Hair loss has always been a significant concern for women and men alike. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, about 30 million women and 50 million men suffer from hair loss, mainly alopecia. Spate, a data science firm, has recorded an average of 829,000 monthly searches in Google for “hair loss” at the beginning of 2021. Whatever the cause may be, there are undoubtedly plenty of people experiencing hair loss and looking for ways to treat it. Shark cartilage is probably the newest craze when it comes to hair loss treatment. As surprising as it may sound, shark cartilage produces some fantastic effects in promoting hair growth, and more and more people are benefiting from it.
Shark Cartilage for Hair Loss
Since the ancient Roman period, shark cartilage has been used as a supplement. Today, it is also known to aid in remedying certain diseases such as cancer, HIV, arthritis, damaged retina, diabetes, wounds, inflamed intestines, and – probably the latest – hair loss.
How does shark cartilage help in hair growth?
Researchers have discovered that shark cartilage stimulates hair growth. Naturally, sharks can produce cells at a high-speed rate. In humans, this characteristic tends to promote cell production and blood supply in the hair follicles. These processes enable the hair follicles to grow healthy hair. In addition, the cartilage produced from the sharks’ cells contains minerals such as calcium, collagen, glucosamine, proteins, sulfur, and polysaccharides. These minerals boost hair growth. Given these reasons, scientists ethically extract cartilage from sharks’ cells to help treat illnesses and promote hair growth.
A study published in the International Journal of Medical Research shows that around 95% of patients who took a drug containing shark cartilage experienced a 38% growth in hair. In another study, Professor Jan Wadstein, a hair expert from Lund University in Sweden, saw 50% hair growth among patients who consistently took another drug containing shark cartilage. These studies, along with first-hand testimonies from a growing number of users, show shark cartilage to be a potent aid for hair growth. As a side note, if you are a vegetarian, you may opt to use Biotin instead.
Shark Cartilage for Common Hair Loss Problems
Shark cartilage may have started to gain popularity as a catalyst for hair growth. However, keep in mind that it only claims to aid mild and temporary hair loss cases, not a cure to severe and permanent ones. Nevertheless, supplements containing shark cartilage may help in the following circumstances except for hereditary hair loss, provided that these are in mild conditions.
Hereditary Hair Loss
This is the most common cause of hair loss among people, especially men. This type runs in the family bloodline and is caused by genes. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for it, but some treatments may help slow down the thinning.
Hormonal Changes and Medical Conditions
Some hair loss conditions are brought about by changing hormones and health conditions. Hormonal changes from pregnancy, childbirth, menopausal, and thyroid problems may cause hair loss. Medical conditions like alopecia areata, causing patchy hair loss, and trichotillomania, a hair-pulling disorder, also lead to losing hair.
Medications and Supplements
Drugs that are taken for illnesses like cancer, arthritis, depression, and heart problems cause hair thinning or, in other cases, complete hair loss. Eventually, the hairs grow back once the person stops taking the medications. At this point, the patients may start taking supplements with shark cartilage to help grow their hair with their doctors’ consent.
Experiencing high-stress levels due to an emotional or physical shock also causes hairs to fall out. When the body receives significant stress, the hair follicles are forced into the resting phase. Eventually, this leads to quite a bit of hair falling out and may even lead to medical conditions like alopecia areata and trichotillomania that may cause a more severe hair loss problem. Using shark cartilage may help grow the hairs back, but ultimately, completely eradicating stress is the answer.
Improper Hair Management
Wrong hair management practices like tight ponytails, excessive combing or brushing, and harsh styling and treatments cause hair damage, leading to hair loss. Using shark cartilage may boost strong hair cells production and hair growth to counter these things.
Dandruff is a scalp problem and a fungal caused by bacteria called Malassezia. Extreme scratching because of itchiness damages the hair follicles, which causes hair loss and even impedes hair growth. Shark cartilage may help treat the damaged follicles and promote hair growth.
Signs of Hair Loss
Try to check your hair. Experiencing any of the issues below may be a signal of a hair loss problem.
Thinning of Hair
Thinning hair is characterized by mild to moderate hair loss. It does not always lead to baldness but is most evident with a thinner hair volume that shows the scalp already. Usually, this is hereditary and comes as male or female advances in age, but a medical condition or hormonal changes may also cause it. It usually begins with a receding hairline.
