The Latest on Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw's®

Hair Maintenance System

air has long been associated with virility. Stories abound from the ancient epic literature: hair and strength, hair and wisdom, hair and power. The boomer generation and the spiritual revitalization that it represents has been characterized by the flaunting of hair; recall the smash generational hit, Broadway musical and movie, HAIR! What is the relationship between hair and aging? Is there a direct aging benchmark in terms of the way hair is manufactured in the body that actually decreases or shuts down? In this interview with Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw, the answers to these questions are explored; as well as the less academic but consuming issue for many men and many women: "How can I best defend my hair from the ravages of time?"

DURK: Sandy's always had long hair . . .

SANDY: And lots of it.

DURK: Whereas I have the genes for male-pattern baldness. My father was completely bald on top and in front by the time he was in his mid-30's. So by my early 20's I started noticing that my hair was going away. Much of it was coming out in the comb, and there was a lot less hair on my head.

SANDY: There was, particularly, a thinning section on the crown which is where it typically occurs first.

How can I best defend my
hair from the ravages of time?

DURK: So back in the early 70's, I started doing literature searches through the National Library of Medicine database for what made hair grow and what made it not grow; what made it stop growing and fall out. An oral hair-support nutritional supplement and our shampoo resulted. The supplement provides nutrients that maintain your hair. And the shampoo provides repair and bodybuilding capabilities for the hair shaft. The supplement contains a great deal of cysteine. Cysteine is a major structural constituent of your hair.

SANDY: About 8% of your hair, as a matter of fact, is cysteine.

DURK: It's interesting to note that under conditions of starvation, one of the very first things that happens to people is that their fingernails and hair stop growing. That's because you can get along without fingernails and hair, but you cannot get along without other things that contain cysteine, like glutathione and insulin. You will die immediately if you don't have or produce glutathione or insulin, both of which require cysteine. But you can get along without hair just fine, and similarly without fingernails. Cysteine can be found in relatively large amounts in eggs but a lot of people are refraining from eating eggs because of the cholesterol and fat they contain. The supplement has a lot of cysteine, about 700 mg at the recommended dose of four capsules a day. That's equivalent to about three medium-sized eggs, without the fat and cholesterol!

It also contains the nutrient inositol, which is a growth factor and essential for the keratinocyte cells which line your hair follicles and produce hair. It also has other vitamins that are needed for your hair to grow properly including folic acid, plus the amino acid taurine. We've also included the antioxidant vitamin E, and selenium, which are important for proper hair function.

One of the most interesting things that we have in very large quantities is vitamin B2. In the presence of other antioxidants in vivo vitamin B2 can act as an antioxidant. But much more interesting, at physiologically achievable concentrations, vitamin B2 can act as a testosterone 5-alpha reductase inhibitor. Testosterone is converted to dihydotestosterone (DHT) by the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. DHT - produced in the hair follicle as a result of an increased level of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase - is what shuts off hair growth from the growing stage to the resting stage in male-pattern baldness. In male-pattern baldness, there is an aging clock in the follicles that drastically upregulates the production of 5-alpha reductase, which produces more DHT from testosterone produced in the male testicles; at that point, hair ceases to grow and begins to fall out. If you can block 5-alpha reductase with a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor, then you can decrease the formation of DHT from testosterone and therefore decrease hair loss.

SANDY: After menopause, this same thing can happen to women. And a lot of women do lose hair in a male-pattern baldness type pattern because their ovaries are no longer producing estrogen. But their adrenal glands are still producing androgens. As a result, you can end up with a male pattern baldness happening in post-menopausal women.

DURK: Now, we're not marketing a cure for male-pattern baldness. If you're bald as a billiard ball, this is not likely to do much for you. Our hair maintenance system should help maintain the amount of hair that you have. In no way do we want to market this as a cure for baldness because, unfortunately, it isn't. Believe me, if we figure out an actual cure for baldness, you'll be hearing from us.

SANDY: (Laughs)

So back in the early 70's, I started doing
literature searches of the National Library
of Medicine database for what made hair
grow and what made it not grow; what
made it stop growing and fall out.

