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 number of 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 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 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.
Supplementing collagen to your diet can have a positive effect on the strength of hair and nails. Some studies also suggest that the supplementing collagen can stimulate hair and nail growth. (1.)
Lack of biotin can lead to hair loss. 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.
protects us from oxidative stress. Free radicals can slow down and prematurely age the appearance of hair (4th). Even more important is the role of vitamin C in the formation of new collagen, which also greatly affects the appearance and hair strength.
Zinc helps in the proper functioning of the sebaceous glands located in the hair follicles. Hair loss is a very common symptom of zinc deficiency (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.