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Women who lose their hair tend to be the same women who have to deal with polycystic ovarian disease (PCOS), type 2 diabetes, and/or menstrual irregularities at an early age. All of these conditions tend to make the ovaries overactive, producing both estrogen that aggravates endometriosis and breast cysts and testosterone that cause aggressive behavior, acne, and loss of hair.
Vitamin B6, in a few cases, is a complete cure for patchy hair loss in women. Recent research published in Polish found that giving 100 mg of B6 per day, by injection, for up 30 days, resulted in hair regrowth. Whether taking 100 mg of B6 per day orally for 30 days would have the same effects is not an idea for which there is a scientific basis, but the supplement is inexpensive, and this dosage is not likely to cause any kind of side effect(more about vitamin B6 dosage).
The effects of vitamin B6, whether taken by mouth as a nutritional supplement or as an injection at the doctor's office, are likely to be greatest for women who take the oral contraceptive Yaz. This contraceptive is used in women who have PMDD, premenstrual dysphoric disorder or who have heavy menstrual bleeding. The advantage of the formulation of Yaz is that it does not provide hormones that are turned into testosterone.
Many women who take Yaz already have testosterone levels that are too high. However, by depleting vitamin B6(read more about vitamin B6 deficiency symptoms), the pill also makes it harder for a woman's body to deal with the effects of testosterone, such as hair loss, that is already in excess. There are also anecdotal reports that taking B6 can help bring color back to prematurely gray hair.
What else may help?
Sometimes the best remedy for hair loss in PCOS, and also for hair loss that occurs in men before the age of 25, is treating insulin resistance. Nothing reduces insulin resistance better, not any drug, not any supplement, than calorie restriction. Including fruits and vegetables reduces insulin resistance, but it's also necessary to reduce both carbohydrates and fats, and to take special care not to eat large quantities of both carbohydrates and fats at the same meal.
When supplemental B6 and even medical treatments for any kind of hormone-related hair loss in women and premature baldness in men don't work, try treating insulin resistance by conscientiously eating less. With the right supplements and the right medications, if needed, eating less food may enable both men and women to grow more hair. Early intervention results in less permanent hair loss.
Brzezinska-Wcisko L. Evaluation of vitamin B6 and calcium pantothenate effectiveness on hair growth from clinical and trichographic aspects for treatment of diffuse alopecia in women. (Article in Polish) Wiad Lek. 2001;54(1-2):11-8. Polish.
Prasad AS, Oberleas D, Moghissi KS, Stryker JC, Lei KY.
Effect of oral contraceptive agents on nutrients: II. Vitamins. Am J Clin Nutr. 1975 Apr;28(4):385-91.