Many supplements claim to reverse hair loss, regrow hair, and cure baldness.
Officially, the FDA has only approved two hair growth solutions: minoxidil (Rogaine) and finasteride. However, many supplements claim to offer similar hair growth benefits.
Are any hair growth supplements backed by science? Can a single pill really fix your receding hairline?
Today, we’re separating the facts from the fiction for nutritional supplements and hair loss.
There’s No Evidence Any Supplement Regrows Hair or Cures Baldness
First, let’s make one thing clear: there’s no evidence an oral supplement, pill, liquid, or smoothie will regrow hair on bald spots, reverse your receding hairline, or make you less bald than you currently are.
Instead, the goal of hair growth supplements is to maintain the current appearance of your hair or encourage growth in areas of your scalp with existing hair.
Despite this fact, many hair supplement companies market their products specifically to people who are bald with claims of reversing baldness and fixing a receding hairline – often overnight. There’s no evidence these supplements work.
Fortunately, there are science-backed ways to support hair growth.
Supplements Can Support Hair Growth, Fullness, Thickness, and Appearance
Supplements cannot regrow hair in bald areas or reverse a receding hairline, but they can support the appearance of your hair by supporting fullness, thickness, and overall growth.
Your hair needs certain vitamins and minerals to grow. If you are deficient in these vitamins and minerals, then your hair struggles to grow in an optimal way.
Here are some of the most important and science-backed supplements for hair growth:
B Vitamins: Multiple types of B vitamins are crucial for hair growth. Many people take B complex vitamins to support overall hair growth for that reason. Vitamin B7 (biotin) and vitamin B12 are particularly important for hair growth, and research shows they help strengthen and condition your hair. Alternatively, you can add more B vitamins to your diet by eating whole grains, meat, fish, eggs, nuts, and avocados.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is one of nature’s best antioxidants. It also plays a crucial role in hair growth. Vitamin C’s antioxidant effects help support blood flow to the scalp and throughout the body. Good blood flow is crucial for hair growth. When blood flows to your scalp, it provides your follicles with the stimulation, oxygen, and nutrients needed for good hair growth. One 2006 study found a specific vitamin C derivative (ascorbic acid 2-phosphate) was particularly effective for promoting hair growth.
Iron: Iron could support hair growth, and there appears to be a connection between iron deficiency and hair loss. One study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found iron deficiency (the world’s most common nutritional deficiency) was linked to certain types of baldness and hair loss. Another study found screening for iron deficiency could help diagnose hair loss before it becomes too serious.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency is linked to hair loss. If your body does not have enough vitamin D, then it cannot produce new hair. Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to greater rates of shedding and overall hair loss. Some people get sufficient vitamin D through sunlight exposure, while others take vitamin D supplements.
Some Supplement Ingredients Are Overrated for Hair Growth
Some supplements claim to support hair growth with a blend of science-backed ingredients – but they fail to live up to the hype.
Keratin is a popular hair growth supplement ingredient, for example, backed by limited formal scientific evidence. Nevertheless, many of the world’s most popular hair growth supplements continue to contain keratin.
Overrated Hair Supplement Ingredient #1: Keratin: Keratin is one of the most abundant proteins in the body. It’s crucial for hair, skin, and nails. Today, many people take keratin supplements to support hair growth and overall skin and nail health. Unfortunately, there’s little proven evidence showing keratin supplementation meaningfully changes hair, skin, or nail health in humans – although keratin continues to be one of the most popular ingredients in hair growth supplements today.
Overrated Hair Supplement Ingredient #2: Vitamin A: Vitamin A deficiency is rare in the United States and most developed countries. If you are genuinely deficient in vitamin A, then taking a vitamin A supplement could help with hair growth. However, there’s little evidence most people can benefit from vitamin A supplementation. In fact, most studies on vitamin A and hair growth have worked on mice – not humans. Unless you know you’re deficient in vitamin A, consider skipping it.
Overrated Hair Supplement Ingredient #3: 90% of Hair Growth Supplement Ingredients: You can find plenty of hair growth supplements online and in stores claiming to reverse hair loss, regrow hair, and solve all of your hair-related problems. Unfortunately, 90% of ingredients within these formulas are not backed by science. Check the label, check the science, and verify the dosage and concentration of ingredients to ensure you’re not being scammed.
Other Science-Backed Diet & Lifestyle Changes for Hair Loss
There’s no evidence a supplement can regrow hair or fix baldness overnight. However, there’s plenty of evidence that certain diet and lifestyle changes can impact hair loss.
Here are some of the science-backed strategies you can implement today to support hair growth, boost the appearance of your hair, and give you the best possible chance of maintaining a full head of hair at any age:
- Avoid hairstyles that pull on your hair, including cornrows, tight braids, and ponytails; these hairstyles can pull hair away from the scalp and loosen the bond between your hair and scalp.
- Avoid chemically treating or bleaching hair. These processes destroy keratin, which forms the structure of your hair, and can leave your hair seriously damaged.
- Use a better shampoo and avoid over washing. There’s no evidence specific shampoo ingredients cause hair loss, but you should avoid over washing your shampoo or using low-quality shampoos to give your hair the best possible chance of maximum growth.
- Eat a diet rich with antioxidants, including colorful fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid low level light therapy. Some clinics advertise low level light therapy as a cure for baldness. In reality, there’s little largescale evidence low level light therapy provides a meaningful difference in hair growth. Until there’s more science behind it, avoid low level light therapy and other unproven treatments.
Are you experiencing hair loss? Have you noticed a decrease in the luster, fullness, or overall appearance of your hair? It could be a deficiency problem.
Many people are deficient in crucial vitamins, minerals, and nutrients linked to hair growth. These deficiencies can lead to hair loss problems.
Order a Science Nutrition Lab test today to compare your bloodwork to an optimal range.
Instead of checking your blood against a random selection of patients at a lab, Science Nutrition Lab compares your bloodwork against the optimal levels for your demographic, providing better insight into your health and future.