Thursday, April 15, 2010

Vitamins for the Hair

So if you watch my youtube channel, you will see that I have talked about the treatment of my hair a few times. However, I have always spoken about what I was doing externally and not what I was doing internally.

Your hair is much like the rest of your body. You can make it look healthy with various creams and lotions, but it all starts from what is inside. This blog post is going to show you 3 vitamins that I take specifically for my hair (one is not so much just for my hair, but I started taking it because of my hair).

After scanning the internet and speaking with a couple of doctor's, I've come down to these three vitamins: Biotin, Flaxseed Oil, and One A Day Vitamin.


BIOTIN
So the first time I started taking biotin, I didn't even know what I was taking. I had wandered into a pharmacy looking for something else and found these pills meant to improve hair, nails, and skin. So of course I purchased a bottle. Eventually, I learned that the overpriced product was nothing more than Biotin. But what is Biotin?

What Wikipedia Says
Biotin is necessary for cell growth, the production of fatty acids, and the metabolism of fats and amino acids. It plays a role in the Citric acid cycle, which is the process by which biochemical energy is generated during aerobic respiration. Biotin not only assists in various metabolic reactions, but also helps to transfer carbon dioxide. Biotin is also helpful in maintaining a steady blood sugar level. Biotin is often recommended for strengthening hair and nails. Consequently, it is found in many cosmetic and health products for the hair and skin.

Deficiency is extremely rare, as intestinal bacteria generally produce an excess of the body's daily requirement. For that reason, statutory agencies in many countries (e.g., the Australian Department of Health and Aging) do not prescribe a recommended daily intake.

Biotin is widely distributed in a variety of foods, but most often at low concentrations. Estimates are that the typical U.S. diet provides roughly 40 mcg/day. There are only a couple of foods which contain biotin in large amounts, including royal jelly and brewer's yeast. The most important natural sources of biotin in human nutrition are milk, liver, egg (egg yolk), and some vegetables. The most important natural sources in feeding nonruminant animals are oilseed meals, alfalfa, and dried yeasts. It is important to note that the biotin content of food varies and can be influenced by factors such as plant variety, season, and yield (endopserm-to-pericarp ratio).

What I think...
So if you research Biotin, most sources will tell you that Biotin is used to help brittle nails, promote healthy skin, and increase hair growth. Sadly, there is no hard core evidence that Biotin is the main source for those improvements. If you ask your doctor, they will tell you to take a good multi-vitiman which includes Biotin. I buy my Biotin from Walmart for about 6 dollars. You can get them other places but I find they are often more expensive. I also buy the super potentcy one, which means I take only 1 pill a day as opposed to the smaller ones that you have to take 5 times a day. Biotin doesn't stay in your system either, so you should take it every day. I don't know if the pill has truly helped with my hair (but given certain circumstances, I will have to let you know in a few months). But I do notice a difference in my skin (face) and nails and I like what I see:-)


FLAXSEED OIL
I orignially heard of flaxseed oil from several hair blogs and online forums. Women posted that it would bring new life and moisture to my hair. So of course I ran to the story and purchased a bottle of the gel like pills. But what is flaxseed oil?


What NCCAM (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine) Says

Flaxseed is the seed of the flax plant, which is believed to have originated in Egypt. It grows throughout Canada and the northwestern United States. Flaxseed oil comes from flaxseeds. Common uses include:
* Flaxseed is most commonly used as a laxative.
* Flaxseed is also used for hot flashes and breast pain.
* Flaxseed oil is used for different conditions than flaxseed, including arthritis.
* Both flaxseed and flaxseed oil have been used for high cholesterol levels and in an effort to prevent cancer.
Possible Side Effects/Cautions:
* Flaxseed and flaxseed oil supplements seem to be well tolerated. Few side effects have been reported.
* Flaxseed, like any supplemental fiber source, should be taken with plenty of water; otherwise, it could worsen constipation or, in rare cases, even cause intestinal blockage.
* The fiber in flaxseed may lower the body's ability to absorb medications that are taken by mouth. Flaxseed should not be taken at the same time as any conventional oral medications or other dietary supplements.
* Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.


