There is no shortage of hair care supplements that promise beautiful results just by taking a few little capsules. But, can hair supplements and Omega-3s really make a difference in the way your hair looks? If you have lackluster, dry, broken, brittle, or thinning hair — then yes, supplementation may help you restore hair health. But for those who are not lacking in vitamins and nutrients, extra supplementation can only help you so much.
For the 30 million US women who struggle with hair loss every year, certain nutrient supplementation is worth considering. These include vitamin B complex, D, A, and E. Vitamin D deficiency is incredibly common and can affect hair growth and strength.
But, there is another nutrient that almost everybody can benefit from. The most notable, and vastly researched essential nutrient that can support hair health — omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fats can be divided into 3 sub groups: ALA, EPA and DHA. Each subtype can help support us in different ways.
In this article we’ll dive into how a diet rich in omega 3s (or via supplementation) can help support the health and beauty of your skin and hair.
What can omega-3s do for hair?
Most studies regarding fish oil have been about its effects on hair. The results are pretty promising. Supplementing fish oil might increase hair growth, hair thickness, enhance scalp health, and hair strength.
Studies show that supplementing both omega-3s and omega-6s for 6 months helped to decrease hair loss and increase hair density and thickness.
A 2015 study suggested a significant increase in hair growth and a decrease in hair loss in women taking omega-3 rich fish oil supplements for 3 months.
There are a few theories behind why omega-3s help encourage hair growth such as:
- Increased blood circulation in the scalp.
- Decrease follicle inflammation.
- It may provide essential nutrients to the hair follicle and scalp.
What can omega-3s do for acne-prone skin?
Omega 3s have been shown to reduce whole-body inflammation — including inflammatory acne. Studies have shown a decrease in acne breakouts in those supplementing omega-3s. This essential nutrient has also been found to help nourish red, cracked, or itchy skin by strengthening the skin barrier. A strong skin barrier is essential when dealing with acne, rosacea, or eczema. Omega-3s may even help accelerate healing. When nursing a breakout, any healing support is welcome.
Omega-3s can even help prevent wrinkles & sun damage
Specifically, EPA and DHA have been found effective at improving resilience against the sun’s harmful UV rays. In a 2003 study, participants who supplemented 4 grams of daily omega-3s for 3 months saw a 136% increase in sun protection.
When you can mitigate UV damage, collagen damage, and skin barrier breakdown like this, you can also stave off signs of sun damage such as wrinkles, fine lines, and photoaging
The benefits of omega-3s are whole body
Off-topic but, an incredibly important byproduct of supplementing omega 3s or eating a diet rich in these healthy fats is its positive effect on mental health.
While research is still in the early stages, omega-3 fats are known to have neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties. This set researchers to determine its effect on mental health and brain disorders. Experts now suggest a correlation between low levels of omega-3s and depression.
Groundbreaking studies have shown that just 1.3 grams of omega-3s per day can reduce mild to moderate depression when compared to placebo.
Where to find omega-3s
Okay, so being that omega-3s might help enhance hair and skin health, increase hair thickness, decrease skin inflammation, and may decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression — are you onboard yet? I know I am.
(This is not even covering the cardiovascular, and eye health benefits!)
You might be thinking — alright, where can I find omega-3s?
You can add omega fatty acids into your diet and lifestyle in two effective ways: diet and supplementation.
A diet rich in omega-3s is not only beneficial but delicious. The heavily researched “Mediterranean diet” has been shown to have great health benefits and just so happens to be high in omega-3 fatty acids.
These are a few food items that can help you get your fill:
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Avocado oil
You can also get omega-3 fatty acids from supplements. This is a great tool if you want to tick your boxes, and have any extra omega-3s (from a lovely salmon dinner) act as an extra boost. If you deal with any inflammation, both supplemental and dietary options are good ideas.
You can get omega-3 supplements that are made from these sources:
- Fish – listed as “fish oil”
- Flaxseed (A fabulous plant-based option)
- Algal oil (Also a great plant-based option made from marine algae)
Omega-3s are a class of essential fats that are paramount to our health and longevity. These healthy fats have also been found to enhance our hair health, and skin health. For those of us dealing with acne, hair loss, thinning, or breakage — omega-3s might really benefit you.