Hair fall has become kind of a silent epidemic nowadays. It’s hard to find a person who is not at all concerned about the way his/her hairline is reducing.
While for many, it’s a natural progression of age, for others, hair loss is a sign of losing their youth and virility.
As such they try a lot of things to regain hair. The use of vitamins and minerals is common for that. But do they really work?
Dr Hind M. Almohanna of the Department of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery from Prince Sultan Military Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia conducted a literature review with colleagues on the role of vitamins and minerals on hair growth.
Their research showed that supplementing a diet with low levels of vitamin D can be beneficial. Apart from that, use of other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, is not strongly supported by evidence.
In the past decade, vitamin E received a lot of attention on the internet as a treatment for hair loss. Vitamin E helps against free radical-mediated damages in the body.
Let’s consider some of the things attributed to vitamin E that are supposed to improve our hairline.
One argument is that Vitamin E directly contributed to new hair growth. Unfortunately, evidence for it is lacking. There is one study by Lim Ai Beoy and colleagues from Malaysia where vitamin E supplements were given to 21 people and placebo to 17 people. All participants had hair loss.
The results showed that continuous application of the supplement for 8 months may produce hair growth in the Vitamin E group significantly better than placebo. But 38 participants is not a confidence-boosting number and proper scientific data to support this hypothesis.
It is also known that vitamin D improves blood flow. The logic is that increasing scalp circulation, can contribute to better hair health.
Researchers from the Department of Dermatology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School led by Kiichiro Yano, experimented on mice.
They demonstrated that increased blood supply encouraged hair growth and increased the hair follicle and size. But how exactly it relates to human hair and vitamin E remains to be seen.
It is also well accepted that vitamin E can help to maintain the balance of oil production in our skin and scalp. This may keep the scalp moisturised and protect our hair. However, scientific evidence is yet to conclusively prove that.
Many shampoos with Vitamin E advertise their ability to repair damaged hair and create a shiny outlook. It is true that by helping to seal out moisture and reducing breakage, vitamin E can help to remove the dull and frizzy look in our hair.
But this applies to the hair we already have on our scalp. This does not necessarily mean vitamin E will prevent or slow down the rate of losing hair.
So what could be the verdict? Yes, we are at the stage where we can strongly prove or disprove the role of Vitamin E in hair growth. But that does not mean we cannot try.
Dr Kiran Sethi of Isyaderm Clinic in New Delhi suggested increasing the intake of Vitamin E through foods like nuts, cabbages, carrots, olive oil, eggs and not being too focused on supplement usage.
According to her, it is better to stay natural and avoid supplements altogether. While the use of vitamin E is not a no, but at the same time, we must remember that there is no guarantee it will work.
Imtiaz Ahmed completed his MBBS from Dhaka Medical College.