What are the best natural hair supplements?

What you will learn in this hair supplement review
  • How common hair loss really is,
  • The best nutrients for preventing or reducing hair loss,
  • The ingredients included in each hair loss product by means of a detailed table;
  • An explanation for the reasons I chose the winners and losers in terms of nutrient composition, purity and value for money criteria.

 

effluvium means hairlossLosing hair with age is something of an inevitability for almost all of us, men and women.

By the time men reach their mid thirties, more than 65% will have experienced a noticeable degree hair loss. By the age 50, 85% of them have significantly thinning hair with a significant proportion of those being completely bald.

But it’s not just men who suffer from hair loss.

The women suffer mostly in silence. They actually comprise 40% of sufferers. By the age of 60, 80% percent of them will have noticeable hair loss1.

 

Which nutrients nurture your hair

Age, sex, hormones and genetics all play a role in determining quality of your hair growth. Very often, the speed of hair growth is reduced by outright nutrient deficiencies or hormonal imbalances, which can cause them in the first place. These include anaemia, menopause, polycystic ovaries or a zinc deficiency, thyroid disease or anorexia.

Simply making sure that eating lots of certain nutrients would will already help your hair. There is actually a vast amount of research studies, which show exactly how effective these standard nutrients are, when they are dosed correctly:

Vitamins
vitamin A2, B complex3, vitamin C4, vitamin D5,6, vitamin E7 and several others
Amino acids
Arginine8, Cysteine9, Methionine7, Glycine and Lysine11
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18498491#sthash.BBiFaAri.dpuf
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18498491#sthash.BBiFaAri.dpuf
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18498491#sthash.BBiFaAri.dpufand Proline[/su_service]
Trace elements
Calcium, Zinc12, Iodine13, Selenium and Magnesium14

 

The key nutrients of an effective hair loss food supplement

For maximum hair growth to occur, a permanent supply of certain key vitamins, trace elements and amino acids is needed to the follicles of the hair.

 

Vitamins

A wide and varied spectrum of vitamins are important in supporting hair loss. B vitamins are very important with regards to hair loss.

  • Folic acid (vitamin B9) is crucial for optimal hair follicle cell division and growth15.
  • Iron deficiency can result in hair loss16.
  • Vitamin B12 aides in the absorption of iron, therefore reducing hair loss17.
  • Vitamin B5 plays a central role in the nourishment of follicles18.
  • Vitamin B6 helps hair follicles get sufficient oxygen and keeps them healthy enough to grow healthy hair19.
  • Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin20, and Pantothenic acid21 are important for the nourishment of hair follicle cells.
  • Biotin (vitamin B7) plays a significant role in the metabolism of protein, making it an important component in keeping hair follicles nourished. A number of studies suggest that biotin is one of the most vital nutrients for the texture and strength of hair22; it also increases the elasticity of cortex of a hair, thereby, preventing and minimising hair breakage.
  • Vitamin C helps the production and maintenance of collagen23.
  • Vitamin E is a strong antioxidant and provides physical stability to cell membranes24.
  • Vitamin D receptors (VDR) are expressed in numerous cells and tissues of the body, including the skin. Studies show a lack of VDR leads to hair loss25.
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids – A lack of essential fatty acids can result in a dry scalp and unhealthy hair follicles, a condition that can result in hair loss or thinning.
  • Antioxidants – Vitamins A, C and E are antioxidants that enhance collagen synthesis. Specifically Vitamins C and E help to reduce the negative effects caused by free radicals, which, over time, can damage both collagen and elastin.
Trace Elements
  • Calcium – Cell membrane phospholipids in the cells of hair follicles are acted on by cell mediators, which are stimulated by calcium26.
  • Zinc is responsible for the normal cell division of follicles and has been shown to reduce the occurrence of hair loss27, 28.
  • Iodine levels are necessary for normal hair growth29.
  • Iron deficiency and iron depletion is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world and a defintive cause of hair loss30.
  • Selenium is needed to make Selenoproteins, which help with hair follicle stimulation which in turn encourages healthy hair growth. A deficiency in selenium can result in unusual development in hair follicles, reduced growth, and hair loss. However in regards to selenium it is a balancing act. An excess of selenium can actually result in hair loss31.
  • Magnesium – Magnesium can clear calcium deposits off the scalp that may be blocking hair follicles, helping the hair to grow.
  • Amino acids – Sulphur is required for the normal growth and appearance of hair along with being important for the formation of healthy connective tissue. A number of amino acids provide sulphur. L-Cystein provides sulphur and there is some evidence to show that a lack of L-Cystein may contribute to hair loss. L-Methionine also contains sulphur and contributes to the strength of hair by nourishing the hair cells. L Arginine is an amino acid, which increases the level of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide is beneficial in hair regrowth through the stimulation of the production of new hair follicles. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) aids in the production of keratin while also strengthening hair follicles32.
  • Herbs – Saw Palmettos role in helping to reduce hair loss comes in the role of its ability to block the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase from converting testosterone in to DHT.

