Article edited for scientific accuracy by Illuminate Labs Blog Editor Taylor Graber MD
Both men and women are often searching for natural solutions to improve their hair, but usually for different reasons. Men may want to preserve their hair and reduce (or even reverse) hair loss, while women are often more focused on improving the quality of their hair.
In this article we’ll examine the benefits of chlorophyll for hair, and explain why we think there are better natural solutions.
Indirect Benefits of Chlorophyll on Hair
There is no medical research on chlorophyll specifically to treat hair loss or otherwise improve hair quality. This doesn’t mean that chlorophyll can’t improve hair, just that it hasn’t been proven to do so.
One way that chlorophyll may indirectly improve hair quality is by improving overall mineral status in the body. We know that chlorophyll supplements contain either magnesium or copper depending on the type of chlorophyll.
Chlorophyllin contains copper, while natural chlorophyll, such as that found in vegetables, contains magnesium. It’s proven in medical research that vitamin and mineral status impacts hair follicle health, so health food supplements like chlorophyll which can improve that status may positively affect hair quality.
Better Alternative #1 - Biotin
Even though chlorophyll may potentially help with hair quality, it doesn’t make sense to use a supplement which isn’t actually proven to work when there are alternatives available which actually have been proven by medical research to be effective for improvements in hair quality.
Biotin is a B Vitamin which has been extensively tested for benefit to hair. It’s commonly included in Skin, Hair & Nails supplements.
Biotin has been proven to be effective for hair loss. A meta-review from 2017 found this after reviewing 18 studies on biotin for hair loss: “All cases showed evidence of clinical improvement after receiving biotin.”
The vitamin may also be effective for thinning hair and hair quality improvements generally. One study on an oral supplement containing biotin found it improved women’s hair and increased hair growth, but the biotin dosage wasn’t published.
Another study found that women with low levels of biotin were significantly more likely to experience hair issues than women with normal levels of the vitamin.
This suggests that people experiencing hair issues may want to get a full blood panel done before experimenting with supplements for hair. As we detailed in our Nutrition Response Testing review, blood tests can be a cost-effective way to treat health issues because they’re generally covered by medical insurance, and save you from wasting money on a supplement which you don’t need. If you already have adequate biotin levels, you probably don’t need to supplement with biotin.
Better Alternative #2 - Saw Palmetto
Saw palmetto is a plant which has been studied for hair loss and can be taken in supplement form.
One study found that a 320 mg daily dose caused an increase in hair growth in a statistically significant percentage of participants. The hair growth benefits were less than that seen by participants using a prescription pharmaceutical drug, but there are generally less side effects to worry about with herbal supplements.
Another study on saw palmetto found that both topical and oral preparations were effective for hair loss, with 60% overall improvement in hair quality across all studies examined.
Chlorophyll may have benefits for hair but any direct benefits are still unproven. It makes more sense to spend money on supplements which have actually been proven to be effective for hair quality and growth, even if research is still relatively early.
Both biotin and saw palmetto have more medical research backing their effects on hair quality, and blood testing may be a good option to rule out any vitamin or mineral deficiencies which may be causing hair loss.
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