Welcome to Hair Growth Awareness Month. Throughout August, Nutrafol will answer your most burning questions about hair growth, as well as share the latest science and information to help you grow.
Over the course of your life, every single hair on your head undergoes the anagen phase (growth phase), catagen phase (regression phase), and the telogen phase (resting phase). Unfortunately, due to factors like stress, inflammation, metabolic dysfunction, and poor diet, our hair growth processes may be impeded.
But do not fret! There are many natural components (many of which you’ll find in Nutrafol) to help promote the hair growth cycle. Now let’s help get you growing!
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Peppermint (mentha piperita) is an herb that has been used by some for digestive, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory support. It is commonly found in many everyday items, such as teas, candies, and personal care products.
Excitingly, in a study that examined the use of peppermint oil for hair loss, results suggested that peppermint oil encouraged the anagen (growth) cycle. It was noted that after a four-week topical application of peppermint oil, an induction of very thick and long hair was observed, and it supported the elongation of hair follicles as well.
Although a fairly commonly used herb, it is generally not recommended to take peppermint if you have acid reflux, as reflux can be worsened from peppermint’s relaxing effects on the esophageal sphincter.
This trace element is considered essential because the body cannot make it on its own. We have to rely on an external source, specifically through diet or supplementation, to get zinc into our bodies. Interestingly, according tothe National Institute of Health, the food with the highest amount of zinc per serving is the oyster (for shuck’s sake!)
However, chicken and red meat are the most consumed sources of zinc-rich foods in the American diet. Those commonly at risk for zinc deficiency are individuals who do not consume meat. Also at risk are people who consume large amounts of whole grain cereals or breads, as the grains contain phytates, a compound which is known to bind and block the absorption of zinc in the body. Alopecia (hair loss) is strongly linked with zinc deficiency and hair regrowth has been noted with zinc supplementation.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Commonly referred to as “healthy fats,” omega-3 fatty acids can be from animal sources (mostly fish) or plant-based sources. These “good fats” are considered “essential,” as our bodies do not make them, so we need to get omega-3s from external sources like food (salmon, tuna, mackerel, walnuts, flaxseeds) and/or supplementation.
Omega-3s provide anti-inflammatory support to the body and can assist in heart health. But did you know they can also lend a hand in hair health as well? A recent study using mackerel-derived fermented fish oil extract not only noted that this ingredient increased the length of hair-fibers, but also enabled a stimulated initiation into the anagen (growth) phase of the hair cycle. (Two commonly known omega-3 fatty acids — docosahexaenoic acid [DHA] and eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA] — are found within mackerel-derived fermented fish oil.)
The mackerel-derived fermented fish oil, along with the DHA component, demonstrated the promotion of hair growth through the anagen-activating pathways in dermal papilla cells. It is the cells found inside the hair follicle which communicate with the dermal papilla cells, and it is this interaction which helps to regulate hair growth. Consider incorporating omega-3 fatty acid sources into your daily routine!
These water-soluble vitamins, such as biotin, B12, and B9 (folate), may begin with the letter “B,” but make no mistake, they are total A-listers.
B vitamins are found in many types of foods, includibng eggs, meat (red meat, poultry), whole grains, and dark, leafy green vegetables (broccoli, spinach). These guys help to regulate and support many processes within our body, including our central nervous system and metabolism, to name a few. As an added bonus, some of these Bs provide TLC to our hair as well! It has been hypothesized that folate and B12 assist in nucleic acid production, which may play a crucial role in the highly-proliferative hair follicle. Sounds like the “Bs knees” to us!