A year ago my dermatologist recruited me (and some sixty other menopausal, peri-menopausal and post-menopausal women) to participate in a clinical study for a nutritional supplement to treat thinning hair. I promised I’d tell you all about it once I was given clearance to do so, and here it is!
I’ve just found out this is the supplement I’ve been taking. Below is the process of the clinical trial, and my experience.
Participating in a clinical study
Participating in the trial meant visits to the dermatologist’s office every 3 months. The first and last visits took a little over 90 minutes, the other two about an hour each. During those visits, several very precise photos and measurements were taken of follicle counts, hair diameter, part width, and a few other metrics I’m not sure of. My blood pressure was taken, and I filled out several health and attitude questionnaires. At the end of each visit my hair was washed and the number of hairs shed was counted.
For the first 6 months of the 12-month trial, half of the participants were given a placebo, and the other half the real product. For the second 6 months, everyone received the real product.
We were not told what the product was, or whether we’d been given the placebo. (I was pretty sure right off the bat I’d been selected for the placebo, a hunch that was confirmed when I began receiving the actual product at the 6-month mark.) What I did know was that the supplement had been on the market for some time, which allayed any concerns about weird side effects.
About 6 weeks after I began taking the actual supplements, I noticed that my nails looked a lot healthier and were much stronger. Not long after that, I noticed that my brows and eyelashes were getting fuller, and my hair seemed to be growing faster.
I’ve always had very fine hair so wasn’t expecting miracles. But I do think the Nutrafol has helped. My part isn’t quite as pronounced, and my hair seems a little fuller and stronger. I decided that even after the trial I’d continue taking it. Even if just for the eyebrow regrowth! 😆
I’ll be honest, it’s not an inexpensive supplement. But I’ve seen (and tried) others that were about the same price point, and that didn’t yield any noticeable results.
(As compensation for my participation in the trial, I received a year’s worth of the Nutrafol, as well as a small payment at the conclusion of the study. This post is entirely independent and I received no compensation for it.)
If you have any concerns about ingredients or side effects, you should discuss with a trusted health care professional. This is my personal experience with the product, and I make no claims as to its overall effectiveness or safety for anyone else.
Have you ever tried any supplements for hair/nails? Did they work for you?
I like the idea of taking a supplement better than putting something on my scalp (which a friend of mine does every day). Nutrafol appears to cost about $80 for 120 capsules after checking a few websites. But it doesn’t say if you take one-a-day or more which makes a difference in the overall cost. I have noticed hair loss over the last nine months and I no longer color my hair. I need to take something and Nutrafol sounds like a good option to try. Susan, how many capsules do you take a day? Thanks so much.
I checked with my friend. She used to take Nutrafol but it didn’t work for her. Her dermatologist said the only product on the market that works for hair loss is Minoxidil 5%. She uses the foam and says it has helped with preventing her hair loss.
Sadly, Nutrafol (and every other supplement that targets hair, skin, and nails) contains Biotin which can cause heart palpitations in post menopausal women and women with thyroid issues. I fall into both categories and have experienced this side effect – not pleasant.
I take collagen and find it helps my hair, nails, and skin – without the palpitations!
This is so interesting as i have been taking supplements during lockdown and have suddenly developed heart palpitations intermittently. i am now wondering if the supplements have caused them!
I experienced palpitations with Biotin too, Lianne. I’m post-menopausal with normal thyroid. I’ve tried every solution out there for thinning hair and nothing has worked for mine. Thinking about wigs now.
Thank you, Lianne! I cannot take Biotin either (palpitations and hot flashes).
I have been taking Biotin,recommended by my hairdresser,for about a year. All I have noticed is that the leg hair is growing faster than the head hair! Use a nail hardener from Mila and ella that works well on my nails. (can be purchased from Target) But anything that helps. find different works for different people.Good luck and stay safe!
I was really interested in taking this so I started reading some reviews on Amazon. Some bad reactions occurred when people with thyroid disorders tried it— most likely from the kelp. I have Hashimotos and I know kelp gives me a serious reaction. I also read people with thyroid disorders were excluded from the testing. My point is that anyone with a thyroid disorder be very cautious before trying this.
