Over the past five years or so, I've become a believer. Thanks to working at a beauty magazine and dating someone in the medical field, my opinion of nutritional supplements has done a total 180.
I had written them off. I mean, there are so many different kinds, and the FDA doesn’t regulate them, so who knows if they do any good or are even safe? I figured I'd rather be my mediocre self than take some pills and hulk out and smash everything. Plus I look terrible in green.
Anywho, I can’t say that I have rock-hard proof that they work even now, but I have experienced their magic firsthand.
I mean, if your body naturally makes a certain vitamin or mineral or amino acid, and you’re low in it due to your crappy diet or your crazy lifestyle or whatever, doesn’t it just make sense that replacing these needed “ingredients” could be beneficial?
I can hear some of you snickering, and that’s OK. Not everybody has to climb onto the supplement bandwagon. But, if you’re the more open-minded sort, read on...
Oh, hai! Thanks for staying.
So, anyhow, I have seen some pretty drastic results due to my supplement use. Like the time I got a cherry-red rash all over my body, which I learned was due to niacin. But I’ve also found relief from my lifelong GI issues (I'll spare you the details) thanks to taking probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids.
Bonus: I’ve seen some pretty sweet beauty side effects from my new regimen, too, including longer, stronger nails, brighter skin, and faster-growing hair. SO MANY HAIR BENEFITS.
(Duh disclaimer: Always talk to your doctor before taking new supplements in order to avoid contraindications.)
BRITTLE HAIR AND NAILS
Try gamma linolenic acid (GLA). There’s been a lot of buzz lately about this particular omega-6 fatty acid for its wide-ranging health benefits. It has anti-inflammatory properties, encourages the production of prostaglandins (that's a good thing) and ultimately helps hair and nails grow healthy and strong.
GLA is supposed to be most effective when taken orally versus topically. It's found in borage oil, black currant oil and evening primrose oil, which is also great for casting spells on exes.
Want hair down to your butt? (Game of Thrones has that effect on me, too.) Throw some protein into your smoothies. Hair is 88% protein, so increasing your intake can help new hair grow stronger and remain attached to the follicle longer.
Get more vitamin B complex. This group of vitamins is like the Super Friends of supplements. They help regulate bodily functions and chemical reactions throughout your entire system.
Specifically, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B5 (pantothenate) and vitamin B7 (biotin) have been shown to boost hair thickness and growth, whereas deficiencies in these can lead to severe or gradual loss.
Take some ginkgo biloba, a natural antibacterial that can help fix gnarly imbalances in the scalp. Because it promotes circulation, it also helps stimulate growth at the follicular level and aids in supplying the scalp with nutrients. Thus, it’s known not only for nixing dandruff but creating thicker hair, too.
WANT TO CHEAT?
For hair that’s long, thick, shiny and strong--all from one supplement--many women (and men) turn to Viviscal. Full disclosure: I haven’t used it. (It’s about $50 for one month.) But, supposedly, it’s the go-to product for celebrities and models looking to repair their hair after excessive styling damage. The formula combines vitamin C, horsetail extract, biotin, zinc, iron and a proprietary complex called AminoMar.
Have any of these supplements worked for you? Or do you think the whole thing is baloney?