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Zinc supplement reverses hair loss in patients following weight loss surgery
Monday, June 14, 2004 9:30 am Email this article
Large doses of zinc reversed hair loss in patients who lost their hair following the weight loss surgery called vertical gastroplasty according to a recent study published in the journal Obestiy Surgery.
200 MG OF ZINC SULPHATE 3 TIMES PER DAY
The dose used was 200 mg of Zinc Sulphate taken three times per day for a total of 600 mg per day.
ONE-THIRD OF PATIENTS EXPERIENCED HAIR LOSS
Hair loss occurred in one-third of patients who underwent the surgery, 47 out of 130 in this study.
Hair loss occurred despite all patients having been advised to take a multivitamin supplement.
ZINC STOPPED THE HAIR LOSS IN ALL PATIENTS
The zinc supplement stopped hair loss and caused hair regrowth in all patients.
HAIR LOSS RECURRED WHEN ZINC WAS STOPPED
Five patients reported their hair started falling out again when they stopped taking the zinc.
ZINC DEFICIENCY OCCURS RAPIDLY
“There appears to be little zinc available as a stored reserve. Consequently, when adaptation to intake fails, deficiency occurs rapidly,” according to the book “Present Knowledge in Nutrition” (1996, p. 296, col. 1, bottom).
This is also true of copper.
HAVE ANY WEIGHT LOSS DOCTOR’S TRIED ZINC FOR HAIR LOSS?
Hair loss is a problem for some people that lose weight. Have any weight loss doctors, who use diet or drugs to help people lose weight, tried zinc to reverse hair loss?
If any doctors try it—perhaps 50 mg of zinc per day—please let me know. Thanks.
CAUTION: NEVER TAKE LARGE DOSES OF ZINC ON YOUR OWN
Caution: The 600 mg per day used in the study is a huge dose of zinc.
NEVER take this much zinc on your own unless your doctor tells you to do so, and you are being monitored by a doctor.
The only reason that these patients were able to take this much without experiencing zinc toxicity is because weight loss surgery reduces the absorption of zinc.
It would be interesting to know if they tried lower doses first. The paper does not say.
CAUTION: RDA FOR ZINC IS ONLY 12-15 MG PER DAY
The recommended daily allowance of zinc is 12 mg per day for women, and 15 mg per day for men.
SOME DOCTORS RECOMMEND UP TO 60-90 MG ZINC PER DAY WITH 3-4 MG OF COPPER
Some nutritional doctors (for example, Jonathan Wright, M.D., who I have a lot of respect for) recommend up to 30 mg of zinc two or three times per day for a total of 60-90 mg per day balanced with 3-4 mg of copper for certain conditions. (Wright and Gaby, The Patient’s Book of Natural Healing, p. 95)
CAUTION: SIGNS OF ZINC TOXICITY
Signs of acute zinc toxicity include gastrointestinal upset, dizziness, and nausea according to the book “Present Knowledge in Nutrition” (1996, p. 301, col. 2, bottom).
Taking more than 150 mg can cause vomiting (“Present Knowledge in Nutrition”, 1996, p. 301, col. 2, bottom).
Large doses of zinc given intravenously have caused death (“Present Knowledge in Nutrition”, 1996, p. 301, col. 2, bottom).
Doses of 300 mg of zinc per day zinc can decrease immune function, and decrease levels of “good” HDL cholesterol (“Present Knowledge in Nutrition”, 1996, p. 301, col. 2, bottom).
CAUTION: LARGE DOSES OF ZINC MAY INCREASE THE RISK OF ALZHEIMERS (MAY BE REVERSED BY COPPER)
High concentrations of zinc in the body may contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease according to “Present Knowledge in Nutrition” (1996, p. 302, col. 1, bottom). Research suggests that zinc may increase formations in the brain called amyloid beta which is associated with Alzheimer’s.
However, I believe this may be due to a zinc-induced copper deficiency.
Two new studies done on mice breed to get Alzheimer’s Disease have found that copper supplements appear to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and increase life span (Senior, 2004).
Previous research suggests that free copper, also called environmental copper, may be harmful to the brain.
David Westway, one of the researcher, seemed surprised saying “although previous… studies implied a [damaging] effect of copper…, the two new studies produced no evidence whatsoever to support the idea that copper facilitates [Alzheimer’s] plaque formation. On the contrary, he continues, copper had either no significant effect… or a [protective] effect.”
I am not surprised by the finding. Several years ago when my joints were aching, I read about 500 pages of copper research.
The copper researchers were emphatic about distinguishing between free copper or environmental copper and copper complexes such as those found in copper supplements.
They basically said something to the effect, “Do not confuse free copper with copper complexes. They are not the same. While there is a lot of research showing that free copper can cause problems, copper complexes, such as those found in supplements have numerous benefits.”
Several years ago, I experienced a sudden onset of joint pain in my hips and knees about a week after I increased my zinc intake from 30 mg per day to 80 mg per day without increasing my copper intake.
My joint pain went away over a period of 3-6 months, as well as elimination of numerous other aches and pains (tired feet, sore Achilles tendon, sore calf muscles, sore back, twinge in my neck, tennis elbow all went away) when I decreased my zinc intake and increased my copper intake from 2 mg per day to 6 mg of copper gluconate per day.
Neve H, Bhatti W, Soulsby C, Kincey J, Taylor T. Reversal of hair loss following vertical gastroplasty when treated with zinc sulphate. Obes Surg. 1996 Feb, 6(1):63-65.
Ziegler EE, Filer LJ. Present Knowledge in Nutrition : 7th Edition. Washington, D.C: ILSI Press, International Life Sciences Institute, 1996.
Senior K. Copper may have a positive effect on alzheimer’s disease. Lancet Neurol. 2004 Jan, 3(1):8.
Wright JV, Gaby A. The Patient’s Book of Natural Healing. Rocklin, CA: Prima Health, 1999.
Articles on the same subject can be found here:
On Nov 08, 2004 at 2:50 pm DrJ wrote:
. . . . .
I would bet they are not actually saying that patients took 200mg of elemental zinc, but are rather reporting total milligrams of the complex zinc sulfate. This would be approximately equivalent to 40 mg of elemental zinc (220mg ZnSO4 = 50mg elemental zinc). This sis still really high levels of zinc and I would not recommend it. In the AREDS study for macular degeneration patients taking 80mg of zinc reported 7% incidence of hospitalization for renal problems. Not good. Should be balanced with copper. I never give over 40mg/day. Interesting study, though. Most literature give a much stronger correlation between iron deficiency and hair loss. I would be curious what the actual zinc status of the patients was.
On Nov 08, 2004 at 3:02 pm Larry Hobbs wrote:
. . . . .
I imagine you are correct about the dose.
Thanks for the information about renal problems in 7 percent of patients taking 80 mg of zinc for macular degeneration. I was not aware of this.
I agree it should be balanced with copper.
Leslie Klevay, M.D. from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has written a number of excellent papers about copper deficiency and how it might be the underlying cause of heart disease.
I reviewed his latest paper at:
Thank you for the information about iron deficiency and hair loss also. I was not aware of this either.
I do not have a copy of the paper about zinc and hair loss, so I do not know the zinc status of the patients.
Thanks for you input.
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