the Vmax. and increased Km values of substrates, NADPH and testosterone, and promoted dissociation of [3H]4-MA from the microsomal reductase. gamma-Linolenic acid, but not the corresponding saturated fatty acid (stearic acid), inhibited the 5 alpha-reductase activity, but not the 17 beta-dehydrogenase activity, of human prostate cancer cells in culture.

These results suggest that unsaturated fatty acids may play an important role in regulating androgen action in target cells.
 11/25/2005 07:58 PM
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Coaster
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So applying this topicaly would be the best way to go?
 11/25/2005 10:08 PM
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kalika
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I don't think that the GLA would absorb very well, even Dr. Barry Sears stated that in an article about emu oil. Internally would be good for you though.
 11/26/2005 12:28 AM
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mr
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Chrome
Good stuff buddy! I will have to check out EPO soon. I already take 3 grams of fish oil daily, sounds like EPO would be a good addition. Thanks!

-------------------------
Formula 82 M (It works!)
Grapeseed extract,
Tumeric extract with Meriva
Vitamin D3
Fish oil
Biotin
MSM
CoQ-10
Vitamin C

Edited: 11/27/2005 at 08:48 PM by mr
 11/26/2005 04:12 PM
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SaltyNuts
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But most of those studies are on free-form fatty acids, and evening primrose oil and the others are not, correct?

 11/26/2005 04:26 PM
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Bryan
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Quote

Originally posted by: SaltyNuts
But most of those studies are on free-form fatty acids, and evening primrose oil and the others are not, correct?


That's correct, but the original post was about the purely nutritional (systemic) properties of evening primrose oil, not its use as a topical 5a-reductase inhibitor.

Bryan
 11/27/2005 01:42 PM
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SaltyNuts
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I'm with you.

Bryan, do you know the procedure to turn an oil into a free-form fatty acid? Like the procedure that revivogen uses (supposedly)?

If they can do it surely we can too....

 11/27/2005 04:46 PM
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Bryan
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You're assuming that the Revivogen people do their own de-esterification, but that's almost certainly not the case. My understanding is that they have a chemical company do that for them, and then send them the raw (de-esterified) oil.

BTW, I exchanged emails a few years ago with a woman who was an engineer at a chemical company in Norway. She explained to me that the way THEY do that process is to heat the natural oil (flaxseed oil, borage oil, whatever) under pressure in a reactor vessel. The heat and pressure cause the oil to separate into its constituents (glycerol and free fatty acids). Then they skim the glycerol off the top, leaving the fatty acids behind. Kinda makes me wonder if an old-fashioned pressure-cooker might also work for that purpose! I have fond memories of my mother using one of those things when I was a kid...

Bryan
 11/28/2005 06:15 PM
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abigail
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Since reading this thread a few days ago, I've been taking 500mg EPO twice per day. Although my hair shedding does not seem too different yet, I suddenly noticed that my skin looks better than it has in awhile.

I wasn't expecting this, so it can't be wishful thinking.
 12/12/2005 01:34 AM
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chrome
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any updates please abigail ?



 12/12/2005 02:06 AM
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abigail
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hi! I happen to be up right now.

In fact, I do have an update. A few days later, my hair suddenly seemed to stop falling out too. I would run my fingers through it and nothing would come out. And there was MUCH less in the shower. I was thinking, if this is because of EPO then that would be a miracle.

But then, my bottle of 500mg EPO (which I just happened to have around, not much was left) ran out. I felt a real urgency to get more, but nonetheless did not do so for about 10 days. I'm mad at myself for this, but I ordered some that I didn't like as much and then finally went to Costco. During that time my hair started falling out again, after 4 or 5 days.

Now I have been taking EPO again, for a few days, and my hair is still falling out, quite a bit, and my skin does not look so good either. So I'm just waiting to see if the same effect kicks in this time. If it really DID help the first time, and it wasn't just a coincidence - it should work again. Right? But maybe it will take a bit longer. I'm resisting taking anything else for at least a couple of weeks because I really want to see if the EPO alone helps again.
 12/12/2005 02:28 AM
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chrome
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thanks abigail,

it normally takes approx. 100 days to see any change . the 100 days is the approx. length of time hair is in the resting (telogen) phase before re-emerging with a new follicle (smaller each time if MPB until eventually nothing comes out).

stick with it for a minimum of 100 days to see.

i am buying my EPO today. i couldn't get it before but will be visiting my local health store to buy it today.

thanks again abigail, we'll have to keep each other updated now & again.

cheers, chrome

ps are you also a hypothyroid sufferer ?



Edited: 12/12/2005 at 02:28 AM by chrome
 12/12/2005 04:42 PM
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Quote

I can vouch for the fact that taking EPO was the only thing that calmed it down. It not only slowed, then stopped my hair loss over about two months, but new hair grew back, and my hair was no longer straw-like, dry and easily knotted. When I take EPO, I usually take 500 mg, twice a day.


This quote (from your initial post) suggests the effects can kick in even quicker. What also caught my eye is the description of the new hair no longer being 'easily knotted'. Of course that new hair must have taken at least 6 months to grow in...but it interested me because my hair never ever used to get knotted and now it does.

I was not diagnosed as being a hypothryoid sufferer - and other than hair problems I don't seem to have too many of the other typical symptoms. But this has been going on for several years & I was told I have chronic telegen effluvium instead of AA. Maybe my thyroid has something to do with it.
 12/12/2005 05:10 PM
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chrome
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hi abigail,

yes, its possible to see changes much quicker as you rightly point out. i was just erring on the cautious side and not getting too worried at the lack of immediate results.

its funny you should mention your hair getting knotted as this is exactly the same as i am experiencing as well !

i never had this problem before, until my hypothyroid diagnosis, but these past few months the hair at the back of my head knots very badly and brushing my hair pulls it out at this very same place, causing excessive hairloss at back of the head.

very interesting.

Edited: 04/09/2006 at 11:53 AM by chrome
 12/12/2005 08:35 PM
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biostudent
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hi quick question guys. Will the internal ingestion of EPO, and the subsequent blocking of the 5a reductase, cause any unwanted side effects, associated with other drugs such as dut, and fin?

i don't know if i have hypothyroid, but i have suspected it for years, and i do have diffuse thinning and have many relatives with hypothyroid problems. Just want to know the possible side effects, especially sex drive, and erections...

Thanks
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