When people begin to experience hair loss, they often look for natural supplements to help them improve their hair health. If you’re researching natural and alternative treatment options, then you might wonder if probiotics are the magic answer. The answer may surprise you. Read on to discover what today’s studies about probiotics show, learn about the connection between your gut health and your hair, and explore which strains of probiotics may be the most beneficial to you.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are a good type of live bacteria and yeast that promote healthy body functions. Their primary purpose is to keep your gut healthy by maintaining a balance between good and bad bacteria, which supports your digestive system. In fact, studies show that probiotics can help with gastrointestinal issues  and prevent microbial reinfections. Probiotics can be found in a wide range of fermented foods, like yogurt, as well as in supplements.
Can Probiotics Increase Hair Growth?
While you’ve likely heard about how probiotics can improve gut health, the benefits they provide extend to other parts of the body as well. This is because gut health has a significant impact on the immune system, which, as it turns out, affects skin and hair follicle health.  According to several scientific studies conducted on mice, there may be certain strains of probiotics that can improve overall hair health. 
While studies regarding the link between probiotics and hair growth in humans are limited, the studies involving mice provide some hope for men and women who want to decrease hair loss. Some of the other reasons scientists believe probiotics may improve hair growth include their ability to:
- Fight inflammation: Studies show that probiotics can decrease stress-induced skin inflammation, which may improve hair follicle growth. 
- Decrease stress: Probiotics can also help people reduce emotional stress and anxiety, which often contributes to hair loss.
- Balance hormones: People who have a lack of probiotic lining in their intestinal walls often experience hormonal issues. Hormonal imbalances can lead to thinning hair, which means maintaining a proper probiotic lining may decrease hair loss.
What Are the Best Probiotics for Healthy Hair?
Here are a few of the probiotics researchers have studied that may promote healthy hair growth:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus: As one of the most common probiotics, lactobacillus acidophilus can be found in yogurt and other fermented foods. It’s a part of the lactic acid bacteria group, which breaks down carbohydrates. This makes lactobacillus acidophilus great at combating bacterial overgrowth.
- Bifidobacterium animalis: This common probiotic lives in the large intestine, where it helps with digestion. It also prevents yeast infections, which can cause dandruff and hair loss.  You can find bifidobacterium animalis in some dairy products.
- Escherichia coli: Some helpful strains of these bacteria can aid with digestion. It can also increase the production of biotin and vitamin K, which promotes several metabolic processes, including hair growth.
- Bacillus subtilis: This probiotic plays an important role in digestion and improves metabolic functioning. This turns the food you eat into energy your body can use and promotes basic cellular processes, such as hair growth.
How Can I Include Probiotics in My Diet?
While there are plenty of probiotic supplements available, one of the best ways to reap the benefits is by incorporating fermented foods into your diet. That’s because these natural probiotics contain short-chain fatty acids, which provide additional anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting support. A few foods that contain probiotics include:
Some cheeses, like brie and asiago, also contain probiotics. Try incorporating a few servings of these foods into your meal plan every week to get started. Pair these dishes with prebiotics found in foods like oats, wheat, garlic, soy, asparagus, and onions to ensure the probiotics you consume have the sustenance they need to survive.  This can help you maximize the benefits you may experience.
If you’re looking to incorporate more probiotics into your diet or start taking supplements, we suggest speaking with your doctor to determine what amount may be right for you. While probiotics are safe and beneficial for most people, people with certain immune system conditions may experience mild side effects, such as bloating or an upset stomach.
Are There Any Probiotic Topical Treatments That Work?
Often, hair loss shampoos are one of the first options people try when trying to improve their hair health. While there are plenty of shampoos, conditioners, hair masks, and other treatments available that contain probiotics, there isn’t currently enough research to determine whether these products promote hair growth. If you’re interested in trying a topical probiotic treatment, we suggest taking the time to research the ingredients.
If you have questions about how to promote healthy hair growth or want to learn about your hair restoration options, our team of qualified and dependable specialists is here to help. Get started by filling out our online contact form or schedule a free consultation to discuss our wide range of hair transplant services and alternatives. You can also browse our photo gallery to see how effective our hair restorative treatments have been for others. At MAXIM Hair Restoration, our goal is to help you achieve the look you desire.
- Susanne Hempel, Sydne J Newberry, Alicia R Maher, Zhen Wang, Jeremy N V Miles, Roberta Shanman, BreanneJohnsen, Paul G Shekelle. (2012). Probiotics for the prevention and treatment of antibiotic-associated diarrhea: a systematic review and meta-analysis. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22570464/
- Petra Arck, BoriHandjiski, Evelin Hagen, Maike Pincus, Christian Bruenahl, John Bienenstock, RalfPaus. (2010). Is there a ‘gut–brain–skin axis’? https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1600-0625.2009.01060.x
- Tatiana Levkovich, TheofilosPoutahidis, Christopher Smillie, Bernard J. Varian, Yassin M. Ibrahim, Jessica R. Lakritz, Eric J. Alm, Susan E. Erdman. (2013). Probiotic Bacteria Induce a ‘Glow of Health’. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3547054/
- Shivaprakash M. Rudramurthy, PrasannaHonnavar, Sunil Dogra, Prakash P. Yegneswaran, SanjeevHanda, ArunalokeChakrabarti. (2014). Association of Malassezia species with dandruff. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4069738/
- Joanne Slavin. (2013). Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705355/