Normally, I focus on weighty health subjects (yes, often literally). But today I’m stepping back to discuss a topic some people might consider more vanity-related.
I’m talking about hair loss.
It’s an upsetting thing for anyone. But I’ve found most men tend to accept it to one degree or another. Women, on the other hand, tend to be more proactive in seeking a solution. In fact, hair loss is one of the most common complaints I receive from women each week in my office.
While it’s certainly not a life-threatening problem, I do believe that when you look better—whether it’s losing weight or gaining back your hairline—you feel better. And that helps inspire you to make better health choices overall. It’s all about gaining momentum.
So I was thrilled to see a new study showing that there may be a simple, natural answer for women’s hair loss.
Researchers from France, Italy, and the U.S. recently teamed up to look for a solution to Female pattern hair loss (FPHL). And they found that taking a few common nutritional supplements can improve not just the condition of the hair, but the overall scalp coverage.
In case you’re not familiar with it, FPHL is different than male-pattern hair loss. It typically occurs just before and after menopause. It primarily affects the hair on the crown and center of the scalp. And it’s much more common than you might think. In fact, reports estimate it affects up to 50 percent of women over the age of 50.
There is no doubt that nutrition influences hair loss and hair condition. When people don’t eat well or are malnourished, hair is one of the first things to disappear.
So for this study, researchers recruited 120 women suffering from FPHL and divided them into two groups. The first group took 460 mg of fish oil (omega-3s), 460 mg of blackcurrant seed oil (omega-6s), 5mg of vitamin E, 30 mg of vitamin C, and 1 mg of lycopene each day for six months. The second group didn’t take any supplements. Both groups were given the same shampoo, with instructions to use it every other day. And researchers instructed both groups not to change their diets or hair-care regimen in any other respect.
After the 6 months were up, the results were downright amazing. Nearly 90 percent of the women taking the supplements had a reduction in hair loss. And 87.3 percent showed an improvement in hair density. Even hair diameter improved in 86 percent of the women in the supplement group.
In other words, taking a few simple nutrients not only slowed hair loss in these women—it also helped them re-grow some of the hair they’d lost…And it came back in even thicker than before.
Funny enough, these researchers didn’t even look at the supplements I typically recommend to my patients for hair loss—such as biotin (7.5 mg per day) and cysteine (1,000 mg per day). Instead, they focused on simpler supplements.
What’s more: many of the supplements administered in this study are ones that aren’t just good for your hair—they’re good for you, period.
Now we know they won’t just keep you feeling good, they’ll also keep you looking great.
“Effect of a nutritional supplement on hair loss in women.” Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology 2015; 14: 76-82.