Alopecia is a vague term referring to a set of diseases with very different causes, treatments and prognoses.
Androgenetic alopecia and telogenic effluvium are the most common types. They can be exemplified, in the first case, as the common “baldness”, genetically determined and, in the second case, as the active hair loss, secondary to multiple factors such as hormonal changes, nutritional deficits, sudden weight loss, anemia, postpartum period. childbirth, stress, post-surgery period or drugs.
The consumption of food supplements for hair problems is increasing in developed societies, although these cocktails, assumed to be miraculous, are not effective in all types of alopecia. Its use follows the assumption that the hair follicle matrix needs certain nutrients to produce the hair shaft and keep it healthy. However, scientific evidence of the benefits of most of these compounds is still scarce.
Most of the time they are composed of multiple substances, mostly vitamins, minerals and proteins. They come in the form of tablets or soluble powders and aim to complement the body’s lack of essential nutrients and vitamins, promoting the growth and strengthening of hair and nails.
These supplements can be complemented by topically applied products that act directly on the hair cycle, prolonging the active growth phase.
The components that can be provided through nutritional supplements are:
– Vitamin A, C and E: antioxidant properties;
– Vitamins B3 (niacin): improves blood circulation; stimulates hair growth;
– Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): delays the appearance of gray hair and delays hair loss,
– Vitamin B6;
– Vitamin B9 (folic acid);
– B12 vitamin;
– Vitamin D;
– Vitamin B7 or H (biotin): the most popular, helps in the production of keratin, delays the appearance of gray hair; essential for hair hydration;
– Amino acids / proteins: make up 90% of the hair structure;
– Cysteine, methionine, cystine, arginine, lysine, glutamine;
– Zinc: important in the configuration of keratin, collagen production and cell multiplication.
It is important to mention that the indiscriminate and prolonged use of food supplements should be discouraged and their choice should be individualized, based on the clinical evaluation during the medical consultation, directing the treatment to the cause of the pathology.
The explanations are from the doctor Rita Guedes, Dermatologist at the Hospital of Vila Nova de Gaia.