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    Hair Loss and Hair Loss Treatment and the Perfect Supplement Ingredient

    We all shed hair daily. Hair shedding is part of a natural cycle. A person typically sheds 50 to 100 hair per day[1]. But are you losing more hair? Or is there a visible parting in your hair? If it’s true, then you might be suffering from hair loss. Hair loss and hair shedding are two different terms. While hair shedding is normal, hair loss is a medical condition known as ‘alopecia.’  As per the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), 80 million American women and men have hair loss.

    Causes of hair loss:

    • Hair loss is a multi-factorial origin, the causes include:
    • Genetic or hereditary
    • Abnormal level of androgen hormones.
    • Malnutrition. Improper diet is a key factor of hair loss
    • Stress, illness, and certain drugs such as chemotherapy 
    • Excessive hair treatments like heat treatment and tight hairstyles

    The Best 4 Supplements For Hair Loss Available In The Pharmacy

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    Hair growth cycle:

    Are you familiar with the hair growth cycle? If you’ve got an accurate knowledge of the hair cycle, you might better understand your condition. The hair growth cycle is divided into three phases[2]:

    1.  The telogen or resting phase – lasts for 2-4 months. During this phase, the hair is completely at rest while a hair club is formed.
    2.  The anagen or growing phase – lasts from 2-8 years. Almost 85-90% of your hair is in this phase[3].The hair on the arm, legs, eyebrows has a short anagen phase.
    3. The catagen or transition phase – lasts for 2-3 weeks. Your hair follicles shrink, and hair is cut off from blood supply and nutrition. It means the end of active hair growth

    Types of hair loss:

    Alopecia is of different types. Some types are as follow:

    Androgenic alopecia: Also called male-pattern or female-pattern baldness. It is characterized by gradual hair loss, especially at the crown and front. Males with androgenic alopecia experience hair loss in their early 20s, while females start losing hair until their 40s or after.

    Telogen effluvium: In this condition, more hair follicle goes in the telogen phase and fall out. However, this condition might be temporary.

    Involution alopecia: It is characterized by the natural thinning of hair with age. More hair follicles are in the resting phase.

    Alopecia areata: It causes patchy hair loss but can also result in complete baldness. But after one year, the hair returns in 90% of people.

    What are the hair loss treatments?

    Hair loss is a serious condition that is treated by medications and hair transplant surgery.

    In 1998, Food and Drug Authority (FDA) approved Minoxidil for sale without prescription for hair loss. Minoxidil is known to stimulate hair growth[4]. But with Minoxidil, you have to wait for 2 months for visible results.
     
    Hair transplant:
    The hair transplant surgery was introduced in America in the 1950s. Different techniques are used for this surgery. The common concept is taking hair-bearing skin from the back of the head and transplant it at the front or bald patches. In this way, the hair grows back naturally.

    Hair supplements:

    The Best Ingredient for Hair – Vitamins and Supplements

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    You can take mineral and vitamin supplements, but it is always the best idea to take a well-balanced diet. Nutrition is a crucial factor in maintaining immune homeostasis. The deficiency of one or more micronutrients may impair one’s immune responses[5].
    Vitamins:
    Vitamins and biotin are important for overall body health. They should part of a diet to help grow our body properly.

    Biotin:
    Biotin, also known as “Vitamin B7” or “vitamin H,” regulates blood sugar levels and promotes healthy hair, skin, and nails. Biotin is also important for keratin infrastructure. Biotin deficiency can cause hair loss[6]. Evidence suggests the use of biotin during biotin deficiency. (7)
     
    Many hair products contain biotin. Biotin can cause significant hair growth and also low shedding of hair [8, 9]. Although no major biotin toxicities have been reported, more data on biotin is required [10].

    Biotin is present in egg yolk, unpolished rice, nuts, oat flakes[11], dairy, spinach, animal liver, soybeans, mushroom, cauliflower, bananas, and mushrooms.

    Some other vitamins:

    Along with biotin, some other vitamins are also beneficial for hair growth.
     
    Vitamin A – vitamin A activates hair follicle stem cells[12]. It also supports oil glands to produce sebum which can keep hair healthy[13].
    Other B Vitamins – Folic acid, niacin are also important for hair health. Evidence shows that deficiency of these vitamins can cause hair loss[14].
     
    Although there is no direct link between vitamin D deficiency and hair loss, it plays a key role in follicle cycling[15].

    Proteins and minerals:
    Just like vitamins, minerals and proteins are also essential for hair. The most important minerals are as follows:

    Protein:
    Do you know our hair is 80 to 85% protein, the keratin? Dietary proteins are building blocks for hair[16] and keep your hair in the growing phase. 
    Nowadays, a lot of protein or keratin treatments available for hair. But dietary protein not only helps hair growth but is important for overall growth.
    So keep taking protein foods and get strong hairs.

    Zinc:
    Zinc is important for hair growth. It supports protein building[17] and oil glands around follicles. Also, it helps in hair repair. Zinc foods include oyster, beef, rice water, beans, nuts, and seeds. 

    Iron:
    Iron deficiency is the leading cause of anemia in women. Iron improves blood circulation and carries oxygen to hair roots which helps hair to grow faster and healthier. Foods with high iron include red meat, spinach, and lentils. 

    But always consult your doctor before taking supplements. 

    Tips to prevent hair loss:
    If you’ve got an underlying medical condition, then you’ll continue to shed hair until the condition is treated. However, you can limit hair loss by following some tips, which are given below:

    • Avoid stress. Yes! Stress is a major cause of hair loss.
    • Don’t make tight hairstyles.
    • Cut back on heat treatments like straightening, rolling.
    • Stay hydrated. Drink 6-8 glasses of water in a day.
    • Wash your hair properly.
    • Follow a complete, healthful diet. 
     
    Hair loss is a common problem, but this can be treatable. Hereditary loss is difficult to control. With proper care and a healthy diet, you can get shiny and strong hair.

    References: 
     1- Messenger AG, Rundegren J. Minoxidil: mechanisms of action on hair growth. Br J Dermatol. 2004 Feb;150(2):186-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2004.05785.x. PMID: 14996087
    2- Bhaskaram P. Immunobiology of mild micronutrient deficiencies. Br J Nutr. 2001 May;85 Suppl 2:S75-80. doi: 10.1079/bjn2000297. PMID: 11509093.
    3-Rajendiran A, Sampath S. Biotinidase deficiency--clinching the diagnosis rapidly can make all the difference!. BMJ Case Rep. 2011;2011:bcr0720114494. Published 2011 Sep 28. doi:10.1136/bcr.07.2011.4494
    4-Glynis A. A Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study Evaluating the Efficacy of an Oral Supplement in Women with Self-perceived Thinning Hair. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2012 Nov;5(11):28-34. PMID: 23198010; PMCID: PMC3509882.
    5-Trüeb RM. Serum Biotin Levels in Women Complaining of Hair Loss. Int J Trichology. 2016;8(2):73-77. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.188040
    6-Everts HB. Endogenous retinoids in the hair follicle and sebaceous gland. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012;1821(1):222-229. doi:10.1016/j.bbalip.2011.08.017
    7-Amor KT, Rashid RM, Mirmirani P. Does D matter? The role of vitamin D in hair disorders and hair follicle cycling. Dermatol Online J. 2010 Feb 15;16(2):3. PMID: 20178699.
    8-MacDonald RS. The role of zinc in growth and cell proliferation. The Journal of Nutrition. 2000 May;130(5S Suppl):1500S-8S. DOI: 10.1093/jn/130.5.1500s