The perks of using L-cysteine in your diet

L-cysteine

Earlier Nutrafol talked about what scientific research on L-cysteine says, and here is a recap of the study made:

A German research study from 2000 examined the role of this amino acid in hair loss and hair regrowth. Researchers divided people who were suffering from massive hair loss into two groups. One treated with a combination of L-cysteine, millet seed extract, and pantothenic acid, while the other group received a placebo.
After four weeks of continuous treatment, researchers observed the initial results with a microscope. Three months in it was observed that the group treated with L-cysteine combination therapy showed a decrease in hair loss and their natural hair growth was restored. Whereas there was no improvement in hair loss in the control group that received placebo.

But how does it work in terms of hair loss…?

L-cysteine is an amino acid which means that it is one of the building blocks of proteins in your body, which also plays a key role in the synthesis of new protein. This is why it is so important in terms of hair loss and hair treatment – protein is simply an essential component.

Food sources that contain a good amount of L-cysteine

Your body does manufacture L-cysteine on its own, beginning with another essential amino acid called methionine. But there are a number of food sources which contain cysteine, that are high in protein as you might have guessed. And those are:

  • Pork
  • Poultry
  • Turkey
  • Duck
  • Cottage cheese
  • Ricotta
  • Yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Red peppers
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Oats
  • Granola
  • Wheat germ
L-cysteine
With the right amount L-cysteine, studies show that your hair will get thicker and have more volume.

How does L-cysteine work?

L-cysteine helps your body synthesize new protein tissues by serving as an ingredient in those tissues. When it is included in a supplement as N-acetyl L-cysteine, you body is able to convert it into cysteine and glutathione, an antioxidant with powerful benefits. When you feed your body with antioxidants, you help your body to fight free radicals, compounds which cause damage to cell membranes and DNA. Which mean that many of the effects we perceive of as aging are actually the result of this kind of damage. So by taking the right amount of cysteine, you are keeping your body looking and feeling young.

 

The effect of L-cysteine

  • L-cysteine is doing wonders to your skin, besides from eliminating those free radicals mentioned above. It helps your body to create new skin tissue called collagen. Collagen is what is keeping your skin young and as you get older, your body has a more difficult time replacing lost skin cells. And since collagen is a protein tissue, it is easier for your body to make more when you include L-cysteine in your diet.

 

  • L-cysteine is doing wonders for your hair as well. Healthy hair is made out of keratin, which is another type of protein. Cysteine helps your body to make many different types of protein, which is also helping your hair out. This does not only give your hair more volume, but also helps against hair thinning and hair loss.

Vitamins and minerals are good for our body, but they are not all we need. Many forget that amino acids, the building blocks for proteins, are also necessary. With cysteine in your everyday diet, your body can synthesize new collagen and keratin, giving you luxurious hair and radiant skin. Choose a supplement that contains L-cysteine and other protein building blocks to support good looking and luminous hair.


Photos by: Jake Turner and Dhara Shah via Flickr.

Shampoo for Hair Loss – Does it Exist and Does it Work?

shampoo for hair loss

There are as many different ways to tackle hair loss as there are reasons for why it happens, but shampoo for hair loss is actually a scientifically proven method that is easy to try at home. The shampoo contains ketoconazole, which primarily is an antifungal medication that is commonly used for treating different kinds of infections.

What is Ketoconazole?

Ketoconazole first entered the medical market in 1981 and was then an oral drug. Today it is available in various topical treatments, like gel, creams and foams. But later, it was discovered that it could be used as a shampoo to treat hair loss.

Does it Work?

Shampoo for hair loss, most commonly ketoconazole, is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. But several studies show that it is effective in combating hair loss.

One study from 1998 and one from 2011 show that ketoconazole shampoos are effective in treating men suffering from pattern baldness, also called androgenetic alopecia. In the older study, researchers compared the shampoo to the FDA approved hair loss treatment minoxidil. The results showed that hair density, size and proportion in the test subjects were improved almost equally by both medications.

