Nothing can enhance the appearance of a person more than having a beautiful head of hair. No wonder so many people are obsessed with keeping their hair looking its very best. In the pursuit of the perfect head of hair, some people spend their hard earned money on a bottle of vitamins for hair hoping they’ll make it grow faster or look healthier. Are hair vitamins and nutritional supplements good for hair or are they a waste of money?
While it’s tempting to buy into the promises that a particular vitamin or supplement is good for hair growth and health, there’s very little science behind the claims that a particular supplement or vitamin can enhance the appearance of hair. You do need vitamins and minerals for hair health, but most people get sufficient amounts of the vitamins and minerals they need for healthy hair through diet and there’s little evidence that megadoses of vitamins or supplements are good for hair health.
One nutritional supplement that’s often advertised as being good for hair is biotin. Biotin is “B” vitamin that most people get sufficient quantities of in their diet since it’s found in a wide range of foods ranging from meat and dairy products to vegetables. The manufacturers of vitamins for hair claim that biotin helps to promote hair growth and can enhance hair thickness. Many people order expensive biotin supplements believing that these supplements are good for hair.
While it’s well documented that people who have biotin deficiencies can have hair loss, there’s no evidence that adding additional biotin to the diet in the absence of a deficiency can enhance hair growth or thickness. Two situations where a biotin deficiency might occur is during pregnancy and with consumption of large quantities of raw egg whites. Raw egg whites contain a protein that binds biotin making it less available to the body. Diabetics, epileptics, and the elderly are also at higher risk of a biotin deficiency.
Are there certain types of diets that are good for hair? Since hair is composed of around ninety percent protein, it’s important to get sufficient quantities of the essential amino acids through diet to serve as building blocks for healthy hair growth. A protein deficiency can cause hair loss as can malnutrition from caloric restriction. If you’re eating a vegetarian or vegan diet, reassess how much protein you’re taking in if your hair is thinning. Keep in mind that there’s no evidence that consuming excessive quantities of protein are good for hair health. It’s also important to get enough essential fatty acids in the diet to maintain hair health, particularly the omega-3’s found in fish oil.
The bottom line? If you’re concerned about hair loss or thinning, don’t waste your hard earned money on supplements that are claimed to be good for hair. The best hair vitamin is a good diet with sufficient but not excessive amounts of protein and essential fatty acids. If you’re eating a good diet and your hair is still thinning, see your doctor. Certain conditions such as an underactive thyroid, anemia, stress, hormone imbalance, and even medications can cause hair loss and thinning. You doctor can also check for a vitamin B12 or iron deficiency which can also cause hair loss in some situations.