When most people envision alcohol they don’t think of something that is inherently “good for you.” But, red wine may be much more than just the perfect complement to a nice dinner.
Drinking a glass of red wine has a lot of potential health benefits including lowering cholesterol, promoting gut health, regulating blood sugar, hearth health, and more. Maybe have a glass of red wine at night shouldn’t be looked at as a vice anymore?
As if those health benefits weren’t enough, there may even be more you can get from drinking red wine. Evidence might suggest that drinking red wine can help people suffering from hair loss. So, if you are starting to lose it up top you are going to want to continue reading.
In this article, we are going to discuss some of the proposed ways that red wine can benefit hair loss. We will be looking closely at the research surrounding these claims to help determine whether or not they have any legitimacy and ultimately if a glass a day can help the hair stay.
The first claim about how red wine fights hair loss is related to its antioxidant properties.
Now, antioxidants are very important for maintaining healthy hair. They help stop the process of oxidation from occurring in the body, and more relevantly the hair.
When oxidation occurs, essentially what is happening is that molecules with unpaired electrons called free radicals are scrounging the body looking for electrons to steal from other molecules. This can cause damage to cells, which can lead to hair loss if it is prolonged (1).
As we age our bodies natural defense against oxidation reduces which may contribute to hair loss and gray hair being associated with older men/women. The best way to combat this is by supplementing with a powerful antioxidant, but is there any evidence supporting the claim that red wine is just that?
Red wine is made with grapes, and grapes contain polyphenols. Polyphenols are micronutrients that are packed with antioxidants. One polyphenol in particular called resveratrol is the most profound and has exhibited protection against oxidation in studies (2).
In summary, there is strong evidence showing that red wine contains powerful antioxidants. Consuming antioxidants, especially as you age, is important for maintaining hair health. Now, does this mean drinking red wine going to regrow your hair? No, but it can likely help protect your hair from potential damage, but that’s not all it might be able to do…
The other major claim about red wine and hair loss is that drinking it may be able to improve blood flow. In a second we will look at what research is available, but first it is important to understand why blood flow is extremely important for hair regrowth.
Low blood flow and hair loss are inherently correlated (3), which is why improving blood flow is the most (and possibly only) way to effectively regrow hair that was lost due to androgenic alopecia (AGA; pattern hair loss).
Red blood cells carry important oxygen and nutrients and deliver them throughout the body, including to the hair follicles. Hair then uses these compounds to complete healthy growth cycles. But, without adequate blood flow the anagen (growth) phase of the hair cycle will begin to shorten, which means that each time a cycle is completed the hair will not grow as long as it did during the previous cycle. This eventually leads to complete loss of the hair follicle (i.e. balding).
So, as you can see, blood flow is extremely important for someone who wants to regrow hair, and if red wine can help promote it the case for it being able to help hair loss would be much stronger, but what research is there?
The way that red wine may affect blood flow goes back to the polyphenols that we discussed earlier (4). Researchers found that the polyphenols can slow, and possibly stop, the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a disease in which fats and other substances build up in your artery walls and can restrict blood flow, and sometimes if the plaque bursts it can cause a blood clot.
The main reason why atherosclerosis begins is because blood vessels start to become unable to relax (dilate). By drinking red wine, researchers found that it helps promote the formation of nitric oxide (NO). NO is very effective at helping the walls of the blood vessels relax to allow more blood flow. In fact, one of the proposed ways that the popular hair loss treatment minoxidil (which is a vasodilator, meaning it also helps relax blood vessels) works is also by helping form NO in the blood.
Minoxidil has been proven in many clinical trials to be highly effective at helping regrow hair by opening blood vessels and improving the rate of delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles. If red wine were able to do so in a similar fashion, it would markedly increase the likelihood that it may be able to regrow hair.
Unfortunately, there have not been any studies conducted on red wine specifically for hair loss. People simply inferred that because it helps reduce atherosclerosis that this meant it could help promote blood flow to the scalp as well. While we cannot say this is true for sure, we also cannot say that it is false, there simply just isn’t enough research available.
So, in terms of improving blood flow for hair loss, red wine could be able to help… theoretically. Although if regrowth is your primary goal you would likely be much better off using treatments that have been researched more extensively such as minoxidil or low-level laser therapy.
There are some potential benefits to be derived from drinking red wine for hair loss, but if you are serious about stopping the progression of hair loss and regrowing hair, red wine should not be your first choice. There is has not been enough research conducted in terms of hair loss specifically for anyone to be able to say for sure that it will help.
If anything, I would recommend developing a hair loss regimen from more scientifically proven treatments, and then, if you desire, add red wine as a bonus to your regimen, but don’t rely on it solely or you may be disappointed.