Supplements & Herbs
How Helpful or Good is Folic Acid for Hair Growth/Loss? Results, Reviews, Dosage & Food Sources
If you have been looking for ways to grow your hair, you probably must have come across Folic Acid Acid Hair Growth. Does this vitamin make your hair grow? How helpful or good is it? Read on to find out what the vitamin is, how it can help prevent hair and thinning, dosage, best food sources, results, reviews, possible side effects and more…
- Folic Acid Hair Growth-What is the link between Folic Acid and Hair Growth?
- Folic Acid for Hair Growth, Loss, Thinning-How it Works
- Benefits-How helpful/good Folic acid is for Hair Growth & Loss
- How much Folic Acid Tablets/Pills for Hair Loss/Growth-Supplement Dosage-800mcg, 400mcg
- Best Food Sources of Folic Acid-List
- Folic Acid Hair Growth Reviews-Before & After Results Pictures
- Folic Acid and Biotin for Hair Growth Reviews-Which is better?
- Folic Acid and Biotin Hair Growth Challenge Video
- Folic Acid Side Effects, Dangers and Safety
- Resources and References
Folic acid is one of the 8 B vitamins that are known. It is commonly known as the vitamin B9. Folate is the form of this vitamin that occurs naturally in food, while folic acid is the synthetic form of this vitamin
The B vitamins are usually considered as the B-complex vitamins. The general functions of B-vitamins are mainly geared to optimizing the production and utilization of energy from various metabolic processes in the body. These include: conversion of carbohydrate into energy that fuels the body cells and the breakdown of fats and proteins for the same course (energy production).
Folic acid is converted into its active form Tetrahydrofolate or FH4 which is reduced form of folic acid. It is a very important compound in the synthesis of DNA. This ensures that the body cells develop and multiply without any deformities throughout the cell cycle. It also facilitates repair of worn out tissues by replacing the destroyed cells. It is crucial for brain function too.
Vitamins can be water or fat soluble with vitamin B being water soluble. This has a disadvantageous implication on its storage. It cannot be stored. However, vitamin A, D, E and K are fat soluble and hence can be stored in the adipose tissues of the liver. Folic acid is therefore not storable and must be ingested to attain the minimum amount in the body.
To determine the relationship between hair growth and the biological function of folic acid, you need to understand the hair anatomy, growth and development cycle.
Hair comprises the root and the shaft (visible part). The hair follicle encloses the root and dips into the skin inclined. It then ends down in form of a bulb. Beneath the hair follicles are the dermal papillae cells. They have capillary vessels that ramify the follicles by delivering oxygen and nutrients to the cells for their sustenance.
It is in the dermal papillae cells that you have androgen receptors. You also have the fibroblasts. These two play a pertinent role in the growth cycle of hair. The shaft which is the visible part is comprised of dead cells arranged in 3 layers: å Vogt, A. et al
- Cuticle – colorless and almost transparent
- Cortex – contains melanin which is the pigment responsible for hair colour. This layer also determines that nature of hair as either curly or straight. It is responsible for growth of the shaft.
- Medulla – consists living cells too that receive nutrients and oxygen directly from blood capillaries.
There are three main phases of growth cycle though four in total with the last on being the shedding phase not normally considered as a growth phase. These phases include: Õ Schmidt-Ullrich.
- Anagen phase – growth phase; under physiological conditions, approximately 85% of scalp hair follicles are in anagen. The duration of follicles in this stage is 2 – 7 years and is the principle determiner of hair length. Protein and pigment synthesis occurs at this stage.
- Catagen – regression phase; cessation of protein and pigment production. It lasts about 10 days and the follicle shrinks and detaches from the dermal papillae.
- Telogen – resting phase; 15% are in a telogen phase. The hair follicle regresses to less than half its anagen phase size. New hair begins to grow while the old hair prepares to shed.
