What Science Says About Supplements for Hair

In part 2 of this 2-part series on nutraceuticals, Dr. Linkov discusses the role of supplements as a complementary treatment to PRP and the need for further studies examining ingredient relationships in marketed products.

This is part 2 of a 2-part series.

Part 1: Nutraceuticals for Hair Health?

Nutraceuticals that are medical grade are known for having ingredient integrity that physicians trust and recommend when compared with drugstore or pharmacy alternatives.

“For hair restoration medical therapy, I always recommend at least two modalities, with nutraceuticals being one possible modality. Others include laser light, PRP, propecia and minoxidil,” he says.

He explains that when he does use nutraceuticals, he uses Nutrafol for men or Viviscal for women. How he chooses what’s right for whom? “Clinical observation and patient feedback on what seems to be helping them most.”

The use of Viviscal in women with thinning hair was studied in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology and showed “the mean number of terminal hairs increased by 211% after 3 months of treatment and by 225% after 6 months.”

“Subjects in the treatment group also reported improvements in overall hair volume and scalp coverage, as well as in hair shine and body thickness,” study authors write.

Another study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found that daily use of Nutrafol’s Women's Capsules vs. placebo resulted in a significant increase in the number of terminal and vellus hairs (P < .009) in the target area at the 3- and 6-month evaluation. Blinded investigator Global Hair Assessments also showed significant hair growth (P = .016) and overall hair quality improvements (P = .005).

“A significant percentage of subjects receiving active treatment also reported improvement in hair growth, volume, thickness, and hair growth rate, as well as decreased anxiety and other wellness parameters,” study authors write.

While some companies have studies quantifying improvements of their products, Dr. Linkov explains that there are many available products that are not supported by data. Most clinical trials or studies are conducted using only one ingredient, like biotin, to test effectiveness, which he says could be misleading.

“Just because biotin in general works doesn't mean that the formulation or the way that they're recommending dosing it is going to be effective,” he says.

For those seeking to prevent hair loss, there’s not much incentive to continue taking a nutraceutical, he explains.

“Prevention is absolutely helpful but [if] someone has a full head of hair and really hasn't noticed much thinning, the incentive to consume another vitamin is low,” he says. “… I would say the majority of people probably would get benefit to some degree, but it's very hard to quantify.”

Dr. Linkov understands the toll hair loss can have on his patient’s lives and creates treatment plans on a case-to-case basis, whether that be external or internal options.

Lock RX – Defense, Block, Guard

Lock RX is a 3-step ingestible system. Step 1 addresses gut health with a powdered prebiotic supplement containing L-Glutamine, licorice, turmeric, spirulina, aloe vera, beta-glucan and piperine. Step 2, in pill form, includes saw palmetto, ashwagandha root and resveratrol. Finally, Step #3, also in pill form, is filled with a complexed vitamin B with “quatrofolic” folate and biotin.

Nutrafol

Nutrafol’s range of targeted products based on gender and age all include saw palmetto, sensoril ashwagandha, curcumin, marine collagen and tocotrienol complex. Both the men and women’s formulation contain hyaluronic acid, while the women’s balance product contains maca root and astaxanthin.

Hush & Hush – Deeply Rooted

Hush & Hush’s hair supplement, Deeply Rooted, contains two separate parts, the hair health complex and polypeptide complex that make up the supplement. The hair health complex contains KSM-66 ashwagandha root extract, cococin coconut water, tocotrienol/tocopherol complex, resvenox resveratrol saw palmetto 45% fatty acids, natural astaxanthin, primavie organic Himalayan shilajit, bioperine, horsetail whole extract, green tea leaf, amla fruit and pumpkin seed oil.

The polypeptide complex contains hydrolyzed fish collagen I & II, arginine HCL, amino acids (L-lysine, L-cysteine, L-methionine), hyaluronic acid, Korean ginseng root, vitamin C, rhodiola rosea root, iodine, vitamin D, zinc, vitamin A, niacin, selenium, pantothenic acid, biotin and vitamin B12.

References

Hornfeldt CS, Holland M, Bucay VW, Roberts WE, Waldorf HA, Dayan SH. The Safety and Efficacy of a Sustainable Marine Extract for the Treatment of Thinning Hair: A Summary of New Clinical Research and Results from a Panel Discussion on the Problem of Thinning Hair and Current Treatments. J Drugs Dermatol. 2015;14(9):s15-22.

Ablon G, Kogan S. A Six-Month, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study Evaluating the Safety and Efficacy of a Nutraceutical Supplement for Promoting Hair Growth in Women With Self-Perceived Thinning Hair. J Drugs Dermatol. 2018;17(5):558-565.