Most people know that eating well is good for the body and can help with everything from digestion to minimising certain hair loss risks. Now it seems there may be a simple way to ensure that essential nutrients in healthy food are put to optimal use.
According to new research from Iowa State University, adding a couple of spoonfuls of soybean oil to salad can have a remarkable effect. They claim this small step makes the body much better equipped to absorb eight different micronutrients commonly found in leafy greens. Wendy White, an Associate of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University, says that eating the same salad without the added soybean oil reduces the chance of the body absorbing the nutrients.
Hair condition influenced by diet
The links between diet and hair loss are well-documented; indeed, it is not uncommon for Belgravia clients presenting with an all-over hair thinning condition named Telogen Effluvium to find that one of the possible causes of their temporary shedding may be, in whole or in part, imbalanced nutrition.
As with every part of the body, the hair and scalp are greatly influenced by food intake and the vitamins and minerals that are ingested. In simple terms, bad or even simply unbalanced diets can equate to poor overall health which may cause the hair growth cycle to suffer.
The University’s new findings suggest that everyone could boost their intake of nutrients simply by adding a dash of soybean oil to their salad. As simple steps go, it sounds like something we could all at least contemplate.
Among the nutrients that soybean oil is said to promote the absorption of are vitamin K, commonly found in rhubarb and which is essential to blood clotting and the absorption of other nutrients such as vitamin D (which itself helps to regulate hair growth). Vitamin D can also help with scalp conditions like eczema.
Next on the list are two forms of vitamin E, a vitamin which increases the oxygen levels in the blood and improves the circulation to the scalp. Vitamin E also boosts the immune system, and is thought to further help maintain healthy hair this way.
Beta-carotene is also mentioned in the report, which is of interest because it is something that helps to promote healthy cell growth. Likewise, lycopene – the absorption of which is aided by soybean oil – has been mentioned in a positive light in terms of its contribution to hair health. In fact, in one study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, lycopene was listed as one of five ingredients offered to women with the hereidtary condition female pattern hair loss as part of a small trial to see if a dietary supplement could reduce their shedding. The study’s authors claimed it was a success.
At Belgravia, patients presenting with both women’s and men’s hair loss are often offered a highly-targeted food supplement named Hair Vitalics. This can be used alongside clinically-proven hairloss medications and is an exclusive product containing a superior range of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanical extracts, including biotin, zinc and selenium for the maintenance of normal healthy hair growth.
Hair loss treatment typically includes appropriate MHRA licensed and FDA approved pharmaceutical elements. For example, thinning hair in women is generally treated with a bespoke treatment course focused around appropriate solutions of high strength minoxidil. This is applied topically to the scalp where needed and is a unisex treatment which is also used to promote hair growth and prevent further deterioration of the hair in cases of male pattern baldness, especially in stubborn areas, such as a thinning crown or receding hairline.
Male pattern hair loss treatment courses for suitable over 18s may also include the additional one-a-day oral tablet, finasteride 1mg. This men-only prescription drug is a DHT-blocker; this means that it inhibits the formation of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) – the hormone which causes hereditary hair loss by binding to the follicles along the top of the scalp and hairline in men and women with a genetic predisposition, gradually weakening them, leading to thinning hair and – in men – eventual baldness.
Unfortunately, when it comes to medical matters, nothing is ever straightforward – and a potential pitfall pertaining to these new findings relates to the information that soybean oil may also boost the body’s ability to absorb vitamin A, too much of which has recently been anecdotally linked to hair loss when used topically in addition to regular dietary consumption. While the body certainly needs vitamin A, it is very easy to absorb too much of it.
Says Belgravia superintendent pharmacist Christina Chihaker: “The study was only done on 12 women of ‘college’ age, which I assume would mean early twenties, so this is a very limited study with regards to age range and number of participants. I don’t think that the absorption referred to would be harmful, and could be potentially quite beneficial.”
She continues: “Carotenoids can act as antioxidants and studies show that they may have cancer-fighting properties; vitamin A is essential for vision and normal growth and development. It would appear from the article and research paper that the absorption was measured from nutrients taken as part of a balanced diet.
However, if the fat from soybean oil was taken along with an intake of extra vitamin A – from a supplement, from example – and the absorption of this was increased, then there may be a potential for excess vitamin A absorption, leading to toxicity – something which has been linked to hair loss.”
As with everything, ensuring balance is the key here. A healthy diet can help to boost your mood as well as promoting healthy hair growth. However, if you are experiencing excessive hair fall over a prolonged period, it is often worthwhile getting a professional opinion to ascertain the cause as, whilst good nutrition can help people to avoid certain hair loss conditions, there are many more which cannot be treated through dietary methods alone.
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. 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 world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.