The Safety and Efficacy of a Sustainable Marine Extract for the Treatment of Thinning Hair: A Summary of New Clinical Research and Results from a Panel Discussion on the Problem of Thinning Hair and Current Treatments

September 2015 | Volume 14 | Issue 9 | Supplement Individual Articles | 15 | Copyright © September 2015

Carl S. Hornfeldt PhD RPha and Mark Hollandb
Panel Discussion with Vivian W. Bucay MD,c Wendy E. Roberts MD,d Heidi A. Waldorf MD,e
and Steven H. Dayan MDf

aApothekon, Inc., St Paul, MN
bLifes2good, Inc., Chicago, IL
cCenter for Dermatology and Aesthetics, San Antonio, TX
dRancho Mirage Dermatologist, Rancho Mirage, CA
eDepartment of Dermatology, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY
fDepartment of Otolaryngology, University of Illinois Medical Center, Chicago, IL

table 1
It has been reported that 52% of women and 28% of men are very-to-extremely upset by their hair loss.16,17 Therefore, novel therapies that would provide effective relief, without unwanted adverse effects (AEs), are of great significance.
As elucidated above, one of the factors that can influence hair condition is diet or nutrition. Whereas there are examples of the AEs of severe malnutrition on hair,22-24 little systematic attention has been paid to the impact of average Western diets on hair growth. Isolated reports have evaluated the influence of various dietary supplements such as millet extracts, biotin, L-cystine, and B-complex vitamins on hair.8 More recently, the impact of supplements containing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty
table 2
acids, and a mixture of antioxidants including lycopene9 and pantothenic acid,10 has also been studied.


Viviscal® (Lifes2good, Inc., Chicago, IL) is a dietary supplement that contains as its primary active ingredient a combination of proteins, lipids, and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) of marine origin, as well as several of the ingredients noted above.11 While there is a paucity of studies examining the dietary benefits of GAGs on hair growth, their impact on skin health and photoaging has been documented.12 Patients with facial photoaging who received an oral supplement containing collagen, chondroitin sulfate, and other constituents displayed increased serum levels of hyaluronic acid and fibronectin compared with baseline, which, subsequently, was associated with improved appearance of the skin.12
In the past decade an increasing number of reports have provided support for nutraceuticals as effective and safe treatment options.25,26 Furthermore, as patients search for options to support and enhance their hair, there seems to be a growing trend toward supplementation compared with prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medications (Figure 1). Since the early 1990’s, numerous studies have examined and established the safety and efficacy of Viviscal in promoting existing hair growth and reducing hair shedding. Here we review the results of recent clinical studies and provide a discussion among experts in the field regarding the problem of hair loss and its available treatments.