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Tips on supplements for thinning hair?

(40 Posts)
IsaSchmisa Tue 14-Nov-17 13:54:10

Any recommendations? I've been suffering from this for a couple of years but it's amped up recently.

I have been to the GP and had bloods done. Everything normal except my iron levels are slightly low, though not low enough to make me anaemic and GP does not think this is the reason for the thinning hair. I had been asked by my usual GP to come in and discuss the results, as she was recommending supplementation. She was off sick today, so I saw another one who was in fobbing off mode, wouldn't discuss even over the counter treatments or other potential causes and simply told me to eat a more iron rich diet.

(I already do, though I can certainly up my consumption of spinach etc, but it's possibly relevant that I live in an area where the local population would be assumed to consume primarily Greggs pasties and cigarettes, and this GP has a reputation for assuming we're all coming in for sick notes and/or methadone to sell- did order more bloods to check hormones though).

I shall be making another appointment to see usual GP after the next blood test results are available and can discuss supplementation then. But meanwhile, does anyone have any recommendations? Over the counter is fine, easier in fact. I have been feeling very tired and lacking in energy recently so I suspect this is the iron: I want to fix that both in itself and in case it is of assistance with my thinning hair.

CiderwithBuda Tue 14-Nov-17 13:59:14

Someone on here recommended Viviscal. I've started it but nit on it long enough to see a difference yet. And I keep forgetting to take it!

crispandcheesesandwichplease Tue 14-Nov-17 14:00:59

This probably sounds a bit bonkers but I know someone who was advised to use 'Mane & Tail' shampoo after losing his hair as a result of chemotherapy. It did grow back and it was thicker. The journalist Decca Aitkenhead also recommended it when she suffered hair loss following chemo for breast cancer.

I bought some for my older thinning hair but found it too drying for my hair to keep on using it. My DD used it though and the hairdresser (who we hadn't mentioned it to) noted that her hair was thicker than before. It's not expensive so might be worth a try.

IsaSchmisa Tue 14-Nov-17 14:03:25

Haha really? I was thinking of something to take rather than a topical application, as caffeine shampoo hasn't helped, but I do need to get shampoo actually so I guess mane and tail would be worth a try! Would be funny to tell people about if nothing else!

Has anyone seen a result with viviscal, positive or negative?

nowshesaturtle Tue 14-Nov-17 14:04:06

Mine seems to be falling out although I haven't had any tests. I'm taking a specific hair skin and nails supplement and I've started using a shampoo, conditioner and scalp tonic combo called NaturVital. Expensive but you only need a very little bit to get a good lather up. It takes about six months to work apparently but certainly my hair feels nice on it. I've also started washing my hair less - twice a week instead of every day because it's dry and I think it was breaking as well as actually falling out at the roots.

Too soon to see if it's working but I have high hopes.

If you need to supplement iron you'd do better with red meat and green leafy salads than spinach. I seem to remember the iron in spinach is high but stays pretty much locked in and unavailable. My school nutrition lessons are a long time ago though, so that may have been disproved.

IsaSchmisa Tue 14-Nov-17 14:07:34

GP specifically said spinach and cabbage. I do eat both but my red meat consumption isn't massive, probably 3 times a week tops, so I could certainly look at that.

I only wash my hair twice a week usually as it's curly, I wear it in a bun (I have to because it's so thinning on top) and I do actually still have quite a lot of it on the areas that aren't thinning. So I don't think it's to do with overwashing. I only blow dry slightly too, and for years just didn't at all. What's the name of your supplement please turtle?

IsaSchmisa Tue 14-Nov-17 14:11:02

I have some castor oil too though haven't got round to using it yet. But I actually decided to get the bloods done on the strength of something I read here a couple of weeks ago, as I hadn't realised how many health problems thinning hair can be potentially be associated with- luckily my thyroid is fine and I'm not diabetic, so that's good news.

Gumbo Tue 14-Nov-17 14:20:38

My hair's been falling out for several years and nothing seemed to work. It came up in a conversation with a friend who is a GP - she immediately said to take iron tablets.

I've never been checked for anaemia and have no idea what my iron levels were before, but honestly within 3 weeks of starting on over-the-counter iron tablets I could see a difference in the amount of hair I was shedding in the shower - it's literally halved! Best thing I could have done and well worth the constipation it causes

IsaSchmisa Tue 14-Nov-17 14:24:46

Ah yes, remember the constipation from taking them when pregnant! I'll cope with that though, it wasn't that awful. Was it just iron? I think I've read on here of people taking iron plus something else. I know there's quite a wide array available over the counter.

BuzzKillington Tue 14-Nov-17 14:27:24

If you can face sitting through the Facebook Live Trinny just did with Nadine Baggott - Trinny talks about a supplement (by Solgar iirc) she takes for thinning hair and she has had success with.

