Vitamin D and the Cure for Baldness

September 16, 2012

Vitamin D and the Cure for Baldness 

 ReferenceWall Street Journal, Sept 12, 2012 

 Ok, this gets personal so I’m interested.  What is it about baldness and Vitamin D?  Turns out quite a lot.  Mark Hausler has researched the Vitamin D receptor, which he discovered back in 1969.  He has recently published several articles on the importance of the Vitamin D receptor to regeneration of hair growth.  Recent researchers have identified two proteins that appear to activate the receptor, MED and LEF1

 Hair cells and hair go through life cycles in which they go into a dormant phase.  If too many cells go into the dormant phase and don’t come out of it, baldness results.  The goal of all the research is to turn on the vitamin D receptor, which then sparks the stem cells that are in the scalp and not maturing, into maturing and starting the new life cycle of a hair.  This isn’t going to happen today, but it opens a new door for research for future effective hair inducement.  It might not be in time for me. 

 The reason I include this article is to raise Paul Stitt’s memory for his Vitamin D advocacy and personal observations.  Paul was a baker of bread from Manitowoc, WI who had a son who broke his leg from osteoporosis.  In his pursuit of knowledge, he figured out that Vitamin D was critical to bone health in much higher doses than the medical world was giving at that time.  Over the last 10 years, his finding that it took at least 5000 IU a day to achieve healthy bones has been gradually coming to fruition with the recent publication that 2000 IU a day is better and reduces fractures more than 800 IU a day, where our current official recommendations lie. 

But that’s not all Paul observed.  When he started his research, he had a shock of silver-white hair.  After taking 20,000 IU a day for several years, his hair turned back partially to black so his hair looked peppery.  Had he lived longer, his interest in hair color and Vitamin D would surely have been tweaked by this research. And just how could Vitamin D add hair growth to its list of impressive benefits? Simple, if you know its basic biology.  

Remember, Vitamin D is not a vitamin but a hormone.  Its primary function is to turn on stem cells to become mature cells.  Mature cells can do their function. They stop dividing and go through natural cell death when they are done.   That’s how Vit D has so many disparate actions.  From hair follicles to immune cells, from colon cells to blood vessel cells, Vitamin D nudges the immature stem cell into a mature cell.  Plankton that have been dormant at the bottom of the ocean, on exposure to sunlight, make Vitamin D and start dividing, turning into mature plankton. 

 WWW.  What will work for me?  Winter is now beginning. The angle of the sun is too low to make effective D anymore.  It’s time for those of you who have been using your sun exposure to defend not taking D during the summer to start your winter dose.  It takes months to catch up once you are behind.  I’m taking 5000 IU a day and fondly looking in the mirror to see if it helps my hair.  So far, only in my ears. 

 Written by John E Whitcomb, MD   Brookfield Longevity and Healthy Living Clinic 17585 W North Ave, Suite 160,  Brookfield, WI 53045  262-784-5300 Archives at