While most hair loss products target one cause of hair growth, the supplement Nutrafol targets four!
This post will cover all you need to know about Nutrafol and its many components. That includes:
- How it works and what the product claims it can do.
- Its ingredients, and how they can help to regrow hair.
- What real customers have to say about the product, and what real users looked like before and after use.
- How to use the product most effectively.
- The side effects to consider before beginning use.
- The cost and availability of Nutrafol.
Finally, I’ll share multiple alternative options you can use to combat hair loss on your own.
What Is Nutrafol?
It is recommended by “prestige salons” worldwide, as well as prominent dermatologists and plastic surgeons. Nutrafol has even been reviewed in prominent women’s magazines like Allure.
How Does It Work?
Unlike many treatment methods, Nutrafol targets four different causes of hair loss:
1. Blocks DHT
Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA) is the most common cause of hair loss in both sexes. It is believed to be caused by DHT. This is an androgen hormone produced by the interaction between testosterone (the male sex hormone) and 5AR (an enzyme).
DHT is a necessary hormone, but people with AGA are sensitive to its effects on the hair follicles. Through a process that scientists do not yet understand, DHT causes the follicles to undergo a process called hair follicles miniaturization.
Miniaturization is a process that is slow and gradual. The follicle literally shrinks in size, and the hair becomes progressively shorter and thinner. In the end, the follicle completely disappears.
This process also cuts off blood supply to the follicles, which further compounds the problem.
2. Manages Stress Hormones
Stress is a common condition. It can be either acute (temporary) or chronic (long-term). There are numerous health conditions associated with untreated stress. For example heart disease, depression, anxiety, and gastrointestinal problems.
It can also contribute to hair thinning.
According to Neutraceutical Wellness, Nutrafol’s formula helps to manage stress hormones by reducing cortisol levels. This is especially important in the women’s formula (see below), as stress-related hair loss is more commonly experienced by females.
3. Fights Free Radicals
As we age, the molecules within our bodies slowly begin to break down. They become free radicals – molecules that are lacking one or more electrons – and scavenge electrons from surrounding tissues.
The only way to combat free radicals is with antioxidants. These are molecules that share their electrons, so surrounding tissues don’t need to give up their own.
By reducing free radicals in the body, you prevent future damage. This includes damage to the skin and hair follicles, which can lead to graying, thinning, and loss.
4. Treats Inflammation
Hair follicle inflammation is commonly seen in the balding scalp, alongside miniaturization. Scientists are not yet sure if it is a cause or effect of the balding process. Whatever the answer, this inflammation is a sign of an unhealthy scalp environment. It can be caused by a variety of conditions including dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, and scalp psoriasis.
According to Nutraceuticals, Nutrafol’s formula contains ingredients that can treat inflammation directly. This can be helpful in treating a wide range of conditions.
The Different Versions of Nutrafol
The core ingredient in Nutrafol is something the company calls “Synergen Complex“®. Nutraceutical Wellness describes it as:
A proprietary blend of concentrated botanicals in unique ratios suited to the biological differences in men and women throughout life.
There are three main versions of Nutrafol, each with a slightly different Synergen Complex.
As men produce higher levels of DHT than women, the men’s formula contains higher levels of saw palmetto. This is a natural 5AR inhibitor that disrupts the process of DHT production.
Of course, the formula focuses on other causes of hair loss, too. These include stress and aging.
Women can suffer from AGA, just like men. While DHT can also contribute to female hair loss (at least in some women), an even larger issue is stress.
As mentioned above, stress-induced hair loss happens when high levels of cortisol are present.
To treat this unique problem, Nutrafol Women’s formula focuses mainly on stress reduction. It does this by including various cortisol-fighting ingredients, such as ashwagandha.
This product is for women in their mid-40s and above, who are undergoing or have gone through menopause. This product targets issues like hormones and metabolism that are especially relevant to women of this age group.
The Nutrafol Boosters
In addition to these three main products, the company also offers a number of so-called targeted boosters. These are supplements that are tailed to each consumer’s personal needs, addressing his or her specific root causes of thinning.
There are currently 7 boosters for sale on the company’s website:
- Vitamin D-Booster
- DHT inhibitor
- Liver Support
- Stress Adaptogen
- Sugar Balance
- Digestive Enzyme
How do you know which of these boosters is for you? Quite simply, you take the Nutrafol Hair Wellness Quiz. The test is free and takes about 3 minutes to complete.
In February of 2017, the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) released an investigatory report on Nutrafol. More specifically, a competitor (Lifes2Good) argued that many of Nutrafol’s claims were not backed by science.
