Vitamin C-Phosphate offers your hair protection from androgens

It's all very well, all those male hormones, but they are also responsible for hair loss. And androgens that your body produces itself are just as much to blame as the synthetic androgens that chemical athletes use.
Korean researchers say that a vitamin C analogue may help prevent androgenic hair loss.

The researchers, who work at the Kyungpook National University, did experiments with papilla cells from the skin of balding people. Papilla cells provide the nutrients that other cells in the hair follicles use to make hairs. Papilla cells play a key role in male baldness. They possess receptors for androgens and hair production stops if too many or too strong androgens attach themselves to the receptors.

The Koreans believe they know how this happens. They think that androgens activate the dickkopf-1 gene. [J Invest Dermatol. 2008 Feb; 128(2): 262-9.] This is the gene that's responsible for making the protein DKK-1. As a result, the papilla cells die and the hair-producing outer root sheath cells stop working. And then the hair falls out.

Ascorbic Acid 2-Phosphate

So could you stop this process by exposing papilla cells to vitamin C-phosphate, or, to use its chemical name, ascorbic acid 2-phosphate? [Structural formula shown above] This is what the Koreans wanted to find out.

The idea didn't just fall out of the sky. The Koreans had already demonstrated in test tubes that ascorbic acid 2-phosphate boosts hair growth. [J Dermatol Sci. 2006 Feb; 41(2): 150-2.] Papilla cells [DP] develop more quickly when given more ascorbic acid 2-phosphate. What's more, the vitamin also causes the production of the growth factor IGF-1 to increase in the cells.