DURK: However, I've noted that when taking the supplement, it really makes a difference in the amount of hair that comes out in the comb. It decreases.

SANDY: It certainly does. Far from going bald, there hasn't been any further loss of hair from the area of Durk's head that was becoming thinned out way back when. He's retained all of his hair.

DURK: On the other hand, if I stop taking the the supplement and stop using the shampoo for about two weeks, the results are really alarming. Huge amounts of hair start coming out in my comb; and it doesn't stop coming out until I go back on the supplement and the shampoo again.

WILL: I've noticed the same results too; it takes a few weeks and my hair becomes much more brittle. I also see hair in the sink in greater amounts.

DURK: Our supplement will also provide you with nutrients that your hair and fingernails need to grow. And we've noticed ourselves (along with the feedback of other customers), that some people can actually double their fingernail and hair growth.

SANDY: Remember that hair normally goes through a growing stage and a resting stage. This is true for anybody, whether they've got male pattern baldness or not. Hair grows in this fashion, on-and-off. You can get more growth when your hair is in the growth phase by providing the follicles with the nutrients that are required in order to make hair. It's that simple.

WILL: How is the growth pattern controlled?

DURK: In part, it is controlled by DHT. That puts the hair into the resting phase. If it stays too long in the resting phase, it'll fall out.

WILL: I saw a Japanese paper showing that riboflavin - vitamin B2 - was particularly effective as an 5-alpha reductase inhibitor.

DURK: Yes. That's why we have 12 mg of vitamin B2 in the four capsules. There's not much point in putting in any more than that because the solubility of B2 is limited in your gut and you can only absorb so much. That's another one of the functions of the niacinamide ascorbate. Niacinamide forms a complex with vitamin B2 that increases its solubility.

What I think happens is that polysorbate
80 helps prevent further hair loss.

WILL: Isn't this a formulation change?

DURK: Yes. Our nutritional supplement has substantially changed, with much larger amounts of vitamin B2 along with the same relatively high levels of cysteine and inositol. Also, we have added taurine, one of the functions of which is to downregulate the oxidation of cysteine to taurine, thereby maintaining more cysteine for your hair. The 250 mg of taurine that you get in four capsules is far larger than you're going to be able to get in your diet; even a principal source of taurine such as red meat.

WILL: What about your shampoo?

DURK: It contains polysorbate 80. And if you want to find out about that, you can read the chapter on baldness in Life Extension: A Practical, Scientific Approach. We are not marketing the shampoo as any sort of a hair restorer. It's part of a hair maintenance system. The manufacturer of minoxidil (Rogaine), according to the Wall Street Journal, was disappointed with the initial sales of the product as a prescription drug. It didn't work all that well, the price was high and the sales were considerably less than the stock analysts had anticipated. After approval for its use as a hair restorer was announced, the market moved up but, after six months of rather lackluster sales, the stock price went down because people were disappointed. One of the things that the minoxidil manufacturer realized was that they were competing against polysorbate shampoos that were making hair restoration claims too. And they did a citizen's petition to the FDA to prohibit any claims being made for restoring hair unless they went through a new drug application procedure, which is what the manufacturer of minoxidil did; but which none of the polysorbate companies could afford.

You can get more growth when your hair is
in the growth phase by providing the follicles
with the nutrients that are
required in order to make hair.

SANDY: In other words, it didn't matter what in reality proved to be effective. If something was causing hair to grow on bald heads, you couldn't say anything about that unless the FDA approved it. This put expensive hurdles in the way of any company that wanted to make a claim - a truthful claim - for something that was growing hair on some bald heads.

DURK: Not only that; the minoxidil manufacturer did a clinical trial of the polysorbate for six weeks. And they found that it didn't grow any hair. Surprise, surprise! No one ever said it grew hair in six weeks. It takes longer. But that was sufficient for the FDA to conveniently ban any such claims. Not only that, Rogaine won't grow hair in six weeks either.

SANDY: It's another unfortunate part of the FDA, but they always favor the companies that they regulate, the companies that they've got under their thumb. It was a very unfortunate occurrence that anything that may grow hair on bald heads may not be revealed to do so. Unless you've already gotten the FDA's approval to do so.

