Home Nutrition for Healthy Hair Hair Care Enzymes
An enzyme is a protein that catalyzes or speeds up a chemical reaction. They govern various bodily functions and also control hair growth. Differences in the level of enzymes and hormones can cause imbalance in the biological process of hair growth. In men, the male hormone testosterone governs beard, body hair and hair in the armpits. In women, estrogen, the female hormone, prevents hair growth on the chin and encourages it to grow on the head. Occasionally, women develop signs of hair loss or baldness when estrogen levels drop. Rapid hair growth and stunted hair growth are both the results of hormonal imbalance.
- Androgens indirectly control hair growth by influencing the synthesis and release of cytokines.
- Melatonin the sleep hormone is useful for improving the quality of life
- The proteolytic enzyme bromelain breaks down protein. It is directly related to hair growth and is still used today as a natural meat tenderizer. Bromelain supplements are now an integral constituent of many of the natural hair care products. It has been approved by most of the hair care product recommendations.
- DHEA (DiHydroEpiAndrosterone): It is an anti-aging treatment for humans. It is a very potent hormone. If taken improperly, it can cause increased facial hair, weight gain, a deepening of the voice and hair loss in women, while in men, it can cause high blood pressure, sexual aggressiveness and male pattern baldness.
- DHEA can be converted to testosterone under certain circumstances in the body which leads to the formation of dihydrotestosterone, the hormone that causes pattern baldness. So, it is important to get DHEA levels tested before using the hormone.
The Role of Some Enzymes in Male/Female Hair Growth
- Phenol-oxydase responsible for production of melanocytes.
- Basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) stimulate the growth of cells in the dermal papilla, which is the chief center of hair cell differentiation and growth promotion.
- Stromelysin acts on the papilla cells and accelerates their growth. Another cytokine, transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β), inhibits mitogen-induced dermal papilla cell proliferation.
- Dermal papilla cells also produce numerous cytokines and influence proliferation of hair matrix cells. Some of these matrix cells stimulate growth and some inhibit. For example Interleukin 1 alpha (IL-1α) inhibits growth of hair.
- Insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) accelerates growth of hair and hair follicles. The actions of IGF-I are modulated by proteins produced in dermal papilla cells which bind IGF. It has been observed that body hair in patients with hyperinsulinism has a male distribution pattern. On the other hand, growth hormone (somatotropin) has no direct influence on follicle and male/female hair growth.
- Androgens have diverse effects on human hair that vary in different regions of body. The hair growth effects vary from essentially nonexistent, weak, moderate, or strong. Androgens bind to receptors both in the cytoplasm and nuclei of dermal papilla cells in anagen and telogen phase.
- There are so many factors that affect the number and activity of androgen receptors in dermal papilla cells. Retinoic acid reduces the number of androgen receptors by 30-40%.
- Among others, dermal papilla cells are most affected by 5- α-dihydrotestosterone. It is synthesized under catalytic action of the enzyme 5- α-reductase. This is an isoenzyme and exists in two forms - type I and type II.
Growth of androgen-dependent hairs are influenced in several ways by:
(a) decreasing androgen production,
(b) blocking testosterone transformation to 5- α-DHT,
(c) blocking androgen receptors.