Do Osteoporosis Drugs Cause Hair Loss? (The Answer May Shock You!)
As if osteoporosis drugs couldn’t get any worse, recent research reveals that they may cause hair loss… to the point of baldness.
As explained in the Save Our Bones Program, bisphosphonates such as Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva, Reclast and their generic counterparts, interfere with a crucial biochemical pathway, which we’ll discuss in more detail later.
The scientific term for hair loss is alopecia, and it’s dreaded by men and especially by women.
Causes Of Hair Loss
Hair loss can be caused by various factors, such as:
- Menopause and other shifts and changes in hormone levels
- Increased DHT production, a form of testosterone associated with hair loss
- Chronic stress
- Pattern baldness
- Deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients
- Iodine deficiency and other thyroid conditions
- Medications (such as chemotherapy)
As you can see, hair loss can be caused by many different conditions. So if you’re taking bisphosphonates and experience loss of hair, it’s easy for the Medical Establishment to blame it on any number of things. It’s no wonder that bisphosphonate-caused baldness is grossly underreported.
Hair loss is one of many reasons why…
I Am So Glad I Never Took Fosamax
This popular bisphosphonate was prescribed to me back when I was first diagnosed with osteoporosis in 2004.
After I collected myself from the shock of being told I had a serious “disease” that could only be managed with drugs, I tore up the prescription and resolved to get at the root cause of osteoporosis. This is what brought about the Save Our Bones Program.
It’s a good thing I never took Fosamax, because baldness is only one item on a long list of frightening side effects that Fosamax can cause, including the irreversible condition known as osteonecrosis of the jaw.
Research Shows Bisphosphonates Can Cause Hair Loss
A group of Dutch researchers reviewed 53 reports of bisphosphonate-induced alopecia. Participants took alendronate (Fosamax) or risendronate (Actonel); the vast majority of alopecia reports (46) concerned alendronate.
While the “exact mechanism of bisphosphonate induced alopecia is unknown,”1 the researchers concluded that it’s most likely due to the fact that bisphosphonates block a particular enzyme, thereby interfering with an enzymatic pathway.1
Sounds familiar? If it does, it’s because I’ve devoted many pages of the Save Our Bones Program to give an explanation of…
A Crucial Enzymatic Pathway That’s Blocked By All Bisphosphonate Drugs
“…bisphosphonates begin their action on bone metabolism by blocking the enzyme farnesyl diphosphate synthase (FPPS) which is involved in the mevalonate pathway (also called the HMG-CoA reductase pathway).”2
This is the same mechanism by which bisphosphonates interfere with hair growth (and many other crucial body processes explained in the Program). Here’s what happens.
The hair on your scalp contains a structural component that is familiar to most of us: cholesterol. In the hair follicles, “cholesterol is partly absorbed and partly synthesized [sic] in hair follicles through the HmG-CoA-reductase pathway.”1
Statins, a popular class of drugs prescribed to lower cholesterol, also disrupt this pathway. But “while statins disrupt the mevalonate pathway to stop cholesterol synthesis, they do not bind to bone surfaces.”2
This is why statins are not prescribed for osteoporosis. Knowing this, you’ll easily understand why…
Alopecia (Hair Loss) Is A Side Effect Of Statins And Bisphosphonates
While (thankfully!) alopecia is not a common side effect, it makes sense that both of these drugs could cause hair loss; they block the same metabolic pathway. In fact, hair loss is listed among the side effects of statins:
- Eczematous (skin inflammation)
- Pruritic rash (itchy skin)
- Stevens-Johnson syndrome (a life-threatening skin condition where skin cell death leads to the separation of the epidermis from the dermis)
- Photosensitivity (extreme sensitivity to light)
And bisphosphonates also have a list of side effects that is extremely similar (and includes alopecia):
- Pruritic rash
- Skin rash which may be photosensitive
- Stevens-Johnson syndrome
- Severe skin reactions
Bear in mind, as mentioned earlier, that because alopecia can be blamed on many other causes, hair loss is an extremely underreported side effect.
How terrible that so many people would risk these and dozens of other dangerous side effects in order to take drugs that aren’t needed.
Yes, that’s right – statins, like bisphosphonates, are completely unnecessary.
In fact, to give you one example, a recent study reveals that…
Walking 40 Minutes A Day Offers The Same Benefits As A Statin
This study is the first to actually quantify the extent to which walking can improve cardiovascular health. According to the study leader Dr Thomas Yates,
“Doing 4,000 extra steps a day reduces your cardiovascular risk by about 16-20 per cent, which is the equivalent of taking a statin. However, a statin has side effects and only reduces cholesterol, whereas walking has a much bigger range of health benefits.”3
Unlike statins, walking offers a host of positive “side effects,” including stronger bones. Savers already know how important regular walking is to build bone density and the importance of taking Foundation Supplements that nourish bones, skin, and hair.
And this might surprise you, in addition to building your bones…
Foundation Supplements Boost Hair Health!
The following nutrients are listed as Foundation Supplements in the Save Our Bones Program, and they also happen to be excellent for hair health:
Biotin is sometimes called Vitamin H, and works synergistically with the B complex vitamins niacin and cobalamin (also Foundation Supplements). These vitamins help metabolize proteins, including the proteins that make up your hair, thereby building thicker, stronger hair that is less prone to breakage.
Vitamin C deficiency is characterized by hair loss, because it is essential for the synthesis of collagen and the production of tyrosine. Both collagen and tyrosine are essential for maintaining the structure of hair, and the cells that make up hair follicles.
Zinc – did you know that you lose zinc when you sweat? This hair- and bone-healthy mineral, found in Foundation Foods like pumpkin seeds, mushrooms, and almonds, promotes hair growth.
Vitamin D is well-known to Savers as the “sunshine vitamin.” Found in just a few acidifying foods (salmon and sardines, for example), Vitamin D plays a pivotal role in the natural cycles of your hair follicles.
Isn’t it fascinating that hair health and bone health are so closely intertwined? It just goes to show that if you take care of your bones, your whole body benefits.
Unlike dangerous drugs, the lifestyle and diet described in the Save Our Bones Program offer only positive “side effects” – and certainly no hair loss!
Till next time,
1“Alopecia caused by alendronate and risedronate.” Netherlands Pharmacovigilance Centre Lareb. January 2009. PDF file. Web. http://www.lareb.nl/larebcorporatewebsite/media/publicaties/kwb_2008_2_alendr.pdf
2 The Save Our Bones Program, 2007
3 Yates, Thomas, PhD, et al. “Association between change in daily ambulatory activity and cardiovascular events in people with impaired glucose tolerance (NAVIGATOR trial): a cohort analysis.” The Lancet. 22 March 2014. Vol 383, Iss 9922, Pgs 1059-1066. Doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)62061-9. Web. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2813%2962061-9/abstract