Can Supplements Manage Hair Loss Effectively?

With only 46 studies using the keywords “hair loss supplements” from 2021 and 2022 on a PubMed search,1 Clearly, more research needs to be done on the efficacy of oral supplements in preventing hair loss. In a presentation at the American Academy of Dermatology 2022 Annual Meeting,2 Antonella Tosti, MD, Fredric Brandt, professor of dermatology and skin surgery at the University of Miami in Florida and president of the American Hair Research Society, has provided insight into what supplements can and cannot do to treat alopecia areata (AA), androgenetics. help control alopecia (AGA) and telogen effluvium (TE).

In a follow-up conversation with Dermatology times®, Tosti said: “Supplements are not treatments.” She added that the evidence to support their efficacy is questionable; in a 2019 review,1 she and her co-authors wrote that “large, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies are needed to determine the effect of micronutrient supplementation on hair growth in patients with both micronutrient deficiency and scarless alopecia to establish a link between hair loss.” and pinpoint a micronutrient deficiency.”3 Tosti believes the research conducted since the review’s publication has not clarified the picture, especially as it relates to the role of iron, folate, vitamin B12 and zinc in the treatment of AA, AGA or TE .

Tosti noted, however, which is not to say that supplements do not provide any benefits. “Supplements can prevent AA and possibly prevent or stop AGA, but neither conclusion has been scientifically substantiated. They can stop TE, but only in case of shortcomings,” she said.

She also cited misinformation as a major problem with supplementation. “I often see patients taking supplements that contain ingredients that are not helpful and can even exacerbate hair loss, such as vitamin A. Patients often take biotin and are not informed that it can affect blood test results. Supplements can cause [adverse] effects, and people often don’t know,” she noted.

Tosti remains a supplement skeptic. “This is a misconception, confusing supplements and effective treatments,” she told Dermatology times®.


Tosti listed the following relevant disclosures: DS Laboratories, Eli Lilly and Company, Monat Global, Pfizer, Springer Science + Business Media, Taylor & Francis and Thirty Madison.


1. Search for articles on hair loss.

2. Almohanna HM, Ahmed AA, Tsatalis JP, Tosti A. The role of vitamins and minerals in hair loss: an overview. Dermatol Ther (Hei-d elb). 2019;9(1):51-70. doi:10.1007/s13555-018-0278-6.

3. Ibrahim O and Tosti A. Do hair supplements work? Presented at: American Academy of Dermatology 2022 Annual Meeting; March 24-29, 2022; Boston, MA.

Can Supplements Manage Hair Loss Effectively?

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