I have been taking Viviscal for just under a year, which I can easily buy at Target and that seems to be working for me. My hair is completely grey now and very thin, (56) and since taking the product hairdressers have commented how healthy my hair is and in excellent shape. Family and friends notice too. So that’s nice! It’s fairly pricey and a commitment but I figure it make such a difference to how I look and feel it is worth it and I cut back on other things.
I put a scoop of collagen in my coffee each morning. I have very healthy hair and nails. But, I don’t color my hair or paint my nails. I know that doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s working for me.
Biotin is well known to affect thyroid tests, troponin (the blood test that detects heart attacks), and pregnancy tests. There was a reported case of a patient on biotin who died from a heart attack because the ER blood test troponin was falsely negative. Many dermatologists have stopped recommending it. (I am a dermatologist).
I’d recommend updating your post with these warnings/disclaimers. Many people don’t read comments.
Because they are not regulated by the FDA, it is best to be cautious about taking supplements unless they are prescribed, and their use monitored, by a physician.
Just to second the above comment, Nutrafol is NOT regulated by the FDA, which does not regulate supplements or branded products. Nutrafol does have one clinical study, which was carried out by the founder of the company and not an independent investigator, with a sample size of 40.
I’ll second your second. Unlike drugs, the FDA does not test any supplements to determine their safety or efficacy. They do not test to see if the amounts indicated on the label are accurate or even whether the supplement contains other byproducts that may not be safe. Judging by the other comments about biotin’s side effects for those with thyroid problems, checking with a physician before taking this supplement is a good idea.
I’ve used minoxidil for about 10 years. I applied it twice daily for the first year, then once daily for a few more years. Now, I just apply it after I wash my hair every 2-3 days. Initially, I used the 2% women’s formulation, but I switched to the 5% solution a couple years ago. It does help.
I’ve been taking Nutrafol on and off for years as a good friend is friends with one of the founders. This last stretch is a solid year and I can say that for me it does make a noticable difference. It’s not cheap but my hair grows faster and is slightly fuller. Definitely better with than without. Along with the main womans post menopause supplement I’m also taking their liver and stress formulas. I’ve had no adverse reactions.
My dermatologist stressed that a big problem with hair loss in postmenopausal women is inadequate protein intake. I’m not sure I remember correctly but I think she recommended 90 grams a day, I tried for 70 and my hair loss improved. I worried about my kidneys at 90.
I recently read about some studies that showed applying rosemary essential oil ( mixed with a carrier oil), never apply directly, showed the same growth results as Minixidil without the side effects. I apply it in the mornings before shampooing and leave on for a while and then shampoo out. It’s too early to tell if it’s working yet. The truth is many supplements that say they target hair growth are just expensive vitamins. Just taking an affordable multi and eating a large variety of fruits and vegetables probably will provide the same results with many more overall health benefits!
Thanks to the reader who commented about Biotin and thyroid. I was not aware of this and I take Biotin and am having my thyroid tested in a few weeks. Will stop taking it and see what test results are.
My daughter has had great success with collagen powder (Vital Proteins). Her hair is noticeably thicker and healthier.
I use Minoxodil and I use the full strength, 5%, which says on the box only for men. Well, it works beautifully. I have thick hair but had developed quite a bald spot on my left temple area. We think it was from the tight bathing cap I wear every day for 30 min. swim. Well, the Rogaine worked in exactly 3 months, as they say. No more spot at all. I’ve stopped using it and all is fine.
I’ve heard that if you stop using rogaine, the bald spot comes back!
Libby, I mistakenly ordered the 5% Minoxidil and upon receiving it saw on the box “For Men Only”. Due to dealing with a broken ankle, I put the box in a cabinet and forgot about it for a few weeks during which time the return period expired. Have you noticed any hair growth “elsewhere” having used the 5% strength? Thank you!
I’ve been using minoxidil 5% foam for about 5-7 years. No side effects-you just wash your hands after you put it on. I only use it once every other day because I use it when I wash my hair. It definitely helps, but of course like with all hair growth products, you need to use for at least 3 months before you see any results. In the beginning I used 2% (probably 10-15 yrs ago when I was of child-birthing age) and you see fine hair growth to start that gets longer as time goes on. I highly recommend minoxidil!
No, no other hair growth! And yes, keep an eye out for any spots to reappear but I haven’t had that happen (yet..)
Thanks to all who pointed out the potential thyroid issues! I was all set to try it, but with my Hashimoto’s I don’t take chances.
