Male Pattern Baldness, and to a lesser extent Female Pattern Baldness, are common issues that can affect the lives of those who suffer from them. Many treatments are available, from medication to supplements. So do vitamins really work for reducing hair loss?
According to a recent study published in January 2017 named Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use focused on the question between nutrient deficiency and hair loss. The study revealed that there are several key vitamins and minerals that the human body might be deficient in, which may result in hair loss. If these vitamins and minerals are replenished in the body, the hair loss may stop and lost hair may regrow.
Iron Supplementation Stops Hair Loss
Iron deficiency (anemia) is a fairly common cause for hair loss in some groups of people, and it’s also a common nutrient deficiency. Certain groups of people are at higher risk of anemia, such as premenopausal women, as well as vegans who don’t consume enough iron-rich vegetables, which can explain why many vegetarians and vegans complain of hair thinning after going meat-free for a while.
According to a study published in 2013 entitled Iron Plays a Certain Role in Patterned Hair Loss, people who suffered from iron-deficiency induced hair loss were able to slow or stop their hair loss with iron supplementation, but little evidence exists when it comes to hair regrowth.
Zinc is also an important vitamin connected with hair loss and regrowth. Zinc deficiency can cause many medical issues, with one being brittle hair, and hair loss. Aside from Iron, supplementation of Zinc in those with a deficiency has been shown to stop hair loss.
Being deficient in Fatty Acids, such as polyunsaturated essential fatty acids linoleic acid (omega-6 fatty acid) and alpha-linolenic acid, can also result in hair loss. Increasing dietary Omega 6’s or supplementing can benefit hair growth in the case of a deficiency. Borage Oil, for example, is a particularly rich source of Gamma-Lenolenic Acid (GLA), which has been shown in studies to be a potent natural DHT blocker.
Similar vitamin and nutrient deficiencies that can result in hair loss include Niacin, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Selenium, Vitamin E, and Biotin. For many of these, it is unclear if even in the case of a deficiency, that supplementing will cause hair regrowth. For instance, the 2017 study states:
In terms of other amino acids and proteins, no clear conclusions may be drawn about the role of supplementation in hair loss. While trials of amino acid and protein supplements have been published, they are formulated with a variety of nutrients, and therefore it is unclear what role, if any, is played by amino acid and protein supplementation in the absence of known deficiency
In the case of a deficiency, taking specific vitamins or minerals can be effective in reducing or regrowing hair, depending on the nutrient. However, if one is not suffering from a deficiency, then there is no evidence that a vitamin supplement will be effective in regrowing hair.
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In fact, due to the high amount of specific vitamins in certain branded hair regrowth vitamin pills, such as selenium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E, one can actually worsen hair loss. Taking too much Iron supplementation as a way of combating hair loss can also lead to iron toxicity, which can be potentially dangerous. Always check with your doctor before considering nutrient supplementation for hair loss.
Research shows there are key nutrients that can promote hair growth. However there are some nutrients that can actually cause hair loss if too much is taken. Therefore the safest thing to do is to use a supplement designed to stop hair loss by providing the right balance of nutrients. If you’re not suffering from hair loss and you just want to make your hair grow faster consider using a supplement specifically designed to increase hair growth.
References and further reading