Everyday, you lose approximately 100 hairs, a normal amount for the average human being. This number increases as you age, possibly resulting in thinning or receding hairlines, and balding. You may feel insecure about your appearance and go to great lengths to improve yourself with hair growth treatments to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Recent trends point to vitamin supplements as one of the answers. It’s a topic that begs further investigation. Various studies conducted seem to point toward the complex B vitamin as the superior product and answer to the issue of hair loss.
Also called niacin, a name coined from nicotinic acid vitamin, B3 is a water-soluble nutrient made up of nicotinic acid and niacinamide, one of eight B vitamins which includes Nicotinamide Riboside (NR) that happens also be targeted to reverse the aging process . The body can produce it naturally in small amounts but mostly enters the body as food, such as eggs, peanuts, mushrooms, beef, and tuna. Vitamin B3 is essential for helping turn carbohydrates into glucose, which the body burns to produce energy. Niacin also helps to maintain the structure of the blood cells and improve blood circulation. The benefits for having a B3 inclusive diet include regulation of the digestive tract, greater levels of good HDL (High-density lipoproteins) cholesterol, stronger hair follicles and of course the claim of a reduction in age related hair loss. How are Vitamin B3 and hair loss prevention related? Remember Niacin improves blood circulation, therefore the answer seems to be Niacin brings more blood flow to the scalp, allowing oxygen and nutrients to reach hair follicles. Healthy hair growth requires a complexity of nutrients and a ready supply of oxygen. It has also been said that the appearance of hair is directly tied to one’s overall health. Just how efficient is the vitamin at improving the over all health of the body?
According to the National Institutes of Health PubMED directory, even though published research is available for [Vitamin B3] dating all the way back to 1953, it wasn’t until June 2012 that a group of researchers at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland found “the natural vitamin …could be used as a nutritional supplement to ameliorate metabolic and age-related disorders . . . “ In November of 2013, a research team led by Dr. David Sinclair of Harvard Medical School found that “raising Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, (NAD+) a coenzyme found in all living cells, levels in old mice restores mitochondrial function to that of a young mouse,” and that after “examining muscle from two-year-old mice that had been given the NAD+-producing compound for just one week, the researchers looked for indicators of insulin resistance, inflammation and muscle wasting. In all three instances, tissue from the mice resembled that of six-month-old mice.” To put into perspective, relative to humans this would be the equivalent of a 60-year-old converting to a 20-year-old in these specific areas. It has also been shown that NAD+ levels can increase when [B3] is taken orally. Vitamin B3, might look like the fountain of youth, but it’s important to keep in mind, although these studies seem promising, they were not conducted on humans. Overall it’s an exciting chemical, and early research on yeast, mice, and fish indicate we might be progressively uncovering its vast potential, whether or not any of these benefits transfer over to humans remains to be seen.
There are some risks attached to upping the body’s intake of B3, one of which involves the creation of ones blood platelets. This next part might be a little tough for non medical types to understand but its important so here goes. Nicotinamide Riboside (NR) is a naturally occurring form of vitamin B3. NR increases NAD+; NAD+ converts to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the body. ATP is considered by biologists to be the energy currency used in all cells in the body. The critical part of the ATP structure is the triphosphate, or three phosphorus groups. If one phosphate group were to be removed, it would go from three to two becoming adenosine diphosphate (ADP) ADP is used to activate platelets. NR stimulates platelet aggregation (clotting). In individuals with higher than normal platelet levels, also called thrombocytosis, there is an increased risk of a build up of platelets, or blood clots. So here is the deal, people who are at risk of or had strokes or heart attacks might be put at further risk if they are inducing higher levels of ATP in their systems via supplementing with B3 to prevent hair loss. Since many people with thrombocytosis don’t even know they have it,because it doesn’t always produce symptoms, they may also be at increased risk . This is an area that requires more research by the medical community before we can say taking NR and other B3 supplements is completely safe.
As the research concludes, there are plenty of Vitamin B3 or Niacin supplements you could take in an effort to combat hair loss. Drugs such as Niagen, the first and only commercially-available Nicotinamide Riboside tablets, exist for people looking to increase their intake of Vitamin B3. However, for a more natural and safer way to introduce the super vitamin to your body, you might have an easier time managing it by eating the B3 rich proteins you encounter in your every day life.