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Two Korean foods shown to ‘significantly’ increase hair count

Hair loss most likely to occur in September – expert explains why

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A person can expect to shed between 50 to 100 hairs each day, but anything over 100 hair is defined as alopecia. The use of drugs to combat this condition has become commonplace, but there is evidence that natural resources like probiotics may have a role in hair regrowth. The addition of two probiotic foods to the diet may improve hair thickness and count within months, one study suggests.

One of the most common types of alopecia is androgenetic, which develops in two distinct ways for men and women.

The latter will notice thinning over the top of the scalp, whereas men experience a patterned recession of the hairline.

To combat this hair loss pattern, the World Journal of Mens Health in 2020, assessed the effects of Kimchi and cheonggukjang Probiotics as a functional food.

The authors noted: “Probiotic supplementation demonstrates beneficial effects on serum lipid profiles.

“We hypothesised that probiotics could benefit patients presenting with alopecia, secondary to improved blood flow to the scale.”

The study focussed on men with stage two to five patterns of hair loss, as measured by the Hamilton Norwood classification symptoms.

Women with stage one to three patterns of hair loss – based on the Ludwig classification – were also included.

All 46 patients were administered a product combining kimchi and cheonggukjang probiotics twice a day.

The results showed that “hair count and thickness had significantly increased at one month and at four months”.

The researchers added: “In this study, we found that a kimchi and cheonggukjang probiotic product could promote hair growth and reverse hair loss without associated adverse effects such as diarrhoea.

“We suggest that the observed improvements in hair count and thickness result from initiation of the anagen phase in hair follicles in response to probiotics.”

Kimchi and cheonggukjang are two traditional Korean foods that are heavily soy-based.

For the sake of the study, the foods were administered in supplementation form to ensure optimal intake of probiotics, which is hard to do with food sources.

This is because though each food contains ample amounts of probiotics, not all dishes are ripened for the same amount of time.

Thus, the researchers remarked that the administration of live probiotics from kimchi and cheonggukjang as a drinkable yoghurt “would be a more efficient way to obtain the beneficial effects” from both dishes.

After one month of taking the probiotic product, 63 percent of the sample showed improvements in hair count and thickness.

After four months, however, 54.3 percent of the patients showed improvements in both of the assessed parameters.

They said: “In total, 93 of all patients demonstrate beneficial effects in terms of the hair parameters that were assessed (thickness and hair count).”

The researchers hypothesised that by reducing cholesterol levels, probiotics may help boost blood flow to the scalp, thereby increasing hair growth.

It has previously been proposed that kimchi’s anti-inflammatory effects, as well as its vitamin C and iron content, could be responsible for increases in hair growth too.

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