The results in the more recent study were also positive and showed that it helped hair growth. In that one, the subjects used a 2% shampoo once every two to four days. They left the shampoo on the scalp for three to five minutes before rinsing.

shampoo for hair loss
Shampoo containing ketoconazole can be effective in combating hair loss and scalp infections.

Why Shampoo for Hair Loss Works

Shampoo for hair loss is effective because the medication inhibits the 5R enzyme, which is what converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, DHT. DHT can cause pattern baldness, which can affect both men and women. Some hair follicles are extra sensitive to this male hormone, and can shrink up and eventually die, causing hair production to stop.

Fights infection

Another reason why ketoconazole shampoo is effective is its ability to fight infections. It is mainly used for treating dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis, which causes dry and itchy skin, mainly on the scalp. In many cases, hair loss is caused by a fungus infection or yeast on the scalp.

When your scalp is dry and itchy, more often than not you tend to scratch it. The constant rubbing and friction of the dry scalp can cause the hairs to fall out. So if you solve the irritation of the scalp first, the problem with hair loss may also disappear.

Hair Supplements Can Make Your Hair Healthy

We recommend also taking a hair supplement to help support healthy hair. These supplements can help make your hair and body healthy from the inside out. Make sure to use one with natural ingredients that provide your hair with all the essential nutrients it needs!

What does L-Methionine do for your for hair?

What does L-Methionine do for your for hair?

Nutrafols previous post talked about L-Methionine as an ingredient but what exactly does the substance do for your hair? Here is the answer to that question.

A recap of what L-Methionine is

L-Methionine is something known as methionine and it is classified as an essential amino acid. And although methionine may not be the most well-known nutrient out there, researchers have discovered its many uses. It is important for the functions of many different types of cells throughout your body.

and a recap of what it is used for…

The amino acid is taken as a supplement for different reasons and these are the most common ones:

  • For some health conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease and colorectal cancer.
  • Improving bone strength
  • Weight loss

But maybe the most important thing it is used for is…

For healthy hair, skin and nails. Since L-Methionine is a building block protein tissue, many people take it to help their hair grow, their nails stay strong, and their skin remain youthful and healthy.

So let’s talk about how L-Methionine works for your hair, skin and nails

This amino acid together with L-Cysteine, B complex vitamins, and other nutrients helps your body to manufacture new protein tissues. L-Methionine can not be manufactured directly by your body, so to be able to get your necessary supply, you need to depend on your dietary sources and supplements.
The key element of L-Methionine is sulfur. To manufacture keratin in the hair shaft, you need the sulfur. And methionine is one of four amino acids that contain sulfur (L-Cysteine being the other one). Methionine is also one of only three amino acids that help your body to build creatine, a protein that is necessary for your muscle growth and energy.

What does L-Methionine do for your for hair?
Methionine also reduces breakage so try to include some L-Methionine supplements.

The benefits of L-Methionine

L-Methionine plays an important role to the health of your hair, skin and nails so taking this sulfur-rich compound is something that you should consider including in your everyday diet. Taking a beauty supplement that contains L-Methionine will boost the availability of protein building blocks that your body needs. This will ultimately support the healthy growth of beautiful hair, nails and skin.


Photos by: Marciaaa. and Bharat Kumar via Flickr.

All you need to know about one of our ingredients: L-methionine

All you need to know about L-methionine

One of Nutrafols ingredients is L-Methionine and it is described like this:
“L-Methionine is an essential amino acid necessary for hair growth, aiding the development of the hair shaft. It also helps promote overall scalp health and works against graying.”
But what exactly is L-Methionine and what does it do for you?

L-Methionine 101:

L-Methionine or methionine provides an important role relating to the growth of new blood vessels. The body has the ability to produce methionine on its own but supplementing with L-Methionine has been shown to help with the overall health.

But how does it work?

Your body uses L-Methionine to make creatine, which is another type of amino acid. L-Methionine also contains sulfur, which is used by the body for healthy growth and metabolism, and it is responsible for a compound known as s-adenosylmethionine or SAMe. SAMe supports the proper function of the immune system, dopamine, serotonin and melatonin; and cell membranes.
So what does all this mean? It means that L-Methionine benefits your body in many ways but it also means that you should not overdo it since your body produces it on its own.

