Ingredient stimulates hair growth

Mibelle Group Biochemistry presented AnaGain, an ingredient for hair care products that stimulates hair growth. AnaGain is based on an extract of pea sprouts.

Many health benefits are attributed to pulses, including peas. Pulses belong to the family of fabaceae and are thus rich in isoflavones, a class of polyphenolic secondary plant metabolites. Isoflavones are known to act as phytoestrogens or to exert antioxidant activity. Sprouts are the young shoots that develop from germinating seeds. Sprouts that are a few days old have the highest concentration of healthy nutrients per calorie of any food. The high concentration of isoflavones in pea sprouts might be responsible for the positive effect on hair growth. In a clinical study with phototrichogram analysis, AnaGain was tested for its effects on cyclical hair growth.

A hair growth cycle consists of three phases: anagen, catagen and telogen. Anagen is the growth phase that lasts about three to five years. Afterwards catagen, the involution phase, follows, lasting a couple of weeks. The cycle terminates with the telogen phase, a resting period of up to 4 months. In a study with 20 volunteers, AnaGain was found to clearly increase the number of hairs in the anagen phase and to reduce the number of telogen hairs.

After three months’ treatment with a gel containing 4% AnaGain, the anagen/telogen ratio improved from 4 to 7.2. The result is stronger, healthier, denser-looking hair. In order to study the mechanism of the action of AnaGain, the gene expression of plucked hairs from 10 volunteers was analysed before and after a 14 days treatment with a hair balm fluid containing 2% AnaGain. The expression of 30 selected marker genes important in hair physiology was analysed using the RT-qPCR method on mRNA extracted from pooled hair bulbs. The cyclic process of hair growth is regulated by dermal cells in the papilla at the bottom of the hair bulb. The papilla cells generate signals that regulate the activity of keratinocytes in the follicular matrix.

These cells stop proliferation at the end of the anagen phase and undergo apoptosis in the catagen phase. The onset of a new growth phase and thus the length of the anagen phase is defined by the release of growth factors from dermal papilla cells. Adjacent, quiescent keratinocyte progenitor cells start to proliferate and to generate a new hair follicle. In most of the volunteers, AnaGain was found to increase several times the expression of fibroblast growth factor-7, a dermal papilla signal instructing hair germ cells to proliferate and initiate a new hair cycle. And noggin, a gene that shortens the telogen phase and initiates a new hair growth phase was even more stimulated.

To summarise, AnaGain stimulates the release of hair growth factors in dermal papilla cells that lead to a shortening of the telogen phase and the activation of a new anagen phase in hair follicles. In this way, AnaGain stops and prevents the hair loss process and stimulates hair growth.