DURK: I have seen a few people that were really bald on top grow a full head of hair with polysorbate 80 shampoo. However, that is rare; that does not happen with even 1% of the people who use it. What I do think happens is that polysorbate 80 helps prevent further hair loss. That's been my own experience. If I go for a couple of weeks without using our shampoo, a lot of hair starts coming out in the comb. It really does; the amount is alarming in fact.

I have seen a few people that were really
bald on top grow a full head of
hair with polysorbate 80 shampoo.

SANDY: The other ingredient we have in the shampoo is, remarkably, something that hasn't been noticed by anybody in the shampoo industry except ourselves. It's an amazing material that's used in food preparation, actually, in the preparation of dough. It has a particular affect on the binding of various molecules.

DURK: The function and the consistency of dough - the way it stretches and the way it feels when you squeeze it - is due to cysteine-cysteine interactions. That's what produces the structure and function of body in your hair. This compound is called isostearoyl lactylate.

SANDY: It repairs damaged hair. It has the most incredible effect of repairing hair that's been damaged by brisk brushing, combing . . .

DURK: Or ultraviolet light or just age . . .

SANDY: . . . or being blown around in a heavy wind or by hair dryers; there's a whole lot of things that can damage hair.

At physiologically achievable concentrations
vitamin B
2 can act as a testosterone
5-alpha reductase inhibitor.

DURK: And if you look at it under a microscope, damaged hair looks similar to an unraveled piece of rope. There's a cuticle around it that holds all these strands together that gets damaged and it starts fraying. And all of these strands are flopping around. One shampoo with our product will fix every split hair on your head.

SANDY: And it's a permanent fix!

DURK: Isostearoyl lactylate has this incredible affinity to the cysteine in the hair. In fact, you can take a hair sample and boil it for 24 hours in chloroform and you can only extract about half of the isostearoyl lactylate that's bonded to the hair. Unlike many conditioners, though, this is a conditioning shampoo that can be used every day without excessive build up. Many conditioners stick to themselves if you use them too often. For example, the first time you use a shampoo that contains sticky ingredients, your hair is great; however, when you shampoo the next day, your hair will begin to get a little bit stiff and overconditioned. The third time, your hair will become even stiffer and maybe start getting tacky, gummy, or sticky and mushy. You start having "bad hair" days.

SANDY: The hair starts clumping together from the sticky ingredients building up.

A lot of women do lose hair in a male-pattern
baldness type pattern because their ovaries
are no longer producing estrogen, but their
adrenals are still producing testosterone.

DURK: Whereas the isostearoyl lactylate will stick to the damaged hair preferentially, and it will form a molecular layer over the hair.

SANDY: And it doesn't stick to itself!

DURK: It penetrates the hair shaft; polysorbate 80 is a penetration aid. Not only will polysorbate 80 help things penetrate your skin, it will also help substances penetrate into your hair shaft. And the isostearoyl lactylate will fix every split hair on your head in one shampoo. It prevents "frizzies."

SANDY: The incredible thing is that both of the ingredients in our shampoo are used in foods. These ingredients are safe for people to eat and found in foods that you probably eat every day.

DURK: Most baked goods have isostearoyl lactylate because of its effectiveness as a dough conditioner.

My hair is very fine. Measuring the diameter with a micrometer, my hair, even though it's brunette, has a diameter typical for that of a blond woman, which means that it's very limp. My hair is also slow growing, so I really need a conditioner to fluff it up and make it look like there's more there to help cover my partially thin spot. Not only that, the only hair that I cut is the hair that hangs down in bangs over my eyes in front. I have to cut that, otherwise on a windy day here in central Nevada, I'd have hair blowing in my eyes all the time. But the hair on the sides and in back never, never, ever gets cut. I just don't have enough of it to want to sacrifice it. I want hair down over my shoulders. Normally that means split-end horror! When you don't cut hair, the ends end up becoming split; it's inevitable after a period of time - except after using our shampoo.

SANDY: Because there's nothing on the end there holding the hair together.

DURK: It's like cutting a rope. It starts unraveling after you cut it. And if you keep cutting off the end of the rope, you'll cut off the unraveled part every time . . .