This is shown by losing hair in circular spots. At first, the areas may appear small, but eventually, they connect and become big spots. This happens when the immune system attacks the hair follicles resulting in hair loss. In most cases, this is caused by a medical condition called alopecia areata.
Sudden Loosening of hair
This is evident when an unusual number of hairs fall out when combing or washing. This happens most of the time due to an emotional or physical shock like stress, injuries, and harsh hair management practices.
Shark Cartilage’s Possible Side Effects
There are not many studies yet about the long-term effects of using shark cartilage. However, some immediate side effects such as the following are reported.
- Abdominal cramps
Despite these side effects, many people can manage with small doses. Given this, it is recommended to still do your research before using it. Furthermore, pregnant women are not advised to take it since it may impede the growth of the fetus. People who have undergone surgery are to avoid it also as it may slow down the healing process.
Most Popular and Effective Shark Cartilage Supplements
Today, there are two supplements known to contain shark cartilage in the market and claim to be effective with hair growth. However, keep in mind that these supplements are effective for moderate and temporary hair loss, not severe and permanent ones.
Viviscal is to be the most-researched supplement for hair growth. As expected, this supplement contains a marine complex called AminoMar, a combination of shark cartilage and mollusk powder.
In the 1980s, a Scandinavian professor researched the Inuit, a group of indigenous people. He found out that the Inuit’s diet was affluent in fish protein that made their skin and hair extremely beautiful. Subsequently, he isolated the critical molecule found in the Inuit’s diet leading to the creation of AminoMar later on.
Studies done by the company and testimonies from users show the success of Viviscal in promoting hair growth among their patients. According to Dr. Alan Bauman, a board-certified hair restoration physician, “There is little published science to describe why the marine polysaccharides found in shark cartilage (the ingredients in Viviscal PRO) help with hair growth. However, having offered the product to our patients since 1999, admittedly with skepticism at first, I can confidently say that there is certainly a physiological effect on hair fiber production. In addition, improvements in hair quality, thickness, and texture are widespread when the product is used consistently.”
Nourkrin is another brand that is also known for hair growth. However, it is used more in the UK while Viviscal is in the US. Just like Viviscal, it also contains shark cartilage, which they call Marilex. Nourkrin’s team of experts creates this ingredient. In terms of effectiveness, this supplement also claims to be effective as supported by its consumers.
More Ways to Boost Hair Growth
Using shark cartilage for hair growth is recommended as it has shown some proven and promising effects. However, supplementing the use of shark cartilage with other ways may help to promote hair growth better. Most importantly, treating the root cause of hair loss is the best way.
Extreme and chronic stress is another common cause of hair loss. Typically, 50 to 100 hairs fall out from the head and are replaced daily. However, when stress levels are high, they tend to fall out faster. In addition, a condition called trichotillomania makes a person pull out his hair. All this may lead to hair loss. To avoid this, manage your stress levels. Keep away from things that cause extreme and chronic stress. Do more of the things that promote peace and relaxation to your body. Regular exercises are known to help.
Keeping a Healthy Scalp
A flaky scalp is one of the causes of hair loss. Dandruff tends to be itchy and causes a person to scratch his head repeatedly. When this happens, the hair follicles are damaged, resulting in hair loss. Keep your scalp clean and healthy by using shampoo every day. Also, try to exfoliate your scalp at least once a week to remove dead skin cells. Just like the skin, the scalp needs regular exfoliation as well.
Weekly Pre-Shampoo Conditioning Treatment
Hair split ends impede hair growth because of their nature to break from the tip and roots. Repair your hair by applying a pre-shampoo conditioning treatment once a week.
Eating a Hair-Healthy Breakfast
Naturally, the hair develops cells fast for healthy hair growth. However, in the morning, the follicles have minimal energy to perform cell production. Eating a healthy breakfast that’s rich in protein and complex carbohydrates provides power for your hair to form new hair cells.
Snacking Between Meals
Four hours after eating, the energy to produce hair cells drops typically. Therefore, it is advisable to eat nutrient-dense snacks between meals to help your hair make more cells.
Although there have not been many studies yet to prove the effectiveness of using shark cartilage for hair growth, there is already a growing number of testimonies showing significant hair growth results after using shark cartilage. Therefore, you may choose to try using shark cartilage to see if it will work with your hair while still keeping other natural and effective practices to promote hair growth.