Zinc supplementation reversed significant hair loss

Neve HJ, et al. Reversal of hair loss following vertical gastroplasty when treated with zinc sulphate. Obesity Surgery. 1996;6(1):63-65.


Background: Nutritional complications following surgery for morbid obesity include both vitamin and mineral deficiency. Severe cases of zinc deficiency can lead to alopecia, diarrhoea, emotional disorders, weight loss, intercurrent infection, bullous-pustular dermatitis and hypogonadism in males. Hair loss may occur after vertical gastroplasty (VG). Methods: Diffuse hair loss occurred in 47 out of 130 patients who underwent VG. All patients had been routinely advised to take a multivitamin supplement, but 47 developed hair loss despite taking the supplement. These patients were then prescribed Zinc Sulphate 200 mg three times a day. There was no alteration in the vitamin supplementation. Results: Arrest of hair loss and regrowth occurred in all patients. However, five patients reported recurrence of hair loss after stopping zinc. This loss was reversed within 6 months of recommencing zinc 600 mg daily. Ten control patients had no hair loss after gastrointestinal surgery. Conclusion: Significant hair loss occurred in about one-third of patients after VG, and was reversed by zinc supplementation.

Zinc supplementation significantly accelerates the re-growth of hair

Plonka PM, et al. Zinc as an ambivalent but potent modulator of murine hair growth in vivo – preliminary observations. Experimental Dermatology. 2005;14(11):844-853.


Abstract:  Oral zinc (Zn2+) is often employed for treating hair loss, even in the absence of zinc deficiency, although its mechanisms of action and efficacy are still obscure. In the current study, we explored the in vivo effects of oral zinc using the C57BL/6 mouse model for hair research. Specifically, we investigated whether continuous administration of high‐dose ZnSO4 × 7H2O (20 mg/ml) in drinking water affects hair follicle (HF) cycling, whether it retards or inhibits chemotherapy‐induced alopecia (CIA) and whether it modulates the subsequent hair re‐growth pattern. Here, we show that high doses of oral zinc significantly inhibit hair growth by retardation of anagen development. However, oral zinc also significantly retards and prolongs spontaneous, apoptosis‐driven HF regression (catagen). Oral zinc can also retard, but not prevent, the onset of CIA in mice. Interestingly, Zn2+ treatment of cyclophosphamide‐damaged HFs also significantly accelerates the re‐growth of normally pigmented hair shafts, which reflects a promotion of HF recovery. However, if given for a more extended time period, zinc actually retards hair re‐growth. Thus, high‐dose oral zinc is a powerful, yet ambivalent hair growth modulator in mice, whose ultimate effects on the HF greatly depend on the timing and duration of zinc administration. The current study also encourages one to explore whether oral zinc can mitigate chemotherapy‐induced hair loss in humans and/or can stimulate hair re‐growth.

Zinc supplementation increased hair growth in patients with alopecia

Park H, et al. The therapeutic effect and the changed serum zinc level after zinc supplementation in alopecia areata patients who had a low serum zinc level. Ann Dermatol. 2009;21(2):142-146.


It has been reported that some alopecia areata patients have zinc deficiency. There have also been several reports published concerning oral zinc sulfate therapy, with encouraging results, in some alopecia areata patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the therapeutic effects of oral zinc supplementation for twelve weeks in alopecia areata patients who had a low serum zinc level. Oral zinc gluconate (50 mg/T/day) supplementation was given to alopecia areata patients without any other treatment for twelve weeks. The serum zinc level was measured before and after zinc supplementation. A four-point scale of hair regrowth was used to evaluate the therapeutic effect of oral zinc supplementation in these patients. Fifteen alopecia areata patients were enrolled in this study. After the therapy, the serum zinc levels increased significantly from 56.9 microg/ to 84.5 microg/dl. Positive therapeutic effects were observed for 9 out of 15 patients (66.7%) although this was not statistically significant. The serum zinc levels of the positive response group increased more than those of the negative response group (p=0.003). Zinc supplementation needs to be given to the alopecia areata patients who have a low serum zinc level. We suggest that zinc supplementation could become an adjuvant therapy for the alopecia areata patients with a low serum zinc level and for whom the traditional therapeutic methods have been unsuccessful.

The Therapeutic Effect and the Changed… (PDF Download Available). Available from:

Low zinc or disturbances in zinc metabolism are associated with hair loss

Kil MS, et al. Analysis of serum zinc and copper concentrations in hair loss. Ann Dermatol. 2013;25(4):405-409.


Background: It is well known that some trace elements such as zinc and copper play a significant role in many forms of hair loss. However, the effect of zinc and copper in the pathogenesis of hair loss is still unknown.

Objective: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the zinc and copper status in each of four types of hair loss.

Methods: A study was carried out with 30 health controls and 312 patients who were diagnosed with alopecia areata (AA), male pattern hair loss, female pattern hair loss and telogen effluvium (TE) (2008 to 2011; Hallym University Kangdong Sacred Heart Hospital). Zinc and copper serum concentrations were evaluated between controls and each of four types of hair loss patients.

Results: In all of the hair loss patients, the mean serum zinc was 84.33±22.88, significantly lower than the control group (97.94±21.05 µg/dl) (p=0.002), whereas the serum copper was 96.44±22.62, which was not significantly different (p=0.975). The analysis of each group showed that all groups of hair loss had statistically lower zinc concentration, but not copper concentrations. However, the ratio of the patients with serum zinc concentration lower than 70 µg/dl was significantly high in only the AA group (odds ratio, OR 4.02; confidence interval, CI 1.13 to 14.31) and the TE group (OR 1.12; CI 1.12 to 17.68).

Conclusion: The data led to the hypothesis of zinc metabolism disturbances playing a key role in hair loss, especially AA and TE, whereas the effect of copper on hair growth and shedding cycles still needs more study.

Zinc supplementation significantly improved yellow nail syndrome

Arroyo JF, et al. Improvement of yellow nail syndrome with oral zinc supplementation. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology. 1993.


An unusual case of yellow nail syndrome (YNS) is reported. Total resolution of yellow nails and lymphoedema was observed following oral zinc supplementation for 2 years. A few years later, the patient developed a classical seropositive rheumatoid arthritis (RA). YNS, alone or associated with RA remains a rare clinical condition. The reported beneficial effects of zinc supplementation in YNS, as well as in several other pathological conditions, raise interest about the role of this trace element and its potential therapeutic implications and suggest further investigations are necessary.


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