An Ingredient Used In McDonald's French Fries Might Help Fight Baldness
People will do anything to stop the inevitable hair loss that comes with aging. But what if the cure had something in common with something totally delicious, like French fries? A new study, published in the journal Biomaterials, says a chemical used to cook McDonald's fries can help generate hair growth—but don't think just chowing down will keep you from going bald.
Researchers at Yokohama National University in Japan developed a method to prepare "hair follicle germs," or HFGs, that are designed to generate new hair follicles. The issue scientists are facing is how to produce lots of hair follicles at once, and the Japanese scientists say their HFGs are a promising step in the right direction.
The scientists said in a press release that the key to producing lots of HFGs at once was the materials they used in the process: oxygen-permeable dimethylpolysiloxane. The chemical itself doesn't help hair growth, but it's used as a base for the process to work most effectively. They found they were able to grow black hair on the backs and scalps of mice.
According to Inc, McDonald's uses dimethylpolysiloxane to reduce oil splatter when cooking their fries and other fried foods. Their foods are cooked in a mixture of vegetable oil, citric acid, and dimethylpolysiloxane. The FDA deems dimethylpolysiloxane as safe to consume as long as it's less than 10 parts per million in food, or 250 parts per million in salt used for cooking. So this is a tiny amount we're talking about here.
To be clear, there's no evidence (yet) that a regular diet of McDonald's fries will stop baldness. The chemical in the study isn't the chemical that triggers hair growth; it simply helps the process along. This study was performed on mice, so there's no direct evidence that the HFG study would work as well in humans anyway. But since the hair loss treatment industry was worth $6 billion in 2016, according to Newsweek, chances are scientists are rushing to figure out if a French-fry cure for baldness is actually legit.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.