Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Is Dry Hair Related to Omega-3 Fatty Acids Deficiency?

Is dry hair related to omega-3 fatty acids deficiency? The short answer is maybe, maybe not. Scientists do not concern themselves much with dry hair, except as a symptom of other conditions. Hair care professionals typically recommend a good multi-vitamin, non-drying shampoos and leave-on conditioners to correct problems with dry or brittle hair.

There is little scientific evidence suggesting that dry hair is related to omega-3 fatty acids deficiency. However, researchers in Japan have conducted studies concerning fatty acids found in fish oil and hair loss related to chemotherapy administered to cancer patients. These studies concluded that there was some benefit. Other studies concerning increased consumption of fish oil and hair loss reduction in patients receiving chemotherapy have been positive, as well.

There are numerous health benefits associated with increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly to the heart and brain. Scientific studies have confirmed again and again that essential fatty acids may prevent certain types of heart disease and cancer. Fatty acids have proven effective in relieving symptoms of depression and other neurological conditions. It is believed that they can improve memory and possibly IQ. The best known sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fish oil.

Questions concerning a fish oil supplement and hair benefit are frequently posed to hair care professionals. While there have been no studies that focused specifically on dry hair, hair care professionals and doctors agree that good nutrition improves the appearance of both the hair and the skin. In fact, dry hair can be related to dry skin on the scalp. The oils that normally protect the hair are produced by the scalp. Over washing, blow drying, low quality shampoos and even the weather can all affect the health of the skin, scalp and hair.

Vitamin E has long been recommended to relieve dry skin and as a hair treatment. Some of the best fish oil supplements contain vitamin E, but not all. Consumers must read labels carefully to be sure.

In infants, dietary deficiency of certain fatty acids is characterized by dry, flaky skin. It seems likely that adults with dietary deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids would experience the same symptoms. The bottom line is that dry skin, dry hair and even hair loss may be associated with a lack of omega-3s in the diet. Numerous health benefits are believed to be provided by a fish oil supplement and hair benefit may be an added bonus.

Patsy Hamilton was a health care professional for over twenty years before becoming a freelance writer. Currently she is writing a series of articles about omega-3 fatty acids. Read more at To learn more about the best fish oil supplements, please visit the Fish Oil Guide at


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