Hello Baby, Goodbye Hair
A beautiful new baby has arrived, and along with that bundle of joy, staggering hair loss. Many new moms will experience excessive hair shedding in the months following childbirth due to rapidly falling estrogen levels. Can anything be done to regrow those luscious locks? The following supplements may be able to help with hair regrowth.
1. Biotin for growth
Known as the hair vitamin, biotin is often considered the go-to supplement for hair loss. Biotin can be found in hair care products, prenatal or postnatal vitamins, and hair, nails, and skin supplements. Foods such as egg yolks, nuts, seeds, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms also contain this important B-vitamin. Biotin deficiency can cause hair loss, and getting adequate amounts of this vitamin is thought to help with inflammation and improve hair growth. Postpartum women should be sure to follow the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for biotin in adults which is 30-35mcg per day.
2. Vitamin E
Several small studies have found that vitamin E may also help improve hair health. Vitamin E can be found in foods like nuts, pumpkin, and red bell pepper, and can also be obtained from a supplement. The RDA is 15mg per day or 19mg day if a woman is breastfeeding. A recent small trial found that vitamin E supplements helped improve hair growth in people with existing hair loss. The antioxidant properties are thought to help reduce oxidative stress in the scalp, which can decrease shedding.
3. Is collagen the cure?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, helping build and repair bones, tendons, ligaments, muscles, skin, and hair. Over time, the body naturally makes less collagen, and production can also drop from excessive sun exposure, smoking, alcohol, and lack of sleep. This protein is not easily obtained from diet alone, so supplementation is the best way to get enough. Collagen contains amino acids, which can be used to build keratin, a protein that contributes to hair growth. Although data is limited, taking collagen may result in longer and thicker hair.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that cannot be produced by the body alone, so consumption through diet or supplementation is required. Fish oil is a supplement high in the essential omega-3 fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Consistent consumption of omega-3s is thought to nourish hair follicles, trigger new growth, and promote hair strength. This supplement is a healthy addition to most diets.
Hair today, gone tomorrow
Hair loss can affect a large number of women in the postpartum period. The good news is that most women see a return to normal hair growth within a year. Although data is limited, the 4 supplements outlined above may help speed up this process. With the right approach, hair can be long, full, and beautiful again.