Nutrafol is a well-known brand of hair growth supplements and boosters, designed for men and women, from a team of scientist and doctors. All three founders suffered from thinning hair in the past (both hormonal and stress-related), which led them to seek more natural alternatives than the harsh treatments they’d been prescribed.
Technically, Nutrafol supplements aren’t actually supplements, but what are known as ‘‘nutraceuticals’. This means they’re made of medical grade, bio-optimized botanical ingredients that undergo clinical testing for purity and safety.
But does Nutrafol work? Well, things look promising: several studies and clinical trials have proven that their supplements stimulate hair regeneration. And many of the Nutrafol ingredients I’ll cover in this post have been proven to reduce hair thinning and shedding, too. Woohoo!
Emma’s ‘not a doctor’ disclaimer
Hi there, I’m an alopecian, I’m not a doctor! Any advice I give is based on my own research and personal experiences. This site is, however, reader-supported. When you buy through external links, I may earn a tiny affiliate commission. Learn more here.
While the exact ingredients vary between the four supplements (Nutrafol Men, Nutrafol Women, Postpartum and Women’s Balance), at the heart of them all is the Synergen Complex: a proprietary blend of medical grade natural ingredients – including stress adaptogens, DHT-targeting botanicals and antioxidants/anti-inflammatories.
Together, they target the multiple root causes and internal imbalances that lead to hair thinning and hair loss, while accounting for the differences between male and female biological needs, and our different stages of life. (For instance, Nutrafol Women’s Balance and Nutrafol Men both contain extra saw palmetto for its hormone-balancing properties).
All Nutrafol products are clinically tested and are third-party tested for heavy metals, pesticides and chemicals to guarantee purity. They’re plant-derived (so they’re vegan-friendly) and are free from drugs, hormones, GMOs, artificial flavors or colors, plus common allergens and artificial additives such as:
Indian ginseng, or ashwagandha, is one of Nutrafol key ingredients, which I haven’t really come across in a hair loss treatment before. Ashwagandha is a medicinal plant with anti-inflammatory superpowers – in a 2012 clinical study, it was even proven to reduce anxiety and depression.
Nutrafol’s tocotrienol complex, part of the Vitamin E family, also relieves oxidative stress in the body as a result of diet, lifestyle, damage from free radicals and from environment. As stress is one of the biggest causes of thinning hair, anything we can do to lower it is A Good Thing.
Hormone imbalances can also lead to hair loss – particularly when it comes to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), an androgen hormone that’s more prevalent in men (although both men and women have it). DHT can cause the hair follicle to shrink, in a process called miniaturization, so new hair can’t grow.
Luckily, Nutrafol also contains saw palmetto extract, which has been shown to help correct DHT sensitivity. This 2020 study showed how saw palmetto led to very positive results for those with androgentic alopecia, telogen effluvium and self perceived hair thinning.
As our hormones can change dramatically during pregnancy, postpartum, menopause and in times of stress, Nutrafol has different amounts of saw palmetto in its targeted supplements to suit these stages of life and their different needs.
The result? A clinically effective hair supplement that targets the main causes of hair loss to restore hair growth.
In addition to ashwagandha, a tocotrienol complex and saw palmetto, Nutrafol contains a whole lot of goodies to improve hair growth and fight hair loss. Unlike many other supplements, it uses proprietary ingredients to produce a more effective hair growth product: with a synthetic complex made up of stress-adapted, nutrient-rich, botanical and antioxidant compounds.
Nutrafol’s special formula aims to reduce internal imbalances (specifically, the six root causes that can compromise hair health), which can cause hair thinning. One of Nutrafol’s founders, Sophia Kogan M.D., specializes in integrative hair health and is an expert on the side effects of botanicals, nutrition and follicular biology. She believes that only by focusing on whole body wellness, can we encourage hair growth.
I’m a big fan of this holistic approach. And while I’m not familiar with every single one of Nutrafol’s many vitamins and minerals, I do know quite a few of them, and have hailed them for their hair-boosting properties in the past.
