Cod liver oil has been used for hundreds of years for a number of ailments and preventative measures. While cod liver oil has not been specifically tested for its effectiveness as a hair growth agent, it does have several properties that may help with your hair growth. You should speak with your physician before beginning to take cod liver oil.
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Cod Liver Oil Properties
Cod liver oil is an excellent source of vitamins A and D, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. It has anti-inflammatory properties and helps with cell growth and the immune system. Cod liver oil is often used as a treatment to relieve the symptoms of arthritis and for improved cardiovascular health. The University of California, Berkeley’s Wellness Guide to Dietary Supplements reports that cod liver oil may help reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke in people who have previously had a heart attack or are considered high risk for cardiovascular problems.
Vitamin D and Hair Growth
Vitamin D plays an important role in normal hair growth and may help with hair loss. A study published in the November 2002 issue of "Endocrinology" examined laboratory mice that had no hair. The mice were given vitamin D-3, and researchers concluded that it “dramatically stimulated the hair growth of nude mice.” The study also found that the vitamin D-3 induced a normal hair growth cycle pattern that coincided with the formation of healthy hair follicles in mice that typically would not grow hair.
Hair Disorders and Inflammation
Dr. Yann F. Mahe has conducted studies on hair loss and concluded that a high percentage of those suffering from pattern baldness have signs of inflammation. In a paper that appeared in the August 2000 issue of the "International Journal of Dermatology," Mahe states there is a significant amount of inflammation in at least 37 percent of those with pattern baldness. The University of Maryland Medical Center also recommends omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in cod liver oil, as a supplement for those suffering from hair disorders.
The vitamin A content is cod liver oil is so great that there are concerns that it could lead to toxicity. The University of California, Berkeley’s Wellness Guide to Dietary Supplements states that 1 teaspoon may contain as much as 4,500 IU of vitamin A and that adverse effects have been reported with 6,000 IU per day. The Wellness Guide recommends you find brands that state they have reduced vitamin A content. Pregnant women should use extreme caution, as amounts over 10,000 IU per day may increase the risk of birth defects. While the vitamin D content of cod liver oil is three times greater than the recommended daily allowance, it falls within the Office of Dietary Supplements’ tolerable intake levels for those 1 year old or older. Due to the high vitamin content, you should speak to your doctor before using cod liver oil.
- “Endocrinology”; Vitamin D3 Analogs Stimulate Hair Growth in Nude Mice; V. Vegesna, et al.; November 2002
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin D
- Maryland Medical Center: Hair Disorders
- UC Berkeley Wellness Guide to Dietary Supplements: Cod Liver Oil
- “Pediatrics”; Vitamin D, Cod-Liver Oil, Sunlight, and Rickets: A Historical Perspective; Kumaravel Rajakumar; August 2003