So let’s take a look at the benefits of L-Methionine

May help reduce risk of colorectal cancer

According to a study, conducted in Melbourne, Australia, methionine, along with B vitamins and other minerals, may help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. The study observed foods that were eaten as well as micronutrients, such as folate, methionine, and vitamins B6 and B12, and those with antioxidant properties like selenium, vitamins E and C, and lycopene. Though the tests studied many of these vitamins, minerals and amino acids individually, overall, the data supports the conclusion that a diet containing all of these micronutrients, including methionine, may help lower colorectal cancer risks.

L-Methionine is building bone strength

Researchers at the Institute of Physical Education, Health and Leisure Studies at National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan came to the conclusion that methionine has a positive effect on bones. They gave rats different diets, some with L-Methionine foods, and others without. After eight weeks, the rats that exercised, had a 9.2 percent lower body weight. Which is no surprise considering that you lose weight when exercising.

However, the part that became evident was the part that had an effect on bone volume compared to those who were fed the diets without methionine supplements.
Results showed that methionine combined with exercise caused lower bone mass, size and strength, but improved natural bone strength overall.

Besides from that L-Methionine also…

  • Supports the liver.
    SAMe combined with vitamins B6 and B12 may help treat the effects of liver disease.
  • Helps you lose weight.
    Thanks to the creatine creation, methionine can help you lose weight.
  • Can help lower tremors in Parkinson’s patients.
    Methionine may be able to help bringing down the tremors that comes with Parkinson’s. It also prevents aging related to oxidative damage and loss of dopamine, helping treat Parkinson’s symptoms.
All you need to know about L-methionine
Oats are a great source of L-methionine so try to eat a bowl of oat meal every morning to make sure your methionine levels are in order.

With that being said, you should always be on the look out for…

L-Methionine foods. The list of food that contains methionine is long. Meat and fish contain the highest levels of L-Methionine. But there are some alternatives even for those that are not big meat fans, such as:

  • Egg whites
  • Seaweed and spirulina
  • Sesame seeds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Oats
  • Sunflower butter

You can purchase supplements too of course, but it is most likely that you are already getting all the methionine that you need through your food.


Photos: Marco Verch and Pedro Reyna via Flickr.

What are the benefits of selenium for you and for your hair growth?

As written in a previous post, selenium is a mineral found naturally in the soil. But it also appears in certain foods and there are even small amounts in water.
It is an important mineral for the human body as it helps immunity. It plays a roll in antioxidant activity that defends against free radical damage. But it will also help you maintain a healthy metabolism. According to some studies, selenium can also help you reduce the risk of cancer and thyroid diseases.

But how does selenium benefit your body?

Simple – selenium is able to play such a protective role in the body because it increases antioxidant capabilities and the quality of blood flow. This increases the body’s resistance against stress and diseases.

And then there is the food…

Food that has a high amount of selenium include Brazil nuts, eggs, liver, tuna, cod, and sunflower seeds. Poultry and certain types of meat are a good source as well. However, whole foods are the best sources of the mineral, especially those who are not cooked on a very high heat.

How does selenium benefit your hair and hair growth?

The mineral has an ability to fight the aging process and help the immune system by reducing free radical damage. It also has a synergistic effect with other antioxidants like Vitamin E, enabling the body to fight oxidative stress. Selenium is an essential component of glutathione peroxidase, which is an important enzyme for processes that protect lipids in cell membranes. So explained in a much easier way: you need selenium to fight oxidative degradation of cells.

 

It also helps to maintain proper thyroid function, which benefits the immune system and fosters healthy hair growth. Research shows that there is a link between thyroid metabolism and selenium deficiency. The mineral acts like a catalyst for the production of active thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland controls a lot of important everyday body functions. Having problems with it can result in some negative symptoms.

