Safety and Effectiveness of Nutritional Supplements in Treating Hair Loss


eMediNexus Editorial    27 January 2023

Despite the widespread use of nutritional supplements and dietary interventions for treating hair loss, their safety and effectiveness still need to be determined.


Drake et al, in their recent study, evaluated and compiled the findings of all dietary and nutritional interventions for treating hair loss among individuals without a known baseline nutritional deficiency.


They searched the MEDLINE, Embase and CINAHL databases from inception through October 20, 2021, to identify articles written in English with original findings from investigations of dietary and nutritional interventions in individuals with alopecia or hair loss without a known baseline nutritional deficiency. They assessed quality with Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine criteria and measured the disease course, both objectively and subjectively.


They found 6,347 citations, to which they added 11 articles from reference lists and included a total of 30 articles: 17 randomized clinical trials (RCTs), 11 clinical studies (non-RCT) and 2 case series studies. They found no diet-based interventional studies to meet the inclusion criteria. Studies of nutritional interventions with the highest-quality evidence revealed the potential benefit of Viviscal, Nourkrin, Nutrafol, Lambdapil, Pantogar, capsaicin and isoflavone, omegas 3 and 6 with antioxidants, apple nutraceutical, total glucosides of paeony and compound glycyrrhizin tablets, zinc, tocotrienol and pumpkin seed oil in treating hair loss. They also found low-quality evidence for disease course improvement regarding Kimchi and cheonggukjang, vitamin D3 and Forti5. Furthermore, they found adverse effects to be rare and mild for all the therapies evaluated.


This work suggests the potential role of nutritional supplements in treating hair loss. Physicians should engage in shared decision-making by covering these treatments′ potential risks and benefits with patients experiencing hair loss. Future research with larger RCTs and active comparators is warranted.


Source: Drake L, Reyes-Hadsall S, Martinez J, et al. Evaluation of the safety and effectiveness of nutritional supplements for treating hair loss: a systematic review. JAMA Dermatol. 2022 Nov 30. [Epub ahead of print]

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