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Menopause and Hair: Tips for Keeping It Strong and Healthy
By Joe Boland
August 23, 2023
During menopause, there is naturally a decline in the production of hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone. This is normal. These hormonal changes can lead to various physical and mindset impacts, including hair health and sleep issues brought on by menopause.
In fact, hair health can also be impacted during perimenopause, before menopause officially begins. Thankfully, there are ways to help keep those tresses in tip-top shape, even during menopause.
Hair health during menopause can primarily be impacted due to the natural decrease in estrogen levels. Estrogen plays a role in hair health by promoting hair growth and helping to prolong the hair's growth phase.
As estrogen levels normally decline during menopause, the hair growth cycle can become impacted, sometimes even leading to shorter and thinner hair strands. Additionally, the ratio of androgens (male hormones) to estrogen may increase, which can further contribute to hair impacts.
Here are a few key points to understand about menopause-related hair health:
Gradual Process: Hair impacts during menopause is usually a gradual process that occurs over years, rather than a sudden event.
Possible Thinning: Women experiencing menopausal hair impacts may notice a general thinning of their hair, which is normal.
Genetics: Genetic predisposition can play a significant role for women and their hair during menopause. If your family has a history of hair being impacted during menopause, you might want to be more aware.
Other Factors: While hormonal changes are the primary cause of menopausal hair impacts, other factors like stress, nutrition, lifestyle habits and more can also contribute.
While it's natural for some hair impacts to occur, there are several tips and strategies you can follow to help keep your hair strong and healthy during and after menopause. Of course, you should always consult your healthcare professional prior to beginning any new dietary or lifestyle regimen, including supplementation.
A nutritious diet rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins is essential for hair health. Include foods high in biotin, vitamin D, iron and omega-3 fatty acids. Good sources include eggs, fish, nuts, seeds, leafy greens and whole grains.
Drinking enough water is crucial for overall health, including the health of your hair. Proper hydration ensures that hair follicles receive the necessary nutrients.
There are many supplements out there specifically to deal with hair health and/or menopause. Some of the best when it comes to menopause and hair health can include:
Can you use collagen for hair growth? Collagen boosts protein intake, which in turn helps support healthy hair because hair strands are primarily made up of keratin, a type of protein that can be boosted by collagen consumption, so that the body has the building blocks to make its own collagen.
Types 1 and 3 collagen are thought to be the most beneficial for hair health, and it's wise to consume a collagen supplement that provides a variety of collagen types.
Biotin is another supplement that supports keratin infrastructure. It also plays a role in converting and using nutrients that benefit hair health, such as helping turn fats into oils that strengthen hair health.
Increases in the hormone 5α-Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) can lead to hair impacts because hair follicles are sensitive to this hormone. As a natural DHT blocker, saw palmetto can help keep hair thick and healthy.
Much like saw palmetto, pygeum can help block DHT, which in turn is beneficial for hair.
Pumpkin Seed Oil
Pumpkin seed oil is a good source of zinc, a mineral that helps with promoting healthy hormones and can benefit normal hair growth. Plus, it blocks DHT, and there is even research showing it could potentially help reboot hair growth.
Anagen is the active phase of the hair growth cycle, and some research shows that fish oil can promote hair growth via anagen-stimulating pathways. Thus, it could help thicken hair.
Aloe Vera Juice
Not only can aloe vera juice help thicken hair, but it also moisturizes the hair and scalp thanks to its nourishing properties. In addition, some studies indicate it can help promote healthy skin tissue around hair follicles.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that plays a major role in the balancing of the hormone cortisol. When cortisol levels get too high, it can play a role in impacting hair health. Since ashwagandha can help balance cortisol levels, it may also vicariously help promote healthy, normal hair growth.
Like ashwagandha, rhodiola is an adaptogen that can help foster healthy, normal hair growth due its ability to help balance cortisol.
B vitamins, such as biotin mentioned above, support healthy hormonal levels, and some research shows a link between getting enough B vitamins — such as riboflavin, biotin, folate and B12 — and hair health. Taking a B-complex vitamin can help you reach your daily intake of each of these vitamins that help support hair growth and strength.
Hair health is also tied to getting enough zinc, and some research shows that zinc is beneficial to hair follicles. This means zinc can help promote healthy hair follicle cells to help keep those lovely locks looking great!
Some research shows red light therapy can help promote skin rejuvenation and collagen production, which can help stimulate hair follicle growth. It's also been shown to be a safe treatment for most people, when used according to directions.
Weekly microneedling treatment of the scalp may potentially improve hair growth, according to research, and it can help maintain a healthy scalp, which is crucial for promoting healthy hair and hair growth.
Exercise promotes overall health, including blood circulation to the scalp. This increased blood flow can nourish hair follicles and promote healthy hair growth.
Maintain a clean and healthy scalp by washing your hair regularly using a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo. Massaging your scalp during washing can improve blood circulation, which can support healthy hair growth.
Avoid heat styling, as excessive use of heat styling tools like hair dryers, straighteners and curling irons can damage hair and make it more prone to breakage. If you do use heat, use a heat protectant, and opt for lower heat settings.
Handle your hair gently to avoid unnecessary stress and breakage. Use wide-tooth combs or your fingers to detangle wet hair, and avoid aggressive brushing.
Also, avoid tight hairstyles that put stress on the hair follicles, such as tight ponytails, braids or buns. These can lead to hair breakage and damage.
Engage in calming activities like yoga, meditation, deep breathing or spending time in nature to calm the mind and limit the impacts of stress. These practices can help remove undue strain and help to support hormonal balance.