Although not a life-threatening condition, female pattern hair loss (FPHL) can be emotionally distressing for those women who suffer from it. Unfortunately, FPHL responds poorly to the only conventional medical treatment currently available to women, minoxidil (Rogaine). Minoxidil, the pharmaceutical commonly used to treat hair loss in men, boasts a raft of side effects spanning from irritation at the application site to irregular heartbeat. But all hope is not lost. A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology examined the impact of a nutritional supplement on hair loss in women and found it to be surprisingly effective.
In this 6-month randomized comparative study, the research team set out to test a proprietary natural formula that provided a daily dose of 460 mg fish oil (proportion of omega-3 fatty acids unknown), 460 mg blackcurrant seed oil, 5 mg vitamin E, 30 mg vitamin C, and 1 mg lycopene. They recruited 118 healthy Italian women aged 18 to 65 years with stage I hair loss according to the Ludwig scale, excluding women who might have had a pathologic condition that could cause hair loss, women who had recently used a hair growth product, and women who were pregnant or nursing. Participants were not allowed to change their diet, take any other supplements, or chemically alter their hair for the duration of the study.
Seventy-nine women were randomly assigned to receive the nutritional supplement, and 39 others acted as the control group. The primary outcome measure was change in hair density documented by photographs taken at baseline and after 6 months. An independent expert used a 7-point scale to evaluate hair density, and participants assessed their own hair growth. Other outcomes included changes in percentage of telogen (resting) hair, diameter distribution of anagen (growth) hair, and trichometer index scores.
The photograph review showed that at the end of the study, 62% of the intervention group had increased hair density compared to 28.2% of those in the control group. Self-assessment scores revealed that 88.6% of the women in the intervention group observed increased hair density while only 51.3% in the control group did.  Compared to the control group, the women receiving the experimental formula saw their percentage of telogen hair decrease significantly and their diameter distribution of anagen hair increase significantly. Trichometer index scores indicated a significant increase in hair density and thickness in those participants who received the natural blend. What’s more, there were no adverse events reported in either group.
This study, though preliminary and focused on one specific blend of fatty acids and antioxidants, indicates value in a nutritionally-based approach.
Le Floc’h C, Cheniti A, Connétable S, Piccardi N, Vincenzi C, Tosti A. Effect of a nutritional supplement on hair loss in women. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2015;14(1):76-82.

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