woman outdoors

The great hair supplement review

We tested thirteen hair loss supplements and ranked them based on the quality, nutrients and value for money. This table summarises our findings:

Ranking

Product

Manufacturer

Daily Cost

 

WINNER
Hair Plus
amitamin £0.61

2nd
Hair Vitalics
The Belgravia Center £0.66

3rd
tricologic man / hairfollic man
VITABIOTICS

£1.59

4th
Hair Essentials™
Natural Wellbeing £0.66

5th
Provillus
Natural Products Association £0.74

6th
Procerin
Speedwinds Nutrition Inc. £0.72

7th
Hair-vit
HealthAid £0.19

8th

Pantogar

Merz Pharmaceuticals £1.11


9th

FLORISENE

Lamberts £0.52


10th

Inneov

Nestlé & L’Oréal £0.70

11th

Priorin

BAYER £1.30


12th

Medigro

bioconcepts £0.27


13th

PK4 Hair

Philip Kingsley £0.73


 

How we decided the ranking

We have used composition in terms of the core nutrient groups that we outlined above. If certain amino acids, vitamins, antioxidants or essential fats have been omitted then the product lost marks on this subscore.

For example, vitamin B6 is an important vitamin in relation to hair. However many supplements use pyridoxine which is not the bioactive form. Pyridoxal-5-phosphate is the bioactive form, and requires no energy. It may also be the case that some supplements add in extra nutrients that are not necessary, which is a cost incurred that is passed on to the customer and is money wasted unnecessarily.

Value is the second key success factor we have based our comparison on. The supplements are ranked based on the comparison of cost to quality and composition. Supplements for hair loss can be costly as they must be taken for three to six months for any noticeable effect.

We calculated the cost per day on a 90 day intake.

 

The Winner

amitamin’s Hair Plus is what we deemed to be the best over-the-counter hair supplement product available in the UK, because of the best nutrient formula and value for money relationship. In detail:

amitamin hair plus

Hair Plus has the most hair nutrients for the best price

  • amitamin Hair Plus includes 21 research-based nutrients and is free of additives, fillers, colors and flavors.
  • It includes Millet seed extract, which contains various important hair nutrients such as silicon and linoleic acid. It also includes 75mg per day of the superantioxidant Grape Seed Extract, which is known for its very high content of flavonoids. These stop free radicals from accelerating the aging process of cells (including the scalp).
  • Biotin contributes significantly to the health of hair and is an important component of amino acid metabolism.
  • The amino acids L-cysteine, L-methionine and L-arginine are important components of hair structure. All three have been shown to have significant benefits in the stimulation and production of new hair follicles.
  • Vitamins such as Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) are involved in the regulation of hormone balance helping the skin to protect itself from drying out.
  • PZN-07689275-amitamin-Hair-Plus-1-Pckg-800px-300x298

    Hair Plus combines the all nutrients of several major hair supplements at a lower price

    Vitamin C helps iron metabolization and supports collagen synthesis. Collagen is an important component of hair and scalp. In addition, it supports the regeneration of Vitamin E and protects against oxidative stress, slowing down the aging process. B vitamins are crucial in the restoration of hair or prevention of hair loss. This product has by far the most comprehensive vitamin B complex (including vitamin B9, aka Folic Acid), all of which occurring in optimal dosages.

  • Zinc, selenium and copper ensure that the existing hair stays healthy, copper maintains the natural hair pigmentation. In fact, all key minerals and anti-oxidants with research behind them supporting their efficacy against hair loss are included and present in good quality.
  • amitamin Hair Plus is made and registered in Germany with the Central Pharmaceutical Database ensuring top notch quality.
  • The final string to the bow of is that it comes in at only £0.61 per day, making it £0.8p cheaper than the average price per day of the supplements within this comparison.

 

Runner-Up

Click to buy Hair Vitalics directly from The Belgravia Center (opens new window)

Click to view Hair Vitalics on The Belgravia Center website

Hair Vitalics came in second place and very much earned this position.

  • Hair Vitalics has a strong amino acid profile with Cystein and Methionine. It also contains Saw Palmetto and MSM.
  • Saw Palmetto has been shown to block the action of DHT, which causes hair loss in a large number of people.
  • However, its vitamin B complex is incomplete and trace minerals are dosed very low.
  • Daily cost: £0.66, 2p less that the average price.

