Supplements for Hair

Despite commercial claims, it may take more than the right shampoo to achieve a shiny, bouncy head of hair. What you ingest - or don't ingest - can affect the health of your crowning glory. Vitamin and mineral imbalances in the body can manifest in your mane leading to a host of problems including dandruff, dryness, graying, and thinning and hair loss.

The average person has 100,000 strands of hair on their head, growing about a half an inch per month. Hair is comprised of a fibrous protein called keratin. Although these strands are made of non-living tissue, the follicles from which they sprout are sustained by nutrient-rich blood in the scalp. Hair condition is affected by factors like stress, poor diet, environmental elements and rough treatment. Genetic factors, thyroid conditions and immune disorders can also play and adverse role.

There is no vitamin or mineral that can guarantee lustrous locks, but supplements may offer some benefits. Consuming essential fatty acids like flaxseed oil and evening primrose oil can help moisturize the hair and scalp and improve hair texture. Biotin, vitamin A (beta carotene) and the complex B vitamins (especially B6) can condition and strengthen hair and even prevent hair loss. Selenium also contributes to healthy hair growth. Zinc and copper can benefit those with brittle, thinning hair due to an under active thyroid. Some evidence suggests copper, a component of melanin, can delay graying.

As for herbal solutions, horsetail contains a high concentration of silica; which helps strengthen hair and nails. Nettle is another herb rich in vitamins A and C that is often used as an internal tonic or external rinse to improve the hair's condition. Nettle is also said to help relieve dandruff.

To achieve your hair's full potential eat a protein-rich diet with plenty of fish, eggs, beans, yogurt and soy. Make sure to get sufficient exercise and rest and avoid excessive use of hot water and appliances on your hair. Also, it helps to treat yourself to a weekly scalp massage to encourage blood flow to your hair follicles.

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