In a previous blog article, we shared how various types of medications can be hair loss causes. Those medications include antibiotics, birth control pills, acne medications and blood pressure medications. Another class of medications that can cause hair loss is amphetamines.
An amphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant used to treat disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), sleep disorders such as narcolepsy and obesity. Research has also shown that amphetamines have performance enhancing effects such as cognitive behavior improvement, alertness, increase in concentration and memory as well as athletic performance enhancements including muscle strength, acceleration, endurance, decreased fatigue and reaction time in healthy athletes. Because of its benefits in increasing the brain’s neurotransmitter (norepinephrine and dopamine) activity and function, many healthy individuals including athletes and young people can overdose or develop amphetamine addiction and abuse.
Some popularly used and prescribed amphetamines in the U.S. include dextroamphetamine, typically used to treat ADHD, and in some cases narcolepsy, levoamphetamine, lisdexamfetamine, used in treatment of ADHD, Methamphetamine, and Adderall. Adderall specifically is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, making it a widely prescribed pharmaceutical in the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy.
Amphetamines are usually well-tolerated in the human body with some side effects. However, with prolonged use and addiction, the side effects are much greater, including hair thinning and hair loss. The hair loss experienced typically spread out in this case, and hair sheds all throughout the scalp and not just concentrated in one particular area. Adderall, specifically, is said to be a contributor to hair loss. In women, the hair loss may be very noticeable. In men, the hair loss from Adderall use may be more difficult to detect if they are already experiencing male pattern baldness.
Hair thinning and loss can happen as a result of drug addiction or from nutritional deficiencies caused by appetite suppression. Thus, adhering to your prescription and dosage recommendations may prevent hair loss or may limit the amount of hair loss you experience. If hair loss is severe, cease taking the medication altogether and wait for your hair to grow back naturally. If the hair does not grow back naturally, you may wish to consider taking a prescribed hair growth drug such as Rogaine or a hair growth supplement like Nutrafol. It is also important to eat a healthy balanced diet with adequate amounts of protein, vitamins and minerals.
Hair loss causes: Increased cortisol levels
Hair loss can happen as a result of elevated cortisol in the body. While raising norepinephrine levels in the brain, temporary and prolonged use of amphetamine stimulants such as Adderall has been found to raise cortisol levels. A study, published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence in 2009, looked at mood changes when experiencing stress and taking amphetamines simultaneously. While taking amphetamines produced positive mood which counteracted with the negative mood after a stressful event, both stress and amphetamine use increased cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone that is released during stress and can cause illness to the body. High cortisol levels in the blood is another main cause of damaged hair follicles, and hair loss. Taking a prescribed anti-inflammatory or herbal anti-inflammatory is the effective way to combat high cortisol levels. Sensoril® Ashwagandha was found in a clinical study to lower elevated cortisol hormones.
Adderall hair loss more common in women
eHealthMe, a platform that studies big healthcare data and provides personalized healthcare information, gathered data reported on the Federal Drug Administration’s website and social media by people taking Adderall who developed hair loss. They found that as of March 2016, 11,600 people reported side effects when taking Adderall. Of them, 155 people (1.34%) experienced hair loss. Their data showed that most people who had hair loss were female Adderall users (61.5%), between the ages of 40 and 49 (26%), and have been taking the drug 1-2 years (27.5%), and 2-5 years (22%). Hair loss was characterized as moderate in 46.3% of people, and characterized as severe in 42.5% of people who used Adderall. View the study data here. The data shows that although hair loss doesn’t happen in the majority of people who take Adderall, the chances of it happening with prolonged use is real, and can be severe.
The best vitamins for Hair Growth
It is common knowledge to anyone studying the causes of hair loss, that nutritional deficiencies is one of the biggest culprits. In our blog article entitled “Vitamins and Minerals for Healthier Hair”, we list the various vitamins and minerals your body requires to maintain strong and healthy hair. These vitamins and minerals can be found in most foods and vitamin supplements, and of course in specific hair growth supplements. As we mentioned, vitamins, proteins, antioxidants, amino acids and a host of minerals all work together in harmony to maintain hair growth – healthy hair growth is not just limited to one vitamin or mineral. Thus, there is power in numbers. The wonderful thing about hair loss supplements is that they have the power to repair damaged and malnourished hair follicles by the combination of various vitamins, minerals and other ingredients they contain. In most cases, the combination of ingredients can change the properties and effects of each individual ingredient, which can enhance (or decrease) efficacy. In other words, the combination of ingredients can have a greater (or lesser) effect or benefit to your health than the individual ingredients themselves.
If you have taken Adderall or any other amphetamine or stimulant, or any other drug than can cause hair loss, make sure that when looking for a hair growth supplement solution, it is rich in Biotin (Vitamin B7), and the B-Complex Vitamins including Niacin (Vitamin B3), Vitamin C, Iron, Zinc as well as fish proteins that will nourish thinning hair from the root, and produce thicker hair that is breakage resilient.
The anti-inflammatory effect of Ashwagandha and Curcumin
Also look for herbal ingredients such as Ashwagandha, an Indian herb and Curcumin, an ingredient in Turmeric, an Indian spice that is believed to have anti-inflammatory effects. Studies have suggested that Curcumin has anti-inflammatory benefits for people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis for example. Studies suggest that Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties helps to optimize the immune system and fights inflammation that can slow hair growth. Ashwagandha is known for its powerful antioxidant and stress-relieving, anti-inflammatory effects. Double-blind, placebo-controlled research has shown that that a high concentration of Ashwagandha root extract has incredible effects on lowering serum cortisol levels in stressed individuals, and improves quality of life. Another study looking at the effects of a patented version of Ashwagandha, Sensoril® (http://www.nutrafol.com/women/patented-ingredients.html) on stress, showed that patients taking the lowest dosage of Sensoril®, a standardized extract of Withania somnifera, (Ashwagandha), saw significant reductions in cortisol levels and C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation), blood pressure, and heart rate compared to placebo. The group taking the higher dosage saw even greater reductions of those measures.
Because each of these nutrients and herbs play an important role in hair growth, maintaining healthier hair and repairing damaged hair follicles independently, a combination of these ingredients will produce a powerful formula for healthier hair, and overall well-being.
4. Stress-induced changes in mood and cortisol release predict mood effects of amphetamine.
6. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of Ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults.
7. Sensoril® Clinical Evidence.