How Does Fish Oil Benefit Your Hair?

Taking fish oil pills may not provide the same benefit as eating more fish with omega-3 fatty acids.

In addition to helping you grow long, lustrous hair, omega-3 fatty acids, which are plentiful in fish oil, are also reported to be beneficial for your skin. Lynne J. Goldberg, MD, the director of the hair clinic at Boston Medical Center in Massachusetts, says the body does not make omega-3 fatty acids, so you need to eat foods that contain them or take supplements. A fraction of the omega-3 fatty acids in foods such as walnuts and flaxseed are converted, according to the National Institutes of Health, into EPA and DHA. Omega-3s have been touted as able to feed follicles and promote hair growth if consumed in sufficient amounts.

Research shows that fish oil can promote hair and nail health, but there is a lack of evidence. You need omega-3s to function well all over your body, and that’s what matters most. A variety of vitamins advertised as hair growers may help to compensate for any deficiencies, but they don’t guarantee hair growth.

A balanced diet and a well-nourished lifestyle make you unlikely to be deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. There is uncertainty as to whether taking omega 3 supplements in excess of what you need will help, says Goldberg if you do not have an omega 3 deficiency. Salmon, sardines, mackerel, cod, herring, trout, and canned tuna have the highest levels of omega-3s of all the foods.

The vitamins and minerals found in these fish cannot be found in supplements. Dietitians recommend eating whole fish instead of pills if you want to reap the benefits of fish oil. Choosing supplements for hair, skin, and nails made with small fish will limit mercury levels. Neither cod liver oil nor general tress health have been proven to cause hair loss – there are no studies supporting this.  But an excess of certain vitamins, such as vitamin A, may worsen hair loss.