Unfortunately, Hair Vitalics cannot be ordered online, but only after a phone consultation with an hair-loss consultant from The Belgravia Center.

Whilst this is a good idea, it requires customers to call in during business hours, register their details to make an appointment and likely listen to sales pitches.

3rd Place

hairfollic man formerly tricologic man by vitabiotics

click to buy from amazon.co.uk (opens new window)

hairfollic man is the former tricologic man by VITABIOTICS, following a rebranding without changing the product’s formula. VITABIOTICS hairfollic man has

  • a wide and varied range of vitamins and minerals that in most cases are of a high quantity and exceed the RDAs, as well as
  • a variety of amino acids, however in quantities too small to impact hair growth. Equally, the dose of it’s super-antioxidant red grape extract is very low at just 5mg per day, a mere 7% of the quantity amitamin Hair Plus offers.

In summary, hairfollic man has an impressive display of vitamins and minerals and amino acids. However, at twice or more (depending on the shop) the daily cost of either Hair Plus or Hair Vitalics it is the most expensive product within the comparison. Daily cost: £1.59

Places 4 – 13

4th place:

hair-essentials

Click to buy HAIR ESSENTIALS on amazon.co.uk (opens new window)

Hair Essentials has a wide array of vitamins and minerals and specifically high contents of vitamin A and C, Biotin and Zinc.

However, most of it’s amino acids, Saw Palmetto and rather exotic, unproven nutrients like Han Lian Cao, Horsetail, Bamboo, White Tea, Rice Bran, Milk Thistle, Flaxseed Oild and Plack Petter and hidden in a proprietary blend with no details of quantities available.

In summary, a comprehensive combination of vitamins and minerals make this a good product at slighly below average price. Daily cost: £0.66

5th place: Provillus

ProvillusA high quantity of saw palmetto and vitamin B 6, zinc plus some minerals.

In summary, this hair loss supplement has been compared to Procerin because it contains some of the same ingredients, there is also a high quantity of B-6 and Biotin, which are crucial vitamins for hair regrowth.

However, it is manufactured in and shipped from the USA and therefore does not need to comply with EU marketing and manufacturing guidelines. Company registration info, management profiles, telefone numbers, email and postal addresses are not available on the website, which does not help to establish credibility!

Nevertheless, Provillus is a popular choice because it is available to both men and women struggling with hair loss issues. Daily cost: £0.74

6th place: Procerin

procerin

Click to buy procerin on amazon.co.uk (opens new window)

A high quantity of saw palmetto, zinc and magnesium.

In summary, the main ingredient is saw palmetto, which shows promising results in hairloss by blocking DHT, which promotes hair loss.

This is a very natural product. Seems to show results when used with other products, however its price means you would expect results on its own, hindering it from ranking highly in this comparison.

It is also manufactured in and shipped from the USA and therefore does not comply with EU manufacturing guidelines. Daily cost: £0.72

7th place: Hair-vit

healthaid-hair

Click to buy Hair-vit on amazon.co.uk (opens new window)

Hair-vit contains an array of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and yeast. The amino acid quantities are adequate, however, the vitamin and mineral contents are generally low. HealthAid Hair-vit is the cheapest product in this comparison at just £0.19 per day.

In summary, Hair-vit has a wide array on nutrients but mostly at dosed too low. Only Insitol, L-Lyseine and yeast powder contents are of optimal quantities.

With this in mind this low priced supplement comes in at an impressive 7th place with its price line as its saving grace. Daily cost: £0.19

8th place: Pantogar

Pantogar

Click to buy pantogar on amazon.co.uk (opens new window)

Pantogar is manufactured by Merz Pharmaceuticals in Germany and has a selection of B vitamins and an adequate dosage of PABA. It also has a high quantity dosage of L-Cysteine and is the only product with straight Keratin in the test.

In summary, it has a good selection of B vitamins and an optimal dosage of L-Cysteine and PABA. However, currently there is no research to support the effectiveness of PABA against hairloss and even some negative research circulating. PABAs most positive research is in relation to protecting hair colour.

Due to the high price and the lack of research supporting some of it key nutrients it has ranked poorly. Daily cost: £1.11

9th place: Lamberts FLORISENE

florisene

Click to buy Florisene on amazon.co.uk (opens new window)

FLORISENE has an iron content that far exceeds the RDA which can be dangerous for some.

It contains some vitamins and Lysine, however all at too low a dosage.

In summary, it is lacking adequate dosages of any single vitamins needed to make a difference and has an unnecessarily high iron content.

