The global market for dietary supplements is huge. Estimates for 2022 put it in the region of US$ 155.2 billion, with an expectation that this will rise to US$ 220.8 billion by 2027. The market sub-divides into various sectors according to type and function; athletes, for example, aren’t likely to require the same supplement as someone recovering from illness. Supplements for the treatment of hair loss form a small but growing part of this vast turnover.
This article will look at the role supplements play in the battle with hair loss. Are they effective at stimulating hair regrowth? Read on to find out more!
No Magic Bullet
When you look at supplements online or in the shop, you’ll see a wide range of products, each of which promises to do different things or to do the same thing better than the other products sitting on the same shelf. How then does one cut through the marketing hype and get to the truth?
The first thing to do is arm yourself with some basic information. Most basic of all is the fact that there is no single dietary supplement that will stop hair loss and promote regrowth. That magic bullet doesn’t exist, so stop looking for it. Let’s look, instead, at the reasons why you’re using supplements at all.
In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need dietary supplements and would get all the nutrients we need from our food. That doesn’t always happen. Sometimes our body suffers from malabsorption, which is an inability to digest or absorb the nutrients in food. This can be due to an intolerance of certain foods or from specific conditions such as cystic fibrosis or chronic pancreatitis. It can also be a consequence of medical treatments involving radiation. Malabsorption is a serious matter and should be treated by a doctor.
More commonly, nutrient deficiency arises when we don’t eat a balanced diet. Typically, we eat the food we like and the food we find convenient. While that may provide our body with enough energy to get us through the day, in the long run, it may mean we miss out on some essential vitamins, proteins and minerals. There are seven nutrients commonly missing from the average person’s diet. These are calcium, fibre, Vitamin A, potassium, folic acid, iron and Vitamin D.
You need all these nutrients for your general health, and what’s good for your general health is good for your hair, too. But does a deficiency in these nutrients have a direct impact on hair loss and regrowth?
Research has shown that a deficiency in some of the nutrients that are vital for cell growth and functionality may play a role in hair loss, but it seems that no one is quite sure how this happens. This study from 2019 is typical of the literature on the subject. It concludes that deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals ‘may represent a modifiable risk factor associated with the development, prevention, and treatment of alopecia,’ but it qualifies this by stating that more work is needed to determine the effect of specific micronutrient supplementation on hair growth. Put simply, scientists seem sure that there is a link between nutrient deficiency and the health of our hair but haven’t yet figured out the nuts and bolts of how this works.
So, what does this mean for the use of supplements to tackle hair loss?
Don’t Bet the Farm
There is enough evidence to suggest that supplements can play an important role in halting hair loss and stimulating regrowth. Supplements that contain vitamins A, D, and C, biotin, folic acid, amino acids, zinc, turmeric and omega-3 fatty acids are all likely to help. However, researchers are unable to say at this point which micronutrients are most effective or why. That makes the taking of supplements something of a suck-it-and-see approach to hair loss.
It’s also important to understand that supplements shouldn’t be taken without guidance from a doctor. Excessive amounts of a particular nutrient can cause as many problems as it solves. Nor will they cure underlying hair loss problems. At best, they will mask the problem.
In short, don’t bet the farm on supplements being the answer to your hair loss issues.
Dietary supplements are most effective when used under the guidance of a doctor or nutritional specialist. They are not a standalone cure for hair loss or a magic pill to stimulate regrowth. They should also never be an alternative to seeking proper advice on the condition of your hair.
If you have concerns about hair loss, why not speak to an expert at Vinci Hair Clinic? We are one of the world’s leading hair restoration organisations with clinics in many different countries. What’s more, we offer a free, no-obligation consultation to all our new clients. Get in touch and book your appointment today!