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Fishing for Answers to Alopecia
By: Katie Schaefer, Cosmetics & Toiletries
Posted: January 5, 2009, from the January 2009 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.
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“Our main ingredient, [marine protein extract], was discovered by researchers at the University of Helsinki who were interested in the impressive skin, hair and nail health of Eskimos.1 [Eskimos] generally do not go grey or lose their hair,” explained Murphy. Through a series of studies, researchers determined the Eskimo diet, rich in fish, led to the quality and quantity of their hair. In addition, the fishes’ silica diet played a role in the shininess of their hair. “The combination of the fish extracts, silica and vitamin C help to prevent the hair from undergoing mineralization,” said Murphy, which results in hair loss.
Product developers thus chose deep sea fish, similar to those eaten by the Eskimos, from which they extracted protein and incorporated it into the product. “The complex is proven to grow existing hair by directing much-needed polysaccharides (proteins) to the hair follicle,” said Muphy, who added that the marine protein extract prevents hair from drying out and adds moisture to the hair shaft.
In addition to marine protein, the supplement also contains Malphiglia glabra (acerola) cherry extract. “Acerola is included for its high vitamin C content. Vitamin C helps to strengthen hair and nails, and protects them from environmental aggressors,” said Murphy. Also included to address thinning hair are zinc gluconate and Linum usitassimum (flax) seed extract. “[Flaxseed] is one of the few natural ingredients that has been documented to help DHT and promote hair growth,” stated Murphy, who finds that zinc gluconate does the same. Flaxseed, however, is only effective on male-pattern baldness based on its relationship with DHT.
Equisetum arvense (horsetail) extract is included in the product to add shine to hair. Horsetail extract is a natural form of silicon and imparts luster to hair.
Prolonging Hair Life
The company initially developed the supplement to address hair loss from the inside out. To complement this approach, topical products were developed as well, and include a shampoo, conditioner and scalp lotion. Currently, topical products in the United States do not contain the marine extract; however, the European products do, and Murphy plans to add the marine protein to the shampoo and scalp lotion in the United States. “The topical products address the condition of the hair and not hair loss,” said Murphy, who believes that treating the condition of hair is essential to prolonging its life.