Check Your Diet
We’re not recommending you scrub your scalp with salmon. However, the omega-3 fatty acids in fish, distilled fish oils or DHA supplements from algae are the primary nutrition component that makes hair shinier.
Other good hair foods: walnuts, flaxseed, avocados, sardines, eggs, skim milk and green tea. There is a connection between balding and consuming animal fat. Red meat and high-fat diets can increase DHT production, damaging hair follicles.
Make caffeine your vice instead—it has been shown to actually decrease DHT levels via a series of reactions. Green tea can also help slow baldness via decreased DHT production.
If you have pets you’ll notice that the better you feed them, the better their coats look.There’s no hard science that eating better will give your hair the perfect softness and shine, but it can’t hurt!
Check Hormone Levels
If you lose hair in clumps or experience sudden hair loss, it could be a sign of hormone imbalance. It’s better to treat the problem (like thyroid disease), as opposed to the symptom. So see your doctor for a blood test ASAP.
STUDY: Hair Loss Can Signal Health Problems
The B group includes the most important vitamins for hair loss. This includes B6, biotin and folate for slowing loss, and pantothenic acid and niacin for promoting hair growth.
You can get B vitamins by eating foods such as beans, peas, carrots, cauliflower, soybeans, bran, nuts and eggs. Phew, what a list!
Did you know that the extract of berries from the saw palmetto shrub may slow hair loss and promote hair growth (by preventing follicle-killing DHT from binding to receptor sites at the hair follicles)? The same goes for the oil in avocados.
However, these supplements are controversial. There are few studies showing their effectiveness. There’s some evidence that the amino acid L-lysine can help hair grow thicker, in dosages of 500 to 1,000 mg.
This hasn’t been tested in humans, but sheep coats grew thicker with L-lysine. Also in animals, pepper has been shown to destroy the hair loss enzyme. Look out for a new generation of pepper-infused shampoos.
MORE: Restaurant Meals for Healthier Hair
Know How to Dye
Some hair dye ingredients may still be a concern outside of the U.S., if they contain lead—which can cause neurological damage. It will take several decades to know if the hair dye we currently use will produce long-term side effects. After lobbying in the 1930s, hair dye manufacturers were only forced to print warnings on labels for skin and eye irritation.
In the late 1970s, the FDA proposed a warning linked to products with two coal tar ingredients: 4-methoxy-m-phenylenediamine (4-MMPD) or its sulfate cousin (never implemented). Professional colorists can decrease potential toxin exposure. If you’re going to dye your own hair, follow this advice:
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