I’m a 25-year-old male that has been dealing with hair loss for the past five years. I’m interested in purchasing some hair growth supplements, but do they work?
The answer is complicated. Hair growth supplements may work, but not in the way you want them to work. Allow me to explain in detail why supplements don’t work for genetic hair loss. First and foremost, hair growth supplements will not stop male pattern baldness (MPB). Mpb is a condition that is caused by a genetic vulnerability to the hormone called DHT.
DHT is a by-product of testosterone. The 5-alpha reductase enzyme converts testosterone into DHT through the bloodstream. The most effective hair loss treatments stop the conversion of DHT. These medications are called anti-androgens or DHT-blockers. Drugs like Propecia (finasteride) and Avodart (dutasteride) are 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. These medications eliminate 70-90% of DHT in the body.
In general, hair growth supplements do not inhibit the conversion of DHT. However, some so-called herbal supplements supposedly block DHT. The most popular supplement is called Saw Palmetto. Saw palmetto is an extract of the fruit of the saw palmetto. Marketed as a DHT-blocker that is effective for treating hair loss; however, there is a lack of clinical data to back these claims.
Biotin is another popular supplement marketed to re-grow hair and stop hair loss. Biotin is a B-complex vitamin that strengthens the protein structure in your skin, hair, and nails. If you’re taking this supplement to stop your hair loss, you will be disappointed. However, this supplement does not prevent hair loss. This supplement can help your hair grow faster and stronger -this may be a useful supplement if used in conjunction with a hair transplant procedure.
Folic Acid and Niacin
Folic acid and niacin both improve circulation and stimulate cell growth. Both of these supplements are B-vitamins, and they both improve the delivery of nutrients to your hair follicles. These supplements help maintain the health of your hair and also help promote hair growth. But these supplements will not stop hair loss.
There are only two FDA-approved medications that have been proven to stop hair loss. Rogaine (minoxidil) and finasteride both of these treatments work synergistically together. Hair growth supplemements can help maintain overall hair health, but they will do little to nothing in terms of stopping genetic hair loss.