Nutrafol’s medical grade ingredients change depending on the type of supplement you buy (which is what makes them quite special – they use a personalized, targeted treatment plan via their hair wellness quiz) but Nutrafol’s active ingredients are as follows…
Sensorial Ashwagandha: A stress adaptogen, with demonstrated abilities to lower elevated cortisol levels, reduce symptoms of depression, and boost brain function. It can also reduce blood sugar levels, boost testosterone and fertility in men, and increase muscle mass and strength.
Saw Palmetto: Another important ingredient that’s clinically proven to improve hair density and quality by acting as a natural DHT blocker – and it’s effective for many types of hair loss, including telogen effluvium and female or male pattern hair loss.
Marine collagen derived peptides: Collagen is a protein that provides structure and strength throughout the body, leading to healthy hair, skin and nails. Nutrafol includes marine collagen derived sustainably from wild-caught North Atlantic cod.
Resveratrol: This study shows how it reduces oxidative stress in the body and stimulates a move from the telogen (resting) phase into the anagen (growth) phase of the hair cycle. A very helpful ingredient for those experiencing both sudden hair loss and ongoing alopecia!
Organic kelp minerals: This nutrient-dense seaweed is an antioxidant that fights free radical damage, helping improve overall scalp health. It’s also a great source of iodine, calcium, iron and magnesium, among other key vitamins and minerals.
Horsetail extract: Can help balance hormones by using a naturally occurring formula of silica to stabilize magnesium and calcium levels.
Selenium: Kills dandruff-causing fungus, fights damaging free radicals and aids in the production of the thyroid hormones that help to regulate hair growth.
Keratin: Like collagen, keratin is an important protein that brings structure to skin cells for stronger hair.
Biotin: Also known as Vitamin B7, many haircare treatments include biotin to promote thicker hair, improve hair quality and reduce shedding. Note that some people might have a sensitivity to relatively high doses of biotin, which can cause side effects like nausea…so check with your doctor if you’re unsure.
Zinc: Helps immune system and metabolic function to strengthen hair follicles, reduces dandruff and balances hormones to improve hair growth. Again, check with your doctor first because both zinc deficiency and excess zinc levels can be a factor in hair loss.
Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin D: Together, they work to support liver health and the immune system. They also hydrate, strengthen and grow hair, while maintaining a healthy hair growth cycle.
B complex: I couldn’t absorb nutrients properly from my food, thanks to a vitamin B6 deficiency. I needed to take a B complex to reduce inflammation in my body – not only did it help my ongoing migraines and brain fog, it gave me a healthy metabolism, better sleep and reduced my shedding, too! Some studies show that folate and vitamin B12 supplements may support hair growth, even in people without a deficiency.
Cysteine: An amino acid that works with the body’s natural keratin to strengthen hair.
Lysine: Another amino acid that enables the body to absorb iron effectively, which can lead to healthy hair growth or regrowth, particularly in women with an iron deficiency.
Curcumin: An anti-inflammatory compound that works to boost your metabolic function, supporting your immune system and promoting natural hair growth.
Black pepper: Enables the body to absorb the benefits of curcumin better.
Capsicum: A herb in the chilli pepper family, the fruit of which is used for its anti-inflammatory properties. One study showed how a mix of capsicum with black pepper and turmeric was just as effective as minoxidil.
Stinging nettle: Rich in silica and sulphur, this extract nourishes and adds shine to your strands, while acting as another natural DHT blocker.
Nutrafol’s ingredients differ slightly depending on the hair loss treatment you go for. I’ve included these adjustments under the products below.
Women’s Balance supplements are recommended for peri and postmenopausal women, when estrogen and progesterone levels decline, or for those experiencing female pattern hair loss with a widening part.
These supplements are suitable for using alongside any HRT therapy you’re on. Women’s Balance contain the same ingredients as Nutrafol Women, plus extra saw palmetto and the following:
Helps to decrease postpartum hair loss, which typically appears after 2–4 months after giving birth due to stress, hormonal changes and nutritional depletion.
