For most of us, having great hair is pretty high up on our appearance wish-list. Studies have even shown that the condition and health of our locks are intrinsically linked to our psyche and that a bad hair day can leave us in emotional turmoil, and our self-esteem in the gutter. But setting aside our Rapunzel dreams, it’s alarming to learn that 21 million women in the USA suffer from hair loss , and even more, have reported experiencing thinning hair at some stage of their life.
That’s a lot of unhappy women.
Hair loss can affect anyone, no matter their gender, age, or overall health, but worryingly, our hair growth slows down significantly as we get older, with our follicles per square centimeter reducing by up to a third. So, why is this happening, and is there anything we can do about it?
Related: Read ‘This Is Why Your Hair Is Falling Out… (And How To Stop It!)’ here.
If you’ve stepped foot into any health store, read any kind of beauty magazine, or even looked on Facebook and Instagram in the last few years, you’ll have noticed adverts for supplementing all kinds of health and beauty woes. From nails and skin to weight loss and muscle growth – supplements are now as commonplace in our homes as fruit and veg. But when it comes to the health of our hair, can these pills and potions really make a difference?
Claiming to help with everything from hair loss and thinning, to guaranteeing quicker hair growth and reversing split ends, hair supplements seem to promise a lot. So here at Cel, we’ve taken a deeper look into the 5 supplements that we believe truly can improve the health and appearance of your hair, so you know what to look out for – but more importantly, what to avoid!
1. The Power of Protein
Protein is the foundation of good hair. It’s the building blocks of your locks, yet hardly anyone has enough protein in their diet – at least from a hair-health standpoint . This is because of the hair’s position in your body’s pecking order when it comes to the delivery of nutrients. Protein is essential for muscle growth, cell regeneration, healthy skin and nails, and a whole host of other important organ functions. Because of this, our bodies send all the protein we eat to the most important parts first, and little is left to nourish our hair. Hair is a non-essential tissue, so it’s left until last when it comes to delivering nutrients. This is where protein powder comes into play. Look for protein supplements that contain amino acids (the smallest unit of protein) as these will be the easiest for your body to distribute.
2. ALWAYS Choose Biotin
Biotin (otherwise known as Vitamin B7) is probably the most important supplement when it comes to healthier hair. Taking a supplement containing biotin can really help to strengthen and improve the durability of growing hairs – pressing pause on hair loss, and improving the overall health of existing strands. Biotin works by aiding the breakdown, and therefore easier use of, amino acids and proteins – which as we discussed, is the substance that forms the majority of your hair. Taking biotin pills can help your body utilize the proteins you ingest and directs them to even your non-essential tissues.
3. Iron It Out
Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the USA, affecting more than 25% of people . A lack of iron can not only cause tiredness, pale skin and hormone malfunctions, but also hair brittleness and hair loss. Iron is found in foods like red meat, leafy greens, nuts, and brown rice, and can affect the blood flow to the scalp, resulting in dry and undernourished hair. If your scalp is dry, it can also lead to issues like dandruff – which further damages your locks. If you want to avoid taking iron supplements to improve your hair health, try incorporating more iron-rich foods into your diet first to see if you notice results.
4. Selenium In Supplements
Selenium is a mineral that’s hugely important in helping the body fight disease, maintain metabolic functions, and provide antioxidant benefits. It supports the function of several organs, and is also needed for healthy hair growth! Selenium activates enzymes in the body , which regenerate antioxidants like Vitamin C. This then promotes healthy hair growth by killing off free radicals and bacteria and is why selenium is often added to many anti-dandruff shampoos. Similarly to Biotin, Selenium also helps utilize the proteins in your system to boost hair growth and regulate our hair-growth hormones.
5. Zinc About It
Zinc is an essential mineral that our bodies need but does not store. We get most of our zinc intake from food, but supplementing it can help boost immune function, wound healing, cell growth, and most importantly – hair growth! Zinc also acts as a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor, blocking the creation of DHT (the hair-killing hormone) . Low levels of Zinc have been linked to hair loss in both men and women, so increasing zinc-rich foods like shellfish, legumes, and eggs are a great way to prevent hair loss.
If you suffer from hair loss or hair thinning, the good news is that there are lots of ways to fix things. No matter which supplements you want to try, it’s always best to check with your doctor first, as you may be able to discover where your deficiencies may lie without the expense of trial and error. Try one supplement at a time, and make sure all the brands you use are reputable and well researched. Most importantly, don’t expect miracles! Hair growth is a slow process, and there are SO many factors that can affect it – from your DNA to where you live, and even the way you wash your hair. Persevere, improve your diet, and if you want to go down the supplement route, we recommend starting with Biotin!
Have you found any other ways to prevent your hair loss? We’d love to hear them! Get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with any of your recommendations.