What Are The Benefits Of Fish Oil For Your Hair?


One of the most exciting touted benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in abundance in fish oil, is that they can help you grow long, shiny locks.

“Omega-3s are not made by the body, so you must eat foods that contain them or take a dietary supplement,” said Lynne J. Goldberg, MD, director of the hair clinic at Boston Medical Center in Massachusetts. Fish and seafood contain DHA and EPA, while plant-based foods like walnuts and flaxseed contain alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, a fraction of which is then converted to EPA and DHA, the National Institutes of Health finds. Omega-3 fatty acid proponents say getting enough in your diet can help nourish follicles and grow hair.

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Do Omega-3 Fatty Acids Help Hair Regrowth?

When it comes to supplementation, there are few studies that look at omega-3s and hair growth, and few that look specifically at fish oil.

A small study in the February 2017 issue of the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology looked at 10 participants with androgenetic alopecia (known as male baldness that can occur in both men and women, notes MedlinePlus) who were each given supplements containing a mixture of twice daily Fish oil, flaxseed oil, antioxidants and melatonin. After about six months, eight people (80 percent of the participants) had an increase in hair. However, it is important to remember that this was a very small study and there was no placebo group.

An earlier study of 120 participants was published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology in 2015. She compared a group taking a dietary supplement containing fish oil and vitamins C and E (among others) with a control group. After six months, 62 percent of those in the supplement group saw an increase in hair density compared to 28 percent in the control group. Perhaps surprisingly, more than half of the women in the control group said they noticed an increase in hair growth when comparing before and after photos of their scalp. “I really think we need more data and more research to understand the potential mechanism,” says Dr. Goldberg, who was not involved in any of the studies.

Diet supplements can contain fish oil or omega-3 fatty acids along with other ingredients such as antioxidants. These ingredients can work synergistically together, so we shouldn’t conclude that taking fish oil or omega-3s alone in a supplement will make hair grow.

As for topical use, a study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences in September 2018, in which scientists applied a fermented mackerel oil topically to rodent whiskers, found that the substance stimulates the follicles, possibly by activating the “growth phase” Hair.

This is a study – and about rodents. Overall, “topical application of fish oil will not support hair growth or scalp health,” said Kerry Yates, trichologist and founder of Color Collective in Dallas. It also has a fishy odor, and the lingering smell is enough to discourage some people from using pure fish oil on their scalp.

When it comes to hair growth, most effective is to eat healthy, use gentle hair care products, and seek treatment for hair loss (start with your dermatologist) so any health issues can be addressed, Goldberg says.

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What is the best form of fish oil?

There are many different ways to get fish oil, including fish oil supplements, fish liver oil supplements (like cod liver oil), and shellfish and whole fish, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). In terms of food, fatty or oily fish have the greatest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, cod, herring, trout, and canned tuna, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Fish like these provide a number of additional vitamins and minerals that diet supplements don’t contain. To take advantage of the potential benefits of fish oil, opting for whole fish over pills, recommend registered dietitians. If you’re looking to take a dietary supplement for your hair, skin, or nails, choose one that uses small fish to limit mercury levels, says Debra Jaliman, MD, a certified dermatologist in New York City and author of Skin Rules. She likes Nordic Naturals, which uses fish oil made from anchovies and sardines.

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Is Fish Oil Good for Hair and Nails?

There is a lack of data to support the role of fish oil in hair and nail health. The most important thing is that you get the omega-3 fatty acids your body needs to function well all around. “Different vitamins [claiming] You can grow it, the hair will make up for any imperfections you might have, but it doesn’t guarantee hair growth, ”says Yates.

If you are well nourished and eat a balanced diet, it is unlikely that you will be deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, Goldberg says. “And if you don’t have a deficiency, it’s unclear whether consuming more omega-3s than you need from a dietary supplement will help,” says Goldberg.

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Does cod liver oil cause hair loss?

There are no studies showing that cod liver oil causes hair loss – there is no research showing a link between cod liver oil and the health of curls in general. But an excess of certain vitamins like vitamin A can make hair loss worse, according to a study published in the journal Dermatology Practical & Conceptual in January 2017. Cod liver oil contains EPA and DHA as well as vitamins A and D, says the NCCIH. The organization warns that the amounts of these two vitamins vary from product to product. Some supplements can contain too much vitamin A, which can cause problems for your health and hair. It is important to choose supplements from high quality brands approved by your health team.

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