October 11, 2018
We recently had the great pleasure of baking an apple pie in a wood cook stove and sharing it with our good friend and colleague Dr. Julianne Forbes, who lives and practices in Bridgton, Maine. We had traveled to Maine to check on a log cabin owned by the Schor family and were obligated to spend a cozy week there making sure the fireplace and wood stove were working properly. It’s apple season in Maine and Julianne was kind enough to come help us eat a pie I had baked and polite enough not to complain that the crust was a bit burnt on one side. It takes a little longer to preheat a wood oven than it does in our gas range at home.
Jacob Schor and Julianne Forbes about to cut into a hot apple pie
Dr. Forbes may be familiar to some of our readers as she writes for the Natural Medicine Journal usually focusing on the effects of fine particulate air pollution.
I have a new excuse to bake apple pies. Several recent studies suggest that the polyphenols in apples may stimulate hair follicles to grow hair. Obviously in my case the effect must be slow acting.
The first mention of this hair growth stimulating action of apples that I’ve come across was in 2002. That year Kamimura and Takahashi reported in the British Journal of Dermatology that a Procyanidin extracted from apples, promotes hair growth. Well at least in hair epithelial cells being grown in a laboratory. Two papers have been published this past year. The first published in January 2018 reported that, “…. the procyanidin B2, a dimeric derivative extracted from apples, has demonstrated to be one of the most effective and safest natural compounds in promoting hair growth, both in vitro and in humans by topical applications. By evaluating the polyphenolic content of different apple varieties, [the authors] have recently found in the apple fruits of cv Annurca (AFA), native to Southern Italy, one of the highest contents of oligomeric procyanidins, and, specifically, of procyanidin B2.” The authors tested a specific product called AppleMets and report that it was useful in promoting hair growth.  The online advertising for the product has some compelling before and after photos, if you believe advertisements like that.
Unfortunately, this product is not for sale in the U.S. at this point.
Sweetheart Stove made by Elmira Stoves
The second study published this year came out just last week and the authors claim
“… that oral consumption of Annurca polyphenolic extracts (AAE) stimulates hair growth, hair number, hair weight and keratin content in healthy human subjects.” Annurca apples are native to Southern Italy and apparently contain the highest concentration of the desired polyphenols of any type of apple. 
Earlier studies of Annurca extracts suggest they lower cholesterol  and may protect against stress and aging. A 2017 clinical trial reported that chronic apple extract consumption normalizes blood sugar problems in those with early diabetes.  These and other studies provide adequate rationalization to bake a few more apple pies this fall.
 Kamimura A, Takahashi T. Procyanidin B-2, extracted from apples, promotes hair growth: a laboratory study. Br J Dermatol. 2002 Jan;146(1):41-51.
 Tenore GC1 Caruso D, Buonomo G,et al. Annurca Apple Nutraceutical Formulation Enhances Keratin Expression in a Human Model of Skin and Promotes Hair Growth and Tropism in a Randomized Clinical Trial. J Med Food. 2018 Jan;21(1):90-103. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2017.0016. Epub 2017 Sep 28.
 Badolati N1, Sommella E2, Riccio G3, et al. Annurca Apple Polyphenols Ignite Keratin Production in Hair Follicles by Inhibiting the Pentose Phosphate Pathway and Amino Acid Oxidation. Nutrients. 2018 Oct 2;10(10). pii: E1406. Free full text
 A nutraceutical formulation based on Annurca apple polyphenolic extract is effective on intestinal cholesterol absorption: A randomised, placebo-controlled, crossover study https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213434418300574
 Annurca apple (M. pumila Miller cv Annurca) extracts act against stress and ageing in S. cerevisiae yeast cells https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5381082/
 Shoji T, Yamada M, Miura T, et al. Chronic administration of apple polyphenols ameliorates hyperglycaemia in high-normal and borderline subjects: A randomised, placebo-controlled trial. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2017 Jul;129:43-51.