Shiseido and Adenosine

While doing all the research on Shiseido and Replicel in recent months, I came across something interesting in the May 30, 2013 partnership announcement document on Shiseido’s website. Towards the end of that document, is the following paragraph:

“We released “Medicated Flowline” in 1982 and “Medicated Adenogen” with a biogenic substance “adenosine” in 2005, and “THE HAIR CARE ADENOVITAL SCALP ESSENCE” became a huge hit in the entire Asian region, recording the sales of over 1 million bottles in 1.5 years after the release in February of 2011.”

This was interesting to me because I do not remember ever hearing much about Adenosine or this Adenovital Scalp Essence product here in the US.  More on the products’s 2011 release in Asia.

After doing some online research, I came across a few forum threads on Adenosine from the mid-2000s, but not too much thereafter. Initially, there were expectations that Adenosine based products would be even better than Minoxidil when it came to hair regrowth. Both products were also thought to share some similar characteristics insofar as the mechanism with which they worked. Of course we are even today continuing to learn how Minoxidil works so these were largely hypotheses.

Adenosine and Hair Growth Related Studies

— A 2001 study found that the positive effect of Minoxidil on hair is mediated by adenosine.

— For the female readers of this blog, a Japanese study from 2008 found Adenosine to improve hair growth and thickness in women.

— A South Korean study from 2011 found that Adenosine:

“promoted the expression of several growth factors that are responsible for hair growth, including fibroblast growth factors (FGF)-7, (FGF)-2, insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).”

— A 2013 study from Iran (also see full study — thanks to commentators “Ben” and “Toby”) concluded that:

“Topical application of a solution with 0.75% adenosine had the same effects to minoxidil 5% in the regulation of hair growth cycle and recovery of hair loss.  According to the patient satisfaction rate, adenosine was superior to minoxidil in the treatment of AGA because it could prevent hair loss faster and stimulate hair growth more desirably.”

— More recently, a 2015 study from Japan concluded that “topical adenosine increases the proportion of thick hair in Caucasian men with androgenetic alopecia.

I wonder why we did not hear more on a product that sold over 1 million bottles in Asia in one and a half years after being introduced in 2011?  My guess is that the results did not prove comparable to the results from Minoxidil.  It is nevertheless still encouraging to read about Shiseido’s lengthy history in hair loss related research and product development prior to the advent of its 2013 partnership with Replicel.

Shiseido also has a hair loss and hair care book on its website.  Some interesting technical information in there, but mostly fluff.

18 thoughts on “Shiseido and Adenosine”

  1. From the abstract it appears that satisfaction was greater for Adenosine (isn’t that part of ATP >_>) due to a faster cessation of hairloss, but its long-term usage was not superior to minoxidil. Meaning, same results, but faster. That’s what I got from it anyway.

  2. Believe me, the literature itself is all over the place in regards to precise grammar. However, to summarize the effectiveness of adenosine and minoxidil are quite similar (according to statistical analysis). But in the paper it shows a synergistic formula which was more effective across the board than the two by themselves. I will try to embed the pdf if possible on here shortly.

    1. Don’t see why not as the two products probably have significantly different impacts, and I would be surprised if they cancelled each other out in any way. I would trust Minoxidil more than Adenosine if you end up going with just one.

  3. Just wanted to briefly mention that the article ( cited in this blog entry is available online.
    Actually, many articles that are usually restricted to open access can often be found to download on google scholar right next to the title. See example here:

  4. That article that Admin reviewed in the Update and Ben hyperlinked was published in a very obscure local journal in Croatia. I can’t even get the full PDF to evaluate study design and conclusion. Suspect it will not add anything reliable to this topic:
    Acta Dermatovenerol Croat. 2013;21(3):155-9.
    Seems that minoxidil has been suggested to work by inducing adenosine release from dermal papilla cells, which then binds to receptors on the same cells to increase VEGF secretion. If Adenovital is showing lackluster results, maybe it’s no better than minoxidil because it doesn’t matter whether you use minoxidil or adenosine.

  5. Again to my point about minoxidil’s mechanism of action involving release of adenosine, this supports Admin’s suspicion that Adenovital kind of fizzed out because it was no better than minoxidil. Why should it be any better?

  6. Do you know if this product works at all like minox in the sense if you stop using it your hair loss will increase more than before use?

  7. I been using Adenosine mixed into minox for some time now. Over two years. Seems to make the minox work it’s magic better. I add 100mg to every 10ml of solution.

    1. Thanks for a personnal update Addicted. I just received 2 Adenosine bottle. Might restart the use of minox with it. Hope i’ll get the same magic !

  8. Please correct me if I’m wrong but apparently Shiseido have released two successors of adenovital scalp essence product since this article has been posted.

    They are:

    1. Shiseido Adenovital Vital Scalp Essence V 180ml
    2. Shiseido Adenovital Advanced Scalp Essence 180ml

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