A chemical used to make McDonald's fries could help cure baldness, Japanese scientists say

  • A cure for baldness could lie in a chemical used to cook McDonald’s fries, according to a team of Japanese scientists.
  • Researchers at Yokohama National University (YMU) used dimethylpolysiloxane to produce follicles that could grow hairs once transplanted into mice.
  • They are hopeful the method could be used to treat human cases of hair loss.
  • But don't get your hopes up: The chemical was used as a base on which to grow the follicles; it doesn't trigger hair growth on its own.

Scientists in Japan say that a cure for baldness could be found using a chemical that is also used to cook McDonald’s fries.

Dimethylpolysiloxane, which is found in silicone, is added to oil to cook french fries at the fast-food restaurant, according to the Evening Standard

Researchers at Yokohama National University (YMU) found that when they used this chemical they were able to mass produce hair follicles, which could grow hair once transplanted into mice.

RELATED: Eat this to prevent hair loss

Foods That Prevent Hair Loss
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Foods That Prevent Hair Loss

Len Glassman, a certified health nutritionist, trainer and owner of the Personal Best Training Center, offers up the necessary nutrients that will keep the hairs on your head there longer.

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An adequate intake of vitamin A is key to helping promote the growth and health of cells and tissues throughout the body, including the hair and scalp. Vitamin A gets delivered to our bodies in two ways: from plant and animal sources. Hair healthy plant sources include red, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables like carrots as well as some dark green leafy vegetables. Some heavy-hitter animal sources for vitamin A include liver, fish oil, eggs and fortified milk.

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All three of these B vitamins are essential to the normal formation of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen from the lungs to tissues in the body, including the hair. Healthy and strong hair relies on a constant supply of blood and oxygen. A deficiency of these B vitamins is like cutting off the blood supply to your hair, leading to increased hair loss, damaged hair and slow re-growth. Best sources of vitamin B6 and B12 are protein-rich foods like meat, chicken, fish, eggs, pork and soybeans. Your best bet for sources of folic acid are leafy vegetables, orange juice, avocado, beets, broccoli, wheat germ and some fortified cereals.

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Vitamin C is essential to producing collagen, a connective tissue that gives structure by holding tissues in the body together, such as the tissue in hair. The human body is not able to store vitamin C for long periods of time, so don’t try to load up on it in an effort to make up for lost time; instead, make sure you eat plenty of foods containing vitamin C every day. The best sources of vitamin C are found in plant sources like oranges, berries, melons, peppers, dark green leafy vegetables and tomatoes.

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Dandruff and hair loss are both conditions associated with a zinc deficiency. Zinc is a mineral that promotes cell reproduction, tissue growth and repair. Zinc also functions in the maintenance of the oil-secreting glands attached to our hair follicles. Good sources of zinc include foods of animal origin, including seafood, poultry, mussels, shrimp and oysters. Eggs and milk also supply zinc but in smaller amounts. Whole-grain products, nuts, seeds and legumes contain zinc, but in a form that is less absorbable by the body.

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Hair is primarily made of protein, so it makes sense to eat protein-rich foods if you’re trying to maintain healthy growth. Without adequate protein intake, the body cannot efficiently make new hair to replace the hair that has shed. However, eating a steak every day isn’t going to help you. High-fat diets result in increased testosterone levels, which have been linked to hair loss—so steaks are not among the foods that prevent hair loss. Stick to leaner proteins such as fish (which has a myriad of health benefits beyond just maintaining your hair), chicken, soy products, low-fat cheese, eggs, almonds, beans and yogurt.

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Proper hydration is a key factor in healthy hair and in promoting good health. Every cell and every system in the body uses water to function properly, so don’t just wash your hair in it, drink lots of it. Other conditions that may contribute to poor nutrition and cause hair loss as a side effect include eating disorders such as anorexia. Anorexia can cause severe malnutrition and cause a high proportion of hair follicles to stop their growth cycle. Rapid weight loss is another reason for accelerated hair loss. Dropping weight too quickly and/or participating in a fad diet that is not nutritionally sound can cause imbalances in the body and result in increased hair loss.

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Our daily diet holds the key to the health of your hair. Every day we can make it a priority to choose the best kinds of foods for healthy, long-lasting hair, a healthy scalp and the growth of new strong hair. So the next time your stomach growls, reach for more “hair-raising,” and vitamin packed foods to keep those follicles happy.

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Initial tests suggest this "simple" method could also be used to treat hair loss in humans, they say.

In a paper published in the journal Biomaterials the scientists reported they were able to generate on a large scale hair follicle germs (HFG) — up to 5,000 simultaneously — which is reportedly "one of the more challenging obstacles to hair regenerative medicine."generated hairs Yokohama National University

When these follicles were subsequently transplanted onto the back and scalp of mice, the researchers confirmed that the mice started to sprout new black hairs in these areas.

And according to professor Junji Fukuda of YNU, the use of this chemical was "key" to their success.

Fukuda is quoted as saying: "The key for the mass production of HFGs was a choice of substrate materials for culture vessel.

"We used oxygen-permeable dimethylpolysiloxane (PDMS) at the bottom of culture vessel, and it worked very well." While PDMS is good for growing experimental hair, the chemical does not on its own trigger hair growth. So eating more McDonald's fries probably won't make you less bald.

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Bruce Willis

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J.K. Simmons

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Stanley Tucci

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Taye Diggs


Jason Statham


Vin Diesel

(Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Dwayne Johnson

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Andre Agassi



 (Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images for The Blackhouse Foundation)

Kelly Slater


 Cory Booker

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Fukuda's team is hopeful that this method can eventually be used to treat human hair loss.

Fukuda added: "This simple method is very robust and promising. We hope that this technique will improve human hair regenerative therapy to treat hair loss such as androgenic alopecia.

"In fact, we have preliminary data that suggests human HFG formation using human keratinocytes and dermal papilla cells."

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SEE ALSO: A trichologist or 'hair doctor' says the rise in veganism has caused an increase in cases of hair loss — this is her advice on how to prevent it

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