Fatty and high cholesterol diets may lead to hair loss, hair whitening and skin inflammation. That’s depressing. But there may be an antidote.
In a series of experiments with mice, Johns Hopkins scientists used an experimental compound to successfully reverse hair loss, hair whitening and skin inflammation linked by previous studies to human diets heavy in fat and cholesterol.
The investigators said the compound halts the production of certain fats called glycosphingolipids, or GSLs, major components of skin and other cell membranes. Current research shows that mice fed a diet high in fat and cholesterol are more likely to have hair discoloration from black to gray to white, extensive hair loss and inflammation of skin exhibited by multiple wounds. Feeding these animals the compound, however, appears to reverse such symptoms.
The Hopkins team caution that such results in mice do not mean that the same effects would occur in people and there is no evidence at this time that the compounds they used would be safe in people. But the findings, they say, do shed light on possible pathways for addressing hair loss and skin wounds in humans with oral or topical medications.
A report on the findings was published July 30, 2018 in Scientific Reports.
“Further research is needed, but our findings show promise for someday using the drug we developed for skin diseases such as psoriasis, and wounds resulting from diabetes or plastic surgery,” says Subroto Chatterjee, Ph.D., M.S., M.Sc., professor of pediatrics and medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Chatterjee conducts research as part of Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.