If you’re struggling to keep your hair growing long and healthy, you may have already started to look into different vitamins, supplements, or treatments that promise to restore your hair to its healthiest state.
One thing you may have already come across in your research is the benefits omega-3 fatty acids can offer to your skin, nails and, most importantly, your hair [1,2].
Omega-3 is found in many different supplements for hair loss. In addition to promising to improve your overall hair health, these supplements also supposedly offer a wide range of health benefits to the rest of your body.
Read on to learn more about omega-3 fatty acids and the role they play to help combat hair loss and improve hair growth.
Omega-3 is a fatty acid, a type of polyunsaturated fat that is good for our bodies, but it’s not something that’s naturally occurring in our bodies. Meaning, we have to get it from other sources.
They are also sometimes referred to as “essential fats” or ‘essential fatty acids’ as they are fats we must get from our diet. Omega 3s are most commonly from things like oily and fatty fish , chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans.
Along with supposedly helping out your hair, eating a diet that is rich in omega-3 can also improve your heart health, mental health, fight inflammation, and support infant brain development.
Clearly, it’s a very important addition to your diet for overall good health, but how and why is it so effective for our hair?
A lot of men and women will take omega-3 to help prevent hair loss and promote hair growth. Whether your hair loss is caused by genetics or conditions such as telogen effluvium or alopecia areata, everyone wants to take action against baldness.
The main reason why it’s become so popular for hair-related issues is that omega-3 is thought to provide nutrients to hair follicles, prevent inflammation, and promote circulation in the scalp which is supposed to boost hair growth.
However, there is not a whole lot of research that substantiates any of these claims. In fact, the research on omega-3 and hair growth is fairly limited which can make it hard to recommend it as a reliable and effective hair loss solution.
In one study that was carried out in 2015 , 120 female participants suffering from female pattern hair loss took a supplement of antioxidants for 6 months that contained omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. After the trial had ended, the participants claimed to have experienced reduced hair loss and increased hair density.
In another similar study , female participants were given fish oil supplements daily for three months. After the trial period, researchers also found that the patients experienced significant hair growth and reduced hair loss.
Although the research into omega-3 for your hair is still limited, and there is little research to show that omega-3 is effective when used in isolation, initial studies do seem to point to its potentially positive effects
If you’re not consuming enough omega-3 in your diet, it is possible that you may start to notice a range of different symptoms.
Some of these include skin irritation, dry eyes, joint pain, and even changes in your hair.
If you’ve noticed that your hair is starting to change texture or feel dry and brittle, it could be a sign that you’re experiencing some negative effects of not consuming enough omega-3.
As we’ve discussed above, if you’ve been experiencing issues with your hair, taking an omega-3 supplement may be the solution. However, there isn’t evidence to confirm that a lack of omega-3 is the initial cause of hair loss.
If you’ve started to take an omega-3 supplement for your hair, you shouldn’t expect to see any noticeable results straight away.
In most studies, supplements are taken over a three-month or six-month period before any significantly noticeable results are apparent.
It’s also important to note that there are a few side effects that you may experience, especially if you’re taking omega-3 in supplement form.
Some people who take these supplements can experience nausea, headaches, indigestion, diarrhea, and bad breath. It may also interact negatively with some other common drugs that people have to take daily such as contraceptives, anticoagulants, and blood pressure medication.
To increase your consumption of omega-3, you don’t always need to start taking a daily nutritional supplement.
Experts suggest that you can get the appropriate daily intake just by switching up your diet to include more omega-3-rich foods.
Most people will choose to eat oily fish like mackerel or salmon twice a week to get the right amount of omega-3 but, if you’re vegetarian you can also find some meat-free sources of omega-3.
Overall, if you’re starting to notice that the texture of your hair is starting to change, or you’re beginning to experience hair loss, you may want to think about introducing more omega-3 into your routine as an early solution.
Omega-3 is a well-tolerated addition to your diet that won’t result in any side effects in most people so it can be a safe treatment for hair loss – there’s no harm in trying it if you want to see if it works for you.
However, there is not a lot of research that proves that it is effective at restoring hair loss or promoting hair growth.
If you’re suffering from male or female pattern baldness, we’d recommend you choose a well-researched treatment like Finasteride or Dutasteride instead to help with your hair loss – these are both medications that have clinical trials to support the idea that they’re able to promote hair growth, unlike omega-3.
Similarly, if you’ve already experienced significant hair loss, you may find that many treatments and solutions will not work for you.
In these situations, the best solution may be to look into a hair transplant. This is a permanent, effective and natural solution that may be one of the best ways to get the results you’re after.
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