Benefits of Fish Oil For Hair

Benefits of Fish Oil For Hair

9 minute read

Ever envied someone's shiny, lustrous hair and wondered about their secret? It might just be the benefits of fish oil for hair. Discover how this nutritional powerhouse can be the answer to your hair care desires.

Hair Care Routines

Many hair care routines involve oils, treatments, conditioners, and masks. These treatments are designed to be applied directly onto the hair or scalp, which is meant to improve your hair health from the outside in. However, if you want healthy and long-lasting hair, it’s just as important to pay attention to your nutrition as the products that you are using. Many are unaware of the benefits of fish oil for hair growth and strength.

Eating the right nutrients gives your body all the tools that it really needs to keep your hair lustrous and strong. According to early and promising research, omega-3 fatty acids can play several roles in boosting the length and strength of your hair. In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of using fish oil and other omega-3 supplements to support a stronger, healthier head of hair. 

Understanding Fish Oil: Key Benefits for Hair Health

Fish oil is a dietary supplement extracted from fatty, cold-water fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. 

Fish oil is an extremely popular dietary supplement because it is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are a group of healthy fatty acids that are thought to have various anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective properties*. 

Understanding Fish Oil: Key Benefits for Hair Health

Your body does not make omega-3 fatty acids on its own. Therefore, you need to get them from your diet. Fish oil is an excellent source of two different kinds of omega-3s: 

  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) 

You can also get another kind of omega-3 from your diet called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA can be found in some plant-based foods like walnuts, chia seeds, and flax seeds. Unfortunately, your body needs to convert ALA into EPA and DHA before it can be used. Therefore, it’s generally better to include as many sources of EPA and DHA in your diet as you can, rather than depending on ALA sources alone. 

Many well-studied areas show how omega-3s can support different areas of your body. For example, omega-3 supplements are popularly used for supporting heart health and brain development*. As it turns out, they may also play some roles in your hair health! 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: The Core Benefits of Fish Oil for Hair Nourishment

While more research needs to be done to understand the exact role that fish oil and other omega-3 supplements can have on your hair, early studies are fairly promising. 

Omega-3s are crucial for the structure of cells throughout your entire body, including the cells in your hair and scalp. Additionally, research indicates that omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that can also help improve your scalp health. Finally, some early studies suggest that omega-3 supplements like fish oil may help promote hair growth. 

Supporting a healthy scalp 

If you want strong, healthy hair, start by taking care of your scalp.  

Supporting a healthy scalp

Your hair follicles are located on your scalp. Your blood flows to your scalp, delivering important nutrients that your hair needs to grow. Your scalp also produces oil, which is important for maintaining moisture and boosting the health of your hair. 

Studies have shown that omega-3s may support improved blood circulation because they help your blood vessels relax and open wider. This allows more blood, oxygen, and nutrients to be delivered to different areas of your body. This is important for your hair since improved blood circulation can deliver more important nutrients that your hair needs. Omega-3s can also help regulate oil production, which can help increase scalp moisture and prevent dry or flaky skin. 

The anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 may also play a role in scalp health. Inflammation is a response in which your immune system attacks things that it considers a threat, such as bacteria or viruses bacteria. However, your immune system can sometimes trigger inflammation and attack cells in your own body. Over time, this can lead to irritation, redness, or other longer-term consequences. 

In the case of your hair health, scalp inflammation can lead to dry scalp, dandruff, and itching. Omega-3s are a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that may be able to help with these symptoms.* The same anti-inflammatory properties are also considered good for your skin health

May help stimulate hair growth and improve texture

Some promising studies have also indicated that omega-3s might play a helpful role in hair growth. 

To understand how it works, it’s helpful to understand how your hair grows. Hair grows in a cycle with four distinct phases

  1. Growth phase, or anagen
  2. Regressing phase, or catagen 
  3. Resting phase, or telogen 
  4. Shedding phase, or exogen 

May help stimulate hair growth and improve texture

Your hair goes through these phases in a cycle. Research suggests that increasing blood flow in the scalp can help hair stay in its growth phase rather than a resting phase.

This was best highlighted in a study that investigated the effects of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid supplementation on 120 healthy female patients over six months. In this study, the researchers found that the women who took the supplements had more hair in the growth phase and less in the shedding phase. They also found that the women who were given the supplement saw improvements in their hair diameter. In other words, the hair was growing thicker and stronger than before they started their supplement. 

These promising early results suggest that taking a nutrition supplement might help improve your hair from the inside out. However, there’s also some evidence that applying fish oil directly to your hair might make a difference in your hair growth. In another study, DHA sourced from mackerel was applied directly to mice. Here, the researchers also saw that the direct application promoted hair growth, again by activating the growth phase. 

However, no similar studies on human subjects can offer clues as to whether the same benefits can apply to us. Additionally, while some people like to use oil directly on their hair to increase its shine, it’s important to note that fish oil can leave a fishy odor that may be unpleasant to some. 

Ultimately, these studies indicate that omega-3s may play a helpful role in hair growth. However, more research still needs to be done to determine the exact nature of this relationship. 

Combating hair thinning and loss

Because omega-3s might play a role in promoting hair growth, this also means that it may help combat issues with hair loss and thinning. 

Combating hair thinning and loss

Because hair grows and sheds in cycles, hair thinning can occur when more of your hair is in its shedding phase than in the growth or resting phases. When this happens, you may lose hair more quickly than it grows, contributing to the look of thinness or hair loss. 

Because omega-3s may help your hair stay in the growth phase for longer, this mechanism might help your hair improve its thickness and density. For example, the same study from above that involved omega-3 supplementation on 120 healthy female patients saw that the participants who were given omega-3 supplements saw improvements in hair density and growth. 

How to Choose the Best Fish Oil Supplement for Hair Benefits

Because they are so popular and have so many reported health benefits, many different fish oil supplements are available on the market. When shopping, you should look for a high-quality fish oil supplement. 

 Some factors to consider while choosing a fish oil pill include: 

How to Choose the Best Fish Oil Supplement for Hair Benefits

  • Purity: For the best results, you want to use a fish oil supplement that is pure and high-quality. Look for reputable brands that are known for producing high-quality fish oil supplements. You should also check your supplement to see if it has gone through any third-party testing. This can help ensure your supplement is as pure as possible and contains no unnecessary additives or contaminants. 
  • Sourcing: A good fish oil supplement should be made from the oils of cold-water fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and herring to get the most EPA and DHA per serving. Additionally, it’s also worth considering whether or not the fish that are used are sourced sustainably. The production of fish oils can contribute to issues like overfishing and disruption of marine habitats. Read labels to determine whether the supplement you want was sourced responsibly. 
  • Dosage recommendations: There currently is no standard recommended dosage for omega-3 intake. However, it’s a good rule to look for supplements containing at least 1g of combined EPA and DHA to ensure you are getting the most out of your fish oil.   

Some people might also want a vegan alternative to fish oil. For example, you might not want to consume fish oil if you are vegetarian, vegan, or allergic to fish. In cases like these, algae oil pills are a great alternative. Algae oil pills are plant-based but contain ample amounts of EPA and DHA. Algae oil can also be isolated and grown in controlled environments that don’t interfere with natural marine ecosystems, making them a more sustainable option. 

Algae Oil Pills

No matter what kind of fish oil supplement or omega-3 supplement you choose, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional first before making a significant change to your diet. Your doctor can help you determine the best dosage and supplement for your health needs. 

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