More Pieces to the Vitamin D Puzzle

More Pieces to the Vitamin D Puzzle

At least once a day, I’m asked about the role of vitamin D in hair loss. Back in July, I wrote a blog article about the role of vitamin D in hair loss.   Vitamin D does its job inside cells by binding to the vitamin D receptor or VDR.

How important is vitamin D in helping prevent hair loss in humans?

Modern science still doesn’t have all the answers. But by turning to research in mice, we have learned a lot or valuable lessons.  About 10 years ago, we learned that hair loss develops in mice that lack the vitamin D receptor (VDR). Researchers in San Francisco recently discovered a molecule called MED1 which helps the action of the vitamin D receptor. In fact, the researchers found that if they blocked the actions of MED in mice those mice grew less hair. The research findings were recently discussed on the NBC today's show:

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These data suggest that defects in MED1 or defects in vitamin D signaling could potentially be involved in the development of certain types of hair loss – but more research is needed.


1. Vitamin D has an important role in hair growth – mice that lack the vitamin D receptor (VDR) develop hair loss and mice that lack an activator of the VDR (called MED) develop hair loss

2. It’s more complicated than simply taking more vitamin D pills. Don’t think for a minute that popping more vitamin D pills is going to lead to more hair growth.


Xie et al. Lack of the vitamin D receptor is associated with reduced epidermal differentiation and hair follicle growth. J Invest Dermatol 2002; 118: 11-6.

Oda Y et al. Coactivator MED1 Ablation in Keratinocytes Results in hair Cycling Defects and Epidermal Alterations. Journal of Investigative Dermatology 2012; 132: 1075-83

Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887

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