What I think...
I think like with anything suggested to promote healthy hair or growth, you have to take it with a grain of salt. Like with the Biotin, there is no research on the the effects of flaxseed oil on hair.....well not research that is backed by the scientific community and agreed upon. What makes flaxseed a sell on hair growth is that it an oil and has the suggested Omega 3 and Omega 6 that is need to promote healthy hair. I originally started taking the gel capsule form but several blogs suggested that I should take the liquid form because it was closest to its truer form and the body would be able to absorb its benefits. This is not a vitamin that I highly recommend mainly because unlike the Biotin, the reviews on results are so varied. Also, I am REALLY bad about taking it everyday. The capsules were easy to swallow but the liquid is absolutely disgusting. At times when I have been good about taking it on a consistent basis, I feel like a see a bit of a difference in my hair.........but that could just be the placebo effect people refer to.


Multivitamin (One A Day brand)
A multivitamin is one of the most important vitamins to take. I provides you with the necessary vitamins you need for a day to day basis. However, with so many multivitamin brands and so many categories to choose from, it almost makes you wonder what your multivitamin is doing for you. The opinions about who needs what vitamins vary amongst doctors and websites. The two groups of people that usually fall into the category of needing vitamin supplements are pregnant women and vegetarians. However, there is no bun in my oven and your girl is loving her meat driven meals. Vitamins are best found in your food, but when you are a broke college student like myself, you will often find your meals being less than healthy. But what do you need to know about multivitamins?


What Dr. George Obikoya Says
Dr. Obikoya is a Canadian doctor/scientist that specializes in the importance of vitamins and minerals. He has written various articles on supplements and their purpose/effects. In an article for the Vitamins and Nutrition Center, "Vitamins for Your Hair," Dr. Obikoya wrote:
Taking proper, daily vitamins and minerals plays a huge role in keeping your hair healthy. Any nutritional deficiencies can lead to thinning hair or even total baldness. It is a well-known fact that an under-active thyroid can result in frizzy or brittle hair while an overactive thyroid turns hair greasy and limp. The goal is proper supplementation and proper nutritional balance.

In an older person the total number of the capillary loops (blood source) supplying the hair follicles is considerably diminished. This diminution (reduction) of blood supplied to the hair follicle would require either greater blood flow through these follicles or an increased amount of nutrients of various types such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids in order to supple the hair follicle with the same amount of these materials. Since the former is unlikely, as blood vessels are decreasing instead of increasing, it appears that the latter course, mainly supplying more nutrients, would be the most logical way to keep the hair follicle in its “younger” state.

Your hair ultimately reflects the overall condition of your body. If your body is healthy and well-nourished, your hair will be your shining glory. If you are having any health problems or suffering from any nutritional deficiencies, your hair may stop growing or show damage or become brittle. If your body is in good health, you can maximize your genetic growth cycle through taking the proper blend of amino acids and B-vitamins.


Here is the link to the article:
http://www.vitamins-nutrition.org/vitamins/vitamins-hair.html

What I think...
I believe that multivitamins are an important way to supplement missing nutrients (hence the name supplements). Multivitamins are not miracle pills and not regulated by the FDA (no vitamins are). However, they do supply nutrients to the body and healthy hair starts from within. I have taken 4 of One-A-Day's vitamins, 3 which are pictured. Any multivitamin is good, but research the ones that target specific needs and groups. It is suggested that for hair growth, you should find a vitamin that is has biotin, folic acid, and B-6. There is no particular reason that I take the specific brand of One-A-Day other than my mother is the one who suggested it to me years ago. However, there are plenty of reviews about various vitamins and I see One-A-Day topping many lists. According to a few doctor's, you should cut your multivitamin in half and take one half in the morning and the other half later in the day. They stated that the body can not absorb all of that at one time and parts of the vitamin goes to waste. Cutting it in half allows for the body to get the entire effects and helps you from having to swallow a whole, huge pill.

Check out Consumer Search for their review on Multivitamins:
http://www.consumersearch.com/multivitamins/review



Vitamins can have drug like qualities. Don't get caught up in the hype of pills/vitamins promoting hair growth. I was guilty of that and bought any and every vitamin that websites recommended for hair growth. When I spoke to my doctor, he told me that all of that was unnecessary. Problem is that the body can not absorb all of that at one time and consuming so many vitamins can have harmful effects. Consult with a doctor or pharmacist before taking new vitamins if you are currently taking other medications. Some pills and vitamins should not be taken together. Ultimately, a good multivitamin is the main thing I suggest, preferably one with a high dosage of biotin:-)

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