Are you looking for an all-natural solution to hairloss?
There are products on the market that are proven to be effective at reducing, and even reversing, hairloss. Two of the most well-known are minoxidil and finasteride, also known by their brand names Propecia and Regaine. However, these man-made treatments can often be eschewed by many men who are in favour of a more natural solution.
In this guide, we look at the best natural hair growth supplements and solutions for hair loss.
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Why does hair fall out?
Hair is built up of keratin (an essential protein) and is effectively a chain of dead cells that is pushed out of the body through our follicles. The rate of growth from, and density of these, follicles is determined by a number of factors including age, ethnicity and general health. Healthy hair is produced in phases and hairloss can be triggered by the follicles entering a dormant phase. This can happen as a result of genetics, poor health or a trigger such as stress. There are also several conditions that can cause poor health in the hair follicles resulting in premature loss or for them to stop producing hair altogether.
Natural Solutions to Hair Loss
Because hair loss in some people occurs as a result of poor nutrition and/or environmental conditions there are some natural treatments that can help with healthy hair growth.
One of the first places to start in a bid to promote the growth of hair and improve the condition and strength of existing hair is with your diet.
Diet & Nutrition
Hair is created using protein which must be sourced from our bodies and a lack of quality protein in our diet can result in brittle and ill-formed hair strands as well as a slow rate of growth. Given that the average hair remains attached to the scalp for up to three years, it is essential that it is strong or else it will fall out prematurely.
Protein comes in many forms with the best being a low-fat, low-cholesterol source such as from lean meats like turkey, chicken and salmon (or seafood). Eggs are also an excellent source of protein. Vegetarians and vegans can find quality protein from beans and pulses or quinoa. You might even want to consider protein supplements such as whey powder. However you choose to add quality protein to your diet be sure to include this in your daily calorie intake to avoid weight gain.
Collagen is an important amino acid used to produce cells as well as promote healthy skin growth. It is an important factor in hair growth and works to boost the rate of hair regrowth as well as improve the density and volume of the hair regrown. Whilst there are collagen powders that you can use as a supplement, their efficacy is still unknown. Far better is to provide your body with the raw materials to create this naturally occurring compound.
To help your body boost the amount of collagen it produces, eat foods rich in genistein, carnosine, plant steroids, vitamins, lycopenes, lutein and omega 3. Try foods such as turkey, flaxseed, avocado, soy products, dark green vegetables and red fruits and vegetables.
Avoiding Hair Loss
Prevention is better than cure and there is no better way to ensure the best hair growth than to avoid losing your hair altogether. Of course, hair naturally falls out as part of a healthy cycle but there are things you can do to ensure that the loss is kept to a minimum and does not result in thin or patchy hair loss.
Excessive use of hair products, dyes and heat treatments can all affect healthy growth and contribute to premature hair loss. You should also protect your hair from the sun as sun damage can result in dry and brittle hair as well as affect the healthy cycle of hair follicles.
Other environmental conditions such as overly dry or humid surroundings coupled with chemicals and free radicals can harm your hair and scalp. If you cant avoid these environments or protect your hair when you are in them, then treat your head to a daily conditioner that includes essential proteins and vitamins.
Lastly, stress can cause hairloss and whilst it can’t always be avoided, trying to reduce or eliminate the cause of stress can help prevent telogen effluvium.
Natural Supplements for Hair Loss
In addition to making some changes to your existing diet and environment, there are supplements that you can take to provide your body with the essential ingredients for strong and healthy hair.
Biotin (aka Vitamin B7 or Vitamin H)
Biotin is a water soluble vitamin that works in the human body to convert fats and carbohydrates into energy. Vitamin B7 does contribute to the production of healthy hair but is not enough on its own to stimulate new growth. Biotin can be found in most foods we eat but is most abundant in foods like eggs, beans, mushroom and Swiss chard. It is uncommon to have a deficiency in biotin but if you do it can affect hair growth, cause fatigue, produce inflammation of the eyes, nose and throat as well as produce burning in the extremities.
There is insufficient evidence to suggest that biotin supplements can work the miracles that manufacturers purport when it comes to hair regrowth but this coenzyme has no reported side effects as a supplement.
Produced using 100% natural products and containing a combination of marine protein, minerals and vitamins, Viviscal reports to be able to regenerate new, and existing, cell growth. The main ingredients are:
- Millet Seed Extract
- Horsetail Extract
- AminoMar Marine Complex (powdered shark and mollusc)
- Vitamin C
The makers of Viviscal (Lifes2Good) cite the results from several scientific studies which show excellent results in hair regrowth in groups of patients taking this supplement. Anecdotal evidence from reviews collected online also show favourable results. There are detractors who claim that this herbal pill has had no effect on their hair loss. However, the type of hair loss could be at play here and the root causes of telogen effluvium and androgenic alopecia (for instance) are very different. There are no reported side effects of using this supplement but results do vary.
Saw Palmetto reportedly works in a similar way to Propecia by blocking the conversion of DHT in the body. It works by inhibiting the enzyme, 5-block-reductase, that is responsible and effectively reducing the genetic effects of male pattern (and female pattern) baldness. There is good evidence to support these claims and there are also positive benefits for patients suffering from benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Unlike Propecia, saw palmetto (a type of berry) extract is reported not to decrease testosterone levels.
The supplement is safe to use and most people tolerate it well. However, it is not recommended to be used with any other form of hormone therapy nor for patients on warfarin.
With celebrity endorsements from the Kardashians, HairFinity has been on the radar as a supplement for hair growth for some time. It contains biotin as an active ingredient but has a blend of multivitamins such as Vitamins A, C and D, silica, collagen and amino acids. There are plenty of testimonials that report good results but there is no independent evidence that this particular supplement is any better than any other source of biotin and combination of vitamins.
As a last word on the subject of natural solutions to hair growth, you can take supplements to assist but you can never replace a nutritious diet and healthy hair care regime when it comes to boosting hair growth to the max. For more ideas on how to produce a thick head of hair, see our Ultimate Hair Thickening Guide.
Featured image via Flickr.