Supplements 101

Supplements 101

There is much discussion about taking vitamins and supplements for hair growth.  You can take a hair, skin & nail (HSN) formula or take each supplement individually.  I’ve taken them both ways, and I prefer taking them individually so that I can control how much I get of each.

I want to provide basic information on some of the ingredients typically found in hair vitamins, and what they are supposed to do in relation to hair health and growth.  I am not a doctor.  Please consult a physician before beginning any vitamin regimen, as some of them can interfere with medications.

The ideal way to get your proper vitamins and minerals is to eat a well balanced diet.  If you’re like me, however, you can sometimes use a little help.  I have taken all of these supplements at one time or another:

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
:  has been shown to decrease hair loss. Helps to get vital nutrients into the hair follicle, strengthening it. This improves its function, and keeps it healthy so the follicle can grow a hair.  Also good for healthy skin and nails. Deficiency is rare since so many foods contain it. But deficiency can result in hair loss.

Biotin (Vitamin H)
:  supports scalp health by producing fatty acids which help the health of the hair. A deficiency in essential fatty acids produces symptoms such as dry skin, dandruff, dry, brittle hair or eczema, any of which may lead to hair loss. Biotin combined with B5 can reduce acne breakouts.

Folic Acid
:  supports cell division so that hair follicles can produce healthy hair. Folic acid reduces hair loss and prevents thinning hair.

:  active ingredient in horsetail extract is silica, which is useful in treating hair loss. Believed to stimulate hair growth because of the antioxidants it contains. Improves circulation and the health of hair follicles.

MSM (methyl-sulfonyl-methane
):  referred to as the “beauty mineral,” MSM provides sulfur which is needed to produce collagen and keratin. Both of these are critical for the production of healthy hair and nails. Also believed to contribute to the strength and thickness of the hair and nails.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): an antioxidant that helps maintain hair and skin health by enhancing the immune function at a cellular level. It also aids in the absorption of other supplements. The human body does not naturally produce Vitamin C. Therefore, it is essential to our health that we consume an adequate amount by modifying our diet or incorporating supplements.

If your diet is not good, and you take these supplements, your body will use what it needs to maintain optimum health.  Very little of it will be available to benefit your hair.  So I highly recommend taking a good multi-vitamin in addition to any hair supplements that you take.  Be careful though!  Some HSN formulas also include multi-vitamins.  Read all labels carefully to be sure that you’re not taking more vitamins than necessary.

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