What are The Benefits of Fish Oil for Your Hair?

One of the most exciting touted benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, abundantly found in fish oil, is that they can help you grow long, lustrous locks.

“Omega-3 fatty acids are not made in the body, so you need to eat foods that contain them or take a supplement,” says Lynne J. Goldberg, MD, the director of the hair clinic at Boston Medical Center in Massachusetts. Fish and seafood contain DHA and EPA, while diet-nutrition/plant-based-diet-food-list-sample-menu/' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' >plant-based foods such as walnuts and flaxseed contain alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, a fraction of which is then converted into EPA and DHA, notes the omega-3s-lower-risk-premature-death' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' >National Institutes of Health. Proponents of omega-3s say that getting ample amounts in your diet can help feed follicles and grow hair.

Do Omega-3s Help With Hair Growth?

In terms of supplementation, there are few studies that look at omega-3 fatty acids and hair growth, and few that study fish oil in particular.

Supplements may contain fish oil or omega-3s along with other ingredients, like antioxidants. These ingredients may act synergistically together, so we shouldn't jump to the conclusion that taking fish oil or omega-3s alone in a supplement will grow hair.

That’s one study — and on rodents. Overall, “topical application of fish oil will not support hair growth or scalp health,” says Kerry Yates, a trichologist and the founder of Colour Collective in Dallas. It also has a fishy smell, and the lingering odor is enough to deter some people from using pure fish oil on the scalp.

When it comes to hair growth, the most effective option is to eat a healthy diet, use gentle hair-care products, and seek treatment (start with your dermatologist) if you are losing hair, so any health conditions can be addressed, says Goldberg.

What Is the Best Form of Fish Oil?

There are many different ways you can get fish oil, including fish oil supplements, fish liver oil supplements (like cod liver oil), and shellfish and whole fish, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). In terms of food, fatty or oily fish have the greatest amounts of omega-3s, such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, cod, herring, trout, and canned tuna, per the Mayo Clinic.

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