Preventing Hair Loss with a Korean Seaweed (Grateloupia elliptica)

Research was conducted by scientists at the Institute of Medical Sciences, Jeju National University (Korea) to determine if Grateloupia elliptica, a type of seaweed found on Jeju Island, could prevent hair loss and become a brand-new hair loss product.

Although the causes of the various types of baldness or alopecia are yet to be explored fully, scientific studies have recently established a positive correlation between hair loss and dandruff. It has been found that infection caused by a yeast, Pityrosporum ovale, contributes to certain types of hair loss.

At present, there are only two FDA-approved drugs —- Finasteride and Minoxidil —- in the market that can stimulate hair growth and thus combat symptoms of alopecia. Of these, the former has been shown to cause unpleasant side effects, including impotence. Therefore, its use is increasingly being limited.

Because of this, scientists at the Jeju National University have been attempting to discover new substances that can promote hair growth and thus be used to improve the alopecia condition.

If you would like to read a scientific paper on the potential of Grateloupia elliptica for preventing hair loss, click on the link below:

Hair-Loss Preventing Effect of Grateloupia elliptica

Research Methodology

To carry out the research, scientists collected the seaweed Grateloupia elliptica from the sea coast, washed it thoroughly to remove all traces of sand, salt, and other impurities, and then froze it at -20 degrees C. After grinding this frozen substance, treating it with ethanol, filtering, and finally drying it, the scientists obtained an almost pure form of Grateloupia elliptica that did not contain anti-oxidants like catechin, flavone, quercetin, and rutin that may influence the tests and thus prevent scientists from ascertaining the true effect of the seaweed, the object of their study.

This scientific study was performed on frozen cells derived from rats and mice. The objectives were to test the effects of introducing Grateloupia elliptica extract on dermal papillae cells; the activity of 5?-reductase; the production of PGE2 and cytokine; and its effect on P. ovale.


The blood vessels in the dermal papillae cells nourish hair follicles. Thus regeneration of these cells indicates their improved functioning that in turn may promote the growth of hair. After introducing G. elliptica in various concentrations in the frozen dermal papillae cells of rats, it was found that 100 ?g/ml of G. elliptica brought on close to 170% increase in the number of dermal papillae cells. This indicates that G. elliptica may promote regeneration of hair.

The presence of 5-alpha-reductase in the body facilitates the production of DHT (dihydrotestosterone) from testosterone that leads to hair loss and ensuing conditions of baldness. 5?-reductase inhibitors are known to be anti-androgenic drugs. That is, these have the ability to improve symptoms of androgenetic alopecia (AGA), a common form of the condition that affects both men and women. These drugs work by impeding 5-alpha-reductase activity in the body. In the tests carried out at Jeju National University, it has been noticed that G. elliptica extract impaired 5?-reductase activity in rat cells by as much as 48% when introduced in a concentration of 10 ?g/ml. This finding suggests that G. elliptica may be used in the treatment of AGA.

It is known from previous scientific studies that prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) is a hormone-like substance that can promote hair health and induce new growth. In the current research study, it was found that PGE2 production increased after introducing G. elliptica extract in the cells. This indicates that G. elliptica may have the potential to induce hair growth.

Cytokines released by infected or damaged cells can cause inflammation and chronic inflammation, which, in turn, have been positively linked to hair loss. In the present research study, it has been discovered that G. elliptica extract impairs the activity of cytokines and thus may be used in the treatment of alopecia areata (AA).

Earlier research studies have conclusively shown that a dandruff condition caused by P. ovale infection leads to hair loss and increases the chances of baldness in men and women. The present research study showed that G. elliptica extract impaired the activity of P. ovale and thus has the potentiality to prevent hair loss.


The study carried out by the scientists at Jeju National University is believed to be the first-ever research conducted on the potential of G. elliptica to treat symptoms of alopecia. It has been found that G. elliptica showed greater potentiality to treat alopecia than other seaweeds like Halymeni adilatata, Laurencia pinnata, and Sargassum coreanum.

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