As a result of this investigation, ERSP determined there were six core messages that Nutrafol could not advertise without performing further research. They are:
- “The ingredients in Nutrafol are formulated to strengthen and nourish thinning hair from within.”
- “Nutrafol’s unique ingredients support existing hair growth and maintenance from within.”
- “Key ingredients in Nutrafol have been shown to increase hair growth and provide fuller hair in men with thinning hair.”
- “The ingredients in Nutrafol are designed to provide strong, healthy, beautiful and vibrant hair in women.”
- “Nutrafol contains more than just simple hair vitamins and delivers therapeutic benefits from plant bioactives that vitamins and minerals alone cannot.”
- “Nutrafol was developed with ingredients which address the underlying cause of poor hair health and support general wellness.”
Whether by pure coincidence or as a result of this investigation, Neutraceutical Wellness began recruiting subjects in February of 2017 for their own clinical trials (1). Another recruitment posting was created in July of 2017 (2).
The results of these trials were published in 2018 (3).
Nutrafol Is More Effective Than Placebo
The trial compared 26 women who received Nutrafol against 14 women on placebo. After 90 and 180 days, the Nutrafol-treated women had significantly more terminal and vellus hairs.
In particular, in a 1cm squared target area, the Nutrafol-treated women had an average of 16.8 new hairs (terminal+vellus) after 180 days. This compared to 4.5 new hairs for the women in the placebo group.
Expert dermatologists who assessed the before and after photos of the women’s heads gave ratings consistent with the hair counts. After 180 days, these dermatologists rated the women in the Nutrafol group as having – on average – better hair growth and hair quality.
These dermatologists were blinded, meaning they did not know whether the woman in each photo had received Nutrafol or a placebo.
In summary, the results of this research suggest Nutrafol is a biologically active formula that easily outperforms a placebo when it comes to regrowth. An obvious caveat is that the study was funded by Nutraceutical Wellness themselves.
The best way to learn about a product is to analyze what’s inside.
Collagen is a long-chain amino acid, and it’s responsible for the elasticity of the skin and hair. As we age, the natural collagen within our bodies starts to degrade (4). This can contribute to hair miniaturization, as collagen plays a crucial role in the follicles’ health.
Produced naturally by our bodies, hyaluronic acid is a chemical that assists in the transportation of nutrients to cells. It also directs toxins away from cells.
Saw palmetto is a natural alternative to Propecia, the hair loss treatment drug that inhibits 5AR. In supplements, it can be present in a variety of forms. For example:
- Powder capsules
- Dried whole berries
- Liquid extracts
In the case of Nutrafol, the form of saw palmetto is dried whole berries. They are extracted from the plant intact and are then dried using high-pressure CO2.
Ashwagandha is an herb commonly used in Eastern tradition. It is commonly regarded as regenerative, and can be used in the treatment of:
A 2014 comparative study showed that ashwagandha users saw a greater improvement in symptoms than placebo patients (5).
A form of vitamin E, tocotrienols are a powerful antioxidant. This is the ingredient that is responsible for fighting free radicals.
Also known as vitamin H, biotin is a vitamin that is important in the conversion of food to energy. It is also beneficial to the health of hair, skin, and nails.
A biotin deficiency is rare, but common symptoms include thinning hair and depression.
Amino Acid Blend
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. They make up the structure of the body’s cells, which means they play a crucial role in hair growth.
Supplementing with an amino acid blend provides support to the amino acids present in your body. It can also facilitate the production of keratin – a protein that makes up 88% of the hair’s composition.
As with any product on the market, not all consumers will be happy with the results (or lack thereof). Quite a few report using the product for 6+ months, but without any noticeable changes in their hair’s health.
However, quite a few customers have seen favorable results. These include hair coming in thicker and appearing fuller. In fact, some customers have even claimed that hair loss has slowed (or stopped completely), and some are even seeing actual regrowth.
Another common effect reported by some women is an acceleration in hair growth. In other words, their hair seems to grow longer at a faster pace than before.
How to Use
For both men and women, the serving size for each dose is 4 capsules. For best results, you should take it with food. This helps it to absorb more fully, and it also makes it easier to remember to take.
The product is only for men and women over the age of 18.
Side Effects and Considerations
As with any supplement, side effects are a possibility.
The most common side effect associated with natural supplements is allergic reactions. A mild reaction can manifest with symptoms like hives, itching, and rash.
A more severe reaction includes symptoms such as:
- Widespread hives
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the lips/mouth/throat/tongue
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- A feeling of impending doom
If you experience any of the above symptoms, stop supplement use and seek emergency medical treatment.
