By Paul Taylor
This review of Advecia examines the risk of side effects and its ingredients (L-lysine, arginine, green tea, etc) to help you decide whether or not it’s a safe, effective product worth trying in your war against hair loss.
This food supplement (the full name is "Advecia - Naturally Block DHT") contains several ingredients well-known for having potentially beneficial effects on hair growth - saw palmetto, grape seed and green tea, as well as the amino acids L-arginine and L-lysine.
However, there's a potential problem with the amino acids in this product that you should know about.
The manufacturer recommends a dose of 4 capsules per day taken with food to avoid discomfort of the stomach. However, the two amino acids it contains raise an important issue:
Amino acids are best taken on an empty stomach at least half an hour before a meal, and with water or fruit juice rather than drinks which contain protein (e.g., milk).
That’s because any food or drink containing protein will also contain other amino acids, and these could then compete for absorption with the supplements you take (1).
When I wrote to the official website about this (ProgressiveHealth.com), they replied:
"Hi Paul: There will be no issues taking the supplement on an empty stomach. You can do that. You bring up some good points."
So it seems you have a choice:
1. Take Advecia half an hour before a meal - you are more likely to absorb the L-arginine and L-lysine, but also more likely to upset your stomach too.
2. Take it immediately after a meal – this will avoid the risk of side effects from a possible upset stomach, but if your meal contains protein, the L-arginine and L-lysine in this product will probably not get absorbed as well as it should.
3. Take different
products - if taking supplements on an empty stomach gives you digestive problems, perhaps a better approach would be to obtain the same
nutrients from separate products (which might be less expensive
too). You could then take the amino acids on an empty stomach and the
remaining supplements with food.
L-lysine especially, is considered by many to help hair regrow. Given
then that most people who take this product will probably do so with food (i.e., as
the manufacturer recommends) perhaps this explains why several Advecia
reviews are mixed, and why many customers do not benefit from taking this supplement (at least as far as their hair loss is concerned).
Some research I've found (albeit anecdotal from online forums and websites) suggests that this supplement does seem to help some people. Whilst others say it doesn’t help at all.
The manufacturer states that their product can decrease DHT production and increase nitric oxide production in the body.
Both these approaches are used by the drugs finasteride (DHT blocker) and minoxidil (which most likely involves nitric oxide and vasodilation for any positive effects it has on scalp hair growth).
So it appears that the way Advecia tackles hair loss is very much like a combination of these two drugs.
But, since it contains herbs, amino acids and other nutrients rather than pharmaceutical drugs, perhaps this suggests there should be a lower risk of side effects in comparison to the drug products.
However, since both finasteride and minoxidil very often don't work anywhere near as well as you might think, perhaps it follows that, since Advecia employs a similar mechanism to these drugs, it too does not work for many who try it.
This website focuses on safe, natural solutions to hair loss. And there's no doubt that Advecia does contain several naturally-occurring ingredients.
However, I do not believe this product should be recommended as a hair loss product.
Some of the Advecia ingredients are, no doubt, very healthy. For example, green tea extract and grape seed extract are powerful antioxidants that should be beneficial regardless of any hair loss problem you might have.
But I think there are better ways to get the nutrients it contains into your body (as explained above).
And I would also say that it’s virtually impossible to stop the hair loss process through dietary means alone.
Whilst I do believe certain supplements probably can help to some extent, I’m convinced that
hands-on help is the most effective and safest way to combat the hair loss process.
The following article states that L-lysine competes for absorption with another naturally occurring amino acid:
(1) The Molecular Mechanism of Intestinal Levodopa Absorption and Its Possible Implications for the Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease. Camargo SMR, Vuille-dit-Bille RN, et al. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics October 2014, 351 (1) 114-123. Source: researchgate.net
I also contacted a highly reputable company (naturesbest.co.uk) about their amino acid products. Here's the reply I received:
"In relation to the amino acid guidelines for use on our website, the reason that we recommended not taking the capsules with milk or any other protein, is because of the influence of protein on the absorption of the supplements.
Amino acid supplements are better absorbed when they do not have to compete with other amino acids that would be present in a protein drink or food.
The amino acids will not however be denatured or broken down by the stomach acid, but, if taken with protein, their level of absorption may be limited when they reach the small intestine."
Note: always consult with a nutritional advisor before taking dietary supplements for health-related conditions.
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