At any given time, millions of Americans are reaching for a variety of products to combat hair loss — including minoxidil and finasteride (like Rogaine and Propecia, respectively). Some are taking it a step further, undergoing surgical procedures to get a full head of hair.
According to statistics, 35 million American men suffer from hair loss compared to 21 million American women. Also, the problem steadily increases as men age — with 40 percent of men age 35 suffering noticeable hair loss. That number shifts to 65 percent by the age of 60, 70 percent by the age of 80, and 80 percent by the age of 85.
Whether experiencing problems with hair loss, breakage or thinning hair, many people may find some benefits in consuming nutrients that have shown to lead to improvements. Here are some foods and supplements that could lead to healthier hair:
Iron: When experiencing substantial hair loss, women may be experiencing an iron deficiency. A physician can be consulted to determine if there are low iron levels and if an iron supplement can help. Women 50 and younger should get about 18 mg of iron per day. Women older than 50 should get a daily intake of 8 mg of iron. Foods high in iron include beans, red meat, pork, and seafood. Iron supplements also can be added to the diet.
Omega-3: Nutritional deficiency in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in foods like salmon, walnuts, and flaxseed, can cause hair to become lackluster. It also can lead to hair loss, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Some patients have been treated by taking 1 to 2 capsules of fish oil a day to encourage hair growth as well as address issues with flaky scalp and inflammation.
Protein: Foods rich in protein, such as chicken, eggs, nuts, seeds, meat, fish, cheese, beans, tofu and lentils, can help build up the hair you’re losing on a regular basis as part of normal shedding. If your hair is thinning, boosting your protein intake can counteract it by helping you with new growth.