Fish oil is known for its heart-healthy ingredients, but did you know that there also may be benefits of taking fish oil for hair growth? A poor diet that lacks healthy fats could result in slowed hair growth or even hair loss. Fish oil supplements are an excellent source of healthy fats to support healthy hair follicles*. Read on to learn more about fish oil and how adding fish oil supplements to your daily routine could help promote hair growth*.
Fish Oil & Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fish oil refers to a fat or oil derived from cold-water, oily fish like salmon, herring, mackerel or sardines. Fish oil’s
active ingredients are the omega-3 fatty acids known as DHA and EPA. These healthy fats have been shown to be beneficial to your heart, skin, nails and hair. Though we need omega-3 fatty acids for proper bodily functions, we cannot synthesize them on our own and must acquire them through diet or supplementation.
Benefits of Omega-3 Fish Oil for Hair
Fish oil nourishes the scalp and provides hair follicles with some vital nutrients for hair growth. According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, taking fish oil supplements may help with hair thinning. In the study, women who took fish oil supplements for six months reported less hair thinning, thicker strands of hair and more hair growth than women who did not take fish oil.*
Fish oil also has strong anti-inflammatory properties, which helps soothe the scalp and encourage the ideal environment for healthy hair growth.
Other Fish Oil Benefits for Hair
Depending on the brand, fish oil may also contain some other helpful nutrients for hair, including:
Some types of fish oil, like cod fish oil, contain vitamin A. Vitamin A regulates sebum production, making hair glossy and shiny. Vitamin A is also important for promoting healthy, strong hair that is more resistant to breakage and damage.
Some brands of fish oil also contain vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant. In fish oil supplements, vitamin E naturally acts as a preservative. However, vitamin E also has other benefits for hair, such as protecting the hair follicle from harmful free radicals in the environment.*
How to Use Fish Oil for Hair Growth
Choosing a Fish Oil
Fish oil supplements are available in capsule or liquid form. Both are equally effective as omega-3 fatty acid supplements. However, liquid fish oil can also be applied topically to the scalp.
Look for a fish oil with a significant amount of DHA and EPA, the omega-3 fatty acids that provide most of fish oil’s health benefits. It should contain at least 180 mg of EPA and 120 mg of DHA. Some brands misrepresent the amount of EPA and DHA in their formulas. Therefore, it’s important to look for a brand that has been tested by a trusted third party, such as GOED.
Store fish oil supplements in the refrigerator to prevent them from spoiling.
Though recommendations vary, experts suggest taking up to 1g of fish oil daily. Take fish oil supplements with a meal.
While a moderate amount of fish oil is generally well-tolerated, excessive consumption can lead to side effects like abdominal pain, intestinal distress and excessive bruising. To avoid interactions with your medications, speak to your physician before adding a fish oil supplement to your diet.
Fish oil can also be applied directly to the scalp. However, the fishy smell can be overpowering to some. To reduce any unpleasant scent, mix fish oil with a pleasant-smelling, hair-healthy essential oil like rosemary or lavender.
Other Sources of Omega-3
If you don’t want to take a fish oil supplement, there are other ways to ensure you’re getting omega-3 fatty acids in your diet for healthy hair growth, including:
- Eating a diet rich in foods like salmon, tuna, sardines, flax seeds, chia seeds, egg yolks, and walnuts.
- Taking a supplement that contains not only ingredients with omega-3 but also other key hair nutrients. Viviscal contains a marine complex derived from mollusks, a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. The vitamins and minerals in Viviscal, including Biotin, Zinc and Iron, are proven to nourish hair follicles, promoting existing hair growth.*
Do you take a fish oil supplement? Share your experience in the comments!