Commonly prescribed to people with hair loss all over the world, minoxidil is one of the most efficient drugs used to treat this condition. But, one recent study seems to show that there is more to this drug than its effects on hair growth. Initial results show that minoxidil may have many health benefits, including improving our brain function by affecting the blood flow to the brain.
So, is there a link between minoxidil and brain function?
Potassium Channels and Elastin
The reason why scientists are even looking into minoxidil’s effects on our blood vessels are the potassium channels. These channels allow the potassium found in the cells of our blood vessels to exit these cells and improve blood flow.
Since minoxidil belongs to the group of drugs called potassium channel openers, scientists set out to discover whether this drug can affect our blood flow. They did this by testing mice that had extremely low levels of elastin – an important protein that makes our blood vessels more flexible.
Findings on Minoxidil and Brain Function
The study was published in March of 2018 in the American Journal of Physiology. The researchers found that minoxidil had several effects that could help our brain function.
Compared to mice from the control group, the group that received minoxidil treatment had:
- Lower blood pressure;
- Lower arterial stiffness;
- Increased blood flow to the brain;
- More open blood vessels (especially the carotid artery and the aorta).
The Bottom Line
Although it’s still early to confirm the connection between minoxidil and brain function, initial results look promising. Clinical studies are still needed to see whether the same treatment will have the same effect in humans.