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      Comparative evaluation between two nutritional supplements in the improvement of telogen effluvium

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          Telogen effluvium (TE) is defined as a diffuse hair loss characterized by shortening of the anagen phase and precipitation of the telogen phase, with a consequent reduction of total hair volume. Nutritional supplementation is indicated under conditions in which TE is related to dietary disorders. The aim of this clinical study was to compare the efficacy of two different supplements in monotherapy for TE.

          Patients and methods

          Female adult patients were randomized to receive two oral nutritional supplements (group 1: a supplement composed of zinc, biotin, iron, vitamins A, C, E, and B complex, folic acid, magnesium, and amino acids of keratin and collagen and group 2: calcium pantothenate cystine, thiamine nitrate, medicinal yeast, keratin, and aminobenzoic acid) to treat hair loss for 180 days. They were evaluated clinically and by digital trichoscopy.


          Clinical evaluation showed significant clinical improvement ( P<0.05) for the evaluated parameters: hair loss, hair volume, density of hair (scalp cover), hair shine, hair strength, in 180 days. At 90 days evaluation, group 1 showed significant improvement for all parameters, while group 2 did not show any significant improvement for hair shine and hair strength. In the digital trichoscopy, there was a significant improvement only in group 1 (11.09%×7.76%) after 180 days.


          In idiopathic TE, the nutritional component should be suspected; the supplementation of an association of nutrients in recommended daily intake can lead to significant improvement of the condition from the first trimester of use. The use of an association with proven efficacy and a safety profile and posologic convenience facilitate its indication and patient adherence.

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          Most cited references 22

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          Nutritional factors and hair loss.

           D Rushton (2002)
          The literature reveals what little is known about nutritional factors and hair loss. What we do know emanates from studies in protein-energy malnutrition, starvation, and eating disorders. In otherwise healthy individuals, nutritional factors appear to play a role in subjects with persistent increased hair shedding. Hård, 40 years ago, demonstrated the importance of iron supplements in nonanaemic, iron-deficient women with hair loss. Serum ferritin concentrations provide a good assessment of an individual's iron status. Rushton et al. first published data showing that serum ferritin concentrations were a factor in female hair loss and, 10 years later, Kantor et al. confirmed this association. What level of serum ferritin to employ in subjects with increased hair shedding is yet to be definitively established but 70 micro g/L, with a normal erythrocyte sedimentation rate (< 10 mm/h), is recommended. The role of the essential amino acid, l-lysine in hair loss also appears to be important. Double-blind data confirmed the findings of an open study in women with increased hair shedding, where a significant proportion responded to l-lysine and iron therapy. There is no evidence to support the popular view that low serum zinc concentrations cause hair loss. Excessive intakes of nutritional supplements may actually cause hair loss and are not recommended in the absence of a proven deficiency. While nutritional factors affect the hair directly, one should not forget that they also affect the skin. In the management of subjects with hair loss, eliminating scaling problems is important as is good hair care advice and the need to explain fully the hair cycle. Many individuals reduced their shampooing frequency due to fear of losing more hair but this increases the amount seen in subsequent shampoos fuelling their fear of going bald and adversely affecting their quality of life.
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            The diagnosis and treatment of iron deficiency and its potential relationship to hair loss.

