Everybody wants to have a nice head of hair. After all, the hair is a symbol of physical strength and virility for men. As for women, healthy hair is a beacon of beauty and attractiveness.
While the hair is often attributed to a person’s appearance, it is more than just an emblem of good looks. Your locks, after all, are pseudo-sensory organs that can help protect your head. Your strands can also help regulate your body temperature by enabling perspiration to leave the body.
With that being said, your hair is your crowning glory. And for that reason, a lot of people panic when they see their locks shedding more and more by the day. Truly alarming, hair loss affects as much as 35 million men – and 21 million women – worldwide.
While several medications can help promote hair growth, they usually come with unpleasant side effects. This is one of the reasons why more and more people are looking for safer alternatives that can boost hair health.
Apart from vitamins and minerals, a popular natural choice has been probiotics. These live microorganisms, when consumed, can boost your health in many ways.
One of the more famous bacteria that may help with hair loss (among many other health concerns) is L. rhamnosus. It belongs to the genus Lactobacilli, a group of bacteria that can produce enzymes that help break down certain sugars.
What’s great about L. rhamnosus is that like most probiotics, it can withstand the extreme conditions in the body. Since it can handle the acidity of the stomach, it means it can thrive longer in the gut. Because of this, L. rhamnosus can bring about a bevy of health benefits for a longer time.
What can L. rhamnosus Do?
For one, L. rhamnosus can help boost digestive health. It may help relieve the symptoms of diarrhea and Irritable bowel syndrome. It can also keep infections of the teeth and urinary tract at bay.
It may also help reduce blood cholesterol levels, as well as improve insulin sensitivity in the body.
As has been mentioned, L. rhamnosus can bring about many health benefits in the body. As if the above-mentioned gains are not enough, L. rhamnosus may help promote hair growth as well.
Such a strong claim is seen in the study of Park and Lee. The researchers made use of study mice that were categorized into four groups. The normal group received saline (saltwater), while the negative control group received an essence base. Minoxidil, the traditional hair regrowth drug, was applied to the positive control group. Animal milk with L. rhamnosus, on the other hand, was given to the experimental group.
All groups were of similar body weight and were fed a similar diet. After 8 days of continuous application of the above-mentioned substances, mice from the experimental (L. Rhamnosus) group showed better hair re-growth compared to the other groups.
The same promising results were seen in a study conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The researchers fed study mice with yogurt, a food source rich in L. rhamnosus and other probiotics. After steady yogurt consumption, these mice showed a faster hair growth rate. More importantly, the hair they grew were stronger and less prone to breakage.
Microscopic analysis showed that 70% of the hairs of yogurt-fed mice were in the anagen phase or the active growth phase of hair. This is in comparison to the control group, which only had 30% of their hairs in the anagen phase.
Apart from promoting the growth of stronger locks, probiotics may help make the hair shinier as well. The acidic pH brought about by L. rhamnosus application can modify the hair cuticle - resulting in strands that look more lustrous. This has great implications for many women who see shiny hair as a symbol of peak health and fertility.
More Effects of L. rhamnosus on the Hair
Apart from exerting its effects directly on the hair strands, L. rhamnosus may promote hair health through several other mechanisms as well.
For one, it may help prevent inflammation, which may be a factor behind delayed hair growth and eventual hair loss.
It may also help strengthen your immunity, which is vital in fighting infections. A better immune system may save you from the possibility of autoimmune reactions such as alopecia, a well-known condition that can lead to hair loss.
Probiotics may also help regulate your hormones. This is especially important in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). This condition is caused by an increase in androgen, the male sex hormone responsible for hair loss. According to a study by Zhang et al, probiotics may help balance the hormones in PCOS, which in turn may lead to lesser hair loss.
What’s great about L. rhamnosus is that it can be consumed easily by eating fermented foods such as Kimchi, yogurt, sauerkraut, miso, and tempeh to name a few. Some supplements, on the other hand, are rich in L. rhamnosus (and other helpful probiotics.) With a healthy, probiotic-rich diet, you can achieve the strong, shiny strands that you have always wanted.