- Exogen – hair follicle reaches the terminal position beyond which it detaches from the skin
Folic Acid for Hair Growth, Loss, Thinning-How it Works
With the understanding of the anatomy and hair growth cycle, the nutritive impact of folic acid on hair growth is easily understood. Joining the dots, mentioned above, folic acid is useful in the synthesis of DNA and hence the cell cycle. Mentioned below, are cells that lie in the dermal layer and the follicle itself that need to continuously proliferate for hair growth and integrity.
- Hair follicles form upon proliferation of epithelium and mesenchymal cells that perform unique functions.
- Hair follicles comprise 20 different cell populations
- Rapid multiplication of keratinocytes (keratin cells) act as amplifying cells. They reside in the bulb region close to the dermal papilla during the anagen growth phase.
- The dermal papilla has special mesenchymal cells that is responsible for the inductive and regulation of growth of hair. These cells are the key signaling center for hair follicles. Their removal prevents hair growth.
- Anagen phase is characterized by protein and pigment synthesis
- Each hair follicle cycles independently throughout life. These cycles are regulated by signaling proteins, hormone, neurotransmitters, transcription factors and enzymes. The synthesis of all these proteins is coded by gene expression and this requires folic acid. Folic acid ensures formation of DNA that encode RNA for protein synthesis.
- Since the dermal papilla consists of many cells, there needs to be adequate oxygen and nutrients. Folic acid, being important in DNA synthesis, allows formation of red blood cells in correct amounts. This prevents megaloblastic anemia and the cells will be effectively perfused. These cells, healthy, will enable growth of hair in the correct density, length and colour.
- Reduced oxygen and nutrient delivery to the dermal papillae cells may cause reversion to alternative sources of energy. Which is testosterone. Increased testosterone result in a rise in its conversion to DHT (dihydrotestosterone). This may cause androgen-related hair loss.
- Folic acid keeps the growth of hair in the anagen phase. The longer the anagen phase, the longer the hair, the higher the pigmentation and density. The shorter the anagen phase, the shorter the hair and the lower the density.
- Cells such oil-secreting cells will also be affected with folic acid deficiency. This will cause dryness of the hair and its graying. Hair breaks and falls off.
- Folic acid promotes the telogen phase by facilitating the growth of new hair from the anagen phase.
Benefits-How helpful/good Folic acid is for Hair Growth & Loss
Folic acid is derived from daily consumption of foods high in folic acid. It is prepared in form of pills that are orally administered.
Benefits of using Folic Acid for Hair
Prolonged anagen phase
Vitamin B9 prolongs the anagen phase of hair growth cycle € Hardy, M.H. (1992). This prolonged phase means;
- Longer hair
- Higher density
- Highly pigmented hair
- Stronger hair
Keeps hair oiled
Prevents drying by ensuring normal functioning of sebaceous glands
Controlling hair growth defects
The hair growth defects include;
- Androgenic alopecia – hair loss caused by increased testosterone levels in the body
- Alopecia areata – premature termination of the anagen phase due to autoimmunity (immune cells attacking the dermal cells)
- Congenital alopecia/hypotrichosis – incorrect embryogenic follicle formation
- Congenital atrichia and Marie Unna hyprotrichosis – hair follicles form and grow hair in their first full cycle, but fail to survive and successfully enter subsequent hair growth cycles
- Telogen effluvium – temporary hair loss of resting or telogen hair.
Prevents hair loss with certain drugs
According to Mayo clinic, hair loss, is one the possible side effects of folate deficiency. With some drugs it helps prevent hair loss
Some of the drugs include methotrexate (for treatment of cancer, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis), cycloserine (antibiotic), trimethoprim (antibiotic for urinary tract infections), and proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole (for gastric ulcers) among many others. These drugs reduce the levels of folic acid and long term use, may cause hair loss.
Modulates estrogen-related hair loss in females
Estrogen has been shown to promote hair growth and this is evidenced by longer hair for most women in their gestation periods. Estrogen drop is seen in menopause and this can be controlled by consuming foods high in folic acid. ¥ Cash, T.F. (1999)
How much Folic Acid Tablets/Pills for Hair Loss/Growth-Supplement Dosage-800mcg, 400mcg
To prevent hair loss;
- A daily dose of 400 – 800 mcg of folic acid is recommended for adults, both men and women of 19 years and older.
