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.
“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.