 

Which means that if you lack the mineral, it is a problem correlated with your thyroid and how it synthesizes hormones. Therefore you might consider taking supplements that include selenium to help support hair related issues caused by thyroid problems. The mineral acts as a protector of the thyroid and regulates the production of reactive oxygen within the gland, which means it is making sure the thyroid function is working properly to support hair health and growth.

selenium
To supplement or not – that is the question. If the supplements are selenium-rich the answer is yes. Not only is it beneficial for your body but also for your hair.

What about the blood flow…?

Selenium-rich foods and supplements can also support blood flow which is beneficial for hair health. A healthy hair regime starts with good blood flow and maintained with the support of natural supplements.

Photos: Mattza and Hatici Sosyal via Flickr.

Do-it-Yourself Hair Masks That Will Boost Your Hair Growth

hair mask

You know that you are supposed to use a hair mask every now and then to keep your hair healthy and good looking, but did you know you can make them yourself without spending a bunch of money? We have some recipes for easy DIY hair masks.

Avocado and Banana Mask

Whip up a yummy mask by mashing up a small, ripe banana, and a medium sized, ripe avocado. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and one tablespoon of wheat germ oil. Apply the mask all over your scalp and hair, focusing on the roots and tips. Leave the mixture in for about a half hour and then rinse out with cold water. Then wash your hair as usual.

Avocados contain a lot of vitamin E that is a great moisturizer and boosts the immune system. They also have good fats and oils that gives the hair shine. Bananas have a lot of potassium which is great to eat but also makes your hair soft and strong. Having potassium deficiency can actually lead to hair loss.

Egg Hair Masks

Eggs are full of protein and biotin, both of which are super important for healthy hair. Hair is mainly built up by the protein keratin. Many hair supplements contain biotin so adding some extra of these two vital ingredients may benefit your hair.

You can make different types of egg masks depending on what is in your kitchen, but the simplest one is to just whisk an egg with some drops of lemon juice. Then add the mixture to your scalp and hair and cover your head with a shower cap or towel. After 20 minutes, rinse it out with cold water – this is important so the egg does not cook in the shower! Then wash your hair with shampoo and conditioner.

hair mask
Avocados are great for making homemade hair masks that will give your hair extra moisture.

Flaxseeds and Lemon Juice

This simple mask will promote thicker hair and could also be used as a styling gel. Leave a quarter cup of flaxseeds in water overnight. The next day, add two cups of water and bring it all to a boil. Once it starts to thicken, reduce the heat and squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. After a few minutes, take it off from the heat and let cool. To give it a nicer smell, add an essential oil of your choice. This will also moisturize your strands and give your hair a nice shine. Use it as an overnight mask or as a styling gel.

Flax seeds contain a lot of omega 3 fatty acids and also protein. This will give your hair volume and body, increase elasticity, and help fight off dandruff.

Onion Juice and Honey

Believe it or not, onion juice is actually good for your hair. This is believed to be because they contain high amounts of sulfur, which has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Hair loss is often caused by an unhealthy scalp or some kind of scalp fungus, so for people that have noticed hair loss, this could be a good remedy.

To make an onion hair mask, put the onion in a juicer and extract the liquids. Mix it with a few teaspoons of honey and apply the thin mixture to parts of your scalp where you have noticed hair loss or thinning. You can also add it to all of your scalp. Leave in overnight and then wash as usual, unless you want to smell like an onion at work.

Better Than Hair Masks

But the best tip to maintain a healthy head of hair is to simply eat and live well. If you are stressed for a period of time or feel that you need an extra boost, there are many natural hair supplements to take. As all the ingredients are natural and work together to achieve the same goal, you can rest easy knowing your hair is supported and healthy.

Foods rich in selenium and why they are so important to your hairs health

Nutrafols supplements contain the ingredient selenium and on the ingredient page, the following is written about selenium and selenium foods;
“Selenium produces antioxidant enzymes that can defend against damage to cells, including those in hair follicles. It also helps to maintain proper thyroid function, which benefits the immune system and fosters healthy hair growth.”
So, with that being said, here follows a description on a need to know basis about this mineral.

