Can humans digest hair?
February 2, 2008 11:12 PM   Subscribe

Can humans digest hair?

Precipitating fact: cats seem unable to digest their own.
posted by holympus to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
The obligatory Google search led to this email. The answer would appear to be "no".

Think about all the caustic chemicals and heat that people put on their hair to get it to change shape. Whether it's to straighten or to curl, the process is rather involved. And that's just to change shape, never mind digest. Our stomachs aren't built to do it.
posted by sbutler at 11:19 PM on February 2, 2008

Not only is human hair indigestible, but if you swallow enough of it you might end up with a bezoar.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:29 PM on February 2, 2008

People dying after eating enough of their hair come up in the news every so often.
posted by lou at 11:57 PM on February 2, 2008

Recent "human hairball" news story with fascinating-yet-disgusting photo here.
posted by O9scar at 12:00 AM on February 3, 2008

The word you need is bezoar.
posted by b33j at 2:11 AM on February 3, 2008

To be more specific, "trichobezoar." Bezoars can be made out of anything indigestible.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:30 AM on February 3, 2008

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