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Summary: In this blog we detail and explore whether probiotics can help your hair grow, prevent hair loss and whether they are necessary and/or beneficial. We’ll discuss the benefits of taking probiotics for your hair, why poor gut health could have a negative affect on your hair, and the ingredients to look out for on your probiotic packaging. Read on to discover how probiotics work and whether they could be for you!
We know you’ve heard of probiotics - they’re the “good bacteria” advertised in every TV commercial for yogurts going! And, you probably think they just help your belly do it’s job better…
Well, yes but your gut plays such an important role in your overall health and other bodily functions! If your gut isn’t working properly, you can bet this is affecting the health of another area of your body too… And, this could be your hair! So, let’s dive in and get to know how our digestive system, gut and gastrointestinal tract could be affecting how well our hair grows…
Probiotics are live, good bacteria and yeasts the body needs to help maintain a healthy digestive system, gastrointestinal tract (GI Tract), and your overall health. By regulating the gut’s health, the entire body can function more healthily too. Probiotics can be found in fermented foods like cheese, yogurt, apple cider vinegar, and breads (like sourdough). However, probiotics can also be supplemented in pills and powder form.
Yes – probiotics are touted for boosting the body’s responses to stress, illness and trauma which can all negatively impact hair. If your body is healthy and fuelled correctly, your hair will reap the rewards…
Stress is major cause of hair thinning and loss: it triggers the body to have an inflammatory response and then the body starts withholding nutrients from the scalp, as hair isn’t deemed essential for survival. Probiotics can help reduce the body’s stress response and bring down levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), which can help preserve your hair.
A common stress response is inflammation. Taking a regular, supplemental probiotic can ensure your body can counteract the inflammatory responses induced by stress. Otherwise, inflammation can weaken our hair follicles and cause hair fall.
Hormonal imbalances can be another major contributor to hair loss. Probiotics help strengthen the lining of the intestines and gut which, in turn, can help your thyroid gland’s proper functioning and provide more efficient digestion. These improvements can help regulate and balance out your hormone levels, which can then improve hair’s growth rate.
When you supplement with probiotics, your body can respond by increasing the amount of anti-inflammatory T-Cells (white blood cells), which can improve the way your body fights off infection, viruses and bad bacteria. When these white blood cells aren’t being released this can negatively affect the circulation of blood, and as we know, blood carries nutrients all around the body - including to the scalp and hair follicles. If your scalp isn’t receiving the nutrients it needs, hair can fall and shed so probiotics can help keep the efficiency of blood flow and nutrient delivery up!
When it comes to starting to use probiotics, it is unfortunately, a matter of trial and error as your body will respond better to some strains more than others. When the human body hosts over 500 unique strains of probiotics, it’s very difficult to work out which one you may need a boost of! But, generally fuelling your gut health is supremely beneficial regardless of which one you go for…
Lactobacillus extracellular vesicles plays an “important role in cell-to-cell communication and, consequently, the regulation of cellular physiology and pathophysiology. Their biological fluids have been found to play a role in the body’s immunological mechanisms” and “alleviate inflammatory responses” too.
Here at Cel, we actually conducted a clinical trial under the supervision of dermatology (skin) and trichology (hair) specialists to determine the hair-growth effect of the probiotic Lactobacillus extracellular vesicles when applied topically. The results showed that hair follicles in the Anagen stage (growth) of their life cycle went up by 18%!
Lactobacillus acidophilus is a popular probiotic to take alongside antibiotics to replenish the gut’s good bacteria that antibiotics can kill off when treating an infection. That’s because this probiotic stimulates the immune system. When our immune system is weak, you’re at an increased risk of developing conditions like alopecia and hypothyroidism which are autoimmune diseases and have a direct effect on hair, namely causing loss. Keeping your immune system in tip top shape, decreases that risk.
Alongside boosting your immune system, as most probiotics do – Bifidobacterium longum can reduce the presence of cortisol in the body: the stress hormone. And, as we know, stress can be a big part of hair thinning and loss too. Controlling stress, with the help of reducing the body’s physical response to it via probiotic can be an added layer of protection for your hair.
When our digestive system is properly functioning, it means our body can process protein efficiently and appropriately. This means they can be ferried to the areas of the body that need it - so your muscles, skin and your scalp! Bifidobacterium lactis helps the digestive system break down and manage protein, so helping the gut out with this function via targeted probiotics can, in turn, help the scalp get the nutrition it needs!
Lactobacillus plantarum works similarly to Bifidobacterium lactis. It regulates the digestive enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract and thus helps protein break down. This, in turn, allows those proteins to be utilised by the body and reach the scalp and hair follicles. It also boosts antioxidant activity, reducing oxidative stress which can weaken the scalp, follicle and hair’s structure.
There’s a reason unsweetened greek yogurt has been used in DIY at-home, topical hair masks - it’s loaded with protein and has a strong, natural presence of probiotic cultures. And now, many brands are researching and encompassing probiotics into product formulas, and then touting them as their hero ingredient in their newer hair and skin care ranges.
When applied directly, certain probiotics can lower the skin’s pH levels and create a healthier, more desirable feel and appearance. When it comes to the scalp, this could mean optimising the environment the hair follicle finds itself in and ultimately encourage reactivation and growth.
Due to years of the hair and skin care market plying us with paraben and sulphate-filled products and other damaging chemicals, we may have absent-mindedly dried out our scalps. This will have then potentially negatively impacted the necessary bacteria for optimal hair condition living there…
So, by using probiotic infused hair care products, we could reestablish and regulate the microflora of the scalp, allowing for better growth rate and healthy, rejuvenated locks. Along with daily supplementation, we could help our scalp and hair out immeasurably with probiotics – inside and out!