What nutritional supplements are available for hair loss prevention?
Good nutrition can go a long way in helping you keep your halo of hair. In fact, in Asian countries where vegetables are primary in the diet, pattern baldness is rarely seen. B vitamins in particular are crucial to healthy sebum production and new cell generation. Some minerals work synergistically with others to boost antioxidant activity and help block "bad" enzymes. Therefore, a balanced, varied diet of fresh, whole foods is important.
Remember that hair loss can mean more than the fading of beauty and youth; it can also be a signal of a serious disease. Consult your healthcare practitioner at the first signs of thinning hair to discuss the best course of treatment for you. So you can restore, or keep, your "crowning glory."
Here's a sample of some of the best supplements to promote healthy hair:
L-lysine - L-lysine is an amino acid with a patent pending for hair growth. Rich sources include chicken, turkey, fish, legumes and most vegetables. In supplement form, up to 500 mg daily is believed to be safe, although it is not suitable for children or pregnant or nursing women.
L-arginine - L-arginine is another amino acid that may stimulate hair growth by increasing absorption of nitric acid. Suggested dose is 1.5 g per day.
Saw palmetto - Saw palmetto is an herb that may reduce/slow hair loss. Recommended dosage is 320 mg/day.
Grape seed extract - Grape seed extract contains proanthocyanidins that stimulate growth in hair epithelial cells. Suggested dosage is 150 to 300 mg per day.
Green tea extract - Green tea extract has antioxidants (catechins) that may hold back hair loss. Suggested dosage is 30 to 300 mg daily.
Gamma linolenic acid - Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) -- a good fat -- also helps hold back the "Great Recession." Borage oil is one of the best sources. Suggested dosage is 100 to 500 mg daily.
Soy isoflavones - Soy isoflavones are antioxidant phytoestrogens in soy reduce hair loss. These can be found in soy foods such as tofu, tempeh, miso and soy milk. Suggested serving "dosage" is 25 g of soy protein per day.
Stinging nettle root extract - Stinging nettle root extract is used for benign prostate hyperplasia, but also thought to help hair. Try taking 120 mg twice a day.
Vitamins and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
Several different factors can add up to hair loss. Some, like heredity or genetics, are impossible to change, but others like stress, poor diet and vitamin deficiencies, can be easily altered. First and foremost, healthy hair is dependent upon good blood circulation. Vitamins C and E and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) can help improve scalp circulation (as will a daily scalp massage). You can find vitamin C in Brussels sprouts, cranberries, mango, broccoli and tomatoes. Wheat germ and egg yolks are both rich in vitamin E and CoQ10.
B vitamins play a crucial role in the health and growth of hair. One place to get them is from blackstrap molasses. Blackstrap is the most unrefined of all molasses and, besides having a high concentration of B vitamins, is also high in calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamin E. Obvious uses are in cookies and breads, but also try mixing some blackstrap molasses into barbecue sauce or baked beans.
Deficiencies in biotin have been linked to hair loss, and essential fatty acids can improve hair texture and prevent dry, brittle hair. You can get biotin from liver, sardines, soy, whole grains, nuts and beans. Good fats, essential fatty acids (EFAs), are also important for your "mane event." They can be found in cold-pressed olive oil, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and marine oils.
Rosemary, taken both internally and externally, can be an effective herb against hair loss. Add some fresh rosemary to your pasta sauce or favorite soup, or brew a cup of rosemary tea. To use externally, mix up a batch of homemade rosemary hair treatment: combine about 20 drops of rosemary essential oil with a few ounces of almond oil. Massage into the scalp and wrap your hair with a towel. Let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes, and then rinse with a gentle shampoo.