Basic description of selenium

Selenium is one of many important dietary minerals, and we require a small amount of selenium in our diet.

Selenium contains a small cluster of important proteins. Each of these play a critical role in your health. Scientists named these selenium-containing proteins selenoproteins.

Good selenium nutrition is important for antioxidant protection and for other health reasons as well. The selenium amount a plant contains relates to the selenium content of the soil in which the plants is grown. Selenium content of soils can vary widely, however, poor soil content of selenium is not typically a factor in the average U.S. diet.

Sources of selenium

Fish, grass-fed and pasture-raised meats, whole grains, and nuts and seeds are either good, very good, or excellent food sources of selenium.

 

Selenium and antioxidant protection

Selenium is necessary for your body and especially important for the proper activity of a group of enzymes called glutathione peroxidases. (You will sometimes see the abbreviation “GPO” or “GPx” for a glutathione peroxidase enzyme.) These enzymes play an important role in your body’s detoxification system and they also protect it against oxidative stress. (Oxidative stress is physiological circumstance in which there is excessive risk of oxygen-related damage to the body.) Of the eight known glutathione peroxidase enzymes, five of them require selenium.
In addition to the activity of glutathione peroxidase, the enzymes that contain selenium, are involved in recycling of vitamin C, which allows an antioxidant protection.

Selenium and thyroid function

A selenium-containing enzyme is responsible for transforming a less active thyroid hormone called T4 into the more active T3.

So, how does this work you may wonder? Simple – selenium and iodine work together to keep thyroid function strong and consistent.
Researchers have been able to notice problems with the thyroid gland in just two months when keeping a low-selenium diet.

selenium rich foods
Of all the nutty nuts, the brazil nut is an exceptional selenium source.

Selenium foods to keep in mind

If you have read about selenium foods, you have probably read about Brazil nuts being a strong source of the mineral. Just as little as one ounce of Brazil nuts may contain as much as 10 times the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) recommendation for selenium intake. Other exceptionally rich selenium foods include oysters, clams, liver, and kidney. Each of these foods is likely to contain double to triple the DRI in a serving.
Fish and shellfish are an excellent source of selenium. Whole grains and seeds, are as well a good selenium source. Include at least one of these selenium foods in your everyday diet to maintain a healthy hair regime.


Photos: Charlotta Wasteson and Mauro Cateb via Flickr.

This is how you avoid thinning hair and the most common causes for it

In a previous post Nutrafol wrote about the most common causes for hair loss in women so it’s only right that we give you some tips on how to support healthier hair growth.

Nourish your hair

As for any other part of your body, proper nutrition is essential for your hair. Putting oil in the roots provides nutrition and strength to help your hair grow long and strong. It also helps rejuvenate dead hair shafts. Oils enriched with herbs give your hair strength and stimulates blood circulation. This will help you grow thicker hair.

Massage your head

Massaging your scalp may be one of the simplest and most soothing hair care tips. It improves blood circulation and stimulates blood flow to the entire body. Coconut oil and almond oil is good when massaging your scalp. Applying lavender oil also promotes hair growth.

Try the no-poo method

Shampooing your hair twice or thrice a week allows the natural oils to penetrate your hair, thereby allowing it to hydrate and repair itself. When you shampoo your hair, you are shampooing it to wash away dirt and product build-up. But if you use it on daily basis, it can make your hair dry, frizzy and brittle, which can lead to breakage. Shampoo contains sulfates and it is these sulfates when used excessively that can cause damage to your hair. A more natural way to go is either to choose a sulfate-free shampoo or the no-poo method.

hair loss causes
A well nourished hair, is a healthy hair. Try one of these natural ways to prevent the causes of hair loss.

Use conditioner

If you want to maintain your hair, using a conditioner is a key factor. It locks the moisture in the shaft, prevents your hair from drying out and provides protection from dirt and pollution. And some of them even protect your hair from the sun. It also helps replace the lipids and proteins inside the hair shaft and seals the cuticles to prevent further damage. Try a homemade conditioner if you want a healthier and more natural alternative.

