Natural Supplements & Hair Loss

  • Best Results4-6 months
  • Treatment RecoveryNA
  • Procedure TimeNA
  • Skin SpecialistNaturopath
  • Duration of ResultsVariable
  • AnaestheticNA
  • Back to WorkNA
  • Cost$

Natural Supplements & Hair Loss

Vitamins, minerals & amino acids are important for healthy hair, nails & skin. Certain patterns of hair loss can be associated with nutritional deficiencies. Diffuse hair loss such as telogen effluvium can be associated with low iron & caloric intake.  Autoimmune cause of hair loss including alopecia areata & discoid lupus can be associated with low levels of vitamin B12 & folate. Supplementation can be helpful in some cases of hair loss.

FactsFacts on natural supplements & hair loss

  • Vitamins & minerals are important for physiological hair growth & health
  • Low Vitamin B12 & folate levels can be seen in autoimmune causes of alopecia
  • B12 & folate supplementation over the RDI does not improve androgenetic alopecia
  • Extremely low levels of ascorbic acid can be associated with generalised hair loss
  • Vitamin A intake should not exceed 5,000-10,000 IU daily
  • Vitamin D deficiency are more common in autoimmune related hair loss 
  • Vitamin D should be supplemented if levels are low however it does not improve androgenetic alopecia
  • Iron deficiency is the most common form of vitamin deficiency Worldwide & is a frequent cause of telogen effluvium 
  • Supplementation can reverse hair loss caused specifically by deficiencies

What are the best natural supplements for hair loss?

In the vast majority of cases, hair loss is not associated with vitamin-supplement deficiencies. However, the following supplementation maybe beneficial-

  • Saw Palmetto: is a powerful natural supplement that can reduce conversion of testosterone to dihydrotesterone. Hence this may be a useful adjunct for the management of androgenetic alopecia (male & female pattern hair loss).
  • Iron: supplementation may improve telogen effluvium due to low ferritin levels. The most common cause/s include heavy menses & low intake of dietary iron.
  • Multivitamins: may have a role for dietary supplementation in patients who have telogen effluvium due to caloric restriction.

Why are vitamins required for hair growth?

The scalp contains nearly 100,000 hair follicles. Of these, 90% are in the anagen phase. These follicles require vitamins, minerals & protein to maintain healthy hair growth. Deficiencies of vitamins & minerals can have a massive impact on the health of hair.

Examples include iron deficiency in patients who are vegans & or women who suffer from menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding). Scurvy, a lack of vitamin C causes hair loss, as well as skin changes including easy bruising (due to lack of collagen within blood vessels & thin skin).

What is the role of crash diets, intermittent fasting, caloric intake & hair loss?

This is a common cause of hair loss, especially in females. The combination of stress due to caloric restriction, coupled with iron deficiency/loss due to period cycles has a profound effect on hair health. The reasons for hair loss are often multifactorial, including telogen effluvium & iron deficiencies.

Telogen effluvium usually presents 2-4 months after stressful events (pregnancy, surgery, diet, emotional stress). A physical exam coupled with microscopic examination can diagnose telogen hairs. This condition is self-limiting.

Iron deficiency can cause, & compound hair loss- especially common in women who restrict their dietary intake, often compounded with blood loss due to menorrhagia. A simple blood test can diagnose, supplementation can reverse.

Disclaimer: for medical investigations & treatment of hair loss, consult your family physician. For more complex cases, consult a medical dermatologist.

What natural anti-hormone treatments are there for hair loss?

There are many over the counter solutions for AGA or androgenetic alopecia (male & female pattern baldness). These compounds work by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone or DHT & include:

  • Saw palmetto
  • Green tea extract
  • Alfatradiol
  • Procyanidin B-2

My viewpoint: banal & cost effective enough to ‘give it a go.’ As stated, placebo can have a good effect in up to 25% of cases. The other option is to supplement or combine medical therapy with natural supplements that reduce hormonal input to the follicle. A simple, low cost, low risk regime may be- minoxidil 1-2 mg po or topically 5% combined with saw palmetto & green tea. 

Disclaimer: I am a procedural dermatologist, for medical management of hair loss, please consult my colleagues.

Davin’s Viewpoint on Natural Supplements & Hair Loss

In the vast majority of cases, at least in Australia, nutritional deficiencies of protein, elemental minerals & vitamins are extremely rare. If you have medical conditions such as anorexia, chronic caloric deprivation, malabsorption, or significant medical disorders, a simple blood test can reveal any deficiencies.

For patients who suffer from male or female pattern hair loss, The use of natural antiandrogens such as saw palmetto looks promising, especially as adjunctive treatment for AGA. A recent paper has shown promising regrowth when combined with topical minoxidil. Hence a sensible starting point for anyone who suffers from androgen related hair loss is to commence on these two therapies. They are readily available at all pharmacies. Realistically it will cost less than a dollar a day. This routine can also be used post follicular unit extraction/ hair transplantation.

Disclaimer: I do not treat / manage hair loss conditions medically. Please see a medical dermatologist for diagnosis & management. My work is procedural.

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