Abnormal hair loss is mostly recognized as a problem for men, but approximately 40% of women also suffer from thinning hair and/or a receding hairline.
Medical science has yet to uncover a viable treatment for hair loss, which leaves toupees, hair transplants, and topical creams as the only mainstream options for solving this embarrassing problem. The satisfaction ratings for such treatments are far from remarkable, unfortunately.
Nature may have a better answer.
After identifying numerous health issues and nutrient deficiencies that can cause hair loss, we’ve listed below the best natural supplements and home remedies that have been scientifically proven to help slow (and even reverse) the path toward baldness.
Most Common Causes of Hair Loss
Hopefully you’re aware that some hair loss is normal. Healthy humans lose hair every day, but it’s the rate of hair loss that determines whether it’s abnormal.
The first step is to identify any prescription medications that might specify hair loss as a possible side effect. Some of these include:
- Acne drugs
- Beta blockers
- High blood pressure drugs
- Birth control pills
- Proton pump inhibitors
- …and many others
An internet search of the possible side effects of any medications you’re taking could reveal whether prescription drugs might be to blame.
Next, various life events can alter hormone levels as part of the body’s response to stress. If those experiences are traumatic enough, the result can be a faster rate of hair loss. Illness or injury, surgery, severe psychological trauma, menopause, and childbirth, all fall into this category.
Third, some medical conditions can cause people to lose more hair, such as hypothyroidism (low thyroid output), lupus, insulin resistance, polycystic ovary syndrome, and anemia.
Nutritional Deficiencies That Can Trigger Hair Loss
If you’re losing your hair, you’ve ruled out medications, and you haven’t had a baby or a life trauma in last few months, the next possibility to consider is a nutritional deficiency.
The protein we consume on a daily basis is used by the body for a multitude of purposes, one of the most important being the building, repair, and maintenance of body tissues (including hair). The more active you are, and the more you stress your body, the more protein you need.
There’s a reason why so many shampoo manufacturers include B Vitamins (biotin especially) in their products. They help rebuild damaged hair and promote healthy hair growth.
♦ A biotin deficiency is well known as a cause of hair loss (1).
♦ Pregnancy depletes biotin (2), so pregnant women are prone to a biotin deficiency.
Other B Vitamins help make red blood cells which carry oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles and scalp. They also support proper adrenal function, which helps to manage stress.
♦ Women with serum ferritin levels below 30 milligrams/milliliter show a higher risk for losing their hair (7).
Iron is tricky because too much or too little can have a negative impact on hair health, so it’s important to only supplement with iron if you are deficient.
One of the best known uses for fish oil is its ability to promote healthy skin and hair.
One study showed that supplementing with omega-3s slowed hair loss and thickened hair in a group of otherwise healthy women (8).
Free radicals cause hair to age prematurely. Antioxidants protect the body from the creation of free radicals.
♦ Vitamin C is an antioxidant needed for the formation of collagen, and to absorb iron which is necessary for hair growth (15).
♦ Vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant, was revealed in one study to increase hair growth by 34.5% after 8 months of supplementation (16).
♦ A Vitamin A deficiency can also lead to hair loss (17). Supplementing with Vitamin A can be tricky though, because – like iron – too much or too little can increase hair loss. Cod liver oil is a natural and well balanced form of Vitamin A for supplementation.
Like almost every health problem we’ve investigated, hair loss is a multifaceted issue involving many lifestyle (and possibly genetic) factors, and therefore requires an approach which aims to improve the overall health of an individual rather than attempt to treat the condition. In this case, a diet rich in nutrient-dense whole foods would fill most of the nutrient deficiencies associated with hair loss.
For those unable to make the necessary dietary changes, natural whole-food supplements are a viable alternative.