I’m a little reluctant to definitively recommend certain supplements for hair loss because I don’t believe popping a pill will fix all your issues. It certainly wasn’t the only aspect of my life I changed to improve my health.
So if you’re here looking for the cure all for hair loss and improving hair growth, then this isn’t the post for you. However I will give you a guide to the supplements I used to improve my overall health and therefore my chances at regrowing my hair.
If you want to read more about what other changes I made to stop losing hair, read my last post:
I know much of the argument against supplements is that they are a waste on money for majority of the population.
So … no one on this planet right? I always feel healthier when I’m eating a huge range of fresh fruit and vegetables but guess what? I don’t always have the time and money to maintain my ideal lifestyle. However, there are often periods where I don’t take them at all because I feel like they’re not helping.
I highly, highly recommend consulting with an expert who can help you regulate how much to take, when to take and what you need to take. You often can’t address one thing, without throwing another thing out of balance.
Regardless of what reason you’re taking supplements, always pay attention to your body. I’ve learnt the hard way they can do more bad than good but I can honestly admit, I would not be where I am health wise without some help.
Supplements for Liver and Kidneys
Fusion Liver Tonic and Fusion Detox
I’ve been on and off these for years. They’re extremely reliable for re-balancing my body and helping me detox if I’ve had periods of time with too much exposure to chemicals.
Supplements for Hormones
Balancing hormones is tricky but something you need to consider if you’re losing hair.
Testosterone dominance lends to DHT (dihydrotestosterone) which shrinks hair follicles, effectively stopping it from functioning properly. This phenomena is often referred to as androgenic alopecia (which isn’t my main issue).
Estrogen slows the hair’s growing stage and higher levels (most notably during pregnancy) can gives women thicker, healthier hair. Too low or too high estrogen levels can have the opposite effect and that means that hair shed can occur more often, as the growing stage isn’t being prolonged. For me, this resulted in hair shedding from all over, rather than one concentrated spot.
If you need to balance hormones, you often can’t treat only one and not the other. This is why having an expert to consult is a necessity here.
Fusion Vitex (Chaste tree), Dong Quai & Withania (Ashwagandha)
I took some form of all these very well known supplements to help rebalance my hormones while I was in official treatment. They definitely helped but I quickly found Dong Quai and Withania to be too strong for me. The dosage levels of these particular supplements are very important, something that I’m most definitely not qualified to comment on, so consulting an expert is necessary.
Supplements for Stress
Stress played a huge part of my hair loss and it was only after I’d addressed my chemical burden and hormones that I was able to see it.
Excessive stress may cause your hair to enter the dormant stage, which causes hair loss after 2 or 3 months. This is one of the reasons why it’s hard to pinpoint it as a cause because there’s not an immediate reaction.
If your stress hormone, cortisol is consistently high though, this can increase androgen production (hormones that contribute to growth and reproduction), which in turn blocks the thyroid from functioning properly.
St John’s Wort & Chamomile
I took a tablet form of St John’s Worts that was super helpful along with other things, like exercise and meditation but drinking chamomile as tea is like a little cup of pure relaxation for me. It was a super gentle and easy way to help ease a little of the anxiety when I was at my worst.
Supplements for Inflammation
In my case inflammation on my scalp is a precursor to hair loss and I found that minimizing this helped with the pain, as well as stopping my bodies reaction all together. Most articles tout turmeric for reducing inflammation but it has never worked for me. In fact it makes things worse. (Just another reason why I think professional help, patience and experimentation is a must). These following supplements are ones I’ve personally used to help inflammation.
Reishi Mushroom & Ginger
I had great success (with a caveat) with Reishi mushroom. I had to take the tiniest dose and after too long it became too strong for me.
Rather than taking a supplement, I crushed fresh ginger and lemon together and drank it with warm water. This one was also for detoxifying my body and I really grew to love this simple concoction.
Supplements for Diet Deficiencies
So as I’ve previously discussed, I’m aware of the arguments against supplements. In fact I agree with it, especially if you’re one of these super influencer or picture perfect actors on adverts who seem to have perfect diets brimming with fresh food.
If you’re not one of these mythic creatures, then supplements will supplement your diet (the clue is in the name isn’t it?). So a better diet is the answer!
