These Are The Top 3 Supplements For Hair Growth, According To Research
You've likely heard it a million and one times: Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp. Those follicles up top are literally the source of hair growth, so caring for them is key to a luscious, full mane.
How do you care for those precious follicles? Well, stimulating and cleaning the scalp is always a good idea (we love a good scalp massage, especially with a good hair-growth serum), but fueling them internally with good-for-hair nutrients is a solid move, too. Make sure to prioritize a robust diet with plenty of hair-boosting vitamins—and if you need an extra nudge, certain targeted supplements can help enhance your length goals.* Here, find the three most powerful players that promote fuller, thicker hair:
"Collagen is not a component of hair," says board-certified dermatologist Rachel Westbay, M.D. "But the main component of hair, about 95% of it, is the protein keratin." And keratin, like all proteins, is made up of a unique blend of amino acids1—primarily cysteine, proline, and glycine.
Collagen peptides can provide your diet with these amino acids, which can then be turned into keratin to form healthy hair at the follicle.* mbg's vice president of scientific affairs Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN, suggests taking a peek at your collagen brand's amino acid profile to see the exact breakdown of these protein building blocks. "This will inform proline percentage and all the other amino acid contributions, too," she says.
Plus, antioxidants can help strengthen and preserve hair follicles from oxidation (aka free radicals), which in turn, will improve the productivity of the hair follicle.* For targeted antioxidant support, mbg's beauty & gut collagen+ includes vitamins C and E, both of which are able to help neutralize free radicals in the whole body, including our scalp.*
Yes, a comprehensive multivitamin with high-quality nutrients and bioactives can support hair growth—quality being the operative word here. You can't grab any ol' multi and expect lush, long locks. Rather, if your multivitamin contains specific ingredients shown to support hair, follicle, or scalp health, you may indeed see some improvement in the overall quality of your hair.*
In terms of the science-backed ingredients to look for, experts tout these micronutrients and phytonutrients for their mane-boosting abilities:
- B vitamins: In addition to B vitamins being required for our scalp cells to have the ATP energy (via cellular metabolism) they require to function well, key B vitamins can also help promote healthy hair in other specific ways.* For example, low biotin levels2 have been observed in women struggling with hair loss, while folic acid (aka folate or vitamin B9) is heavily involved with new cell synthesis, which can support the hair-growth phase by promoting keratinization.* Meanwhile, niacin (aka B3) does its part by promoting blood flow to the scalp, which helps bolster overall hair health.*
- Silica: While the exact mechanism is unknown, some research finds that the mineral silica is able to promote hair strength and thickness and decrease hair breakage3.* This mineral may be missing in most multivitamin formulas, but mbg made sure to include it in ultimate multivitamin+ for its hair- and skin-health-promoting properties.*
- Antioxidant support: Antioxidants help combat oxidative stress by fighting free radicals, which can buffer against shedding, graying, and dullness in the long run. That's why hair-supporting supplements may feature antioxidant complexes and ingredients, such as vitamins C and E, as well as carotenoids like vitamin A (aka beta-carotene), lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene. In addition to all of these antioxidant powerhouses, mbg's ultimate multivitamin+ also includes master antioxidant glutathione, piperine from black pepper, and resveratrol from Japanese knotweed.*
Although, this list only scratches the surface. Read more about multivitamin nutrient and phytonutrient ingredients that help promote hair growth here.
Vitamin D is truly a workhorse nutrient, as it's essential for nearly every single bodily system4 and function—including promoting hair health: "We know that vitamin D is very important for the hair follicle and therefore hair growth,"* board-certified dermatologist and hair care expert Raechele Cochran Gathers, M.D., says on an episode of Clean Beauty School. "In fact, vitamin D is one of the fat-soluble vitamins needed for maintaining and creating functioning hair follicles."* Specifically, vitamin D3 (the superior form of D) interacts with hair follicles and has a direct impact on the hair growth phase.*
On the flip side, insufficient levels of vitamin D (which persists in 41% of U.S. adults5) can decrease hair volume on the scalp and the rest of the body, William Gaunitz, FWTS-certified trichologist and founder of Advanced Trichology, previously told mbg.* Keeping your vitamin D levels on par supports not only hair health but whole-body health (win-win).* If you're in the market for a quality vitamin D supplement, here's a list of our favorites.
Long, thriving hair starts from within. Make sure you're consuming an array of nutrients and phytonutrients daily to support healthy locks. When complementing your diet with a targeted supplement, make sure you choose a well-formulated product with ingredients rooted in science to back up its claims; as with any health-promoting supplement, its efficacy boils down to the formulation. We also have a whole guide to hair vitamins and how they work, if you're curious about other formulas out there.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.