Vitamin A and hair loss Log Out | Topics | Search
Hairloss-Reversible Home Page | Moderators | Register | Edit Profile » Alternative Treatments » Vitamin A and hair loss « Previous Next »

Author Message

Posted on Friday, February 01, 2002 - 12:51 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I've heard that too much vitamin A can cause hair loss. If this is true, then how much is too much? Is there any difference between the vitamin A from animal sources and from plant sources?

Tom Hagerty (Admin)
Posted on Saturday, February 02, 2002 - 12:55 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post


I take cod liver oil for the omega-3 fatty acid, but cod liver oil also has a lot of vitamin A and vitamin D. You can overdose on both of these fat-soluble vitamins so you have to be careful especially when taking supplements. You certainly do not need more than 5000 IU of vitamin A daily. Continually taking too much vitamin A (50,000 IU)can cause hair loss.

So be cautious about taking too much of this nutrient from supplements or from animal products like liver. But you can comsume all the carotene from vegetable sources you want. Even though carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body (unless you are a diabetic), you cannot overdose on this. In fact, the more carotene you get from plant sources the better.

Posted on Friday, May 10, 2002 - 05:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I have been taking a number of vitamins for the last couple of months. Vitamin A was one of these. Since taking these vitamins I have experienced an increase in hair loss which inspired me to find this site. The discovery that vitamin A can cause hairloss was a bit of a surprise but it makes sense to me. I'm not going to take vitamin A anymore.

Also, zinc is another supplement that I have become wary of. Too much probably brings hairloss as well. But too little and your virility will be affected. It is like balancing on a hair to get it right. I'd say take no more than 15mg a day - you should get the rest from your diet.

Tom Hagerty (Admin)
Posted on Saturday, May 11, 2002 - 04:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post


It's only a balancing act if you get your nutrients from supplements. If your diet is poor, then you probably need supplements. But why settle for a poor diet? I don't consider high-potency brewer's yeast a supplement. It has all the amino acids, the entire B-complex, and most trace minerals, including zinc, in sensible amounts. The nutrients in yeast are also assimilated easily. I also take a very small amount of cod liver oil for the Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Since cod liver oil contains a lot of concentrated vitamin A, I don't want to take too much. You really do need to take a supplement for vitamin E, however, because you can't get much from a normal diet.

I read several long articles in the Harvard Health Letter about the effects of too much vitamin A. Hair is one of the casualties. If you read the labels of everything from milk to cereal, you'll see vitamin A. The last thing you need is a supplement with vitamin A in it unless you want to look like Kojak.

Posted on Monday, August 19, 2002 - 03:38 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Damn I heard vitamine A helps u grow hair. I should quit i was takins supliments lol.

Tom Hagerty (Admin)
Posted on Tuesday, August 20, 2002 - 08:00 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


The vitamin A you get in supplements and even in cereals can be toxic in large amounts. Since this vitamin is not water soluble it tends to be stored in the body. There have been many studies showing that an overabundance of vitamin A in the diet can cause hair loss.

You cannot get a toxic amount of carotene though. Carotene can be converted into vitamin A in the body but only when needed. Carotene is in carrots, broccoli, spinach, and green leafy vegetables. Don't worry about consuming too many of these great foods that are rich in phytochemicals essential to your health.

Posted on Wednesday, August 21, 2002 - 09:44 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

All this talk about food is making me hungry.

Posted on Wednesday, August 21, 2002 - 10:32 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


How much is an overabundance of vitamin A? I take a high-potency multivitamin daily that contains 2000 IU of it.

Tom Hagerty (Admin)
Posted on Wednesday, August 21, 2002 - 01:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post


Don't worry about 2000 IU of vitamin A. Try not to get above the 5000 IU level though. Many foods like cereals and milk have vitamin A added. These foods plus the supplements can push you over the optimum amount. I've seen some therapeutic supplements with 50,000 IU. Goodbye hair.

I'd go through a list of foods rich in vitamin A but I don't want to make Freddie hungrier than he already is.

Posted on Friday, October 04, 2002 - 04:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hi Tom...

I'm taking a dietary supplement twice a day that contains 2500 IU of vitamin A. So that hits the 5000 IU mark. Would you say this is ok? I mean, condersidering the added amount of vitamin A I get from three meals a day. By the way, I'm keeping up with the exercises with my fingers crossed. Thanks!

Tom Hagerty (Admin)
Posted on Saturday, October 05, 2002 - 08:56 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


Taking 2500 IU of vitamin A twice a day in a supplement is not too much of this nutrient. But be sure not to indulge in other dishes loaded with vitamin A. Calf's liver (1/2 pound), for example, has 75,000 IU of vitamin A. Since this vitamin is fat soluable, it is stored in the body. You do not want your body to become saturated with this vitamin if you value your hair.

When it comes to programs for halting hair loss, you always have to keep your fingers crossed. There are no magic bullets around, and there are many completely worthless pills and potions. It's like a minefield.