Hair follicles are made up of mostly protein, so making sure your protein levels are adequate is essential to keep them healthy and functioning. Everyone’s requirement for protein will vary considering body weight, so use this equation to figure out what the minimum requirement:
Most people think of eggs, fish and meat but if you’re vegan increase your intake with tofu, chick peas and lentils (most varieties of beans for that matter), wild rice and nuts. I’m not really sold on protein shakes, but do your own research and make up your own minds!
When you’re iron deficient, your body struggles to produce hemoglobin. This carries oxygen in your blood for growth and repair of cells, including you guessed it, hair regrowth.
The tricky thing about iron, is that it’s not always the amount you consume, it’s also the amount you absorb. The most readily absorbable iron sources (heme) are meat: oysters, beef liver, sardines and chicken. Vegans have to rely on nonheme iron from plant-based foods: white beans, lentils, spinach and kidney beans.
Since I don’t love any of these foods, Spatone is my best friend. It’s a quick shot you can drink to help up your iron intake. You could also try Diatomaceous Earth powder.
This website sets out really clear amounts of recommended iron intakes for different age groups, men and women, as well as listing sources you can try.
B12 is vital for cell division, red blood cell production and metabolism, all things required to produce new hair cells and to promote hair growth.
You can find B12 in clams, beef liver, grass-fed beef and rainbow trout. The only reliable vegan sources are foods fortified with B12 (which means they’re added because they don’t naturally occur in the food) or supplements. An example of this is nutritional yeast flakes.
Vitamin D stimulate hair follicles to grow and research shows many with alopecia areata have much lower levels of this nutrient.
The best source of this nutrient is the sun. Vitamin D is produced by letting your skin soak in the sun for about 10 minutes a day. You should avoid middle of the day (10am – 2pm) sun exposure though and it only needs to be for 10 or so minutes! None of this sun baking until you’re red because that comes with it’s own issues!
If you’re not vegan, then wild caught salmon, herring, sardines, cod liver oil, oysters, prawns, egg yolks from free range chickens (who are exposed to the sun daily) are all sources of vitamin d.
If you’re vegan and don’t want to resort to supplements, then bad news if you want to avoid the sun … mushrooms are the only foods that have vitamin D2 and only if they’ve been exposed to UV light.
Supplements for Improving Hair Growth
I have taken individual supplements which I honestly believe have improved the overall condition of my hair, skin and nails. These particular supplements need to be taken at higher doses to truly have an effect on your body. This is why it’s much more convenient to take them in tablet form. For me, the noticeable difference comes as smoothed out nails, improved elasticity in my skin and improved hair growth.
Biotin improves the keratin infrastructure in your hair, skin and nails. For biotin to make a difference, 2 to 5mg is recommended. Food sources of biotin include liver and other meat, egg yolk, salmon and dairy.
Vegan options range from brewer’s and nutritional yeast, nut, seeds, avocadoes, sweet potato & cauliflower.
Silica is essential for your body to produce collagen On average an adult already eats 20 – 60 milligrams of silica dependent on their diet, but it going off this source, at least 375 mg is required to make a noticeable difference.
You can up your silica intake by eating:
Whole grain bread and pasta, oatmeal, brown rice, bananas, mangos, green beans, spinach, leeks, garbanzo beans, celery and asparagus.
I personally take bamboo silica, or you could even try diatomaceous earth. It has the benefit have being a silica source (2700mg per 3g), as well as iron, calcium and magnesium.
Hair is primarily made up of keratin. Our bodies use amino acids to build it, which means adding collagen as a supplement can improve this process. I’ve only ever noticed improved skin, nails and hair when I’m consistently taking at least 12,000 mg a day and most studies recommend a dosage closer to 30-40 grams.
We produce small amounts and it dwindles with aging, so to boost it eat protein rich foods such as beef, chicken, fish, eggs and bone broth.
Vegan collagen can be made now by a process involving P.pastoris (a bacteria), human genes and pepsin. (I am not going into this process as it flies over my head but read more about it here.) I also don’t know how accessible this is so instead you could try eating foods that help stimulate collagen productions instead!
Vegan options for this are soy products, black beans, legumes, seeds and nuts.
You made it to the end? Whew! Sorry for the long post! I hope you found some of these tips useful. If you make any changes to your diet, especially with supplements or diet, then it takes a minimum of a month of consistency to see any results.
Managing hair loss is something that takes a lot of patience, so be kind to yourself and give yourself a chance to heal. Again, I’m not a professional so don’t take my word for it and find yourself someone you can trust to treat your individual symptoms and the cause of them.