Mucopolysaccharides & Hair Growth

Updated July 19, 2017

Mucopoluysaccharides (also known as glycosaminoglycans) are long chains of amino sugars found in the body's connective tissues, skin, fluids and cell membranes. They help with the transport of oxygen around the body and like the horseshoe nail, play at tiny but vital role in all cell growth. Research at the Foltene Laboratories S. p. A. (2007) has shown that the greater the amount of mucopolysaccharides present when the hair is growing, the more productive the growing phase.


Good sources of mucopolysaccharides are aloe vera and green-lipped mussels. Other sources include all crustaceans, seaweed and refined cartilage. Mucopolysaccharide supplements and creams for topical application are readily available. Mucopolysaccharides often appear as a thickening agent in shampoos and conditioners.


The life of each hair has three phases: "Anagen"; "Catagen" and "Telegon". The "Anagen" phase is the important growing phase and can last between one and four years, but becomes shorter as people age, resulting in thinner hair. Researchers from Foltene Laboratories S.p. A. (see Resources) found that when applied topically mucopolysaccharides improve circulation allowing more nutrients to the hair and at the same time accelerating the removal of naturally produced waste products. Mucopolysaccharides are also a natural humectant so hold moisture in the hair thus improving condition.

Time Frame

Researchers at Ewha university treated a study group of 30 patients suffering from various degrees of hair loss with a mucopolysaccharides-based product. The study continued for six months at the end of which the group saw an improvement in hair growth of at least 50 per cent and a lessening of hair loss of at least 70 per cent. (See Resources) Because of their ability to retain moisture, shampoos such a "Folicure" containing mucopolysaccharides can give an immediate impression of thicker hair.

Other Benefits

Mucopolysaccharides are essential in the production of collagen and protein and are present in all body fluids, especially between joints. During the first decade of life they are present in the body in huge numbers which suggests that they are integral to growth. The amount of mucopolysaccharides in the body decreases with age, hair growth slows, skin gradually loses its elasticity and joints stiffen. Dr Elson M Haas of the Preventive Medical Centre of Marin claims that taking mucopolysaccharides as a supplement will improve skin and all round mobility as well as increasing hair growth.


While there is compelling research into the efficacy of mucopolysaccharides for improving hair growth, everyone's genetic disposition is different and little can be done to change it. A people's lifestyle and age are also reflected in the condition of their hair.

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About the Author

Nelly Morrison started writing professionally in 1992 for The Children's Channel. She has since had her own lifestyle and beauty column in "Good Health Magazine" in the UK and has written biographical pieces for "Regency World." She was a producer at ITN Factual and she now reviews restaurants for "The List" in Scotland. Morrison studied writing at Edinburgh University.