Flaxseeds For Hair Growth
This past week I decided to look through my product stash to determine if there was an ingredient trend in products that I love. One of the ingredients that caught my attention were flaxseeds, used in various forms- gel, extract, or oil. I thought back to a few years ago when I made and used flaxseed gel to grow my hair and ate the seeds in my daily smoothie- which I still do. A quick google search on flaxseeds will unveil hundreds of people still using flaxseeds to nourish and grow their hair. So, what makes these little seeds so special?
Flaxseeds are said to be one of the oldest crops dating back as far as 3000 BC. It has been used through the centuries in the medical community to lower blood sugar and cholesterol, improve digestive health, reduce inflammation in the body, and help fight autoimmune disorders and cancer.
What About The Hair?
Linum usitatissimum, commonly known as flaxseed or linseed contains about 40% lipids (most of these lipids are Omega-3 fatty acids), 30% dietary fibers, and 20% proteins. These Omega-3 fatty acids are essential in nourishing our hair and increasing the elasticity of the hair fibers; without it, our hair would be dry and brittle. The anti-inflammatory properties are useful in reducing the effects of eczema, dandruff, and other forms of dermatitis. Because it is also rich in vitamin E, it aids in nourishing the scalp and penetrating the hair strand. One of the well-studied benefits of Omega-3 is the large amount, about 55%, of alpha-linolenic acid ALA present in Flaxseed Oil. A recent study shows the impact of ALA in re-growing hair in male pattern baldness:
The ALA in flaxseed oil can help inhibit the enzyme called 5 alpha-reductase, which converts testosterone into the male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is a male hormone or androgen, that shrinks hair follicles, according to the Mayo Clinic. It’s a large factor in male pattern baldness. ALA, Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), and Oleic Acid all inhibit 5-Alpha-reductase and are used as natural remedies for hair loss as well as in commercial formulations that promise to halt hair loss, according to Hair Loss Information.
While studies are still continually being conducted on the full benefits of ALA and all additional contributing factors such as diet and environment that impact results, many people have begun supplementing or consuming flaxseeds or Omega-3 regularly in their diet. It should be noted, that since Omega-3 is considered an essential fatty acid we are required to consume it in our diet since our bodies do not produce it naturally. One of the best ways to maximize the benefits of ALA is to consume flaxseed oil instead of plain flaxseeds because of the higher concentrations of ALA in the oil.
The internal consumption of flaxseed is the most beneficial for hair growth; however, external use can still aid in nourishing the hair. One of the easiest ways to use flaxseeds externally is to make a gel. Make sure you subscribe to my blog to receive my favorite recipe for flaxseed gel.
Have you used flaxseed gel or do you supplement Omega-3 in your diet?