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Indian Dermatol Online J. 2019 Mar-Apr;10(2):115-124. doi: 10.4103/idoj.IDOJ_123_18.

Dietary Protein Deficit and Deregulated Autophagy: A New Clinico-diagnostic Perspective in Pathogenesis of Early Aging, Skin, and Hair Disorders.

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Department of Dermatology, Aesthetic Surgery and Intervention Dermatology, AURA Skin Institute, Chandigarh, India.



Diet has an important role to play in the well-being of human body.


The study intends to establish the "hypothesis of conscious, selective, and self-destruction i.e., deregulated autophagy of skin and hair in low dietary protein scenario" by determining the facial profile, clinical presentation, and histopathological correlation of deficient protein intake and missing of meals in a tertiary care aesthetic skin institute.


A total of 98 patients of skin- and hair-related complaints were enrolled in the study and a histopathological correlation was established by skin and scalp biopsies in high and low protein groups.


A significant number of subjects (68.4%) were taking less than half of the recommended daily allowance of proteins and faced problems like hair fall, acne, pigmentation, vitiligo, hirsutism, melasma, and premature aging. Subjects missing breakfast were found to have hypothyroidism, diffuse hairfall, autoimmune disorders like vitiligo, lichen planus, and alopecia areata. Histopathological images from submental area showed loose and fragmented collagen in high carbohydrate group in comparison to high protein group where thick, uniformly stained collagen bundles were found in dermis. Histopathology of scalp tissue showed chronic perifollicular inflammatory infiltrate and fibrosis in high carbohydrate group which was absent in histopathology specimen of high protein group. Patients taking early and nutrient-rich breakfast had higher mean protein intakes and less severe skin and hair problems suggesting a role of circadian rhythm as well.


Dietary protein adequacy and early breakfast have significant role in preventing self-destruction or deregulated autophagy in trichology and cosmetic dermatology and may prevent various autoimmune, inflammatory, and metabolic diseases.


Aging; autophagy; circadian rhythm; hair fall; melasma; protein

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