How Does Metformin Affect Hair Health?

How Does Metformin Affect Hair Health?

Metformin (metformin hydrochloride) is a medication used alone or in combination with other medications, including insulin, to treat type 2 diabetes (condition in which the body does not use insulin normally and, therefore, cannot control the amount of blood sugar). Metformin is a class of medications called biguanides that help control the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Metformin decreases the amount of glucose that is absorbed from food and the amount of glucose that forms the liver, also increases the body’s response to insulin, a hormone responsible for increasing the uptake of glucose by the body’s cells. There have also been studies that suggest a link between hair loss and diabetes which we discuss in our blog. How does metformin affect hair health?

How Does Metformin Affect Hair Health?

There is little scientific evidence that signifies a direct action of metformin in male or female hair loss. However, some researches have reported isolated data on hair loss in people taking metformin. In one study a patient with type 2 diabetes mellitus who took metformin and sitagliptin (another drug used to normalize blood glucose levels), experienced hair loss in eyebrows and eyelashes. This was probably a side effect related to the medication, but it could not be proven. Many other medications have been seen to cause hair loss when used long term.

A study conducted in 2013 suggested that long-term use of metformin may cause a decrease in vitamin B-12 and folic acid. In the study, it was found that for every gram of daily consumption of metformin, the risk of presenting plasma vitamin B12 <150 pmol / L increased 2.88 times, regardless of sex, age, alcohol consumption, and other drugs.

Vitamin B-12, also known as cobalamin, is one of the vitamins that belong to the B complex. Several critical biological processes depend on vitamin B-12, such as cell metabolism, DNA replication and the formation of red blood cells. Most people get enough vitamin B-12 from their diet, although a certain group of people, such as those over 50, have a higher risk of developing a deficiency of this vitamin which can lead do a decrease in hair follicle density over time.

Many different parts of our body require vitamin B-12, including the liver, eyes, skin, and hair. A symptom of vitamin B-12 deficiency is hair loss, as the cells need to divide constantly to produce new hair, a process that requires the production of new DNA. Without enough vitamin B-12, hair grows slower or simply stops growing. Other symptoms associated with vitamin B-12 deficiency are hair loss, asthenia, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, weight loss.

If you are taking metformin and you are not getting enough vitamin B-12, hair loss can be caused by any of those conditions and not directly by metformin. Some foods that prevent the decrease of vitamin b12 during treatment with metformin are beef, fish, eggs, and milk.

Related Hair Loss Causes

It is possible that metformin is not the direct cause of hair loss, however, there are some associated factors that favor hair thinning, breaking or falling while taking metformin. This includes:

  • Hormones: Diabetes can cause problems in our production of hormones, affecting the hair growth cycle. This same reason is that which causes hair loss to pregnant women or those who entered menopause.
  • Stress: Your body may be stressed due to your medical condition (diabetes) and stress is a known cause of hair loss in both men and women. Changes in medication, which are common in diabetics, can alter the patient’s mood.
  • Hyperglycaemia: High blood sugar causes damage to the blood vessels by altering the nutrition of the hair follicle.

Natural remedies and other alternatives 

Metformin and hair loss remedies

Below are some simple steps you can take at home to avoid hair loss and prevent having to have Michigan FUE hair surgeryEat a healthy diet (low in fat and rich in fruits and vegetables). Nutrient deficiencies can increase hair loss. Lower your stress level. Reading, drawing, dancing or other hobbies that you enjoy can help reduce stress. Avoid using the hairdryer or hair straightener. If your hair loss is caused by an underlying health condition, check with your Michigan Hair doctor about the treatment of that specific problem. Avoid tight hairstyles such as ponytails or braids that can pull or tear your hair.

When to see a doctor                                 

If you notice that your hair is thinning, breaking or falling, talk to your Michigan FUE hair Transplant specialist. It could be a sign of an underlying condition. Make an appointment as soon as possible with your doctor if:

  • Your hair comes out fast without warning.
  • Your hair loss is sudden.
  • Your hair loss is causing stress.

Final Thoughts

Many drugs have hair loss as an adverse effect, generating stress in the patient. Metformin is not a known direct cause of hair loss such as smoking although it should still be considered. However, pathologies treated with metformin (type 2 diabetes mellitus and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) often present hair loss as a symptom. Therefore, hair loss can be caused by the underlying condition compared to the treatment.

Be sure to monitor your blood sugar, stress levels and other factors that can cause your hair to weaken. Your Michigan hair restoration doctor should be able to diagnose the cause of hair loss and establish an appropriate treatment. Contact SurgeonGate to request a consultation with hair transplant specialist or Michigan rhinoplasty surgeon and you will be placed in the hands of a leading professional.  

About Author: Luke Yaldo

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I founded SurgeonGate to help patients learn about cosmetic medicine and reach the most experienced and specialized surgeons in the state of Michigan. I hope that by reading our content, you can become a more confident patient and make informed decisions about your body. Thank you for working with us!

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