- Scientists have created an experimental drug that can reverse gray hair, balding and skin aging in a study on mice.
- The results reveal that a Western diet causes hair loss, hair whitening and skin inflammation in mice.
- Further research is required to prove the results can be replicated in humans.
A team of researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has developed an experimental drug to reverse damage in mice linked to a diet high in fat and cholesterol. The scientists used an experimental compound—called D-threo-1-phenyl-2-decanoylamino-3-morpholino-1-propanol (D-PDMP.
Published in the journal Scientific Reports, the paper is based on a previous study, suggesting fatty foods have an impact on the production of fats called glycosphingolipids (GLS), a group of lipids that make up the skin and other cell membranes.
Since GLS inhabit both the cells on the skin’s top layer and those that control the pigment of the skin, eyes and hair, the scientists tested if disrupting GLSs would have an effect on the skin and eyes.
The researchers genetically modified the lab mice to develop atherosclerosis, a condition in which fat deposits form in the arteries, Newsweek reported.
The mice were grouped into two—the first group was subjected to a Western diet high in fat and cholesterol while the controlled group was given untreated rat food from the age of 12 to 20 weeks.
The group who ate the Western developed skin lesions, their hair turn white and fall out. The longer the mice were subjected to the high-fat diet, the worse their symptoms became. By 9 months, seventy-five percent of the mice had skin lesions.
The study authors said that after taking the drug from 20 to 36 weeks of age, their skin and hair returned to normal.
“Our findings show that a Western diet causes hair loss, hair whitening and skin inflammation in mice,” Dr. Subroto Chatterjee said. “We believe a similar process occurs in men who lose hair and experience hair whitening when they eat a diet high in fat and cholesterol.”
Dr. Chatterjee is the co-author of the study and professor of pediatrics and medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
“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,” Chatterjee said.
Dr. Chatterjee recommends “to abstain and or minimize taking diets rich in high fat and cholesterol.”
Additional research is needed to prove the findings can be applied to humans.