Gwyneth Paltrow is now known as much for championing health and wellness trends as she is for her acting prowess. Her popular lifestyle website Goop has gained a worldwide reputation as a source of information on the latest – and some of the strangest – fads around, from clean eating and crystal healing to vagina steaming.
The site does not always get it right, however. A story on iodine intake, published by Goop in February 2017, faced a backlash after it included statements from a ‘medical medium’ who claimed to receive his information from a ‘high level spirit’. The unqualified ‘expert’ was accused of giving dangerous medical advice by a wide range of publications including the Daily Mail, the Huffington Post and Forbes. Doctors have also published warnings via their social media channels, encouraging readers not to take medical or health advice from the site due to a slew of inaccuracies.
So what of Goop’s recently published diet tips for healthy hair? Here’s the lowdown as fact-checked by Belgravia’s superintendent pharmacist and hair loss specialist, Christina Chikaher (pictured). In addition to her pharmaceutical knowledge and wealth of hands-on experience, Christina also works closely with our product development team and has been instrumental in developing Hair Vitalics, the Belgravia Centre’s proprietary range of food supplements for healthy hair growth.
Goop: “Your hair is made primarily of protein, so get plenty of it, from beans and nuts to fish, lean meat, eggs, and yogurt.”
Christina: “True. Protein intake is a key contributor to hair health and the sources they suggest here are solid general recommendations.”
Goop: “Oily fish, raw nuts and seeds, avocado, flax—and the oils from all of these—help keep your hair soft and touchable. It’s important to note that without fat, many of the nutrients in food (and supplements) don’t get absorbed.”
Christina: “Healthy fats can be beneficial to the condition of the hair, including those recommended here so I agree with this point.”
Goop: “Particularly helpful fats are omega-3s, -6s, and -7s. Oily fish and cold-pressed flaxseed oil are excellent sources.”
Christina: “I am not sure I agree with Omega 7s. They are known as Palmitoleic acid. They are unsaturated fatty acids but are extremely rare and I am not so sure that they are required in a ‘healthy hair diet’. However, for those who do wish to use them, one source is sea buckthorn berry oil. I would think that Omega 9 would be more beneficial. Your body should produce this if there is enough Omega 3 and Omega 6. However, if you required Omega 9 it could be obtained from your diet via foods such as avocados, pecans, cashew nuts, pistachios and olives or olive oil.”
Goop: “Iron supports circulation—critical for healthy skin and hair. Beans, eggs, meat, broccoli, and spinach are ways to get more.”
Christina: “Iron is hugely beneficial to hair health and healthy hair growth but it is critical that the right balance is struck as too much iron as well as too little iron can cause hairloss. Iron is essential in the diet as it contributes to normal formation of red blood cells and haemoglobin and contributes to normal oxygen transport and cell divisions in the body. Deficiency would result in hair loss.”
5 Vitamin A
Goop: “Found in carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, peaches, cod liver oil, and krill oil, vitamin A encourages the healthy growth of sebum, which keeps your hair soft and healthy—not to mention preventing breakage.”
Christina: “Whilst this is all true, an important caution has been left out. Too much vitamin A can lead to toxicity which can severely damage your liver. Excessive amounts of vitamin A have been shown to inhibit hair growth in some cases, so intake should be monitored carefully. It is always best to stick to the recommended daily allowances or those provided to you by your qualified medical advisor.”
6 Vitamin C
Goop: “This antioxidant—in citrus, bell peppers, guavas, kale, kiwis, and cantaloupe—helps you absorb minerals like iron (for circulation) and magnesium.”
Christina: “Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C contributes to normal collagen formation for the normal function of skin and blood vessels. It also contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress – which has recently been linked to premature male pattern baldness – so, in turn, helps to protect your hair.”
7 Vitamin E
Goop: “The same reason vitamin E is good for your heart—it encourages capillary growth and is anti-inflammatory, among other things—is why it’s so good for your hair. Find it in dark leafy greens, almonds, avocados, sunflower seeds, shellfish, fish, and eggs. (You can also apply vitamin E oil directly onto hair.)”
Christina: ” Vitamin E helps strengthen the immune system and maintain healthy skin. Healthy skin would in result in healthy hair follicles. Vitamin E may be more beneficial applied directly onto the hair as opposed to taking it as an oral supplement.”
Goop: “Low levels of zinc in the body can directly cause hair loss. Oysters have the most zinc of any food; beans, crab, lobster, chicken, and nuts all have zinc in them, too.”
Christina: “This is correct. Thinning hair can be a result of zinc deficiency.”
Christina: “A healthy diet containing biotin can contribute to normal energy-yielding metabolism and to the maintenance of normal hair and skin. Again, it is important to stick to the recommended daily allowances as determined by your GP or medical advisor as a regular excessive intake over an individual’s requirements can cause side effects.”
10 Vitamin B5
Goop: “Helps prevent hair loss and encourages healthy hair growth. Greek yogurt, also packed with protein, is a great way to get it.”
Christina: “I’m not convinced that this really contributes to hair growth. Also known as pantothenic acid, vitamin B5 has several functions including helping to release energy from the food we eat. By giving us energy and contributing to our well-being this may indirectly affect our hair health.”
Whilst following a balanced diet that includes the nutrients needed for healthy hair can help to improve the hair’s condition and overall health, what it can’t do is treat a hair loss condition. For anyone experiencing regular, excessive hair fall in the form of hair thinning, a receding hairline or sudden, patchy hair loss, it is important to seek specialist advice at the earliest opportunity in order to receive a professional diagnosis. Once you know what is causing the problem, a suitable hair loss treatment course can be drawn up, tailored to your specific situation and requirements, to prevent further shedding and promote hair growth.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.