Zinc and Alopecia Areata

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Alopecia areata is the second most common form of hair loss in men and women, affecting about 2% of the population. It is believed to be an autoimmune disease but its exact mechanism is not known neither are its triggers. In some people the bald spot grows back and no treatment is necessary and in some nothing seems to help.

One team of scientists have recently examined the serum levels of zinc, copper and magnesium as the lack of these three elements is often associated with hair loss. It was found out that the serum zinc levels were significantly decreased in alopecia areata patients whose disease was extensive, prolonged and resistant to any treatment, whereas serum copper and magnesium levels showed insignificant rise compared to controls. They concluded that copper and magnesium levels are not altered in alopecia areata patients, but the decreased zinc levels found in their study may merit further investigation of the relationship. Incidentally, zinc happens to be the most frequently found element used in hair growth boosting supplement pills so this may not be for no reason.

Further clinical studies enrolling a larger number of patients, using more sophisticated techniques and involving samples of blood, erythrocytes and hair would be needed to better understand the role of these trace elements in alopecia areata. Also, an exclusive treatment with zinc supplements could be tried in such patients to see the outcome.