Hair. Straight, curly, light, dark, dense, sparse, thin, colored, greasy, dry, and we could list some more. So many different types, but all have one thing in common. For their growth and healthy appearance, we need to provide the body with adequate nutrients.
At birth, hair density is determined by the number of hair follicles we inherit. This means that there are no magic pills and powders that would increase our hair by more than we were told at birth. Which doesn‘t mean we have no influence on hair loss. It is important to be aware that more than half of men under the age of 50 already have severe hair loss. Women are no exception. As many as 40% of women develop different degrees of baldness before menopause. Fortunately, baldness in women is really only visible when they lose about 50% of all their hair.
Did you know that the only “living” part of the hair is just the hair root? The visible part of the hair, located above the epidermis, is composed of dead cells and is not resuscitated or circulating. To our luck! Can you imagine how painful and bloody a visit to the hairdresser would otherwise be? This also means that split ends of the hair cannot be regenerated.
Hair is mainly made up of a protein called keratin. It is the same protein that makes up our nails, and in the animal world, keratin also builds antlers, claws, hooves, feathers, and beaks. Below are some nutrients that can help you get nicer, thicker, and shinier hair. And of course harder horns, hooves, and beaks.
Collagen may promote healthy hair in a variety of ways. For one, your body may be able to use the amino acids in collagen to build hair proteins and strengthen the skin that contains your hair roots. It may also prevent hair follicle damage and graying. The addition of collagen to your diet can have a positive effect on the strength of your hair and nails. (1.)
Biotin deficiency can lead to hair loss. Biotin is a B vitamin often recommended for hair health. Since biotin deficiency can lead to thinning of the hair, proponents claim that taking biotin supplements can thicken hair and stimulate hair and nail growth.
In two placebo-controlled studies (2., 3.), women taking a supplement with fish protein and biotin improved hair density in areas where it was previously less. Noticeable differences occurred after 90 days of biotin intake.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against the oxidative stress caused by free radicals. In addition, your body needs vitamin C to create a protein known as collagen — an important part of the hair structure. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron, a mineral necessary for hair growth.
MSM and Zinc
Zinc plays an important role in hair tissue growth and repair. It also helps keep the oil glands around the follicles working properly. Hair loss is a common symptom of zinc deficiency.
MSM – Sulfur is essential to the production of collagen and keratin and basic ingredients of hair and nails, so vital to making them strong and healthy. MSM has been shown to have a fast-working and long-lasting impact causing hair to become thicker, stronger, and promoting hair growth(5., 6.).
- Hexsel D, Zague V, Schunck M, Siega C, Camozzato FO, Oesser S. Oral supplementation with specific bioactive collagen peptides improves nail growth and reduces symptoms of brittle nails. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2017 Dec;16(4):520-526. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12393. Epub 2017 Aug.
- Glynis A. A Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study Evaluating the Efficacy of an Oral Supplement in Women with Self-perceived Thinning Hair. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2012 Nov;5(11):28-34. PMID: 23198010; PMCID: PMC3509882.
- Glynis Ablon, A 3-Month, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study Evaluating the Ability of an Extra-Strength Marine Protein Supplement to Promote Hair Growth and Decrease Shedding in Women with Self-Perceived Thinning Hair. Dermatology Research and Practice Volume 2015, Article ID 841570, 8 pages http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/841570
- Trüeb RM. Oxidative stress in ageing of hair. Int J Trichology. 2009 Jan;1(1):6-14. doi: 10.4103/0974-7753.51923. PMID: 20805969; PMCID: PMC2929555.
- Saper RB, Rash R. Zinc: an essential micronutrient. Am Fam Physician. 2009 May 1;79(9):768-72. PMCID: PMC2820120
- Park H, Kim CW, Kim SS, Park CW. The therapeutic effect and the changed serum zinc level after zinc supplementation in alopecia areata patients who had a low serum zinc level. Ann Dermatol. 2009 May;21(2):142-6. doi: 10.5021/ad.2009.21.2.142. Epub 2009 May 31. PMID: 20523772; PMCID: PMC2861201.