Nutrafol claims all of its ingredients are safe for breastfeeding (in fact, some can even boost your milk supply!) and in addition to the Synergen Complex contained in Nutrafol Women and Women’s Balance, these hair supplements contain:
This topical hair growth serum, free from parabens and sulfates, shares many of the key ingredients of the Nutrafol for Women and Men supplements, with the following extra natural ingredients to promote scalp health.
Nutrafol isn’t prescription-strength, so you’re unlikely to experience bad side effects from taking these supplements. However, I cover all potential side effects in this post.
Note: if you have an excess of biotin in your body, if you’re already taking biotin supplements, or if you have a sensitivity to biotin it’s best not to exceed recommended dosage as you may experience some side effects like nausea, cramping or skin rashes (this isn’t a common allergy, though).
Nutrafol is committed to leading the hair health industry forward through regulation – which is so important in an industry with a lot of misinformation and false hopes.
Co-founder Sophia Peralta says: “We clinically test our formulas with third-party research centers to prove efficacy. To ensure purity, Nutrafol’s products are third-party tested for heavy metals, toxins and for microbiological safety.”
I’ve tried more chemical-heavy hair loss treatments (unfortunately, the ones that are usually prescribed by dermatologists) and feel it’s so important people realize there’s other, equally effective options out there.
Personally, I think Nutrafol is FAR safer than things like finasteride or minoxidil. Sure, their natural supplements might take a bit longer to see hair growth results – but they come without the dodgy side effects.
If your doctor advises against using Nutrafol (or you can’t afford it, which is totally understandable!), here are a few great, and cheaper, alternatives. Note: all 3 still contain biotin, so if you’re not taking Nutrafol due to a biotin sensitivity, best to seek out another option.
A third of the price of Nutrafol, these dermatologist-produced supplements also contain saw palmetto, a Vitamn B complex and caffeine as a natural DHT blocker.
At around $40 a bottle, still a much cheaper option than Nutrafol and with a powerful blend of hair-boosting marine extracts in addition to essential minerals like iron, zinc and silica to regulate hormone levels.
In a word? Delicious! Vegamour’s natural strawberry-flavored CBD gummies with MCT oil are loaded with Vitamins A, C and E, a Vitamin B complex and other great hair-supporting ingredients like biotin, folic acid and collagen. Just take one a day – if you can restrain yourself!
All of Nutrafol’s supplements are available on Amazon – and by signing up for their subscription service, you can avail of perks like free doctor consultations/hair analysis.
Side effects are infrequent (as the ingredients are all from natural botanicals) but some people may have a sensitivity to things like biotin. In these cases, you may experience nausea or cramping and you should stop using Nutrafol.
You may start seeing an improvement in hair growth or a decrease in shedding in as little as a month – although Nutrafol recommends a minimum use of 3 months for the best results.
Bottles start at $88 for a one-time purchase. If you choose to get a subscription and enjoy those perks like free hair mineral analysis and doctor consultations, it’s: $79 monthly, $224 for three months or $422 for six months. It’s free for shipping within the US and there’s a flat rate of $32 for international customers.
Nutrafol supplements and their carefully selected plant-based ingredients serve to boost the health of your entire body. Using nutraceutical wellness, you can support your immune system, address hormonal imbalances, correct nutritional deficiencies and boost cell renewal for optimal hair growth – without the many bad side effects that a topical treatment like minoxidil can bring.
I’m a massive advocate for taking a holistic approach and I love that Nutrafol’s clinically proven formula comes from those in the know when it comes to integrative hair health.
If you’re still unsure about what Nutrafol can do for your own thinning hair or hair loss, check out my full review here. Or if you’ve already tried these supplements, please share your hair growth experiences below!
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Alopecian. Yoga Teacher. Copywriter. Here to share information, offer support and show people the adventures that can lie in hair loss. I’m proud to have alopecia and I want to help others embrace their baldness, too!