Can Ingestible Adaptogens Benefit Hair? A Functional Doctor Explains

You likely have been noticing adaptogens more and more these days. From ads on Instagram to products lining the shelves of Whole Foods, they’re almost unavoidable. Seeing them so often led us to wonder, can ingestible adaptogens benefit hair?

There are plenty of companies who want us to take their word for it, though we needed a little more reassurance. So, we reached out to Dr. Will Cole, a leading functional medicine expert, IFMCP, DNM, DC, and author of The Inflammation Spectrum and Ketotarian.

He gave us the lowdown on what an adaptogen is, how they benefit our hair, and which ones are the best for our strands. Read on for his insight on all things ingestible adaptogens!

What are ingestible adaptogens?

Adaptogens are everywhere these days, but what exactly is an adaptogen? Dr. Cole puts it in terms everyone can understand.

“Adaptogen is a term for a wide variety of plant and herbal medicines that are generally safe for everyone,” he says. “They have the ability to restore balance to different areas of the body, particularly hormones.”

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What makes them so sought after?

Again, we’ve been seeing adaptogens listed as ingredients in just about everything these days. They’re highly sought after and Dr. Cole knows why.

“Adaptogens are rising in popularity due to their health benefits and ease of use,” he shares. “Since many come in powdered form, they are easy to add to smoothies, tea, coffee, and even baked goods. And since they are mostly safe for everyone, it is a fun way to incorporate a dose of wellness into your everyday life without taking another supplement.”

Can ingestible adaptogens benefit your hair?

Now on to the question you all want to be answered—can adaptogens benefit your hair? Dr. Cole is ready to explain why they’re beneficial.

“Certain adaptogens have been shown to be beneficial for hair health,” he notes. “Some can help promote healthy cells and turnover rate and contain necessary amino acids for strong, shiny hair. Adaptogens also promote balanced hormones. This is beneficial, because imbalanced hormone levels can be linked to thinning hair in some cases.”

What are the best ingestible adaptogens for hair?

Adaptogens can alleviate a number of ailments. When it comes to hair problems, Dr. Cole recommends one in particular.

“Pearl is great,” he says. “It contains nourishing amino acids, as well as the protein conchiolin that promotes healthy collagen production. It also has similar benefits to keratin, which is found in your hair and improves circulation. This can help with hair growth.”

What should people know before using ingestible adaptogens?

It’s always best to know what you’re getting into before trying adaptogens. Dr. Cole offers some sage advice on the matter.

“Even though adaptogens are generally safe for most people, it is important to still check with your doctor before adding anything new in,” he says. “This is especially important if you have a particular health condition, are taking certain medications, and if you are pregnant or trying to conceive, as some aren’t ideal for pregnancy. Additionally, with anything new, start off at a lower dose, listen to your body, and then gradually increase.”

How long will it take for effects to show?

Results won’t appear overnight. So if you’re searching for a quick fix, adaptogens are not the solution.

Dr. Cole reminds us that adaptogens work differently for everyone.

“This can vary for each individual, but typically three months of consistent use is a good rule of thumb,” he mentions. “However, some people can start to see results after just a few weeks.”

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