Supplements are most often intended to improve your overall health, filling in nutritional gaps and allowing your body to feel like the best version of itself. However, while most supplements are great for providing essential nutrients to your body, you always run the risk of experiencing potential side effects that certain vitamins may bring about.
Hair loss is a common and unfortunate beauty struggle, and while it can stem from a number of natural causes from stress to genetics, there’s a chance that your supplement routine may be to blame for the excessive loss of strands. Before you make any dramatic changes to your lifestyle to address the issue from the root, there’s one supplement that hair loss experts agree may be the ultimate cause for thinning and fallout.
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Selenium is a valuable supplement that works to boost thyroid health as well as protect from heart disease and improve your immune system. Typically found in foods such as fish, ham and brazil nuts, selenium is a naturally occurring nutrient that provides great benefit to the body. That being said, if you’re suffering from hair loss, there’s a chance your selenium supplementation may be to blame. “While it’s an essential nutrient, [selenium] can be linked to hair loss when taken in excess. If you’re experiencing unwanted hair loss, it’s probably a good idea to watch your selenium consumption,” notes Jae Pak, M.D. and hair restoration specialist.
The reason that vitamins and supplements may have adverse effects on your health is that they’re often not firmly regulated by the FDA, meaning that many side effects can fly under the radar as they’re not being tested for. “This has been a problem to the consumer for many years, [and] is why choosing a reputable company who is cGMP-certified is essential,” suggests PharmaD, Joseph Kennedy. “This means their products are manufactured with state of the art technology that is up to date and more importantly these facilities conduct a series of batch testing to ensure quality, cleanliness and accurate potency.”
Selenium has been largely associated with hair loss in the past, and in a study conducted by the International Journal of Trichology, it was found to have the potential to cause “massive alopecia” when consumed in excess, particularly in the form of paradise nuts. Therefore, Kennedy suggests skipping out on selenium supplements, as well as unregulated products altogether in favor of a collagen supplement if you’re struggling with significant hair loss.
“Specifically and importantly a marine collagen supplement manufactured in a cGMP certified facility,” he says, adding, “This type of collagen is widely known as type I collagen, and has the highest absorption rate in the body in comparison to other types. It makes up 80 percent of our skin, and works with elastin to help structure the skin, which supports hair follicles.”
Making sure to consume selenium rich foods in moderation and skipping out on this micronutrient in supplement form will be the best ways to reduce hair loss as a result. If reducing your selenium intake doesn’t show improvement in hair loss, however, it may then be worth checking in with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of action for preventing fallout from continuing. While supplements are intended to offer an added boost to your overall health, selenium supplements may put your hair at risk instead.