Do not use Nutrafol if you are under the age of 18, are pregnant, or breastfeeding.
This is not a supplement suitable for vegans or vegetarians. It contains marine collagen which is derived from Atlantic cod.
Cost and Availability
Nutrafol can be purchased on the company website, or on Amazon. It is quite costly, coming in at $88 per month (if you choose the subscription plan) or $88 per bottle.
Can Nutrafol Treat Hair Loss?
The company claims that Nutrafol combats hair loss on a number of fronts. But, is it good at what it does?
There’s no doubt that the product contains numerous ingredients with proven benefits. When combined, they can be extremely effective in treating thinning and even preventing hair loss.
Should You Use Nutrafol?
The main benefit of Nutrafol is its all-natural ingredients.
The majority of hair loss treatments on the market contain chemicals. In the long run, these harm the scalp and hair and can lead to further hair loss.
By incorporating only natural ingredients into your treatment routine, you substantially increase your odds of maintaining a healthy scalp. A healthy environment is the best way to begin to regrow your hair (or prevent hair loss from occurring).
Another positive of Nutrafol is its multi-step approach to treatment. For example, Propecia works by targeting DHT while Rogaine increases circulation to the scalp. On the other hand, Nutrafol takes a threefold approach. It blocks DHT, reduces stress, and targets free radicals.
The main downside to Nutrafol is the cost. Over the cost of the year, treatment with Nutrafol will end up costing you just under $1000. This is an unusually high price tag for a natural supplement.
The high cost becomes especially apparent when you consider that you can purchase many of the ingredients – such as saw palmetto, biotin, and collagen – at a fraction of the cost.
Are There Alternatives?
All in all, Nutrafol is a high-quality natural supplement. However, its high cost may deter many individuals from use. So, what can you do instead?
To Block DHT
While blocking DHT isn’t the best way to go, it’s a common route that hair loss sufferers take. If this is the route you’d like to take, I highly recommend a natural method.
There are two ways to block DHT: topically, and orally. To prevent side effects associated with DHT blockers, including sexual dysfunction, I suggest you consider topical.
There are many topical DHT blockers you can use, including:
Is it hard to believe that natural herbs can be just as effective as Propecia or similar treatments? There’s scientific research to suggest this might be the case.
That’s better than Propecia’s (finasteride) inhibition percentage, which was just 81.9%!
Fortunately, adding rosemary (and other topicals) to your hair care routine is simple. By combining its use with scalp massage, you can increase circulation and improve your chances of regrowth.
Rosemary oil (1-2 TSP)
Pour 1 to 2 TSP of rosemary oil into your palms. Rub your hands together to warm the oil, and then begin working the oil into your scalp. Use your fingertips to gently massage the oil into the scalp. Use slow, circular motions.
Start with small circles, and gradually increase in size.
Avoid using your nails, as this can cause damage to the scalp and hair.
To Reduce Stress
While women suffer from stress-related hair loss more commonly than men, both males and females can benefit from stress reductions exercises and techniques.
By practicing purposeful breathing, you can activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This particular part of the nervous system is responsible for your body’s unconscious actions (such as the release of cortisol).
You can also increase blood oxygen levels. This means more oxygen delivery throughout the body, including the scalp. In this way, you can stimulate the hair follicles and ensure the proper delivery of nutrients.
The particular method I recommend is known as ‘chee breathing,’ and it’s all about inhalation, retention, and exhalation. Simply put, you’ll learn to breathe in a controlled manner.
In a standing position, inhale slowly from the lower abdomen into the chest and, finally, the clavicles. You don’t want to fill the lungs to maximum capacity, but just enough to feel comfortable (about 90%).
As you inhale, visualize the air traveling through your nostrils and deep into your lungs. Once you’re done inhaling, imagine a bubble of air sinking as deep into the lungs as possible.
Hold this breath for 3-5 seconds. You may have to work up to this time span if you’re new to the practice.
As you exhale, do so through your mouth in a controlled manner. Try to keep the exhalation even (meaning, don’t blow out hard in the beginning and then soften as you exhale).
For beginners, it can also be helpful to use your arms.
As you inhale, lift your arms into a high arc. As you exhale, slowly lower your arms until they are by your sides.
I recommend you practice this on a daily basis. To see results, you’ll have to do this for at least a month.
To perform a scalp massage, you can use oil (such as outlined above) or not. Begin by placing your thumb, index finger, and middle finger on the sides of your head just above your ears. Slowly work in a circular motion. Apply various levels of pressure as you go.
After 2-3 minutes, move towards the top of the scalp. Continue massaging in a circular motion, and slowly work your way towards the hairline and temples.
