Most consumers wandering the vitamin aisles do not realize that vitamins can be an all-natural resource for thinning hair. These same consumers are very much aware of the role of prescription drugs and hair thickening shampoos as a resource, but these are largely chemical solutions. They come with all sorts of unwanted side effects, and long-term adherence can be a challenge due to the cost of those products. On the flip side, a haphazard jaunt through the vitamin aisles is not typically the answer. A standard multivitamin is not going to contain sufficient amounts of vitamins that can address thinning hair. Specialized hair vitamins are a category of the umbrella beauty vitamin industry, but these products are sometimes poorly constructed with dangerous amounts of ingredients, or take such a narrow focus that they fail to address other vitamins deficiencies that can result in thinning hair or are critical to foundational nutrition.
This is where personalized vitamins can play a valuable role. Personalized vitamins are calibrated to your individual health and lifestyle. These brands start with an upfront assessment to understand your complete vitamin needs. These assessments delve into diet, fitness, health status, medications, and lifestyle. As a next step, these brands will customize a solution to your profile. These solutions come in the form of pill packs or customized all-in-one multivitamins. A pill pack contains numerous pills in a daily serving pouch. Because these personalized regimens are constructed with individual pills, they can easily reach 10 or more daily pills, and start to cost $100 or more per month. Consumers with a true conviction and patience for dietary supplements will be able to tolerate these packs, but many consumers will find these solutions untenable. As an alternative, some companies deliver a customized all-in-one multivitamin with curated nutrients and optimized dosing. This delivery method tends to be more sustainable and affordable for many consumers.
The Root of Hair Problems
It turns out that there are some medical problems that can prompt hair loss in women and men. These could be thyroid problems or otherwise, autoimmune conditions. However, these causes of hair loss are relatively rare. Most of the time medical professionals will test for these issues and often times the blood work is normal. So what is causing thinning hair?
The answer: it depends. In men, there is a natural process of hair loss. Men tend to lose hair around the crown of their heads and forehead as a part of standard aging process. Similarly, women can also have this “male pattern hair loss” when they have excess testosterone or other changes in hormone balance (aka. menopause or taking certain hormones). There are certain prescription medications such as minoxidil that can be useful in these cases However, they are both costly and have benefit only if you continue using them forever.
So, what else can cause hair loss? One of the most common causes for hair loss in women and in part for men, is vitamin deficiencies. You might ask, what vitamins cause hair loss? Typically, iron and vitamin D are common culprits. Many of us are iron deficient and do not even realize it. We can have normal blood work that does not show anemia on a basic blood count, but still have low total body iron stores, to the point that we see thinning hair, fatigue, and brittle or cracking nails.
Vitamin D deficiency is widespread today, with most of us being deficient to some extent depending on who we are, where we live and our lifestyle. Replacing vitamin D and iron in proper doses and forms can be part of the supplements to take for thinning hair.
So how do we know what are the best vitamins to take for hair loss in women or men? We all have individual needs and it is essential to get the right doses of iron in a form that is tolerable (some types of iron cause upset stomach or constipation). It is also critical when taking vitamins for thinning hair that the iron is properly paired with a sensible amount of Vitamin C to ensure optimal absorption.
Vitamin D should be taken in doses that are based on a person’s individual needs. This can be determined based on where they live, sun exposure, skin color and health conditions among other things. In choosing hair loss vitamins recognize that vitamins for hair growth will vary from person to person in exact amounts. Other vitamins for hair loss in women in and men include biotin. This B vitamin is a building block for hair follicles and is a key supplement to take for hair thinning.
What about vitamins with collagen or various kinds of “cartilage”? These are not vitamins to take for hair growth. There is little to no valid evidence that these products are helpful in hair growth and they may in fact have untoward effects. These products are fraught with issues in relations to safety and there is limited medical data to suggest they really work.
Are there vitamins that may actually cause hair loss? People who take large amounts of Vitamin A can have hair loss and this is one of the many reasons we do not generally suggest taking this vitamin, including the fact that most of us are not deficient in vitamin A and taking it can cause more harm than good.
Finding a Sustainable Personalized Vitamin Routine to Support Hair Loss
The range of vitamins that help hair loss and are supported by evidence are evident, but how do you get those vitamins into your daily routine in the right amounts for your profile. Personalized vitamin companies will calibrate a formula for your needs. It is important to find a company that you can trust. You should do your homework and find out who created the formulas. Was it marketers or scientists? Are there real doctors involved? Do the companies try to act as your doctor with direct counseling and telehealth, or do they try to encourage you to discuss the recommendations with your own primary care provider? Are there any published results or books associated with the company? There are many companies out there trying to capitalize on consumer interest in personalization, but finding a company that is reputable is key.
You should also look out for potential overprescribing. Is the company telling you that you need 8, 9, or 10+ pills per day to address your vitamin needs? Are they trying to drive you to a price point that makes you uncomfortable in the allocation of your budget to vitamin products? How simple and sustainable is he solution?
Hair loss is a natural process, and there are natural solutions. It is time to give up experimentation in the vitamin aisles, and use a service that can help you navigate to your personalized blend.