… or even better, use a deep conditioner

Hair masks are sometimes required for your hair to stay youthful and healthy. Luckily Nutrafol has the perfect deep conditioner for you and your hair.

Or why not try beer for your hair?

Although beer is not exactly all natural, it does work wonders for your hair. You can use it in two ways.

  • You can rinse your hair in beer or turn it into a shampoo.
  • If you’re looking to use it in your shampoo, then all you need to do is heat the beer up and then mix it with your shampoo. You can use it the same way you use any shampoo. Just apply, lather up and rinse off.

Take supplements to support your hair

BioPerine encourages hair growth by improving the bioavailability of many nutrients in the body. You can take BioPerine supplements in the form of capsules. Also, using pepper, which is the source for BioPerine, in your daily sauces or food will do the trick. Not as much as the supplement itself, but it will still help.

Photos by: Beth Punches via Flickr.

Betsy Jons via Flickr.

These are the Most Common Causes for Hair Loss in Women

Losing hair as a woman is not a great feeling, but hair loss in women is quite common. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 40 percent of women experience visible hair loss by the time they reach 40. Luckily there are many ways to tackle this condition.

How Does Hair Growth Work

The hair growth cycle has four stages. The first one, anagen, is when the hair grows from the hair follicle. The pace is about half an inch every 28 days. How long this phase last is individual. It can be disrupted due to stress, hormonal imbalance, diseases or other factors.

Stage two, catagen, is when the hair follicles detach from blood vessels in the scalp so that blood supply is cut off. The hair stops growing.

The third phase is called telogen. This normally lasts for about three months – this is the resting phase, before the cycle starts over again.

The fourth and final phase, exogen, is really just a resting phase as well. This is the time when dead hair falls out. Normal shedding is approximately 50 – 100 hairs every day. However, in healthy people, new hair starts growing at the same time.

The Common Causes for Hair Loss in Women 

Androgenetic Alopecia – Female Pattern Baldness

This is also called pattern baldness and is most commonly found in men. Initially, doctors believed this pattern hair loss to be caused by excessive male hormone, testosterone, in a patient. Women normally have some amounts of this hormone as well. But in later years it was discovered that dihydrotestosterone, DHT, is the real culprit.

Testosterone converts into DHT when bound by the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. This is naturally produced in the body, but it is believed that people that suffer from pattern baldness have a heightened sensitivity to it. Their bodies create more DHT, which in turn kills the hair follicles. There can also be a hormonal imbalance that triggers a reaction to an increased level of DHT.

Telogen Effluvium – Stress

Hair loss in women
A healthy lifestyle and diet are important for healthy hair.

The hair growth cycle can be disrupted by major life events that cause stress in the body, surgery, giving birth, having some kind of accident or going through a divorce. In this case, all the hairs that are in the growing or resting phases will shift at the same time to shedding phase.

Normally it takes about three months after a particularly stressful event until the hair shedding shows. For some women, this can be a lasting condition that comes and goes. But for most, it is a temporary thing that will most likely solve itself if you solve the underlying situation that caused your stress or trauma.

Anagen Effluvium – Reaction to Chemotherapy

If something happens to the hair follicle that disrupts its mitotic or metabolic activity, it will stop growing hairs. This typically happens after chemotherapy during cancer treatment. Since chemo targets cancer cells in the body that divide rapidly, all other rapidly dividing cells are also affected. In hair cells, this will narrow the hair shaft until it breaks off.

Most people lose hair during chemo, but there is a new treatment that is up and coming in the United States. Cold cap chemotherapy could be effective in treating hair loss in women that go through chemotherapy without medicine or surgery. The treatment consists of a cold cap with a cooling liquid that is placed on the patient’s head during the chemo session. Cooling down the scalp will constrict blood vessels and slow the blood flow. That means the metabolism of hair follicle cells will also slow down, and the effects of the radiation on the hair cells will be reduced.

Traction Alopecia – Tugging at the Hair

Traction alopecia can be caused by a very tight hairstyle, like a ponytail or braids, that is kept for a long period of time. This will pull and tug at the hair and stretch out the hair follicles until the hair falls out. This is ironically a common problem for people wearing hair extensions.

