Many supplements out there are advertised as helping hair loss in women, so it’s only natural to sit back and ponder whether or not such claims are actually accurate. First, can vitamins help women suffering from hair loss and if so, which ones?
The first question is simple but complex at the same time. If you think about it, vitamins and minerals are marketed to individuals whose diets are either deficient in some way or who may have possible health conditions that prevents them from metabolizing or absorbing an amount required for optimum health.
For instance, vitamin D is crucial for human health and research has demonstrated its involvement in the biochemical function and operation of ALL cells in the body. Men and women who are not getting enough sun exposure (or taking adequate supplementation) could consequentially suffer from severe health problems. Health problems will vary depending on the type of vitamin or mineral deficiency; the point is that all health conditions will cause inflammation of some sort, which will trigger the production of DHT. This will result in hair loss.
Hair loss and health are so closely related that hair loss can sometimes indicate that “something’s not quite right”. Another more specific example is iron. If you are anemic, you could suffer from hair loss as a result. So really, the question of which vitamins/minerals can help hair loss in women depends on whether you are suffering from a vitamin or mineral deficiency. If so, then “all of them” could be the answer, depending on what it is you’re not eating. Often, a simple blood test can answer this question.
Let’s assume your diet is “perfect” and dig a little deeper. Are there vitamins or minerals out there that could indeed help you combat hair loss if you are prone to alopecia to begin with? Or at least help with hair health in general?
The answer is YES. Recalling that “healthy hair begins with a healthy scalp”, there are supplements that have shown to ameliorate the health of both your scalp and hair. These include zinc, selenium, and biotin. Don’t forget that if you are currently on medication, are pregnant or have any conditions, you should and must consult a physician before taking any natural supplements.
Let’s start with zinc, a mineral whose functions include tissue growth, vitamin absorption, cell reproduction, hormonal balance and protein synthesis. A lack of zinc will not only greatly compromise your immune system (thus resulting in hair loss), but will also directly slow down your hair growth cycle and weaken your hair shaft. On top of this, zinc helps your scalp maintain a healthy production of sebum without which your scalp will suffer from excessive dryness or oiliness.
Selenium, on the other hand, is said to “support hair growth and prevent hair loss”. If you look closely at a bottle of anti-dandruff shampoo, you’ll notice that selenium sulfide is often included amongst its list of ingredients. In fact some studies suggest this potent mineral can control the presence of the Malassezia fungus. Yes, everyone, including you, has fungus on their scalp. Malassezia is a cutaneous yeast that can inhibit scalp cell turnover with an accumulation of waste products (which you see as dandruff). Under the right circumstances, such as an excess of humidity and/or sweat, the population of fungus can spiral out of control, which can lead to hair loss.
Finally, if you’ve ever looked at any type of natural supplement marketed for hair loss in women, you’ll see that biotin is always present amongst its list of ingredients. Whether or not these other ingredients can affect the quality of hair is not the point of this article: the perpetual presence of biotin speaks for itself. Pick up a bottle of biotin at the pharmacy– you’ll see that it advertises healthy hair, skin and nails as some of its attributes. So is this true?
The answer is naturally a tad more complex than a straightforward YES or NO. Biotin is a water-soluble B-type vitamin, and is also referred to as vitamin B7, vitamin H and coenzyme R. Several types of vegetables, nuts, fruits, as well as eggs are rich in biotin. If your diet is generally well balanced, then you are most likely not biotin deficient; however a key point here is that there is no test that can determine a biotin deficiency. Going back to a few paragraphs above, any type of deficiency can lead to health problems, which may result in thinning hair. Biotin is also responsible for cellular energy production and has been shown to deflect chemicals and hormones that are linked to hair loss.
So should you take biotin if you’re struggling with hair loss? Well, there’s no risk of toxicity since it’s water soluble, plus it’s relatively non-expensive. However, while biotin has been shown to positively affect hair, there is still little to be said when it comes to its effects on hair loss.
What you can do, however, is begin taking the above three minerals/vitamins after consulting a nutritionist or physician in conjunction to undergoing laser hair therapy. Even if you aren’t suffering from hair loss, an optimal Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) device has been shown to do wonders when it comes to prevention. In either case, you just need to make sure the device actually reaches the stem cells at the base of hair follicles to revive the mitochondria of hair cells. Only then can you truly reap the spectacular benefits of state-of-the-art laser hair therapy.