Our hair is a big part of our identities, and losing it can seriously affect your self-image. If you’ve noticed that you’re losing more hair than usual, or have new bald patches, you may be wondering how to fix it. Supplements for hair loss may be the answer for some people.
Hair loss can be caused by a number of factors. It is normal to shed 50 to 100 hairs a day, but when you lose more than that, there could be an underlying issue.
Today we will discuss what might be causing you to lose hair, and how you can regrow your luscious locks with the best vitamins and supplements for hair loss.
What causes hair loss?
There are many different reasons you might be experiencing hair loss. For some people, it’s simply hereditary and a natural part of aging. This is what we call female or male pattern hair loss.
But beyond genetics, there are a number of factors that could cause hair loss, including:
Stress can have a serious impact on your physical health. If you’ve lost a loved one, gone through a divorce or break-up, or dealt with another period of high stress, this can cause your natural hair cycle to be disrupted.
Stress can also trigger alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition which causes circular bald patches. Usually, stress-related hair loss is temporary and can be treated with mindfulness exercises, therapy, or certain supplements.
If you’re stressed, you might find that you pull at your hair (sometimes without even noticing). This can cause your hair to fall out – this is known as trichotillomania.
Being sick can take its toll on your body. If you’ve had an illness, particularly an illness with a high fever, it can cause your hair to fall out. Just like with stress, sickness-related hair loss should only be temporary.
Having an operation
Even if the recovery isn’t too painful, having an operation puts major stress on your body. Just like with emotional stress, the physical stress of an operation can cause temporary hair loss.
Some treatments or medications
Some treatments, like chemotherapy, are known to cause hair loss. If you have recently started a new medication or treatment, speak with your doctor to find out if it could be causing your hair loss.
Hormone changes are another thing that can cause hair loss. Pregnant women may see changes in their hair (for better or for worse), and it’s also common for women to lose more hair than usual after birth.
A change in birth control pills
As we just said, hormone changes can sometimes cause hair loss. If you have recently changed or stopped taking birth control pills, the hormone change could be contributing to your hair loss.
If you regularly wear your hair in tight braids, ponytails, or buns (or have extensions) the pressure on your scalp can cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia. You will need to change up your hairstyle to allow your hair to grow back.
Sometimes weight loss can cause hair loss, particularly if it’s sudden and you’ve lost 20 pounds or more. This is especially true if you aren’t getting all the nutrients your body needs. Which leads us to our next point…
Sometimes, a particular vitamin deficiency can cause hair loss. This is especially true if you have an iron deficiency. If you are deficient in any particular vitamin, you probably won’t see any improvement in your hair health until you treat your deficiency.
If you suspect you have a vitamin deficiency, you should speak with your doctor to determine what vitamin you are deficient in. Then, regular supplementation should be able to help you regrow your hair.
Do vitamins and supplements for hair loss work?
Yes, vitamins and supplements for hair loss can absolutely work, but it highly depends on the underlying cause of your hair loss. If your hair loss is due to stress, malnutrition, or vitamin deficiencies, regular supplements for hair loss can be extremely effective.
If your hair loss is due to genetics, then supplements for hair loss probably won’t have much of an effect.
You can speak with your healthcare provider to determine the cause of your hair loss and discover if vitamins and supplements for hair loss will work for you.
In the meantime, here are the best supplements for hair loss – and the scientific studies to back them up.
14 best vitamins and supplements for hair loss
Here are the supplements for hair loss that we recommend. Make sure to follow the directions on the labels carefully, and consult with your doctor before trying new supplements.
Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, has been shown to stimulate the production of keratin. This may increase follicle growth and counteract hair thinning in some people. Outside of a biotin supplement, you can find this vitamin in meat, fish, nuts, eggs, seeds, and even sweet potatoes.
If you are thinking: “Collagen? Isn’t that a skin supplement? Does collagen help with hair loss?” You aren’t alone! Many people only know collagen as a wrinkle-reducing beauty supplement, but there are actually many, many benefits of taking collagen.
In fact, collagen is one of the very best supplements for hair loss. If you know where collagen is found, this makes absolute sense. Collagen is found (in large quantities) in your skin. This means that your scalp and hair follicles rely on ample collagen stores to stay healthy.
On top of that, collagen contains many of the amino acids needed to create more keratin. Because of this, it can strengthen not only your scalp and hair roots, but your hair strands themselves.
While topical collagen treatments may show some beneficial results, you are better off taking collagen supplements orally. That’s why many people choose to take supplemental liquid collagen for hair growth.
Specifically, we recommend taking a hydrolyzed collagen supplement, also known as “collagen peptides.” What are collagen peptides? They are small pieces of collagen that have been broken down through the chemical process of hydrolysis. This makes them easier for your body to absorb and utilize.