            Iron deficiency is the world's most common nutritional deficiency and is associated with developmental delay, impaired behavior, diminished intellectual performance, and decreased resistance to infection. In premenopausal women, the most common causes of iron deficiency anemia are menstrual blood loss and pregnancy. In men and postmenopausal women, the most common causes of iron deficiency anemia are gastrointestinal blood loss and malabsorption. Hemoglobin concentration can be used to screen for iron deficiency, whereas serum ferritin concentration can be used to confirm iron deficiency. However, the serum ferritin concentration may be elevated in patients with infectious, inflammatory, and neoplastic conditions. Other tests may be needed, such as erythrocyte zinc protoporphyrin concentration, transferrin concentration, serum iron concentration, and transferrin saturation. The cause of iron deficiency must be identified. If the patient is male, postmenopausal female, or has risk factors for blood loss, then the patient should be evaluated for sources of blood loss, especially gastrointestinal (eg, colon cancer). Several studies have examined the relationship between iron deficiency and hair loss. Almost all have addressed women exclusively and have focused on noncicatricial hair loss. Some suggest that iron deficiency may be related to alopecia areata, androgenetic alopecia, telogen effluvium, and diffuse hair loss, while others do not. Currently, there is insufficient evidence to recommend universal screening for iron deficiency in patients with hair loss. In addition, there is insufficient evidence to recommend giving iron supplementation therapy to patients with hair loss and iron deficiency in the absence of iron deficiency anemia. The decision to do either should be based on clinical judgment. It is our practice at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation to screen male and female patients with both cicatricial and noncicatricial hair loss for iron deficiency. Although this practice is not evidence based per se, we believe that treatment for hair loss is enhanced when iron deficiency, with or without anemia, is treated. Iron deficiency anemia should be treated. Treating iron deficiency without anemia is controversial. Treatment of nutritional iron deficiency anemia includes adequate dietary intake and oral iron supplementation. Excessive iron supplementation can cause iron overload and should be avoided, especially in high-risk patients such as those with hereditary hemochromatosis. Patients who do not respond to iron replacement therapy should undergo additional testing to identify other underlying causes of iron deficiency anemia.
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              Chronic telogen effluvium: increased scalp hair shedding in middle-aged women.

              Diffuse loss of scalp hair is a common problem in middle-aged women. A segment of these cases represents idiopathic chronic telogen effluvium (CTE). The purpose was to establish distinctive clinical and pathologic criteria for the diagnosis of CTE to facilitate its differentiation from androgenetic alopecia (AGA) and systemic causes of chronic diffuse hair loss. A group of 355 patients (346 females, 9 males) with diffuse generalized thinning of scalp hair of unknown origin were classified as having CTE and were included in the study. Characteristically they presented with a history of hair loss with both increased shedding and thinning of abrupt onset and fluctuating course and showed diffuse thinning of hair all over the scalp, frequently accompanied by bitemporal recession. Two 4 mm punch biopsy specimens were taken mostly from the mid or posterior parietal scalp of these patients. The biopsies were performed at these same areas in 412 patients with AGA (193 male, 219 female). Similar paired biopsy specimens were also taken from 22 normal control subjects (13 males, nine females). Specimens were sectioned horizontally and vertically and were examined for terminal and velluslike (miniaturized) hairs, follicular stelae, follicular units, and perifollicular inflammation and fibrosis. In horizontal sections of 4 mm punch biopsy specimens from patients with CTE the average number of hairs was 39, the terminal/velluslike hair ratio was 9:1, 89% of the terminal hairs were in anagen, and 11% were in telogen. In AGA these values were 35, 1.9:1, 83.2%, and 16.8%, respectively, and in normal control subjects 40, 7:1, 93.5%, and 6.5%, respectively. Significant degrees of inflammation and fibrosis were present in only 10% to 12% of cases of CTE and normal controls, but occurred in 37% of cases of AGA. CTE ran a prolonged and fluctuating course in many patients. CTE, which usually affects 30- to 60-year-old women, starts abruptly with or without a recognizable initiating factor. It may be distinguished from classic acute telogen effluvium by its long fluctuating course and from AGA by its clinical and histologic findings.

                Author and article information

                Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol
                Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol
                Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology
                Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology
                Dove Medical Press
                10 September 2018
                : 11
                : 431-436
                [1 ]MEDCIN Research, Osasco, Brazil, flavia.addor@
                [2 ]Clinical Research, Farmoquímica S.A, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Flavia Alvim Sant’Anna Addor, 178th Attilio Delanina St. Osasco, São Paulo, Brasil 6023-010, Email flavia.addor@
                © 2018 Sant’Anna Addor et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research


                hair loss, trichoscopy, supplementation, telogen effluvium


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