Cytokines are proteins associated with inflammation. If you follow my articles, you may know that I consider inflammation to be an extremely important cause of hair loss. A lot of research has shown links between inflammation and hair loss and there’s been some amazing progress treating alopecia areata using anti inflammatory and auto immune drugs like JAK inhibitors and PGD2 inhibitors like anti histamine medications. Even Voltarol gel (the common anti inflammatory gel) has been shown to make scalp hair grow back.
Certainly lots of research indicates that inflammation — and the various chemical processes associated with it — play a role in various types of hair loss.
I’ve seen several studies that have attempted to determine which topically applied chemicals can suppress cytokines. One such study discovered that salt-processed Phellodendron amurense suppressed cytokines:
treatment with CPE alleviated the clinical severity of the AD symptoms, with decreased numbers of mast cells, decreased expression levels of serum tumor necrosis factor (TNF)‑α, IL‑4 and IFN‑γ, and decreased expression levels of inflammatory cytokines
Reduce Scalp Interleukin-1
Interleukin-1 (IL-1) has been shown to significantly reduce hair growth:
Interleukin (IL)-1 has been shown to be a potent inhibitor of hair growth in vitro.
Via Science Direct
Interleukin-1 (IL-1) is a highly active pro-inflammatory cytokine that lowers pain thresholds and damages tissues.
In the study cited on PMC above, the researchers used anakinra, rilonacept and canakinumab to study how well they reduce IL-1. However these are prescription drugs and not generally available to buy. So we need to find agents that can reduce IL-1 and other cytokines in the scalp follicles.
EGCG reduces Interleukin-1
EGC is a polyphenol found in green tea and other plants. I’ve previously written about use of topical EGCG to reduce male pattern hair loss because it binds with androgen receptors, reducing the negative effect of DHT on the hair follicles.
According the research cited below EGCG is a potent anti-inflammatory, which inhibits IL-1:
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Stimulation with IL-1β enhanced the expression of 29 proteins. Expression of all 29 proteins up-regulated by IL-1β was found to be suppressed by EGCG
From all the studies I’ve seen, it seems EGCG is a good agent for combatting hair loss through anti-androgen, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory actions.
Here’s a really great article about interleukins and how to inhibit them:
What is Interleukin-1 (IL-1b)? Function & Inhibitors List
More to follow.