9 Bioactive superfoods to combat hair loss, and promote hair regrowth
The impact that hair loss can have on an individual’s psychological wellness, and subsequent quality of life, is widespread and long lasting. Current standard care for hair loss includes surgery and medications, ranging from over-the-counter treatments to corticosteroid injections and immunosuppressants. Unfortunately, these current treatments are either expensive, invasive, or have extremely negative side effects on patients utilizing these therapies.
Recently, the role of vitamins, minerals, and foods with their associated bioactive compounds, have gained increasing recognition as a potential means to address this issue. Some of these compounds have been shown to decrease the risk of specific forms of hair loss, particularly alopecia, a form of balding that results due from an autoimmune disorder.
Bioactive compounds could be defined as phytochemicals, which can be extracted from foods or foods by-products, and are able to regulate metabolic functions leading to beneficial effects in the body.
Below are some bioactive superfoods that can combat hair loss, maintain scalp health and induce new hair growth.
Marine collagen – Your body uses several amino acids to build keratin — some of which can be found in collagen. When you consume collagen and other proteins, your body breaks them down into amino acids that are then used to build new proteins and compounds. Collagen can act as an antioxidant and fight damage caused by free radicals to promote healthy hair.
Amino acids – Hair follicles have high turnover rates and high metabolic activity requiring an ample supply of energy from nutrients. For example, a primary component of hair is keratin, which relies on adequate protein intake to maintain sufficient levels in the body. Thus, individuals suffering from malnourishment, including conditions such as Kwashiorkor (protein malnutrition), have been found displaying higher rates of hair loss. Malnourishment commonly results in deficiency in these key amino acids: histidine, leucine, valine, alanine, and cysteine; low levels of these protein building blocks have been found to be associated with individuals suffering from hair loss.
Egg yolk – Roughly 65% of the egg yolk is made up of lipids, including triacylglycerides, phospholipids, and omega-3 fatty acids that make it a barrier-repairing and moisture-binding agent. This helps keep the scalp nourished and create a suitable environment for new hair growth. Studies have shown that the key peptides in egg yolks support dermal cell proliferation. Thus, increasing hair volume and growth.
Mediterranean diet and micronutrients – The Mediterranean diet is a dietary pattern growing in popularity as a means of preventing, treating, and managing a variety of health conditions. The Mediterranean diet mainly consists of one cup of daily red wine, with high consumption of fruits, vegetables, and virgin olive oil, and low consumption of fish and meat. Virgin olive oil is a staple of the Mediterranean diet, due to its high content of bioactive phenolic compounds. Red wine and tomatoes are also of key importance, due to their high levels of resveratrol and lycopene, respectively. Intake of Mediterranean diet with herbs and vegetables high in antioxidants such as tomatoes and red oranges can enhance hair growth by favouring keratin production, the main component of hair.
Rice bran extract – Rice bran has been found to contain high amounts of macronutrients, including dietary fiber, proteins, and lipids. Bioactive compounds present in rice bran are also extensive, most notably antioxidants, including ubiquinones, tocopherols, tocotrienols, and y-oryzanol that nourish the follicles and induce hair growth. Hence, it is recommended that you include rice bran into dietary patterns to prevent or treat hair loss.
Honey – The therapeutic value of honey is primarily attributed to the presence of over 300 bioactive compounds, including phenolic antioxidants, inhibine’s rich in antibiotics, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Honey serves as a potent source of probiotics additionally serving as a prebiotic agent stimulating growth of intestinal flora by providing oligosaccharide-based energy sources for the gut microbes. Therefore, honey can be effective in combating hair problems arising from an unhealthy gut.
Ginseng – The efficacy of using ginseng to treat various forms of hair loss has been scientifically proven and extensively documented in the ancient literature. The primary bioactive components of ginseng are saponins, specifically ginsenosides that have a protective effect on the epidermal components and promotion of hair growth. Read this to know more about the hair growth properties of Red Korean Ginseng.
Berry extract – Berry fruits, particularly blackberries and raspberries, have long been known for their nutritive and medicinal benefits. They are high in dietary fiber and contain important micronutrients, including Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and essential minerals, copper, and manganese. In addition to being nutritionally rich, berries also contain high levels of phytochemicals and bioactive compounds, including steroids, glycosides, terpenes, and abundance of phenolic compounds, such as anthocyanins, flavonols, and tannins. These phenolic compounds are especially important for the medicinal benefits berries provide, contributing to their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties. Recent research has provided evidence that berries may serve as potent natural treatments for hair loss owing to their anti-aging effects. They promote hair growth by increasing the numbers of dermal follicular cells, boosting collagen synthesis and promoting maturation of hair follicles.
Annurka apple polyphenols – Annurca Apple Polyphenolic Extract (AAE) possesses hair growth promoting abilities, treating chemotherapy-induced alopecia (CIA), although it is likely Annurca Apple can also be applied to other hair loss disorders. Researchers found that Annurca Apple was able to protect follicular cells from damage, improved cell viability, enhanced keratin production and improved hair growth, density, and keratin content in human subjects.