Natural Hair Growth Supplements – 6 Helpful Points to Keep In Mind
By Jacqueline Samaroo
It’s no secret that nourishing your body with the right nutrients on the inside is the best way to get the healthy, strong hair you want. But, does it matter where those nutrients come from – foods or hair growth supplements?
Well, while dietary supplements do have definite benefits, there are a few things you’ll want to consider when it comes to using supplements for hair growth.
1. Whole foods are still the best source.
Without a doubt, a balanced diet is the best choice for maintaining general health and for healthy natural hair growth. Eating a wide variety of whole foods is all most of us need to do to get the nutrients we need.
That said, dietary supplements can be of benefit to some persons and are a convenient way for these persons to achieve their recommended nutrient intake.
Dietary supplements for hair growth cover an array of nutrients and nutrient sources, including:
- Minerals, such as calcium, iron, and zinc
- Amino acids
- Fish oils
- Herbs and botanicals
Plus, supplements come in several different forms. So, if downing those often huge multivitamin tablets isn’t your thing, there are also capsules, gummies, liquids, powders, and tinctures to choose from. It all depends on how best the nutrients are delivered and how you prefer to take them.
2. Some persons need supplements.
Dietary supplements are recommended for certain groups of persons who are deemed to be at risk of deficiency. These include:
- Babies, especially those who are partially or exclusively breastfed.
- The elderly, for example, those who may have difficulty chewing certain types of food.
- Pregnant/lactating women, including those who are trying to get pregnant.
- Persons with food allergies, such as a dairy or nut allergy, preventing them from consuming some nutrient sources.
- Persons on special diets that limit or eliminate certain food groups. For example, some vegetarian and vegan diets may be lacking in vitamin B12, vitamin D, and calcium.
Certain illnesses and medication may also affect nutrient uptake and metabolism, giving rise to the need for supplements.
3. Nutrient deficiencies are not common.
Nutrient deficiencies are relatively rare in the US and, for that matter, within much of the Western world. However, the nutrients for which deficiency is most often seen are:
- Vitamin D
4. There are deficiency signs to look for.
Some deficiency symptoms to look out for (and discuss with your doctor) include:
- Excessive hair loss
- Brittle hair and nails
- Wounds that heal slowly
- Joint and bone pain
- Chronic tiredness
- Unexplained mood changes
- Irregular heartbeat
- Tingling and/or numbness in the hands and feet
- Changes in vision
Deficiency, possible deficiency, or risk of a deficiency can be assessed by your doctor through consultation, examination, and blood tests.
5. Consult your doctor or dietician.
Both of these health professionals can help determine whether you have or are at risk of a nutrient deficiency. Let your doctor know of any symptoms you are experiencing and any specific supplement you have in mind. They can assess the possible adverse effects of supplements with prescription or OTC medication you may be taking.
Sometimes, a change in what you eat may be all that is necessary to fix a deficiency. Your dietician may be able to suggest foods you can add to your diet to boost your intake of specific nutrients.
6. Remember, there are no FDA-approved supplements, so…
It is wise to choose hair growth supplements from brands you know or which have good a good track record of making high-quality products. Check the labels of any hair growth supplements you are thinking of purchasing. Look for some indication that the supplement has undergone reputable third-party testing.
A seal of approval from NSF International, US Pharmacopeia, Underwriters Laboratory (UL), or Consumer Lab is always good to see.
Do your own research, too. Look for studies focusing on the use of a particular supplement. Trustworthy sources include the National Institutes of Health – PubMed database and the National Institute of Health – Office of Dietary Supplements.
What are your thoughts on supplements for hair growth? Share!