science

Medically Reviewed

Hair Vitamins for Men: Do They Work?

A man getting a haircut in a barn

Hair loss is a serious issue for men of all ages. The impact of vitamins and nutrients on hair health, loss, and growth, however, isn’t all that clear.

From a fairly early age, many men can start experiencing hair loss. Whether it’s a receding hairline, an unseen bald spot on top, or just going completely bald, this rite of passage is real. Even if you think you’ve aged out of it with a full head of hair, run your hands through it and see how it compares to the hair on your head in your late teens and early twenties. While this is largely due to genetics, there could be other causal factors that, when treated, could actually improve the look and feel of your locks.

Do hair vitamins work for men?

Whether or not hair vitamins work for men really depends upon the underlying cause of the hair loss. If it’s genetics or medical, the answer is likely a no. But if the hair loss is due to a nutrient deficiency, the answer is yes. Studies have shown that vitamin and nutrient deficient participants have noticed hair growth after supplementation. Topical antioxidants on the scalp have also been found to be helpful with hair health. In this study, serum vitamin D, zinc, and folate levels were found to be lower in patients with hair loss issues as compared to control subjects. In this preliminary study, resveratrol (RSV) was found to promote hair growth and could be a potential candidate for the treatment of hair loss. Topical applications of RSV significantly promoted hair growth and stimulated the transition of the hair cycle from the inactive (telogen) stage of growth into the active (anagen) stage. In another study, mackerel-derived fish oil was found to promote hair growth via anagen-stimulating pathways.

Which vitamins can help with men’s hair growth?

Vitamin D

It is believed that those with vitamin D deficiency can present with hair loss. Data from animal studies suggests that vitamin D plays an important role in hair follicle cycling (specifically in starting the anagen cycle). This study contends that there is not enough evidence-based data to recommend vitamin D supplementation for certain types of hair loss. If you think you are deficient, contact your physician who can measure your levels. Vitamin D is naturally found in some foods like salmon and mackerel, and it can be found in fortified grains and cereals, and fortified milk. It is also made by the body after a period of exposure to the sun. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 15 micrograms (mcg) which can also be listed as 600 international units (IU). According to this study, about 41.6 percent of adults get below the recommended daily amount of Vitamin D. Care/of has highly absorbable vitamin D3 for your nutrient needs. And there is a vegan friendly version made from non-GMO algae.

Zinc

Zinc is a trace mineral that is necessary for nearly 100 enzymes to carry out their vital chemical functions. It is essential for the creation of DNA, building proteins, healing damaged tissues, wound healing, and supporting a healthy immune system. It also plays an important role in modulating serum testosterone levels in normal men. In this study, levels of zinc and copper were found to be low in those subjects with male pattern hair loss. Studies on zinc’s impact on hair growth have mixed results, more scientific research is required. Zinc is an essential trace element that cannot be made by the body, but very little of it is needed. A healthy diet that includes shellfish, beef, poultry, fortified whole grains and breakfast cereals, nuts, and seeds should yield adequate amounts of zinc. The RDA 11mg for those with penises and 8mg for those with vaginas. Those following a plant based diet (vegans and vegetarians) may be at a higher risk for inadequate intake. Care/of has a blend of zinc and copper called Immunity Z to address your nutrient needs.

Biotin

Biotin (vitamin B7) is a water-soluble B vitamin that helps to turn the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in food into energy. Most foods contain biotin and you can usually get enough of it from eating a healthy diet that includes meat, fish, eggs, organic meats (such as liver), nuts and seeds, broccoli, spinach, and sweet potatoes. It is also found in most multivitamins, including Care/of’s multivitamin: The Daily Double. Biotin deficiency is very rare, especially in the United States. Symptoms include thinning hair, loss of body hair, rash around the eyes, nose, and mouth, brittle nails, pinkeye, and nervous system disorders. Its use as a hair and nail growth supplement is prevalent, yet despite its popularity, this review found that there is lack of sufficient evidence for supplementation in healthy individuals who do not present with low levels of biotin.

What foods are good for male hair health?

The best foods for male hair health come from a diet that includes protein, healthy fats, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, Greek yogurt, spinach, kale, fortified grains and cereals, chicken, turkey, and sweet potatoes are all loaded with the kinds of vitamins and nutrients that result in a healthy head of hair. Eating foods high in antioxidants can also help with hair health since those with hair issues were found to have high levels of oxidative stress and low SOD (superoxide dismutase), an enzyme that helps manage oxidative stress. Eating foods high in vitamin A has also been linked to healthy hair. Some vitamin A rich foods include beef liver, sweet potatoes, and carrots.

Can vitamins help with male hair loss?

Hair loss is largely due to genetics. If you suspect other causal factors, consult your primary care physician or dermatologist for a complete medical evaluation. If you have a serious nutrient deficiency, changes in diet and appropriate supplementation can be successful in stimulating hair growth. Results of studies on the benefits of supplementation on healthy males with genetic factors are a mixed bag and largely inconclusive. One study of the role of vitamins and minerals in hair loss suggests that more clinical studies are needed.

Key takeaways

Genetics is responsible for much of the hair loss that men experience. It can begin at an early age, but no matter when this hair loss sets in, the progression tends to be gradual. If you are experiencing sudden hair loss, it is important to consult your physician as there may be an underlying condition that needs medical intervention. If the cause of hair loss is due to a vitamin or mineral deficiency, supplementation has been shown to be effective in stimulating hair growth. If, however, the cause is genetics, the results of supplementation are not always guaranteed.

There are plenty of products on the market today that claim to promote hair growth with a guarantee that should make any buyer beware. However, research is being done and some promising results indicate hope for the follicularly challenged. Talk with your physician or dermatologist about possible options. And remember that if it seems to be too good to be true, it probably is.

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