My dermatologist recommended that I take Nutrafol along with PRP treatments for hair loss. For best results he also suggested using Minoxidil but I had tried it once before and it made me dizzy. I had five PRP treatments over nine months and continued taking Nutrafol for an additional three months. I definitely had some hair growth and my hairdresser sees a difference. I stopped taking Nutrafol a few months ago and will not continue the PRP treatments. The amount of improvement I saw did not justify the amount I was spending on PRP.
I am 66. I have been taking Adashiko Collagen Joint formula, ingredients include Collagen, dextrin, glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, hyaluronic acid, proteoglcan. It was a gift from my daughter there years ago and have been taking it ever since. I have always had fine hair but plenty of it but have noticed my hair grows rather quickly- my hair dresser doesn’t mind!! However my eyelashes have also improved as well as an all over improvement in my skin- wrinkles have faded also . My finger nails would never have lead to hand modelling but they do grow quickly. I had joint issues after a fall dislocating my hip and pelvis and suffered nagging pain at night. The pain is now managed easily with paracetamol. I have had a bone density scan 2 years ago and that also showed slight improvement. I also take Evista for Osteoporosis.
I feel this supplement aids my well being along with a healthy diet, no alcohol and exercise. No scientific proof though!!
I’m so curious about nutrafol–I have been using Minoxidil and at the beginning of April/Quarantine I added Folexin as a hair growth supplement. Can’t say I’ve seen any change so far, which is disappointing. I’m going to continue to take the Folexin until I run out–I think I have two more months left just to give it the full trial. So I think I’ll try the Nutrafol. Thank you for your trustworthy trial!
For anyone reading this struggling with thinning hair please give Nioxin products a try. The line doesnt make big claims but the formulation lends itself to promoting hair regrowth and has helped a large number of people. I have used it and with great success although each time I have lost hair it was down to illness rather than aging or genetics. There are testimonials across the internet and it is always the number one product recommended by hair stylists who frequent ‘beauty boards’ online because it does actually work. It isnt pricey and even if you dont find it helps regrow hair it IS a good shampoo and conditioner. Id highly recommend it!! Good luck.
How interesting! I’ve been using this for almost two years now. I definitely have some regrowth and overall healthier hair. More importantly, one of its aims to to decrease stress (which leads to hair loss). And for me, it has had an impact on my stress levels.
Lastly, my nutritionist took a look at the ingredients and said it’s a very good supplement.
I hope you have success with it!
Hair loss can be devastating to a woman’s self esteem. The day I sat down and cried after washing my hair and seeing the amount of hair shed was the day I purchased my first helper hair. That was a number of years ago and I’ve never looked back or felt better. I no longer worry about covering up the sparse spots on the top of my head or the receding hairline at my temples. That decision was liberating.
Hair loss is tough. My hair began thinning in my late 50’s and I am now 62. I used Nioxin for a while and it did help, but as the hair loss advanced it was less helpful. I also tried Minoxidil, but it caused cardiovascular problems for me, so I stopped using it. I have heard good things about some of the essential oils mixed with carrier oils. Of particular note is rosemary oil, but in doing some research I learned that if one has high blood pressure – and I do- rosemary oil should be avoided. I have a prominent bald spot right on the top of my head, another obvious bald spot in the back of my head and sparse hair on one side of my head. Clearly, this is not a winning combination and there is no way I can cobble together a hairstyle. I tried a really close cut, but it was not a flattering look for me. Early last year, I found a really good wig website and I’ve been wearing alternative hair ever since. For a change of pace and when I don’t want to wear a wig, I wear a newsboy cap or a fashionable hat to complement the rest of my outfit.
I have not retired nutrafol but I do use a hair supplement by NeoCell with Keratin, but C (from amla fruit) it works! About $18.
I’ve taken Nutrafol, Viviscal, Philip Kingsley’s supplement, different Gummies, then finally settled on RenewGlow. I think they all work pretty much the same. Your nails become so strong. Hair growth doesn’t increase but strength may. They certainly don’t hurt. I also use minoxidil, 5%, once a day and I use a preparation called Lipogaine Sensitive Scalp. It doesn’t itch or dry my scalp at all. Although the 5% is supposedly for men, I figured if Rogaine can make a 5% foam for women for once/day use, I’m OK. Minoxidil really DOES keep your follicles open. I have been using it for almost 20 years.