McDonald’s fries can cure baldness! At least, that’s the preliminary claim being made by a group of Japanese researchers, who say a chemical in the greasy treats has shown promise when given to mice and may be useful to humans.
As MSN reports, stem-cell researchers at Yokohama National University have honed in on the “holy grail” of baldness treatment, and it lies in a chemical in Mickey D’s fries. The explanation requires discussion of stem cells, chemistry, and other forms of science, so buckle up.
In order to grow hair, your body needs hair follicle germs (HFG) and something to push them into growing, according to researcher Professor Junji Fukuda. That something came in the form of dimethylpolysiloxane. You may not have ever heard of that particular chemical before, but you’ve almost certainly eaten it — it’s used in McDonald’s fries, to keep cooking oil from frothing while the potatoes are being cooked.
Dr. Fukuda’s team used oxygen-permeable dimethylpolysiloxane (PDMS) at the bottom of a culture to grow HFGs. Then the team arranged the germs onto a microscopic array and injected them into bald mice. Long story short: a few days later, the mice were sprouting thick, black hair in the spots here the arrays had been injected into them.
— MikeyLikesIt (@TheMikicus) February 5, 2018
So what does this mean for humans? Calling his research “robust” and “promising,” according to the Daily Mail, Dr. Fukuda believes his technique may have applications for treating baldness in humans.
“We hope this technique will improve human hair regenerative therapy to treat hair loss such as androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness).”
Don’t go loading up on McDonald’s fries just yet, however. As in all things health-related, the time that elapses between “showing promise in the lab” and “proven to be helpful in humans” can be a long one. What’s more, the time that elapses between “proven to be helpful in humans” and “you can buy it at Walgreen’s” can be a long time, too.
Meanwhile, if you’re not a fan of McDonald’s fries, don’t despair. According to Entrepreneur, dimethylpolysiloxane is also found in makeup, hair conditioner, caulk, silicone implants, and Silly Putty.
The hair-loss industry, which includes oral and topical treatments of inconsistent effectiveness, as well as restorative hair equipment such as grafts, is currently worth $6 billion.