Vitamin E & Hair
Some research shows that oxidative stress can lead to hair loss. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant. One small clinical trial showed that Vitamin E may lead to more hairs, though not necessarily more volume.
Professionally Reviewed by Charles Li, MD

Key Points

Vitamin E & Hair Growth
1. Vitamin E & Hair Growth
One small clinical trial showed that Vitamin E may lead to more hairs, though not necessarily more volume.
2. Antioxidants may play a role
Some research shows that oxidative stress can lead to hair loss. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant.
3. Risks with Vitamin E Supplements
As far as we know, Vitamin E isn't completely harmless. Taking too much can lead to health risks, including a higher risk of mortality.

Study 1

Vitamin E & Hair Growth

A small study found that Vitamin E can help prevent hair loss. Researchers gave volunteers either doses of Vitamin E or a placebo control. They found that those who were given Vitamin E experienced significant hair growth (34.5%) while those who were give the placebo did not.

Our Take
While this study was small and did not have the statistical rigor of other studies, it does offer evidence that supports the link between Vitamin E and hair growth.

Data Source

"The number of hairs of the volunteers in the tocotrienol supplementation group increased significantly as compared to the placebo group, with the former recording a 34.5% increase at the end of the 8-month supplementation as compared to a 0.1% decrease for the latter."

Source: Effects of Tocotrienol Supplementation on Hair Growth in Human Volunteers

Study 2

Antioxidants & Hair Growth
Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant, and may help reduce the oxidative stress theorized to lead to hair loss. While there is not much research on humans in the topic, animal studies have shown that oxidation can lead to less hair growth.

Study: Oxidative Stress & Hair Loss

"Our finding that linolein hydroperoxides induce the catagen phase in the murine hair cycle suggests that lipid peroxides cause hair loss. "

Background

What are Antioxidants?
Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant. It may help reduce some of the oxidative stress that drives hair loss.
Key Facts
Examples
Antioxidants
Key Facts
How they work

Antioxidants prevent cell damage by counteracting free radicals.

Effect on Disease

Research on Antioxidants and disease prevention has shown mixed results.

Common Sources

Chocolate

Berries & Fruit

Coffee

Antioxidants
Examples
beta-carotene

Your body makes vitamin A with beta-carotene, commonly found in carrots.

Vitamin C

Found in all sorts of fruits, Vitamin C is a very commonly consumed antioxidant.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E can be found in nuts and seeds.

How Antioxidants Work: Metabolism and other processes create reactive oxidative species. These powerful forms of oxygen can react with your body. They can damage your DNA, leading to aging. Antioxidants are molecules that stabilize these oxidative species into harmless molecules.

Study 3

Risks of Vitamin E
However, vitamin E isn't entirely harmless. High doses of vitamin E have been linked to a higher risk of death.
Vitamin E & Mortality Risk

A meta-analysis that studied 19 clinical trials covering 135,967 participants found that Vitamin E supplements may be linked to higher mortality. 9/11 trials showed a higher risk of death with Vitamin E supplements. This effect was found to be highly significant, P = 0.035 for high dose Vitamin E supplements.

Data Source

"High-dosage (≥400 IU/d) vitamin E supplements may increase all-cause mortality and should be avoided. "

Source: Meta-Analysis: High-Dosage Vitamin E Supplementation May Increase All-Cause Mortality

More Information

Hair and Antioxidants

"With age, the production of free radicals increases, while the endogenous defence mechanisms decrease. This imbalance leads to the progressive damage of cellular structures, presumably resulting in the ageing phenotype. Ageing of hair manifests as decrease of melanocyte function or graying, and decrease in hair production or alopecia."

Vitamin E as an Antioxidant

" Thus, virtually all of the variation and scope of vitamin E’s biological activity can be seen and understood in the light of protection of polyunsaturated fatty acids and the membrane qualities (fluidity, phase separation and lipid domains) that polyunsaturated fatty acids bring about."

Nutrition & Hair

" Micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals play an important, but not entirely clear role in normal hair follicle development and immune cell function. Deficiency of such micronutrients may represent a modifiable risk factor associated with the development, prevention, and treatment of alopecia"

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