If you have some success with my scalp exercise program, tell us about it. If the scalp exercise program causes you to lose all your hair and break out in boils and warts, tell us about that too.

Posted on Monday, January 27, 2003 - 05:07 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I have been taking cod liver oil liquid (tablespoon)a day for 3-4 months and I am noticing a marked receeding hairline

I have stopped taking it now, will the hair grow back over time or]have I lost this hair forever due to the temporary excess Vit A?

Can I take somthing to counter this excess?
Iron tablets maybe.

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2003 - 07:58 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


I take cod liver oil too because of the omega-3 essential fatty acid and other nutrients that might be beneficial for the hair, but now I take less than a teaspoonful and not every day. You do not want to ingest too much vitamin A because this might have a negative impact on your hair, and even worse, might cause demineralization of your bones.

I doubt very much, though, if the amount you've been taking has caused your receding hairline. Toxicity from vitamin A, by the way, is caused by the ingestion of 50,000 IU or more of vitamin A daily for an extended period of time. Some of the symptoms of toxicity are dry itchy skin, sore lips, headaches, diffuse hair loss but usually not pattern hair loss.

Vitamin C may help prevent the harmful effects of vitamin A toxicity. I don't think popping an iron pill will help though.

Martin Evans
Posted on Sunday, February 09, 2003 - 06:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hi Tom
I wrote to you on Jan 28th regarding taking too much Cod Liver Oil which you said probably hasn't caused my noticable receeding hairline at the temples in recent months. I tend to agree from your comments on dosage levels although I was taking a full tablespoon a day + 750iu of Vit C daily too. Might this combination have caused my hair to receed? I am a youthful looking 48 and take care of myself yet genenically I don't stand a chance since my father lost his hair at the temples very noticably although I'm not sure what age this is supposed to start. What can I do apart from cut down on Vit A which I have done immediately. I have read about a wonderful hair diet supplement using pure orange, brewers yeast, zinc etc

Is brewers yeast good in tablet form, what else like this can I take that might help? Is there a product that might grow the hair back. Plus, I am having great results with Grecian 2000 (liquid) in keeping the grey at bay, are there any long term detrimental side effects from using this product? It is lead based, yet it seems to work naturally, is this really so, can you recommend it for long term use, will it CAUSE hair to receed more quickly over time or is there a better way to hide grey hair than this inexpensive good but slightly worrying product?

Lastly Tom I have read great things about NISIN
growing hair back or at least preventing what's left falling out - do you recommend this product?

Thanks very much Tom


Tom Hagerty
Posted on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 04:17 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Martin Evans:

I don't think that taking a tablespoonful of cod liver oil and 3/4 gram of vitamin C will cause your hair to recede. It's good that you cut back on the cod liver oil, though, and perhaps you might cut back on the vitamin C too. Do you really need that much? If you're taking pure ascorbic acid tablets you might be irritating the lining of your stomach. Some people take ester-C with bioflavonoids. If I took pills, this is what I'd take. I get all the vitamin C I need (I think) from oranges and orange juice.

I don't think I ever recommended taking zinc. It's in the brewer's yeast along with copper and other trace minerals, but I would not take the zinc tablet alone. A high intake of zinc interferes with your absorption of copper. You need copper for proper hair synthesis.

I use brewer's yeast from It has a good flavor and it is not sweetened with aspartame. The tablets are good too. Check the labels for the vitamin content.

I never heard of Nisin. Do you mean Nioxin or Nizoral? Both of these products have good reputations but they will not grow hair and I don't think they claim to.

I don't know anything about Grecian 2000 but someone I respect told me that she would not use anything with lead in it. This certainly is not a definitive answer to your question.


Posted on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 05:16 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Martin here again
Tom,would you do some reserch on Grecian 2000 and Nisin for me? Both are widely known products. I'd like to know more about these please.

Are you saying that Brewers Yeast in whatever form is esp.good for the hair?

Thanks Tom

Posted on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 05:22 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

That's NISIM cleansing Shampoo.
Well known in the USA I believe.

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2003 - 07:46 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


You'll have to do the research on Grecian 2000 and Nisim yourself. Nisim claims that 85% of the participants in a study regrew a significant amount of hair. So the results have been "clinically proven." Clinically proven as I'm sure most people who visit hair-loss sites know is an almost meaningless promotional phrase. I've checked on several discussion forums. Very few people have positive comments on this product. It might be a good shampoo but it doesn't grow hair.

Brewer's yeast in whatever form might be good for the hair. I think it could help keep the hair its original color but don't ask me for proof. The product certainly has a balanced mix of nutrients that most experts feel are important in keeping the hair healthy.

Posted on Thursday, April 17, 2003 - 10:10 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

I'm currently taking accutane and I have never experienced so much hair loss. Is it true that accutane has a lot of vitamin A?