Gumbo Tue 14-Nov-17 14:28:41

There may well be better combinations than just iron - I just clutched at the 'iron straw' and ran with it! But iron and something else may work better for the how the body absorbs it...

nowshesaturtle Tue 14-Nov-17 14:30:38

isa it's called NaturVital, same as the shampoo and conditioner. They're all in blue bottles and you can get them in Boots near the Plantur hair thinning hmm stuff, and they were on a 3 for 2. Shampoo and conditioner are £10 each I think but the tonic is £20. My bottle has so far lasted me over 2 months though, and still quite a bit left. For the first 6 weeks you have to use it 3 times a week which is a grind but after that it's just once a week which I can cope with despite being v lazy when it comes to this kind of thing

Discotits Tue 14-Nov-17 14:36:14

Iron; I’ve taken this religiously with a glass of orange juice for over a year and I can see an improvement. I take Spatone liquid iron, it doesn’t taste too bad.
I also take Biotin which is B12.
Castor oil mixed with coconut oil on the scalp once a week, leave for a bit before washing off.

marciagetscreamed Tue 14-Nov-17 15:17:41

I used Viviscal supplements after both pregnancies and thought they worked. They do take time to have refer though, and are pricey.

Phillip Kingsley does a great range of supplements and products for thinning hair, he was/is quite a well known trichologist. Also fab.

I used that caffeine shampoo (aimed at men, Aplecin maybe?) from Tesco. My hair is thicker now than it’s ever been.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Tue 14-Nov-17 15:47:34

I take Safflower Oil capsules and CLA (from Holland & Barratt) for this - also a full daily requirement of iron as mine tends to be low. Low iron does seem to be a common theme reading these posts.

IsaSchmisa Tue 14-Nov-17 15:51:02

Thanks all. I have tried the caffeine shampoo and my hair is if anything falling out more, which makes me think supplementation needs to form at least part of this. Agree low iron seems to be a recurring theme... but going to look at other topical applications as well. Can't hurt, I suppose. I still need to wash my hair after all!

Has anyone experienced hair loss due to any other deficiencies, or hormone things? I don't think it's hormonal as my cycle is normal and periods rather light if anything- I know that can be an issue for some anaemics. But am still going to have the tests done anyway of course.

Animation86 Tue 14-Nov-17 15:55:02

Any shampoos are not what they claim im afraid. I've heard the whole Mane and Tail thing - those products are full of protein which sounds grand, but too much of it makes your hair brittle and prone to snapping, it always feels great to start with then its game over.

CiderwithBuda Tue 14-Nov-17 16:00:34

I've just remembered that years ago I was living in Budapest and went to doctor because of hair loss. I had lots of tests and was told that an untreated infection anywhere in the body can cause hair loss. Doctor suggested seeing dentist and gynaecologist as well as having bloods done. By the time I saw the gynaecologist my bloods were back and he said I had a chronic urine infection and I was prescribed Ten days of strong antibiotics. It seemed to work at the time.

I've also just had a quick look on google and inflammation can cause hair loss too so an anti-inflammatory diet might help.

happinessischocolate Tue 14-Nov-17 16:03:41

Iron and b12, and don’t drink coffee or any form of caffeine as it’s stops you absorbing the b12

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Tue 14-Nov-17 16:09:21

OP, I find that I lose more hair when I'm stressed but it's difficult to bring a halt to that. My hairdresser maintains that the hair we have now is the result of what happened 3-6 months ago. That's why conditions are so hard to 'turn around'.

I don't have very thin hair but she showed me how to do zig-zag partings and that makes quite a difference.

Oblomov17 Tue 14-Nov-17 16:11:08

Watching with interest.

IsaSchmisa Tue 14-Nov-17 16:18:30

I could switch to caffeine free tea I guess. I only have a couple of cups a day but that's probably not helping. Just made myself a delicious smelling apricot, oat and honey thing for breakfast (if it lasts that long). Apricots=iron!

Not prone to urine infections, or not symptomatic ones anyway. I suppose an infection would have shown up on the bloods? GP today said my B12 levels were normal. However I didn't think to ask whether normal is the same thing as optimum for hair growth he'd probably have told me to fuck off if I did.

Re stress, it could be that. I don't think of myself as feeling especially stressed but I have two young children and so do most of my friends, so that kind of warps your baseline! Pregnancy didn't help but my youngest is nearly 3 and it's got worse since then...

IsaSchmisa Tue 14-Nov-17 16:21:23

I do eat quite a lot of fibre, which seems to be the main thing for an anti-inflammatory diet? One reason I'm not worried about constipation!

AuntyElle Tue 14-Nov-17 16:33:56

If your ferritin is low enough for the GP to comment on it then it is likely to be low enough to cause hair loss.
You definitely don't have to be anaemic for low iron to cause hair loss and tiredness.
The NHS usually uses a ferritin level of below 15ug/l as the cut off point for iron deficiency. But there is research to show that hair loss only stops once ferritin is over 50 and regrowth requires ferritin of over 70.
So I'd ask what your ferritin level actually is. If you are low, I think this is a good supplement:

IsaSchmisa Tue 14-Nov-17 16:41:57

Thanks. Is ferritin the same thing as iron? I did ask if my ferritin was normal and the GP said yes. But I didn't ask whether normal and optimum for hair growth are the same thing. Perhaps mine is normal but below 70. My haemoglobin is apparently pretty good, 135.

I suspect it probably is at least something to do with the iron. Still, I think I will go for the hormone checks too. Just in case the hair loss is also a symptom of a more severe problem.

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