Looking to grow a bigger, better beard? Plenty of people want to grow more facial hair and many look to vitamins and other supplements for help with beard growth. Supplements have appeared in recent years promising a natural, edible way to a big, beautiful beard.
For those that struggle to grow facial hair, beard supplements promise a beard boost. But do dietary supplements help grow a beard or prevent hair loss? Let’s look at the science behind beards and what might help facilitate the growth of more facial hair.
To get a better feel for what steps to take for better beard growth, let’s first understand what parts of the body control facial hair growth.
Androgens, consisting of steroid hormones, drive beard growth. Because of that, maintaining healthy hormone levels are essential to supporting beard growth. One study showed that androgens trigger a growth response in hair follicles, even in people that naturally lacked the hormone.
There’s another hormone that plays a role in hair growth. High levels of testosterone and the conversion to dihydrotestosterone (also known as DHT) play significant roles in hair growth and health. DHT can play a role in damaging hair follicles located on the head. How sensitive your hair follicles are to DHT comes down to hormone levels and genetics (hence why baldness can be hereditary). Hair follicles on the head may not respond in the same way to testosterone in comparison to beard follicles. That study reported that testosterone increased the growth factor in beard but not scalp cells. While this study reports that beard follicles may even be more sensitive to DHT since levels of DHT were observed to be higher in those with full beards in comparison to those with poor beard growth. Although the exact role each hormone plays in facial hair growth may not be known, it is clear that there is a correlation between testosterone and DHT levels when it comes to facial hair growth
Genetics play an enormous role in baldness, hair growth, and beard growth. Although we can make lifestyle changes that can support healthy facial hair growth, there’s no quick fix to change the genes we are born with. However, newer research is exploring the effect of epigenetics, where environmental factors such as diet and exercise may influence genetic expression (which genes are turned on and off). Epigenetics may be the missing link between genetics, the endocrine function, and the environment but more research needs to be done.
There is some evidence that vitamins and minerals play a role in hair loss, hair whitening, and other changes. But how do individual nutrients play a role in beard growth?
Vitamin A, found in leafy greens, red bell peppers, and other foods, may drive androgen activity. This fat-soluble vitamin is also beneficial to eye health and immunity support, as well as to maintaining a well-functioning reproductive system.
The B vitamins, particularly B6, B3 and B12, can help with metabolizing nutrients, particularly protein, which can help the body build skin and hair cells. Eggs, avocados, and legumes all have a variety of B vitamins, but cooking can decrease levels of this nutrient.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and can manage oxidative stress which can contribute to aging of hair. However no studies have been completed that show a correlation between beard growth and vitamin C supplementation. Studies have shown that vitamin C can support healthy skin with the role it plays in collagen synthesis.
Vitamin D – popularly known as “the sunshine vitamin” – is made by the body through the synthesis of the sun’s UV B rays. It may help to activate hair follicles to produce new hair when hair falls out. For those deficient in vitamin D, vitamin D supplementation may help to increase testosterone levels.
One of the few vitamins that may help as a topical application, vitamin E can help with blood flow and circulation. By increasing blood flow at skin level, hair follicles can be continuously nourished, so they don’t become dormant. Vitamin E is an easy supplement to add to any daily beard care routine.
Folate is actually one of the B vitamins that may help with cell generation. Folate deficiencies can impact hair growth.
No, you don’t have to consume horse hair to get the benefits from this natural therapy. Horsetail extract actually comes from an herb and is rich in minerals, such as silica. There is research that shows silica being beneficial to hair and potentially reducing hair loss. It also contains antioxidant properties, which can be helpful in protecting the health of hair follicles.
Biotin is often promoted as a hair growth supplement, although there is no significant research to show a link between biotin and facial hair growth. Biotin is beneficial for healthy skin, hair, and nails, thus making it potentially helpful for people with poor hair and nail health.
One study found that normal testosterone levels were found in people who also had high zinc levels. Found in foods like oysters, red meat, nuts, and dairy products, zinc has also been shown in another study to modulate serum testosterone levels in adults.
Copper is an essential trace mineral, which means you only need it in tiny amounts. It has been found to promote dermal papilla cells, which are the cells that manage hair growth and hair regeneration and may stimulate the proliferation of dermal fibroblasts.
Substances that stimulate blood flow, such as castor oil, can support healthy beard hair, but probably won’t grow hair that was never here before. However, topical hair growth therapies may offer better chances for regrowing hair.
To support a healthy full beard, you can make some small lifestyle modifications that support your overall health. Some of these modifications may include:
By giving your body the things it needs to be healthy, your system can have the energy and nutrients it needs to provide the materials to make healthy beard hair.
Genetics play a major role in hairs growing on the face. Although genes may dictate where hair grows, hormones also play a role in how much hair your hair follicles produce.
Hormones like androgens and testosterone play a role in how beard hair grows. But having more of these hormones isn’t necessarily better. Too much DHT produced from testosterone, for example, can actually negatively impact hair growth. Instead, it’s important to seek a good, healthy hormone balance.
Although a hair growth supplement can help provide you with nutrients needed to support healthy hair growth and maintain proper hormones, a proper, balanced diet can also provide you with these essentials. Supplements can be beneficial to fill in nutrient gaps.
Although we can’t change our genetic roadmap, we can help maintain optimal beard growth by supporting healthy skin, circulation, and the intake of beneficial nutrients.