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Rob (PHH)

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Metformin is one of the most prescribed drugs in the world, with 90+ million prescriptions in the U.S. and 20+ million in the UK. Metformin is a drug that helps to improve insulin sensitivity, and is also used as an off-label treatment for polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), when insulin sensitivity is a suspected contributor to the condition. In the last few years, some research has indicated that metformin might help to treat certain hair loss disorders.

Key insights:

  • Several in vitro (in cells) and in vivo (in animal) studies suggest that metformin may improve hair growth through increasing autophagy in hair follicle cells (i.e. the efficiency of clearing “cellular debris”), by enhancing hair follicle cell growth, and by normalizing insulin sensitivity, thereby reducing excessive androgen exposure in hair follicle sites.
  • There is little-to-no clinical data on metformin for hair loss, with just one case study that showed that 10% metformin applied topically improved two cases of scarring alopecia.
  • Our experience tracking members: by itself, metformin alone is not enough to improve hair loss outcomes.
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