Each time I hear someone discussing the benefit of onions for hair loss; they invariably say, it has sulfur in it. Individuals often suggest that one could simply replace the whole food onion with the manmade chemical sulfur and achieve the same results. The reason individuals wish to substitute a manmade chemical with the onion is often due to its pungent smell in comparisons to unscented sulfur. We are about to delve into the mysterious onion and determine if the chemical sulfur and onions are interchangeable for hair growth and alopecia. Let us start out by realizing there is a lot more to an onion than sulfur. The resilient onion contains antioxidants', phytochemicals, and vitamins. The two main antioxidants in onions are of course, sulfur and quercetin. In addition to antioxidants, there are several powerful phytochemicals, disulfides, trisulfides, cepaene (anti inflammatory), and vinyl dithiins. Onions also contain vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, folic acid, calcium, iron and have a high protein quality (ratio of mg amino acid/gram protein). Does one chemical property do all of the work or could it be that the whole cast of antioxidants, phytochemicals, and vitamins work as a team?
Sulfur is a mineral found in every part of the body, with the highest concentration in the nails, hair, and skin. This beauty mineral helps cells to be born, and repaired. Because hair is made of 35% sulfur, it is needed to produce healthy keratin protein in the hair. It assist with cell regeneration, and fights against hormonal imbalances. Hormones like DHT and testosterone, are thought to be a culprit in male pattern baldness, hair loss, and female Alopecia. Antioxidants repair cells and help restore balance. There is evidence that naturally concentrated sources of sulfur compounds stimulate hair follicle re-growth. Only natural sulfur compounds have been demonstrated to regrow hair follicles with topical application. The mineral dissipates when processed, so minimal processing and fresh use is recommended. Good sources of sulfur are eggs, onions, and cabbage. Manmade sulfur compounds have been shown to stimulate hair growth. The mineral sulfur should be the same whether it is man made or natural, so there must be something to the compound portion of a natural sulfur compound other than sulfur.
Quercetin is the famous antioxidant flavonoid in green tea. This anti-inflammatory is active in the skin, so it can help with eczema, and hives. Recently green tea has been found to strengthen hair, reduce hormone imbalance, and prevent excessive hair shedding. Quercetin is more effective when accompanied with vitamin C. We are able to absorb two hundred percent more quercetin from onions than from green tea. We do not produce this flavonoid in the body, so we must get it from food sources. Quercetin can be concentrated by light cooking, but lost with overcooking. Onions are the highest source, followed by tea, then apples. Another piece of the puzzle is coming together. Natural food sources of sulfur such as onion usually contain a vitamin C compound; Vitamin C increases the ability to utilize the antioxidants quercetin and vitamin C.
One of the signs of vitamin C deficiency is hair that is dry and splitting. Vitamin C is necessary to have healthy teeth, and bones because it helps assimilate calcium. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that fights free radical damage to hair, repairs/manufactures tissues, and wound healing. The vitamins C in onions increase the absorption of its sulfur compounds, calcium, and quercetin. Most fruits and vegetables contain some vitamin C, but good amounts are found in white potatoes, red peppers, pineapples, citrus fruits, and watermelon. It is now thought that vitamin C may aid in the treatment of alopecia, and other hereditary hair conditions such as male pattern baldness, and hirsutism.
Aromatherapy is not normally associated with an onion, but its scent has the ability to produce some powerful reactions. The gas produced from cutting an onion makes us cry. Not tears of joy or pain, just a natural reaction to the gas propanethiol S-oxide effects upon the onion. This gas couples with onion enzymes and creates a passive sulfur compound. I want you to understand that it is a combination of onion enzymes, and a gas that create passive, not active sulfur. This is a very gentle sulfur compound in comparisons to manmade ones. Furthermore we don't need to be chemist to tell that the sulfur is active, we are fully aware that it is working, based upon an immediate reaction from our body. The water produced by the tear ducts combine with the gas and produce sulfuric acid. Immediately relieving dry eye. Scents have some powerful properties. The scent of a cut onion has the ability to cause us to cry. We can only imagine what other chemical reactions are occurring within our bodies.
Upon looking at how certain attributes are valued it should become clear that both onions and manmade sulfur have a lot of benefits in a hair care regime. The benefit of onion outweighs sulfur in this article because onions are cheaper; safe to have lying around children, and stimulate the growth of new cells that result in thicker hair. If a person was not concerned with bald spots, thinning hair, cost, or children, sulfur might be a better choice. Of course there is something to be said for the safety of a vegetable that can be grown in the yard, eaten, and picked up at the local market. The use of sulfur for topical application is best left to a professional, whereas onions are quite safe to mix with products at home. A chemist could tell you the saturation of sulfur in a home remedy whereas one whiff of onion will tell if the sulfur has been processed out or activated. Onion has vitamin C known to increase sulfur absorption in addition to flavonoids, calcium, and phytochemicals. It might be while before science catches up with mother nature.
For How to Make a Follicle Stimulating Hair Mask http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDzOv2pQroI
Wild Haired Maven Club: http://www.meetup.com/wildhairedmavens