Can Vitamin Supplementation Stop, Even Prevent, Female Hair Loss?

biotin tabletsBiotin and zinc. Are these the hair loss treatments for the twenty first century?

If you are a woman who is experiencing hair fall, or downright balding, you are very much aware that the pharmacological research into hair loss is concerned primarily with male pattern baldness, and any benefit that women may get from such research is negligible, at best. Few of these pharmaceutical drug treatments, whether topical or internal, even work on women. Those that do usually require long-term use, with little chance of success. But is it possible that the key to hair retention in women is nothing more dramatic or expensive than good nutrition?

Why Biotin?

Biotin is a doctor’s recommended vitamin used for treating hair loss, and is found in rich foods like soy, milk, egg yolks and liver. It is a natural nutritional supplement that helps reverse hair loss and keep skin and nails looking healthy.

Our growth and replication of cells depends on biotin. Biotin releases the energy from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. It is a complex vitamin used for the production of fatty acids. The main sources of biotin are liver, kidneys, milk, cheese, butter, poultry, cauliflower, bananas, watermelon, peas, brewer’s yeast, nuts, beans, oat bran, salmon, and mackerel. Eating rich foods will give the body an average level of biotin. Some shampoos with biotin can also help stimulate hair growth. One reason why several dermatologists suggest using Biotin supplements is because thousands of calories are needed daily to keep our hair healthy, and if you are trying to lose to, or maintain, a healthy weight, eating more than 2,000 calories a day is not advisable.

The purpose of the B-vitamin is to maintain metabolism. Biotin is especially useful for people with high cholesterol. The positive effects of Biotin are it helps maintain healthy and strong hair, and it makes efficient use of the protein, carbohydrates and fats that we eat. The only negative effect of biotin is that it hasn’t proven 100% effective. It is however more effective when taken with other B-vitamins. The “other B-vitamins” include choline, folic acid, vitamin B-1, vitamin B-2, vitaminB6, and vitamin B-12.

People taking prescription drugs should exercise caution and consult their doctor before using high dose biotin supplements. In some cases, illness has resulted from taking high doses of various vitamin supplements with pharmaceutical drugs. On the flip side, some medications can actually cause Biotin deficiency. In such a case, you may need to take a higher dose to achieve the desired benefits. A few signs of Biotin deficiency are nausea, depression, and anorexia. (Although, in the latter case, the deficiency may be the result not the cause.)

Zinc: The Other White Tablet

Then there’s Zinc, one of the controlling nutrients for progesterone production. The old wives’ tale about oysters being a great aphrodisiac is scientifically correct because oysters are loaded with zinc. If you’ve done your research on the mineral, you must have read the conflicting reports on the subject of zinc and hair loss: some say that zinc supplements can reverse hair loss, others claim that zinc tablets can also trigger hair loss. Who’s claims are correct?

A few facts about Zinc: It’s a trace mineral that is found in the body. It plays a vital role in many bodily processes and functions such as in cell reproduction, hormonal balance, proper absorption of vitamins, and in protein synthesis. All these processes are vital for proper hair growth such that an adequate amount of this mineral is needed to prevent hair thinning and loss.

Deficiency in zinc can contribute a lot to hair shedding because without zinc and other related minerals, you hair shafts get weakened, causing hair breakage and very slow hair regrowth. Zinc benefits for hair include promotion of cell reproduction, tissue growth and repair of broken tissues. It also maintains the oil-secreting glands that are attached to your hair follicles, thus decreasing their chances of falling off.

As for claims that Zinc can also trigger hair loss, this is true. But only if there is too much Zinc in the body. The recommended daily amount of Zinc is only about 11 milligrams. To counter hair loss, a dosage of 60 milligrams is effective. Taking too much or taking zinc supplements longer than recommended (more than three or four weeks) would do more harm than good to your hair. This is because too much zinc in the body can hinder the absorption of other minerals such as Copper, iron, magnesium and manganese, all of which may also take part in maintaining healthy hair. For instance, copper helps in forming blood vessels so that lack of it may be detrimental to the scalp and may limit the growth of your hair.

You must know that a certain amount of hair loss everyday is normal. We usually shed off about 50 to a hundred hair each day, and this should not be a cause of alarm since it will not necessarily lead to permanent hair loss. This shedding is equivalent to the number of hair that grows. But, if you happen to shed more than average, you may want to find out what is causing the shedding. Hair loss can result from various conditions, such as hormone imbalance, genetics, poor diet and nutrition, age, radiation or chemotherapy treatment, stress, infections, chemicals, rapid weight loss, or other diseases. The two most common causes of hair loss in women are hypothyroidism and poor nutrition. Many, who haven’t had much luck with either medication or vitamin supplementation alone, have discovered that the use of both in combination has yielded very good results. But what works for one may not work for another. The cause of the hair loss is always the key to treatment success, so seek medical diagnosis before proceeding with a treatment plan, be it natural, pharmaceutical, or both.

Summary:

There is a close knit relationship between biotin, zinc and hair loss. The bottom line is, too little zinc in your body will cause hair loss, but too much of it and you’ll lose hair, as well. Biotin, on the other hand, seems to only help in maintaining and regrowing hair, but should not be used in high doses with pharmaceuticals without consulting a doctor first. Thus, for safety and better results, take both supplements only as advised and don’t be afraid to do your own research.

Suggested Dosages:

Biotin – 2 milligrams (2000 mcg) -5milligrams (5000 mcg)
If you take the highest dose regularly, your hair will grow measurably faster. This has been scientifically proven.
There is even an over-the-counter treatment that contains biotin. It’s called Provillus, and it’s gotten great reviews. Visit their website for product and purchasing information, then do an internet search to get reviews from impartial sources. It will either be right for you, or it won’t. Nothing works for everyone.

Zinc – 50 or 60 milligrams per day for two weeks is recommended.
(No firm data on how long a break you should take between dosing periods. But some of those interviewed about their hair loss treatment seemed to think 1-2 weeks between dosing periods was sufficient, while others skipped every other day.)
Also, lean protein is great for zinc absorption. Lean protein includes lean meat (top round, not greasy hamburgers), lean pork, chicken and turkey (without skin), fish, shellfish and eggs. If you are a vegetarian and suffer from PMS, you might want to start eating protein two days before PMS is scheduled to begin and then stop when your period begins.

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