Our nutrition can play a big role in how healthy our hair looks and feels. There are some key vitamins, minerals, and natural ingredients that all contribute to hair growth and thickness. But these may sometimes be difficult to get from diet alone. Read on for our list of the best hair growth supplements that can help promote strong, thick, and shiny hair.
Do hair growth supplements really work?
Whether you’re concerned with thinning hair, hair loss, or just want to help strengthen your hair, you may be considering a hair growth supplement. Some people find that hair growth supplements can help strengthen their hair, promote hair growth, and reduce hair shedding. However, it is important to bear in mind that all of our bodies are unique and adapt to new ingredients in different ways. A number of factors can determine whether a hair growth supplement will really work for you. Things like age, lifestyle, and underlying health conditions may impact your hair health and the efficacy of a hair growth supplement.
Can a hair growth supplement help with hair loss?
Some healthy adults may benefit from a hair growth supplement. However, sometimes hair loss might be caused by an underlying health condition. In that case, it’s generally good practice to consult with a physician to determine whether a hair growth supplement will be beneficial for you. They may be able to recommend whether you should take a hair supplement for thinning or hair loss.
Support and promote hair growth: vitamins and minerals
We’ve compiled a list of the best vitamins and minerals for supporting hair, follicle, and scalp health. These might be helpful for those with weak and brittle hair, and to boost hair strength and shine.
Essential vitamins in hair growth supplements:
Vitamin C is essential for the function of many of the processes in our bodies. According to the National Institutes of Health, it supports processes like tissue repair and immune function. Vitamin C also plays a big role in the production of collagen. This is a protein that acts as the building block of not only our skin, connective tissue, and muscles but also our hair and nails. As we age, our collagen production begins to decrease. Therefore, increasing the intake of vitamin C may help to promote collagen production. You can find out more about the health benefits of collagen here.
You may have heard vitamin C referred to as a powerful antioxidant. This essentially means that it can help to prevent oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Recent studies suggest that lowering the amount of oxidative stress on our bodies can produce a variety of benefits, including on our hair.
Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is another vital nutrient that our body needs. Like other B-vitamins, niacin helps to convert the food we eat into energy for our bodies. It also plays a key role in DNA creation and repair, cholesterol health, and brain health. Niacin also supports the function of our blood circulation and cell health. This may help to boost hair health, as the blood floow helps deliver nutrients to the scalp. Additionally, increased circulation to the scalp may help with hair loss and thinning as is suggested by studies. These studies suggest that there may be a connection between hair loss and limited blood flow. This vitamin is water-soluble, which means it is not stored in the body. Therefore, it is important to consume sufficient amounts.
This is another B-vitamin, which often appears on labels as biotin. Like niacin, biotin, or vitamin b7, also helps with the conversion of energy in the body. Biotin is a vital nutrient for hair, skin, and nail health as it helps to stimulate keratin production in our bodies. Keratin is a type of protein that is found in our hair, skin, and nails. Food sources of biotin include organ meats like liver or kidney, egg yolk, mushrooms, and soybeans.
Another member of the B-vitamin family, pantothenic acid, or vitamin B5, is another important nutrient. Many hair and nail supplements include this vitamin in their formulas. This is because of the role it plays in supporting and stimulating hair follicles. You can also see it listed in in haircare products such as shampoos, hairsprays, and conditioning treatments. As a matter of fact, the shampoo brand Pantene was named after its key ingredient, panthenol. This is derived from pantothenic acid, or vitamin B5.
Minerals – key ingredients in hair growth supplements
Most of us have heard about the importance of calcium for promoting healthy bones and teeth. But this vital mineral can also help to boost hair health. This is because of the role that calcium plays in enzyme and hormone secretion in our bodies. Enzymes are proteins that are responsible for chemical secretions. Hormones, on the other hand, are chemicals that are produced in our bodies. Both hormones and enzymes contribute to hair health. Hormones called androgens, for example, are known for helping to stimulate hair growth. Enzymes like biotin, mentioned above, help to support hair health through keratin production. Calcium is also an important nutrient for our circulation, as it supports our blood vessels and therefore blood flow.
You may also notice zinc listed as an ingredient in many hair, nail, and skin support formulas. This mineral helps with producing the proteins that are found in hair and other cells. Some research suggests that some of the symptoms of zinc deficiency include hair loss, as is indicated by studies conducted in 2008 and 2009. Other studies conducted have suggested that zinc supplementation following hair loss may help with promoting hair growth.
This mineral is one of the key elements responsible for the production of melanin in the human body. Melanin is the term used for the pigments that determine the color of our skin, hair and eyes, for example. Some researchers believe that extremely low levels of copper in the body may contribute to the premature greying of the hair. However, more studies would need to be conducted to determine the efficacy of copper for greying hair. Because zinc supplementation may reduce copper absorption, many supplements that contain zinc add copper to help prevent a copper deficiency.
Despite its name, horsetail extract is in fact a herbal plant. It is also known as Equisetum arvense. It was used for centuries in alternative medicine. Its use even dates back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. Ancient Greeks and Romans used this herb for supporting kidney health, bone health, and wound healing. In more recent years horsetail extract has been cropping up in hair supplements due to the role it may play in promoting healthy hair. Some think this to be due to its silica content, possible antioxidant properties, and its possible effect on collagen production. One 2018 study, for example, suggested that horsetail may help improve the formation of collagen. Another study examined the possible antioxidant properties of horsetail. Their findings suggested that it may be used as an “easily accessible source” of natural antioxidants.
Silica, or silicon dioxide, is a compound that occurs naturally on earth. It’s actually one of the most abundant elements on earth, coming in at second after oxygen. It is found naturally in some foods. Many supplements that target hair and skin health also often include silica. This is because of the role it may play in skin aging and in strengthening the hair. One study also suggests that silica may help to reduce hair loss, boost hair growth and promote shine.
What else do I need to know before buying a hair, skin, and nails supplement?
When buying dietary supplements, it’s important to look for companies that use high-quality ingredients and whose products undergo third-party lab testing. This helps to ensure that the product is safe to use so that you can get the most of the nutrients and their benefits. It’s a good idea to have a look at different options before you make your purchase so you know what types of hair growth supplements are available. For example, you might want to consider whether it will be easier for you to take in capsules, gummies, or powder.
Before beginning any new dietary supplement, it’s advisable to speak with your doctor about whether it will be suitable for you.