It is priced at the lower end, however, even with that in mind, I have ranked it poorly. Daily cost: £0.52

10th place: inneov

inneov

Click to buy inneov on amazon.co.uk (opens new window)

Manufactured by pharma giants Nestlé & L’Oréal inneov contains a good combination of ingredients such as vitamin E and Lycopene. However, they appear in very low doses.

Unfortunately, this product also contains fillers with three different E numbers.

In summary, Inneov is a poor product that does not even have one ingredient meeting the RDA. It is low quality and contains fillers that actually weigh more then the active ingredients. Even though the combination of nutrients is good, the low dosages and lack of B vitamins let this product down. Daily cost: £0.70

11th place: Priorin

priorin capsules

Click to buy PRIORIN on amazon.co.uk (opens new window)

Manufactured by German pharma giant BAYER, this product is differentiated only by it’s millet extract quantity, which is the highest in the test.

It does include B5 vitamins and a tiny amount of L-cysteine, however, both quantities are too low a level for therapeutic effect.

In summary, Priorin contains only three ingredients at a relatively high price.

Relative to the winner Hair Plus, which contains 21 ingredients at effective dosages retailing for 15% more, Priorin is a weak product that I don’t recommend. Daily cost: £0.51

12th place: Medigro

MediGro

Click to buy MediGro on chemistdirect.co.uk (opens new window)

Medigro has a selection of amino acids, only one vitamin and mineral each and some herb content.

Unfortunately, none of the quantities for this product are available on the packaging and in light of the low price are assumed to be extremely low.

In summary, the unknown quantities and lack of vitamins and minerals make this a very low ranking product.

Although Medigro is very much at the lower end of the price scale in my comparison, it still ranks towards the bottom. Daily cost: £0.27

13th place: PK4 Hair

phillip kingsley

Click to buy PK4HAIR on amazon.co.uk (opens new window)

Philip Kingsley’s PK4HAIR has only vitamin (B1), two minerals (Iron and zinc) along with two amino acids (Arginine and Lysine).

Disappointingly, none of the quantities are available and therefore assumed to be very low!

In summary, a very small selection of ingredients at unknown quantities along with a high price tag make Philip Kingsley PK4 Hair the lowest ranking product in the test. Daily cost: £0.73

General Thoughts

The products included in my comparison are available on the high street or online in the UK or with delivery to the UK available.

The average price per day of the thirteen products over a 90 day period was £0.69/€0.84. The average cost for a ninety day supply in total was £62.10 / €75.16.

Only two of the products within the comparison – tricologic man and Pantogar, ranked 4th and 8th respectively – cost more than £1 per day for a 90 day supply.

There are two products within this comparison – Medigro and Philip Kingsley PK4 Hair, which have a small selection of ingredients if quantified could make an acceptable product. However, the quantities were unavailable nd therefore assumed very low. This has resulted in these two products having to be ranked last at 12th and 13th respectively.

Scoring Sheet

hair loss comparison table

Final thought

thank you reading my hair supplement comparison

There are quite a few ingredients that have been shown to have great success in helping with hair loss. Just taking a supplement alone is not enough however.

We strongly advise to focus on all aspects of health, i.e. exercise, stress levels, sleep and ensuring the you stick to a healthy diet with whole foods covering a wide range of vitamins and minerals and eat as little fast food as you possibly can.

 

Related Studies

  1. “http://www.statisticbrain.com/hair-loss-statistics/”
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  4. “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2695167”
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22418940
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20178699
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  17. “Kumar V (February 2007). “Pernicious anemia”. MLO 39 (2): 28, 30–1. PMID 17375844″
  18. “Y. M. Kuo, S. J. Hayflick, and J. Gitschier (June 2007). “Deprivation of pantothenic acid elicits a movement disorder and azoospermia in a mouse model of pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration”. J Inherit Metab Dis. 30 (3): 310–317. doi:10.1007/s10545-007-0560-8. PMC 2099457. PMID 17429753″
  19. “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11344694”
  20. “http://www.add-hair.com/circulation-enhancers-hair-regrowth-activators.htm”
  21. “http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/853.html”
  22. “http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/313.html”
  23. “http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-c-ascorbic-acid”
  24. “http://www.hchs.edu/literature/Hair.pdf”
  25. “http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/vitamin-d-and-your-health.htm”
  26. “http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002412.htm”
  27. “http://www.zinc.org/info/zinc_essential_for_human_health”
  28. “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3746228/”
  29. “http://jacknorrisrd.com/hair-loss-and-iodine/”
  30. “http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Iron-deficiency-leads-to-hair-loss”
  31. “http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/selenium”
  32. “http://aminoacidstudies.org/hair-loss/”