The condition of one’s hair is often viewed as an outward sign of excellent overall health. Those seeking healthy, more lustrous hair might begin with simple dietary improvements, as sufficient daily intake of macro and micronutrients is necessary to maintain cellular structure and promote hair growth. Unfavorable changes of the hair and scalp can indicate underlying nutrient deficiencies, which can result in dry, dull or thinning hair over time. In addition to nutrient deficiencies, genetics, chronic illnesses, medications, hormonal fluctuations, prolonged stress, advancing age, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can all affect the health, strength, texture and thickness of hair, as well as the speed of hair growth and the rate of hair loss.
The average human head contains approximately 100,000 hairs and an equal number of hair follicles. Hair follicles cycle through stages that include growth, transition, resting and shedding phases. The growth cycle of a human hair typically lasts two to seven years, which determines the length of one’s hair. Normally, hair grows at the rate of one half inch each month or about six inches yearly. During the shedding phase, it’s common to lose 50 – 100 hairs daily with no visible effects on hair thickness.
Significant increased hair loss, known as excessive hair shedding, is a common often temporary condition. Non-permanent hair shedding can be a result of childbirth, rapid weight loss, extreme dieting, illness accompanied by high fever, a period of high stress or traumatic life event. With the exception of prolonged stress, which can lead to long-term excessive shedding, as the body readjusts, hair will often regain its natural fullness within six to nine months. Women who inherit a genetic predisposition for hair loss will generally experience gradual loss, while men will develop a receding hair line or baldness.
Healthy hair starts at the root, where hair follicles receive oxygen and nutrients. A diet that includes a proper balance of protein, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and antioxidant nutrients can help meet the metabolic requirements of hair follicle cells to nourish and support optimal hair growth and maintain the health of hair and scalp. A nutrient-poor diet is frequently to blame for lack luster, thinning, easily damaged hair. Often undernourished, fast dividing hair cells are non-essential for life making them low priority on nutrient receiving list.
A well-balanced diet can potentially provide essential vitamins, including A, C, D, E, K and B-complex, that support healthy hair growth, as well as hair strength and thickness. A daily high quality multivitamin and mineral supplement can help ensure foundational nutrient needs are met. Supplements specifically formulated to provide the nutrients for healthy hair follicle function can make a noticeable difference in the look, strength and health of hair. Although improvements may not be evident for several months as hair takes time to grow, hair supplements support hair production and thickness, as well as improved hair quality.
Keratin, an insoluble structural protein comprising chains of amino acids, is the main component of hair. Dietary protein provides the essential amino acids required to produce keratin. Insufficient intake of amino acids can cause a reduction in keratin levels and lead to weakness and reduced hair growth. For lustrous, shiny, thriving hair, sufficient daily intake of animal or plant-based proteins is key.
As well, it pays to be prudent about daily hair care. Along with harsh chemical-based hair treatments, dyes and hair products, over-washing, over-styling, blow-drying and flat-ironing can damage and weaken hair, and result in dryness, brittleness, frizziness and breakage. Switching to more natural, nurturing hair care products, washing less frequently and allowing hair to dry naturally when possible can help to restore moisture and prevent breakage. As split ends travel the length of the hair when not regularly trimmed, removing dry split ends every few months helps keep hair healthy and strong as it grows.
Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality nutritional supplements in support of optimal health:
Hair ReVive™ by Ridgecrest Herbals®: This popular product provides a unique combination of synergistic vitamins, minerals, botanicals and phytonutrients that aid hair growth and fullness and help reduce daily hair loss. With continued use, these nutrients enhance circulation to the scalp and hair follicles, aid development and renewal of healthy active follicles and provide building blocks for strong, healthy hair. Free of gluten, wheat, dairy, nuts, corn, soy and yeast. Non-GMO formulation.
Hair/Skin/Nails Ultra by Pure Encapsulations®: This hypoallergenic formulation provides optimal levels of nutrients and cofactors that promote and support healthy hair, skin and nails. Specific ingredients support skin hydration and elasticity, supply building blocks for keratin and collagen synthesis and counter oxidative stress with antioxidant nutrients. Gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.
Hair, Skin and Nails Plus by Douglas Laboratories®: This science-based formula offers nutritional support for hair, skin, nails and connective tissue health with a synergistic blend of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, botanicals and gelatin. Free of wheat gluten, dairy, corn, sodium, starch, yeast and artificial coloring, flavoring and preservatives. Non-GMO formulation.
Hair, Skin & Nails by Now® Foods: This clinically advanced formula is designed to nutritionally support full lustrous hair, strong nails, skin elasticity and a healthy youthful appearance. Bioavailable ingredients include solubilized keratin, hydrolyzed collagen and hyaluronic acid, as well as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and biotin. Free of wheat, gluten, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish and tree nuts. Non-GMO formulation.
Skin, Nails & Hair™ by MegaFood®: This farm-to-table supplement provides FoodState™ Nutrients sourced from wholesome food grown in healthy soil by farmers committed to organic and regenerative agriculture. These guaranteed potency, health-promoting compounds support the health of hair, skin and nails with nourishment the body recognizes as whole food. Free of gluten, dairy, soy, glyphosate-residue, herbicides and pesticides. USDA Organic, Non-GMO, Certified Kosher, vegan formulation.
Nutrition and hair. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20620758.
The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Hair Loss: A Review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6380979/
Do You Have Hair Loss or Hair Shedding? https://www.aad.org/hair-shedding