Supplement may help compulsive hair-pullers

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An amazing study was published in the July 6th Archives of General Psychiatry, which found that the amino acid N-acetylcysteine when give over the course of twelve weeks reduced compulsive hair pulling by 56% (trichotillomania- compulsive disorder that results in noticeable hair loss). The researchers commenting stated that the patients whose symptoms did improve were “much or very much improved;” this is compared to 16% taking placebo. According to Jon E. Grant, JD, MD, MPH, of the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, and colleagues, “This study, the first to our knowledge that examines the efficacy of a glutamatergic agent in the treatment of trichotillomania, found that N-acetylcysteine demonstrated statistically significant reductions in trichotillomania symptoms.” The study was a twelve week double-blind controlled trial and was conducted with 5 men and 45 women with trichotillomania who were between the ages of 18 and 65. The researchers mentioned that most of the patients experienced significant improvement after nine weeks of using the amino acid and no adverse events. The authors additionally theorized that it would be possible for treatment with the amino acid N-acetylcysteine beyond 12 weeks to further reduce symptoms of the compulsive disorder. Happily, the amino acid N-acetylcysteine is available at most health food stores. Click here to read an article from the BBC that discusses the study more.

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