Begin at the middle of the hairline, and move out to the temples. After 2-3 minutes, return to the sides of the scalp, and then work your way towards the base.
This should take about 10 minutes. You can perform it on a daily or even twice daily basis.
To Fight Signs of Aging
The most effective way to fight signs of aging is to directly combat free radicals. You can do this by increasing antioxidants in your body.
Add Antioxidants to Your Diet
- Spices: cloves, vanilla, turmeric, cinnamon, sage, etc.
- Berries: goji, acai, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, etc.
- Nuts: almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio, hazelnuts, etc.
- Dried fruit: raisins, prunes, figs, dates, apricots, etc.
- Beans and legumes: black beans, kidney beans, lentils, pinto, etc.
- Fresh fruits and veggies: the more colorful the better, and try to keep it organic.
Of course, you can eat these foods directly. However, you can also add them to smoothies, which is an easy (and delicious!) way to consume nutrients quickly.
Updated Review – October 2017
I’ve been using Nutrafol now for close to three months. I started with two pills a day, rather than the recommended four pills a day. I wanted to make sure I could handle it and the ingredients would not be irritating for me. You can do the same if you want.
After a week with no reactions or issues, I moved up to the full dose and I’ve only forgotten to take it a handful of days.
I’ve used Nutrafol in combination with caffeine shampoos and nightly rosemary scalp rubs because I firmly believe in treating hair loss on both the inside and the outside.
While it’s true that Nutrafol contains the fancy marine collagen, I also take a separate bovine collagen supplement. Because why not surf & turf this crap?! (hahaha sorry about that) I’m making up for lost time here with the collagen!
The result? My uncomfortably high hairline and empty temple areas have been filling in with vellus hairs. This helps so much because my hair is dark and I’d much rather see dark hair than empty space on my scalp, even if they are short vellus hairs or “baby hair”.
I will continue to take Nutrafol and report back again in three more months.
Update – December 2017
I’ve been asked to come back and report with pictures of my new growth.
I’m going to ask you to use your imagination for the before pictures- the areas that are thinned in these were in fact empty before I went on this journey. It’s not hard to imagine that. My “about me” photo shows my uncomfortably high hairline and attempts to hide it with hair over my temples.
But now? It may not seem like much to have short vellus hairs framing my face and filling in those gaps, but to me, this is huge.
I hope that as I keep up my treatments that these hairs get longer and stronger, and that these follicles come back to life enough to produce long strong hair.
One result of this new growth is that I’m more comfortable wearing my hair up. I couldn’t do that before (with the exception of having a loose but carefully constructed bun at the nape of my neck) because pulling it back exposed the bald spots.
Product images for this stuff now include a ton of before/after pics: check it out. You can see other women’s hairlines and how they’ve also filled in after a few months of taking Nutrafol.
Update, March 9 2018
I’m still using Nutrafol, and my hair still is filling in. The “baby hairs” are about the same length as my last update, but there is a greater density of them along my hairline.
Take a look!
Update March 2019
Due to the expense of using Nutrafol for the last few months, I’ve been using the Hairguard Essentials Supplement.
Considering the price is much less, it is quite remarkable that my hair is growing back thicker and glossier than ever before.
The Hairguard Supplement contains everything Nutrafol has and more but at a much more reasonable price. Hairguard has designed it for both men and women with thinning or receding hair.
Does Nutrafol Cause Weight Gain?
For the six months, I took it, I actually lost about 15 lbs. Of course, I have been exercising quite a bit more, but as a heavier person who tends to put on weight, it’s worth noting that hasn’t happened to me on Nutrafol.
I can only speak for myself, but for me, the answer is no.
For another user’s experience on Nutrafol, check out the video below:
Having taken a hair growth supplement for a while now I can conclude that it has helped my hair look thicker, glossier, and stronger.
If you are worried about losing more hair and want to protect yourself against further loss, whilst giving your body everything it needs to support healthy hair growth then a good supplement is recommended.
Nutrafol for me is too much on the expensive side as it stands. Although I do rate the quality of the ingredients, given my excellent results with the Hairguard Supplement, I see no reason to go back to Nutrafol.
With that said, a supplement is only one small part of your hair care regime. There is no substitute for cleaning up your diet and maximizing your micronutrient intake through healthy foods.
Reducing stress, avoiding chemicals, avoiding hot shower water, and using a good shampoo are also important.
As with all treatments, if you are intending to start Nutrafol, make sure to give the supplement sufficient time to work. Three months is an absolute minimum, though ideally, you should aim for at least six months before making a final decision.