BTW...I'm currently using Women's One a Day as my Multi-Vitamin and GNC's Ultra Nourish because of the convenience to re-buy and the price ($12.99). I'm still on a search for my staple vitamins until then...
GNC Ultra Nourish Ingredients
Growing Out Message Board
Vitamins are very important for not just the growth of hair but for overall health. After doing years of research on vitamins, I have found what vitamins work and what ones don't. My overall health has improved 200% since starting my vitamin program. And healthy body means healthy nails, skin, and hair.
Multivitamin: I believe everyone needs to be on a good multivitamin. You need a vitamin that contains at least 100% of the most of the recommended daily nutrients. I am very partial to Vitaminshoppe's One A Day vitamin. This is an excellent vitamin for overall health. Note that it does not contain iron. This might be a concern and might not be. Most menstruating women can benefit from extra iron in their diets. If you happen to be a woman that becomes iron deficient easily, you might just wish to add in an extra iron supplement. By not having iron, this makes a good supplement for men, teens, and post-menopausal women.
Calcium: We all need calcium in our diet. This is something that is an absolute necessity. There is some calcium in the above multivitamin, but not enough. Remember that when taking calcium you also need Vitamin D and Magnesium for the calcium to be absorbed properly. Most multivitamins will contain Vitamin D and Magnesium.
Now for the vitamins which promote healthy hair, skin, and nails.
Hair Vitamins: I like a good hair vitamin to start my program. There are several out there. GNC's Ultra Nourishair is probably one of the best I have seen. It is what I take and is the absolute heart of my program. I am a firm believer in this vitamin. It contains all the necessary vitamins needed for healthy hair.
Note: I do not like the vitamins that state for Hair, Skin, and Nails. They generally have less than you really need of the necessary vitamins for healthy hair, skin, and nails. I am not sure why, but they do. If you take a good hair vitamin, your skin and nails will automatically benefit.
MSM: This vitamin is very important for healthy hair, muscles, and joints. It helps to decrease hair fall out. It does this by assisting in making the growth stage of the hair longer. The longer you are able to retain the root, the longer you hair will grow. You may take up to 2000mg/day. Note: Ultra Nourishair contains 500mg of MSM. I take an additional 1000mg/day.
Silica: Helps in the shine of hair. It is also a very valuable antioxidant. It assists in a lot of other areas other than just helping your hair be soft and shiny. There is silica in the Ultra Nourishair; I take an additional 500mg/day.
Evening Primrose: There is so much to say about this essential fatty acid. It contains Omega-6 Fatty Acid (Gamma-Linolenic Acid). This is a good Omega-6 Fatty Acid. It has several benefits of which I will only name a few. Some of the benefits are reducing PMS, clearing up eczema, helping your skin glow, minimize fine wrinkles, reduce cholesterol, help with your metabolism, and cure hair and nail problems. It helps nourish straw-like hair. You really only need 480-960 mg of GLA to reap wonderful benefits. I personally take 500mg/day. You should see results with Evening Primrose as early as 2 weeks of daily consumption. Your scalp should feel less dry and the hair growing in should feel softer and more nourished.
Flaxseed Oil: Now flaxseed Oil is wonderful in the sense that it contains both Alpha-Linolenic Acid (Omega-3 Fatty Acid) and Gamma-Linolenic Acid (Omega-6 Fatty Acid). Omega-3 is very important in our bodies too. We need both to help maintain a healthy body. Omega-3 has been know the help ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder). It is also essential for healthy hair, skin, and nails. It helps hair in the same way Omega-6 does. Why take both? Because the cells of the body need both to work properly. Our bodies do not make either of the Fatty Acids, we must supplement. Taking both will help the cells of the body work more efficiently and in return help growth of hair as well as health of hair and body. I take 500mg/day. I really don't think you need more than that, but experiment. You might find your body does need more.
Biotin: Now biotin is what really can boost your hair growth. Skin, nails, and hair rely on biotin to grow. So, if we feed our bodies more biotin, then our skin will look better, and our nails will be stronger, and our hair will grow faster and stronger. My hair vitamin contains 1200mcg of biotin. I take an additional 2400mcg/day. I have played with the dosage a little and have found that my hair definitely grows faster with the total biotin of 3600mcg/day. You might need to play with this too. You might need more or less than I do for results.
Protein: I can't scream enough about protein. We need it. I don't care if it plant or animal. Truthfully your body can absorb and utilize plant protein better than animal. This is why vegetarians are incredibly healthy. I drink a protein shake everyday with my vitamins. I drink it with milk (it tastes better and I get extra calcium and protein with the milk), vegans can make a protein drink with soymilk (get it with calcium added and you have the benefits of extra vegetable protein and calcium). Adding protein to your diet will help your body all the way around. It will function better and you will not be as hungry all the time. I suggest a protein drink of at least 22gr. of protein. I suggest at least one serving a day. If your diet is really bad, you can drink more. The extra protein will also help your hair grow. It is protein too, you know.
With all this said, everyone is DIFFERENT! You might need more of something than I do, or less. Vitamins are personal things. You need to play with them to get the correct dosage for you. They are not a cure all. They can help your body in ways you wouldn't think about. I have tried to keep the above information brief. I could write pages about each vitamin and why you should take it. The above program works very well for me. My hair grows at the speed of 1 ½" per month. One thing to always remember, when starting a vitamin program, don't expect results overnight. It will take your body 2-6 weeks to benefit from vitamins. This time period depends on how depleted your system is. The average time being 4 weeks. If you are recovering from a serious illness, it could take longer.
One word about prenatal supplements. I personally do not think they will boost hair growth anymore than a good multivitamin. There are a lot of good over-the-counter prenatals out there. I like Natrol probably the best. When I sat down and actually compared the ingredients in prenatal vitamins and multivitamins, the multivitamin actually had more than the prenatals did. Prenatal vitamins do contain extra iron (for anemia), folic acid (for birth defects), and potassium (to help with muscle cramps). Now, none of those ingredients will boost hair growth. I have had 3 pregnancies and I have NEVER taken prenatal vitamins. When I presented my vitamin program to my OB-GYN, each one has stated that they could not have put together a better vitamin program for overall health during pregnancy and after. They have never prescribed a prenatal for me. There really was no need.
If you wish to take a prenatal in addition to a good multivitamin, by all means do. The only reason I think doctors have stated that there has been a boost in hair growth is that generally people don't take vitamins until they get pregnant. They take a prenatal and their hair starts to grow. They think it is the prenatal when in fact it is just getting some good vitamins in the system and the result of pregnancy itself. Pregnancy can cause your hair to grow faster as your body is renewing things a lot faster.