Q. Dear Terry, “I’m awaiting a few more tests, but it sounds like I will be starting chemotherapy next month. I’m really afraid of losing my hair. I know it’s silly to worry about, but are there any vitamins or herbs I can take before chemo to prevent the hair loss?” – Bethany Y., Sterling Heights, MI
A. Dear Bethany, I encourage you to keep your healthcare team in the loop with any supplementation you may be considering. With that being said, I think there are some supportive ingredients that can make a real difference.
Millet seed oil has been shown to be helpful for chemotherapy-induced hair loss. Millet seed oil contains a compound, called miliacin, which has been found to increase cell metabolism, stimulate cell proliferation, and tissue regeneration – exactly what you want for restoring healthy hair. In a clinical study, people with cancer were divided into groups receiving millet seed oil and chemotherapy, or chemotherapy alone. Those in the millet seed oil group saw significantly lower percentages of hair loss. The extract, given orally, was well tolerated in all patients – a challenge when chemotherapy is part of the treatment.
Additional support such as biotin and B vitamins (especially riboflavin, B6, folic acid, and pantothenic acid) are must-haves for healthy hair and skin. They play an important role in the synthesis of amino acids – the building blocks of hair. The two most critical sulphurated (sulfur-containing) amino acids for new hair growth are L-methionine and L-cysteine. They are essential for the formation of keratin and help promote new hair growth. Other supportive ingredients include silica, vitamin A, vitamin E, and zinc.
I would take all of these ingredients twice per day. Please be patient when it comes to new hair growth, as it takes time. If possible, stick with these ingredients for a minimum of three months and I think you will be happy with the results.
Additionally, a few of my favorite anti-cancer ingredients include: curcumin, boswellia, French grape seed extract, and andrographis. These powerful medicines can target cancer cells from many perspectives, while leaving healthy cells intact. The curcumin I prefer is enhanced with turmeric essential oil. I would take this curcumin once or twice per day. I would take French grape seed extract with low-molecular weight oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) that are well absorbed, once or twice per day. The boswellia extract I recommend is standardized to high levels of AKBA and virtually free of BBA. I would take boswellia once or twice per day. Lastly, you could consider andrographis that is standardized to the key compound, andrographolide, once or twice daily.
Terry . . . Naturally
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