Pregnancy has many beautiful effects on a woman’s body. For anyone who has known a pregnant woman well, you probably noticed that her hair was thick and voluminous throughout her pregnancy. You might have even seen that it grew quite long. This is because pregnancy hormones affect the hair growth cycle, making the hair thicker and longer. But many people also wonder: do prenatal vitamins also boost hair growth?
How Pregnancy Affects the Hair Growth Cycle
A woman’s body requires a significant shift in hormone concentrations to support a pregnancy. The following hormones change including:
- HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) - As one of the key pregnancy hormones, HCG helps prepare the placenta, and it also prevents other eggs from maturing for a possible pregnancy.
- Progesterone - Also helps support pregnancy, and levels remain high until delivery. This hormone is one of the causes of hair growth on other parts of the body during pregnancy, like the lower abdomen. Progesterone likely has an effect on hair growth on your head as well.
- Estrogen - Also supports pregnancy and prepares other organs for eventual birth, including the breasts. A drop in estrogen before birth signals the body that it is time for delivery. It is thought to be the hormone behind the pregnancy ‘glow,’ where many women have slight dilations in their skin vessels that make them look sunkissed.
Of course, other hormones increase during pregnancy, including relaxin, prolactin, and oxytocin. But, while these hormones are very important for pregnancy, they likely are not the reason why the hair growth cycle changes in pregnancy.
Estrogen is likely the primary hormone that changes the hair growth cycle. Because of high estrogen levels, hair strands are encouraged to stay in the growing phase of the hair growth cycle (anagen) instead of switching to the resting or shedding phases.
Estrogen does not stay high after pregnancy. Once a woman’s body detects a decrease in that hormone, many things change (including breast milk production). The hair growth cycle also detects that estrogen levels are low, forcing hair that should have fallen out during pregnancy to stop growing and switch to the resting phase and eventually falling out. As a result, many women have postpartum hair loss that starts about 3 months after delivery. At this time, all of the hair that should have shed in the nine months of pregnancy fall out simultaneously, leaving women with thinner hair.
What Is in Prenatal Vitamins?
All women need to take prenatal vitamins during pregnancy to help support the growing fetus. The extra dose of nutrients ensures that both mother and baby can meet their nutritional requirements. Given this extra boost of nutrients, many people often attribute that excess hair growth to prenatal vitamins, as they contain many good-for-your-hair nutrients as well.
Prenatal vitamins contain varying concentrations of specific nutrients. Sometimes, they also have additional nutrients that are considered beneficial for hair growth, like biotin and B vitamins. Here is the rundown of the vitamins and minerals that are in most prenantals:
- Folic acid
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin E
What Vitamins Are Necessary for Hair Growth?
Many of the above vitamins and minerals are necessary for hair growth. However, the hair also requires several other nutrients, hormones, and preparations in addition.
Biotin - This essential water-soluble B-vitamin is one of the key building blocks for hair. High levels of biotin can help strengthen the hair and reduce dryness, shedding, and breakage.
Magnesium - Helps reduce the build-up on the scalp, including a build-up of calcium and dead skin cells. It also reduces hair loss.
Melatonin - This hormone is naturally produced by the body to help regulate sleep and the circadian rhythm. One of the many benefits of having sufficient melatonin in your body (aside from restful, restorative sleep) is that it can encourage hair growth and slow your losses.
Genistein - This powerful soy byproduct supports the daily maintenance of both the skin and the hair.
Daidzein - Like Genistein, daidzein is also a soy derivative that helps to promote healthy skin and hair.
Are Prenatals a Good Option, or Is There Something Better for Thinning Hair?
Women often add prenatal vitamins to their daily vitamin regimen when they are looking to boost hair growth. Prenatals can be a good option for increasing certain nutrients in the body, and they are usually safe for most women to take. However, there are better supplement solutions for both men and women looking to stop hair thinning.
One of the leading causes of hair loss is androgenic alopecia, or male and female pattern hair loss. Men and women with this common condition can suffer from DHT sensitivity, which shrinks your hair follicles and eventually causes permanent hair loss. Several factors aside from DHT sensitivity are at play in this condition, including inflammation and scalp infection. Thus, boosting your intake of nutrients like zinc, iron, and folate can be helpful, but it will not reverse the effects of androgenic alopecia and other hair loss conditions.
To counter hair loss, you need to take a supplement that contains all of the essential nutrients for hair growth support, plus anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, and DHT blockers. Examples of agents that offer these attributes include Canadian willowherb, procyanidin B2, and alfalfa extract.
Anyone looking to stop and reverse hair loss will benefit from considering the Revita Hair Growth Support Tablets, which contain all of the nutrients necessary to prevent hair thinning. The ingredients and concentrations have been tested in multiple clinical studies and are proven to help stop various causes of hair loss, including postpartum hair loss, androgenic alopecia, and telogen effluvium.