In total honesty, we’re sharing 3 super nutrients for hair growth: one vitamin, one mineral, and one herbal supplement.
For sure, many factors affect hair growth – genetics, stress, and hormones. We all lose our ability to grow hair as we age. Since nutritional deficiencies have a lot to do with how healthy our hair and skin appears, why not make sure that we’re getting what we need to feed our hair from within.
When it comes to understanding hair loss, Healthline explains, “Hair loss in both men and women is called androgenetic alopecia, and it’s common as everyone ages. It’s caused by the hormone testosterone, and its conversion into a molecule called DHT. This alteration causes hair follicles to shrink, resulting in hair loss. Men have more testosterone than women do, so balding is more common in men.”
So what nutrients can help with hair loss?
Great news is that you can get most of these from wonderful natural foods. If you feel that you are not getting enough of these, we always recommend tweaking your diet. Natural foods are the best sources for nutrients. Our bodies are naturally equipped to absorb the benefits from real food. Plus, they pack lots of healthful micro-nutrients. If you are considering a supplement, always check with your primary health provider before taking any to confirm the amount, frequency, and duration.
Why these 3 nutrients to reduce hair loss?
Saw Palmetto, a palm-like plant with berries, has been part of Native American medicine for thousands of years.
In “Natural Hair Supplement: Friend or Foe?” researchers led by Evyatar Evron of the Department of Medicine, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles found that Saw Palmetto “demonstrated positive effects of topical and oral supplements containing Saw Palmetto extract (100–320 mg) among patients with androgenetic alopecia.”
Across five clinical trials and 2 studies they discovered that among people participating in the studies:
So what’s in Saw Palmetto? Exact quantities vary by crop and specific preparation, but in general, Saw Palmetto extract contains 70–95% fatty acids with small amounts of phytosterols such as β-sitosterol, β-carotene, vitamin E derivatives, and polysaccharides.
How does Saw Palmetto work?
In “Saw Palmetto for Hair Loss: Myth or Miracle?” Healthline’s Mary Ellen Ellis explains: “An extract of saw palmetto berries may block 5-alpha-reductase, an enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT. DHT is the molecule responsible for hair loss.”
As a result, Mary Ellen says, “Saw Palmetto is one of the most popular extracts that people use to try to slow down hair loss or to regrow hair.” Tablets and capsules are the easiest to find and are the most common forms studied by researchers.
Also known as Vitamin H, Biotin is part of the B complex vitamins. All B vitamins help the body to convert food into fuel for our bodies to function.
In WebMD’s “The 5 Best Vitamins for Hair Loss Prevention, Based on Research”, Dr. Jennifer Haley confirms that, “Biotin (vitamin B7) is important for cells inside your body. Low levels of it can cause hair loss, skin rashes, and brittle nails. Your levels may be low if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding or taking certain antibiotics or epilepsy drugs.”
Food is a great place to get biotin. You’ll find it in:
In Healthline’s “Best Vitamins for Hair Growth” Registered Dietician Kayla McDonnell explains, “One of the best known vitamins for hair growth is a B vitamin called biotin. Studies link biotin deficiency with hair loss in humans (5Trusted Source).”
Kayla clarifies, “Although biotin is used as an alternative hair loss treatment, those who are deficient have the best results. There’s also a lack of data about whether biotin is effective for hair growth in healthy individuals.”
Iron helps our red blood cells carry oxygen throughout our body, making it a critical mineral for many of the things that our bodies do… including hair growth!
Why is iron important to hair growth?
In the same article, “Best Vitamins for Hair Growth,” registered Dietician Kayla McDonnell explains, “Iron deficiency, which causes anemia, is a major cause of hair loss. It’s especially common in women (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).”
Kayla explains that people most at risk of having low iron are:
Good news! Foods that are naturally rich in iron are delicious and varied:
If hair loss has you down, we recommend that you consider all of the factors that might be affecting you. While hair loss is a natural part of aging, there are things we can do to slow the process down. Nutrition is one dimension to definitely consider. A varied diet is key, but talk to your primary care health provider if you think that you might need a supplement so that you get the maximum benefit.
Check out our blog post "Best foods for healthy hair" to learn more.
What are you eating to stay healthy these days? We’d love to hear from you!
Abigail + David
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