Thinning hair and hair loss are embarrassing. Our value and worth shouldn’t be tied to things like our skin, hair or weight, but so often our confidence really can be shaken when our appearance starts to change in ways that we don’t like and feel out of our control.
However, our hair can actually serve as an indicator of the state of our health. Full, thick, shiny hair imparts an image of wellness and vibrancy, whilst thinning hair can point to an underlying issue or imbalance. Hair loss can happen for any number of reasons – from stress to hormone disruptions, illness to malnutrition, genetics to smoking. The causes of hair loss* or thinning hair are diverse.
There are all sorts of topical treatments to help with thinning hair or with new hair growth ranging from chemicals to clip-ins. Ideally however, taking a holistic, nutrition and lifestyle-based approach could address the underlying causes of hair loss or hair thinning, rather than just treating the symptom.
Like many other aspects of our health or wellness, hair health is an ever-evolving condition that requires perseverance and patience.
*Hair loss can be a side effect of a more serious issue. Any hair loss or thinning should be discussed with your physician.
What is Collagen, and What Does it Have to do with Hair?
“Collagen” might not be the first word that comes to mind when you think of hair health, but it should be! Adding collagen into your daily routine is one of the easiest ways to prevent hair loss and to help support new hair growth.
Collagen is the most prevalent form of protein in the human body. It’s present in our skin, ligaments, muscles, tendons, blood cells and even in our gut. It plays a key role in maintaining the structural integrity and normal functionality for so many parts of our bodies. Sadly, as we age, our bodies produce less of it on their own. We’re also consuming less than we used to from natural sources, like through the foods we eat. However, we can help supplement with collagen for hair loss and thinning hair!
Why collagen for hair growth?
- Collagen contains amino acids needed for hair growth: Our hair is mainly composed of a protein known as The body uses an amino acid called “proline” as the main ingredient to naturally produce more keratin. Collagen just happens to be chock full of proline! Consuming collagen may help to supply your body with more of the amino acids it needs to produce more keratin, and therefore, more hair.
- Collagen helps to combat hair damage: Our environment is full of things called free radicals, which are damaging compounds resulting from stress, smoking, poor diet, alcohol consumption, pollution and even stress. Free radicals can be dangerous, even altering our cells, proteins and DNA. New research shows that free radicals can even damage our hair follicles.
Our natural ability to fight free radicals decreases with age. The best-known way to combat free radicals is with antioxidants! Several studies have shown that collagen may have incredible antioxidant activity, and therefore help to combat hair-attacking free radicals.
- Collagen could affect how our hair thins as we age: Collagen is actually an important part of the skin that holds our hair’s roots in place. This is known as the dermis. As we age, and our natural collagen production decreases, the skin’s “dermis” loses strength and elasticity. This means that our hair is at more risk of falling out or thinning.
Supporting our body’s natural collagen production with a collagen supplement may help to maintain our dermis layer and therefore prevent hair thinning – as seen in this study on collagen supplementation.
- Consuming collagen could help with greying hair: While the colour of our hair, and when it turns grey, is largely based on our genetics, there is evidence that this too can be affected by free radical damage. “Melanin” cells, which are the cells that produce skin colour, begin to die off as we age. These colour cells can be damaged or killed off by free radical damage.
As mentioned above, collagen is believed to be a healthy source of antioxidants to combat free radicals, which can not only affect the thinning of our hair, but also the greying!
- Collagen is simple, easy and inexpensive to add to your routine: Experts agree that the most effective lifestyle changes are the ones that you can stick with. Consistency is often the key to seeing change, and this is true with hair health!
Using a high-quality hydrolysed collagen protein powder is so simple and easy. Quality collagen should dissolve easily in anything, including water. It should be flavourless and odourless too. This means that you can add collagen to any part of your daily nutrition routine from a morning coffee or smoothie, to a lunch time salad dressing or soup to dinner’s pasta sauce or your bedtime cup of tea.
Serving sizes may vary, depending on what type of collagen you use, but an average of at least 10-15 grams per day is recommended as part of a consistent, daily routine.
Is Collagen the Right Thing for You?
As always, it’s best to consult with your doctor before pursuing any course of self-medication with collagen for hair loss or hair thinning, as these conditions may be the result of something more serious.
However, collagen for hair growth is an easy, inexpensive and effective way to address thinning hair in a healthy, holistic way.
Adding collagen to your routine can help improve scalp and hair health, aid in fighting free radical damage and even have an effect on premature greying! Requiring just one small, tasteless daily dose, it’s a great way to support both your body and your hair.