This condition can also be caused by stress or obsessive compulsory disorder, in which someone pulls and tugs on her own hair until it falls out (also known as trichotillomania).

Treatments?

Most of these types of hair loss and thinning in women can be helped by reducing stress and leading a healthy lifestyle overall. Diet plays a big part in our hair’s health. For the times when we are too busy to get to that workout or make a homemade salad for dinner, a natural hair supplement can be a good complement. Nutrafol contains only naturally derived ingredients that work synergistically to make your hair healthy from the inside out.

Onion Juice for Hair Growth: Does It Work?

Onion juice has gotten some hype lately on social media. The claim is that you can use onion juice for hair growth. But does onion for hair growth really work? Instead of wading through different websites about onion juice for hair loss, we did the research for you to find out if onion juice for hair loss really works.

Scientific Study Investigates Whether Onion Juice for Hair Growth Works

There’sone study published regarding onion juice for hair regrowth, “Onion juice (Allium cepa L.), a new topical treatment for alopecia areata,” which researched the effects of using onion juice or onion oil for hair growth.

In this study, patients with alopecia areata — a form of sudden hair loss in which one or more circular bald patches may overlap on the scalp — were divided into two groups. Group 1 was directed to apply onion juice to the scalp twice a day for two months, and Group 2 was advised to apply tap water to the scalp twice a day for two months.

After two weeks of treatment, notable effects were already taking place to demonstrate the efficacy of onion for hair growth. Regrowth of coarse hairs was observed in Group 1, and after four weeks, researchers observed regrowth in 86.9% of the group that was using onions for hair growth.

The researchers concluded that onion juice can be an effective therapy for patchy alopecia areata and to promote hair regrowth. In other words, onion juice for hair regrowth can be helpful.

Why is Onion Juice Effective Against Hair Loss?

Onion juice may seem to be an unlikely treatment to fight against hair loss, but these veggies actually have many natural benefits for hair. Onions are rich in sulfur, which has antibacterial and antifungal properties, so it’s effective at killing germs and parasites as well as helping heal fungal infections. Hair loss is often triggered by an unhealthy scalp, so it makes sense that sulfur-rich onion juice may be helpful for some causes of hair loss. Another benefit when applying it to the scalp is that onion juice helps to get rid of dandruff, which is usually fungal in nature. Onions also contain quercetin, an antioxidant that studies have shown may be useful in treating alopecia areata.

onion juice hair loss
Red onions are a richer source of quercetin than white, but ALL onions contain some.

How to Use Onion Juice on Your Hair

Want to try onion juice to see whether it helps your hair? Here’s how to get onion juice.

  1. Grate an onion and strain the pulp. You can strain it with a sieve, press it between two spoons, or squeeze it through cheesecloth. Throw away the pulp and use only the juice.
  2. Use a juicer. This is the easiest method and will give you the greatest amount of onion juice for you to work with.

Are there any onion juice for hair growth side effects? Possibly. After using onion juice, some people noticed their scalp has become red and itchy. This is why it’s important to test how you react to onion juice by applying it to a very small area before putting it all over your scalp. Onion juice is very strong, so avoid any broken skin or sore areas. If you’re still concerned about getting a reaction like this, try boiling chopped onions and using the water once it has cooled down, which is much milder than pure onion juice.

How About the Smell?

Onions do have a very strong smell but the smell is only intense during application. When the onion juice has been washed out, the smell is barely noticeable. But if the odor still lingers, there are a few things you can try to remove it:

How to Get the Most Out of Your Onion Juice Treatment

Massage onion juice into the scalp and leave it overnight if possible. If not, 30 minutes will do. Apply it as often as you can, like whenever you’re getting ready to wash your hair. It can take a few weeks before you see any results. You can also complement the treatment with some natural supplements like Nutrafol that don’t smell to support healthy hair growth. Combining the two treatments will ensure your hair is happy and healthy.

Photos: Mitch Huang via Flickr.

Aurelien Guichard via Flickr.