Minoxidil Could Have Heart and Brain Health Benefits

Since starting this blog, I have not made too many posts about Minoxidil and Finasteride. This despite the fact that these two drugs are, to date, the only two globally approved hair loss treatments (with the more powerful Dutasteride also approved in some Asian countries). Neither Minoxidil or Finasteride are anywhere close to being a hair loss cure.

While I have benefitted from both Minoxidil and Finasteride, I have not been impressed with either insofar as regrowing my lost hair goes. Minoxidil (via Rogaine foam) does make my hair look thicker and more manageable almost immediately after application, but I do not use it very often.

Minoxidil’s Heart and Brain Health Benefits

Oral Minoxidil was originally approved as an antihypertensive blood pressure treatment in 1979. However, scientists noticed a side effect of increased hair growth and approved topical Minoxidil to treat hair loss in 1988. There are number of theories on how Minoxidil works to grow hair. Most likely, it is via a combination of pathways and mechanisms.

Since oral Minoxidil reduces high blood pressure, one would think that it benefits heart health. High blood pressure can increase the chances of getting strokes (in the brain) and heart attacks. In March of this year, a new study concluded that Minoxidil may make stiff arteries and blood vessels significantly more flexible, thereby benefitting heart health and lowering blood pressure. Moreover, Minoxidil may also improve blood flow to key organs, including the brain.

The above findings were widely covered by the media, as seen in some of the links at the bottom of this page.  According to one of the co-authors of the study, Dr. Michael Shoykhet:

“Equally important, these beneficial changes persisted weeks after the drug was no longer in the bloodstream. The sustained improvements and the increased elastin gene expression suggest that minoxidil treatment may help remodel stiff arteries.”

Of related interest, men who suffer from male pattern baldness (aka androgenetic alopecia) tend to also have higher rates of heart disease.

Note that some people who take Minoxidil complain of chest pain and heart palpitations as side effects. Nothing is ever straightforward when you ingest a foreign drug:-(

Edit: Right after I published this article, I read an interesting new article: Fitbit’s massive user data related accumulated findings regarding resting heart rate and health implications.

24 thoughts on “Minoxidil Could Have Heart and Brain Health Benefits”

    1. Thanks:-) … although sometimes I do write uninteresting stuff on purpose for various reasons that I can’t elaborate in a short paragraph.

  1. Does anyone know a reliable online pharmacy where I can buy oral minoxidil without a prescription? I have used this for over 10 years without issue (100 mg/week) but my source from the U.K. has been shut down. I reside in the USA.

    Or, is there a Dr. in the USA that will prescribe this item to hair loss sufferers?

  2. Hey Admin,

    Did you know August is National Hair Loss Awareness Month? Little late I know, much like my own hair loss awareness, I only realized once it was almost all gone—the kicker is that we’re the only condition that shares a month. April is Rosacea, October is Eczema, August is Psoriasis—oh—and also hair loss awareness. *sarcasm alert* —> Thanks for the support AAD… and all them fine transplant doctors taking the month to remind us: “hairloss is a choice” mmmhmmm.

    1. Funny you asked, as last week a hair loss product seller asked me to help promote their product during hair loss awareness month! I did not take up the offer, but now I know something important :-)

  3. According to the official press release, Follicum aims to announce the results of this phase 2a trial in Autumn 2018. That’s soon. The company is also planning to initiate a phase 2b trial including both men and women with the new topical formulation of FOL-005 in the near future.

  4. You’ve had a GREAT Blog over the years ADMIN. I really hope the 2020 date holds. But nice you have given hope to many people.

    I still have my fingers crossed for Aclaris JAK. But I will use anything that is proven to work – come on Something.


  5. I used topical Rogaine for 9 years and had to stop for high palpitations. Scary and had huge shedding afterward, but better balding than dead.

  6. Sorry to take this off topic but the follicum phase 2a were injections. Were these injections to the scalp or the leg again? If it wasn’t on the scalp then 2a won’t mean much except for safety and side effect monitoring….can someone let me know where the injections were ?

  7. MJones, From their website: “The study evaluates 5 different doses (including placebo) where two different doses are applied on two separate areas of the scalp for each person. The duration of treatment for each individual patient has been three months and the patients have been treated three times per week.” Data from this study is expected to be available for presentation before end of 2018. The next phase 2b will be with a topical formulation.

  8. side effects of minoxidil (Loniten)

    swelling in your legs, ankles, or feet;
    rapid weight gain, especially in your face and midsection;
    shortness of breath;
    a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
    fluid build-up in the lungs–pain when you breathe, feeling short of breath while lying down, wheezing, gasping for breath, cough with foamy mucus; or
    severe skin reaction–fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.
    Common side effects may include:

    changes in color, length, or thickness of body or facial hair;
    nausea, vomiting;
    rash; or
    breast pain or tenderness.


    1. With so many possible side effects, I would not take this even if I was completely bald and this was a full reversal cure.

    2. as the article says, this list applies mainly to oral minoxidil, which is used as an powerful medication to reduce blood pressure.
      When using it topically as hairloss treatment, these side effects should be very unlikely. the key is to avoid systemic absorption, so adhere to maximum daily dosages, and don’t use minoxidil immediately after dermarolling.

  9. Delmar, please quit being so rational and logical. Get on the fear mongering hype train! Everything will cause sides to everyone who uses it. Except me I guess, I’ve been using topical minox for almost 30 years, high strength compounded 15% plus for almost 20. Have never had any of the sides that are being propagated above.

  10. @Yoda. Going by your logic; if you personally haven’t suffered any side effects to a medication, it therefore is ‘impossible’ for anybody else to either?!
    For example: I’m not allergic to peanuts, but I have a friend who is. So if she accidentally eats one and then goes into anaphylactic shock, should I just throw away her EpiPen and tell her to go climb aboard ‘The Fear Monger Hype Train?’
    Given my experience with finasteride two years ago, I definitely approach any new medication with caution. I wish I’d researched a medication that blocks hormones more thoroughly.
    I am aware however, that most guys tolerate finasteride well. I have a couple of friends who use it with no problems whatsoever. They’re both perplexed that I continue to do so!
    In regards to Minoxidil-oral or topical, I have no experience with that drug. If it has severe side effects, I couldn’t say either way?
    But I would never discredit those who claim they do.
    If there is any doubt about drugs with serious side effects, check out Vioxx for example. It was eventually pulled off the market by Merck. )As we all know, the very same manufacturer of Propecia)
    To sum up. The last thing I want here is yet another toxic war of words on a hairloss blog! All I’m saying is have an open mind perhaps?

  11. I took some LSD to see if it would help with my hair loss. I can’t tell if it has worked because there is a dragon guarding the mirror :-)

  12. Hello Admin.
    I’m on wk2 of Rogaine for women. I’ve experienced eye pain in left eye, area closest to the cheek. Lasts almost all day. I thought it was my allergies but now I’m taking a closer notice. Does it ever go away while using it?
    Also, could the improved blood flow reduce swollen fingers (inflammation)? I believe I’m experiencing thinner hands, fingers.
    Appreciate you response. LolaTX.

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