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Does Taking Hair Growth Supplements for Hair Loss Actually Work?


Do vitamins and supplements for hair loss—or for hair growth, however you want to look at it—actually work? The answer is complicated. Maybe not always in the way you intend. But in general, sure. We’ll explain more, and recommend some of our favorites, but first, let’s get one thing out of the way: If you’re thinking about taking supplements for hair loss, then know that they are exactly that—supplements. They should not be your primary plan. For that, you need to visit your dermatologist and ask about hair loss remedies like finasteride, minoxidil, and PRP. Or, if you want to cut to the chase, then meet with a digital dermo and sign up for an at-home hair loss subscription from Hims or a similar provider. (Just be sure to monitor usage closely, per possible side effects. Your doctor’s expertise will be essential during the process, to make sure all is going as planned.)

But as for supplements and vitamins, well, it should be said that one worthwhile endeavor—no matter what you’re worried about when you look in the mirror—is making sure your diet isn’t lacking basic nutrients. When it comes to maintaining healthy hair, that means making sure you’re eating enough protein, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin B. If you’re generally not a well-rounded, healthy eater, you might give it the old Whole Foods try and stock up on a few vitamins or supplements to make sure, at the very least, you’re not making matters worse. Here’s what’s commonly found in hair-loss supplements, and why the wellness gods claim they work.

Biotin

Biotin, sometimes called vitamin H, is a B-complex vitamin that strengthens protein structure in your skin, hair, and nails. You probably know it as the supplement people take to grow out their hair faster. And that’s exactly what it does: It helps hair grow faster and stronger, though you’ll first notice the increased frequency with which you’re clipping your nails. As a solution to hair loss, well…it isn’t one. But if you are taking the aforementioned hair loss prescriptions (like finasteride and minoxidil), then it will help expedite and fortify your hair regrowth. Similarly, it will strengthen the remaining hairs you have. So in that way, it could slow hair fall on the follicles that are withering away, but we won’t soon be endorsing it as a solution to the problem.

Take the Hims biotin sugar gummy on the daily, if you want to make it fun. They also include vitamins that benefit heart, nerve, and digestive health, in addition to many of the below nutrients, too.

Vitamins A and C, Zinc, and Selenium

While Vitamins A and C both help the scalp to produce healthy amounts of sebum—which keeps hair healthy, nourished, and lustrous—they have their individual benefits as well. Vitamin A helps reduce breakage, while Vitamin C improves iron absorption and collagen production, both of which assist in the formation of strong hair.

Secondly, the minerals zinc and selenium can be especially beneficial. Zinc improves oil production (in a good way, to produce the necessary amounts of sebum), and is one of the best means of slowing hair loss. Selenium prevents and combats dandruff and dry, itchy scalps, which can hinder hair’s path to prominence. Find supplements that combine any and all of these vitamins and minerals for more proactive defense against hair loss.

Nature’s Bounty Vitamin C + Zinc supplement, 60-count

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Flaxseed Oil

Flaxseed oil has omega-3 fatty acid, which prevents inflammation and dandruff, to in turn improve hair growth and minimize abrupt hair fall. It also stimulates the follicles to thicken and strengthen hair as it grows, in addition to promoting healthy sebum production. So, as a supplement, it’s a smart addition to your diet, but not a strong enough defense against impending recession, thinning, and loss.

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Nature Made flaxseed oil supplement, 500mg, 100-count

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Folic Acid and Niacin

Folic acid improves circulation and stimulates cell growth, while Niacin also boosts circulation. You may see folic acid listed as Vitamin B9, and Niacin as B3. Either way, they improve nutrient delivery to your hair follicles—meaning they also heighten the performance of all the other vitamins and minerals. This is the same approach that minoxidil drops or foams take (you may know minoxidil as Rogaine), though minoxidil one is far more effective as a tactic against hair loss. Folic acid and niacin are, once more, a supplement to those efforts.

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365 Everyday Value folic acid supplement, 800mcg, 100-count

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365 Everyday Value niacin supplement, 300 mg, 120-count

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Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto is often advertised as a DHT blocker in supplements, shampoos, conditioners, and the like. That’s because it is believed to block the enzyme that turns testosterone into DHT (that is, *dihydrotestosterone*, an androgen that can lead to hair loss). So, it can slow hair loss by significantly inhibiting the main culprit. (As an added benefit, it promotes prostate health, too.)

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Havasu saw palmetto supplement, 500mg, 100-count

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Want it all in one?

It is possible to get many of these vitamins at once, through various oral multivitamins. However, Nutrafol has what is likely the best hair loss supplement for men, with its Core daily vitamins. They contain saw palmetto, Vitamin A, C, biotin, zinc, selenium, in addition to other hardworking and nourishing ingredients like marine collagen, hyaluronic acid, and ashwagandha. If you’re super serious about getting ahead of hair loss, then pair this with finasteride and minoxidil, after consulting with your doctor.

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Nutrafol hair loss supplement

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