3. Vitamin A
Your scalp naturally produces sebum, which is the oily substance that moisturizes your scalp. This keeps your hair follicles healthy. Unfortunately, if you have a vitamin A deficiency, your body can’t balance its sebum levels properly. This can also result in hair loss.
If you are deficient in vitamin A, you should consider taking vitamin A supplements for hair loss. You can also eat eggs, milks, yogurt, pumpkin, carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, and spinach, which are all high in vitamin A.
4. Vitamin C
One of the main factors that contributes to hair loss is oxidative stress. To combat oxidative stress, it’s important to consume ample antioxidants in your diet. One solution is vitamin C.
Not only is vitamin C an antioxidant, it also aids in collagen synthesis, which makes vitamin C doubly powerful when looking at supplements for hair loss.
You can find vitamin C in citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, and peppers.
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to multiple hair conditions, including excessive shedding, alopecia, and female pattern hair loss. If you have a deficiency in vitamin D, then this would be a good supplement for you to take regularly.
To get more vitamin D in your diet, you can also eat more fatty fish, mushrooms, eggs, and fortified cereals.
6. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is another natural antioxidant. If you have health conditions like cystic fibrosis or Crohn’s disease, you are more susceptible to having a vitamin E deficiency.
Studies have found that Vitamin E is an effective method for treating hair loss. Outside of vitamin E supplements, you can find vitamin E in sunflower seeds, spinach, avocados, and almonds.
7. Folic acid
Folic acid is another member of the B vitamin family that may improve your hair health. Folic acid works by supporting your cell production process, which may help with regenerating your hair cells.
Niacin is yet another B vitamin (vitamin B3) which helps your body release energy from food. Niacin helps to improve blood circulation in your scalp, and studies have shown that it can be an effective supplement for preventing hair loss.
Iron deficiency has been known to cause hair loss, especially in women. That’s because iron is used to create hemoglobin in your red blood cells, which distributes oxygen throughout your body. Without enough oxygen, your hair can’t repair and grow properly.
If you have an iron deficiency, regular iron supplements for hair loss can help. You can also eat foods high in iron, including eggs, red meat, lentils, spinach, oysters, and clams.
Another deficiency that can cause hair loss is Zinc deficiency. Zinc promotes hair growth and keeps the oil glands surrounding the follicles working well.
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have kidney issues, have Crohn's or drink excessive alcohol, you are more susceptible to zinc deficiencies.
You can find zinc in beef, spinach, pumpkin seeds, oysters, and lentils.
Curcumin (the active compound found in turmeric) has natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Adding curcumin to your diet or supplementation schedule may help to address oxidative stress and underlying issues like dandruff or autoimmune conditions.
Capsaicin, an active component of chili peppers, has multiple benefits for your hair. It can improve circulation like niacin, and has natural antioxidant properties.
On top of this, capsaicin may also increase hair growth factors, making it one of the best supplements for hair loss.
13. Saw palmetto
Saw palmetto is a plant that is commonly used as a herbal remedy for hair loss, particularly in people with androgenetic alopecia. While further studies need to be conducted, there is promising evidence that saw palmetto can be used to improve hair growth.
Ashwagandha is an herb that is thought to have many physical and mental health benefits, including improved immune function, reduced stress, balanced hormones, and reduced inflammation.
This makes Ashwagandha one of the best all-around supplements for hair loss, since it covers a variety of underlying causes of hair thinning.
Talk to your doctor about the best supplements for hair loss
Discovering which supplements work for you is an incredibly personal process. Your doctor can help you determine which supplements for hair loss would be best in your case based on your health history, underlying conditions, and lifestyle.
If you are looking for the best supplements for hair loss, ask your doctor how a hydrolyzed collagen protein supplement could improve your health from scalp to soles.
FAQs about supplements for hair loss
How do you know if you have a vitamin deficiency?
Signs of a vitamin deficiency will vary depending on the deficient vitamin, but can include: hair loss, brittle nails, skin rashes, fatigue, and weakness.
If you suspect you have a vitamin deficiency, you should talk with your healthcare provider.
How long do supplements for hair loss take to work?
Supplements for hair loss may take several months to see full effects, but you should notice small improvements during that time period. The success of supplements depends on the cause of your hair loss.
How can I avoid hair loss?
Some hair loss is hereditary. In these cases, there isn’t a lot you can do to avoid it. If your hair loss is due to stress or vitamin deficiencies, taking regular supplements and practicing mindfulness can help.
Getting enough sleep and exercise and eating a balanced diet can help reduce the likelihood of hair loss.