Zinc is an essential trace mineral that your body needs for many processes including immune functioning, protein synthesis, DNA synthesis, cell division, and wound healing.
Your body does not store excess Zinc, so ensuring that you consume adequate amounts each day is important for this mineral.
Recently, there has been hype around taking a Zinc supplement to help reduce hair loss and improve the overall health of your hair. But, are these claims true?
Below, we will cover the role that healthy Zinc levels play in healthy hair growth, if supplementing with Zinc may help with your hair, who may be more at risk for low Zinc levels, good dietary sources of Zinc, who too much Zinc may not be a good thing, and what to do if you want to add Zinc to your regimen.
We already mentioned that Zinc helps with functions including DNA synthesis, cell division, and protein synthesis -- so clearly, these are big things needed when we are talking about rapidly growing protein-rich hair strands.
In general, Zinc may help with hair protein synthesis, cell division, and certain signaling pathways that dictate the shape and development of hair follicles.
Keeping healthy levels of protein synthesis going may also be where Zinc plays a role considering the hair is made up of about 91% protein.
The idea behind supplementing Zinc for hair loss started taking off when researchers discovered that many people experiencing various forms of hair loss had significantly lower Zinc levels than the control group not experiencing hair loss.
And, when supplementing people with hair loss and low zinc levels with zinc, their levels improved, and some reported positive hair therapeutic effects, although the results were not statistically significant.
So, if you are experiencing some form of alopecia and have lower Zinc levels than you should, eating more high-zinc foods or supplementing with zinc may be an appropriate addition to your hair treatments.
But, if your Zinc levels are already fine, adding in additional Zinc will likely not lead to any hair changes or improvements. Most children and adults in the U.S. consume their recommended amounts of Zinc and a true deficiency is considered rare.
For adults over 19 years of age, the recommended dietary allowance for Zinc is 11 mg for males and 8mg for females. For women who are pregnant, they need 11 mg of zinc daily, and 12mg during lactation.
Although a Zinc deficiency is rare, you may be more at risk for lower levels if you belong to any of these groups:
If you are concerned about a potential Zinc deficiency, it is important to talk with your doctor in order to get your levels first before jumping into Zinc supplementation.
There are plenty of meat or plant-based foods that contain high levels of zinc. Here are just a few of the top Zinc food sources:
Taking too much Zinc can also have consequences, so it is important to only supplement or significantly boost your intake if you are deficient and under the care of a doctor.
As it relates to hair, too much Zinc can retard the progression of the hair follicles into the anagen (growth stage), and actually lead to more shedding than usual.
For the rest of the body, too much Zinc may cause:
If you think you are experiencing hair loss and want to try out a Zinc supplement, it is important to speak with your doctor first. Your doctor can run tests to identify if you have low levels of Zinc and also make sure a Zinc supplement won’t interfere with anything else you are currently taking.
If it turns out that you are not deficient in Zinc, there is really no reason to start a supplement, and you may even develop negative symptoms from over-supplementation if you do.
If you are trying to put together a hair loss treatment regimen that works the best for your hair, you may want to look into medications containing prescription ingredients.
Here at Strut, we carry a range of topical and oral hair loss medications for male pattern hair loss, and a topical formulation for female pattern hair loss. We utilize medications like Minoxidil, Finasteride, Dutasteride, Tretinoin, and Spironolactone to help formulate the best hair loss options for you.
If you are interested in seeing if a hair loss medication is a good direction for you, you can have a free online questionnaire and image-based telemedicine visit with our U.S. licensed doctors today.
If you are a good fit for treatment, your medication can be shipped to your front door with our free shipping.
If you have any questions or concerns during your treatment, our staff and doctors are available for free, unlimited follow-ups.