- Breastfeeding women are likely to get hair loss due to estrogen. The only supplementary folic acid they need is for proper neuronal growth of the baby. This prevent neural tube effects of the spine and cleft lip defect.
- Breastfeeding women require 600 to 800 mcg RDA
- For teens between 14 and 18 years, 400 mcg RDA
- Infants of 0 to 6 months, 65 mcg and those of 7 to 12 months, 80 mcg
- Children of 4 to 8 years, 200 mcg RDA
- Children of 9 – 13 years, 300 mcg RDA
For hair loss, improve your dietary intake of folic acid. Check with a health care provider before taking supplements or administering them to children. This way, tapering increment in the daily requirement can be done based on the outcome of the initial dose.
Note: high levels of folate can hide vitamin B 12 deficiency. In this case, consultation should be sought.
The folic acid supplement pills are irritative to the mucosal cells of the gut. They should be taken after meals therefore
Best Food Sources of Folic Acid-List
Food sources that are high in folic acid include:
- Brewer’s yeast
- Beef liver
- Soy beans
- Wheat germ
- Kidney beans
- White beans
- Foods fortified with folic acid such as grain and cereal products (this is done in the U.S)
Folic Acid Hair Growth Reviews-Before & After Results Pictures
Results may vary by person. This is due to the difference in complexity of the body. Therefore, experiences vary with products. Results are not typical and vary with age, genetics and gender.
There have been awesome growth results from folic acid reviews. There have been inadequate result reviews of folic acid alone. This is due to the fact that most preparations have been further fortifies with other B-vitamins that also promote hair growth. One such examples is vitamin B12 and vitamin B6. Other fortification ingredients are oils and trace elements such as selenium.
There have been a majority of positive result reviews with products such as Toji, Dasgro and Viviscal Extra Strength.
In part, for Dasgro hair formula[i] – 81% rated this folic acid containing supplement positively with noticeable improvement of hair growth
This means that folic acid is most beneficial with other vitamins including vitamin B6 and B12.
There have been studies done at the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph Canada showed that folic acid is good for hair loss. In this study, a three week old calf suffering from hair loss, crusting and brown patches was administered a folic acid supplement. A dose of 1mg/kg/day. After two weeks, the crusts and patches disappeared. There was a steady recovery of natural hair growth two months later.
Folic Acid and Biotin for Hair Growth Reviews-Which is better?
Both are biotin and folic acid vitamins are thought to be important for hair growth. Which one is better?
Making a judgement on which is better between may not be an easy task. Both of the supplements are created differently while at the same different individuals react to both of the vitamins differently. The best way to find out the best is to experiment but after consulting your doctor. Read more about biotin hair growth reviews
Below is a video on a challenge for both of the vitamins
Folic Acid and Biotin Hair Growth Challenge Video
Folic Acid Side Effects, Dangers and Safety
According to WebMD, too much or an overdose of Folic acid taken orally for extended period of time is possibly not safe. High doses of folic acid might cause side effects including;
- Sleep disorders
- Skin reactions, rash etc.
- Abdominal cramps, stomach upset and gas
- Behavior changes
Resources and References
å Vogt, A. et al. (2008) Biology of the hair follicle. In Textbook on Hair – From basic science to clinical application (Blume-Peytavi, U., Tosti, A., Whiting, D., Trueb, R., eds), Springer, Germany
Õ Schmidt-Ullrich, R. and Paus, R. (2005). Molecular principles of hair follicle induction and morphogenesis. BioEssays27, 247-261.
€ Hardy, M.H. (1992) The secret life of the hair follicle. Trends Genet. 8, 55–61
¥ 6 Cash, T.F. (1999) The psychosocial consequences of androgenetic alopecia: a review of the research literature. Br. J. Dermatol. 141, 398–405