SANDY: But it will unravel again . . .

One shampoo with our product will
fix every split hair on your head.

DURK: . . . so you cut it again. But if you're not going to be cutting your hair at all, you've got a major problem dealing with that unraveling; if you're not using our shampoo.

WILL: Could you comment on the thickness of the shampoo?

DURK: It is a concentrate. People need to realize that. When using, wet your hair and comb it all straight back. If your hair is long and kinky, you probably won't want to use it unless you dilute it down first. Put some of our shampoo in the palm of your hand, rub in a little water. It'll feel warm and the viscosity will first get higher and then drop. After the viscosity drops, then you can put that on your hair and just rub it in following the hair. Don't try swishing it around, or it will get your hair all tangled up. You get your hair thoroughly coated with it, leave it on there for about a minute or two, and then rinse it out. That's all there is to it. If a person has an area that is thinning like I do, before you wet your hair, comb it away from the thin spot, so you get maximum exposure. Put the concentrate right on that thin spot while the skin is dry. Leave it on there for a few minutes. Then you can start wetting your hair and apply as above, again, using your hand to stroke that material out to the tips of the hairs.

SANDY: Remember that in a thinning spot, unless the thin area covers the entire top of your head, some hair will continue to grow. The hairs may be short and may not grow for very long periods, but they're still alive. They're still there and capable of growing.

The incredible thing is that both of the
ingredients in our shampoo are
ingredients that are used in foods. These
ingredients are safe for people to eat
and found in foods that you
probably eat every day.

DURK: You want to protect them as much as possible and give them the conditioning so they'll stand up proudly, rather than flopping down. Our shampoo is a concentrate. Don't mix it up with water to dilute it in advance, however. First off, there are no antimicrobials in it, which is important because antimicrobials are, along with perfumes, the number one and number two causes of allergic reactions to personal care products and cosmetics. This is an anhydrous shampoo meaning there's no water in it. Without water, bacteria and molds can't live. So we don't need preservatives. Secondly, this is being sold by mail order, and it costs a lot of money to ship water. Thirdly, if you add too much water, the isostearoyl lactylate will start precipitating out into the bottle instead of on your hair. It is a concentrate that you dilute immediately before using.

A strand of human hair before and after the application of our shampoo's ingredient, isostearoyl lactylate, magnified 1000 times.
WILL: What about aging and hair? Does the aging process shut down hair production?

DURK: Yes, there is an aging clock, which turns on increased production of the enzyme testosterone 5-alpha reductase, particularly in the follicles in the areas that go bald. That's why transplants work. If you take hair from the back of your head down near the nape of your neck and move that to the top of your scalp with a hair transplant, it doesn't fall out. The reason for this is that the 5-alpha reductase is not upregulated in those areas.

Just as a silverback (silver haired) gorilla tells the other gorillas "I'm an old gorilla; I've seen it all and if you have a problem I've probably seen it before and I can help you survive during the next drought or during the next flood," similarly, so do silver haired (or bald) humans tell other human beings. Back in the bad old days, not all that many people had a chance to live to the time when they had silver hair or became bald. In early times, silver hair and baldness was a social signal that announced, "this is a wise old man."

The hairs may be short and they may not
grow for very long periods, but they're
still alive. They're still there and
still capable of growing.

SANDY: Today, we have so many wise old silver-haired and bald older men, that hair loss is not considered a valuable social signal anymore.

DURK: Just take a look at the wigs that were worn by muckity-mucks back in George Washington's time. He wore a wig, a white wig. The judges in the British high courts still wear white wigs, long white wigs, presumably as a signal of age, wisdom, and perhaps bravery. Harkening back to the bad old days, if you had a lot of animal products in your diet you would have more methionine and more cysteine to grow more hair. The length of hair of a teenager or early 20's hunter might very well be a very good indication of how good and brave a hunter they were. Thus, possibly, the length of the judicial wigs.

WILL: But nowadays, the quality, if not amount of hair you possess, might indicate that you're a different type of hunter; one whose judgement excels in finding products such as ours - to better sustain the life of one's hair by providing you with growth nutrients and repair and bodybuilding capabilities.

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