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Friday, April 18, 2003 - 08:00 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


Accutane (isotretinoin) is a form of vitamin A so you don't want to take any supplements that contain more vitamin A while you're on the drug. You also don't want to expose your skin, especially your scalp, to sun. Accutane makes you really sensitive to the sun. Stay off alcohol too while you're using this drug.

Accutane works by decreasing the amount of oil (sebum) produced by the sebaceous glands. It also increases the rate of skin cell turnover.

But I think your main concern is with hair loss while on the drug. One of the side effects of this drug is hair loss, so get off the drug as soon as your doctor feels it has done the job of clearing up your acne.

Posted on Thursday, May 22, 2003 - 02:53 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Please ! Please! Do yourselves a huge favor and do not consume too much Vitamin A. It will cause Hair loss I am a victim of this! Save your hair!
Save Your Hair and don't be Bald... For both Men and Women.


Posted on Friday, May 23, 2003 - 09:13 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

I too was a victim of taking too much Vitamin A. I thought I was hypo-thyroid but all the tests came back normal and the only thing wrong with me is high cholesterol....that and vitamin A overdose.

If anyone has any information about reversing the vitamin A damage that would be great.

My beautiful red hair has always been the talk of the town --- especially when it was thick and 44 inches long. I feel devastated not only did I cut 20 inches off in September of 2002 - now it is thinning. I am only 27 for Pete's sake!

Life goes on I suppose I just wished someone had told me about the vitamin A stuff before I took a ton of vitamins over the winter to improve my immune system.

Steve Greeson
Posted on Wednesday, June 25, 2003 - 05:14 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Look at homeless people on the street.People who spent there last Doller on som type of addiction. Do you think thay get a good diet?Thay eat out of trash cans.Have you ever seen a addict or wineO with thinning hair?

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Thursday, June 26, 2003 - 08:39 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Steve Greenson:

I assume from your rhetorical question that you are implying that diet and life style mean nothing when it comes to hair loss. These street people get no decent nutrition yet they have good hair. "Have you ever seen a addict or wineO with thinning hair?" If you have not seen a "winO" with thinning or no hair, then you've not been looking too hard.

Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 06:05 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Tom Hagerty;You are right, I haven't looked too hard. But if nutrition was all it took to have a nice thick head of hair,then we people in the US would have the thickest and most beautfull hair in the world. We don't! It's all Genetics + Hormones. I think you could be looking too hard, for a miracle threw nutrition. It's not there. Hair club for men is.

Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 10:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I doubt he's saying it's just nutrition, it's just part of the solution.

The US also would not have the thickest hair, look at those obesity rates... try meditarrean people and see what you find, I'm curious.

Personally, I believe it's genetic and lifestyle, that is, someone can loose their hair by genetics alone but can prevent it by lifestyle, but someone without the MPB gene could also go bald if they are not careful.


Tom Hagerty
Posted on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 09:26 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


Thanks for setting the record straight. It's amazing how people with an "agenda" can misinterpret someone's meaning. I never said that "nutrition was all." In fact, I know of no reputable research or studies indicating that diet alone can reverse hair loss. But I think that good diet combined with other factors (a multilayered approach) might have a chance to halt hair loss and possibly grow new hair.

The US diet! I doubt if the normal US diet is hair friendly. The Mediterranean diet, which I like, is much better for the hair - and the blood vessels and the heart too.

Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2003 - 02:32 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Is the hair loss secondary to hypervitaminosis permanent?

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2003 - 09:48 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


This is a quotation from a respected book on hair loss: "Excessive amounts of some vitamins, such as vitamin A, can actually lead to temporary hair loss." Of course for the hair loss to be temporary, the megadoses of vitamin A have to cease. Even though I believe the nutrients in cod liver oil, like omega-3, are beneficial to hair, I limit myself to less than a teaspoonful because of the large amount of vitamin A in this supplement.

Posted on Wednesday, December 24, 2003 - 03:52 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Tom... im just wondering... i just took roaccutane too (please read my post in accutane topic, hehe i have insisted a lot on it :-) )...
i read that u said that vitamin C can give some help against the toxiticy of vitamin A (as roaccutane do it)... so maybe taking a lot of orange juice and limonade could help?? or maybe taking vitamin C supplements?? is there any consecuences of taking a lot of vitamin C... i dont want to face another tricky problem there hehe... oh well.... if i find a cure to the hair loss caused by roaccutane... i will tell everybody... thanks :-)

Posted on Wednesday, December 24, 2003 - 03:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I think u just answered me in another topic... thanks..

michelle Cantwell
Posted on Monday, February 09, 2004 - 06:25 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Mr. Hagerty,

I'm 38 and I just finished a 5 mo. round of accutane (60 mg daily) for mild to moderate acne. I weigh about 113 lbs. During the 3rd mo. of medication my hair began shedding and has continued. I've now been off the medication for about 7 weeks. Will Vit C help stop the shedding, and if so in what dasage? Most importantly, will my hair ever stop falling out or will I become bald? (I've lost more than half of my hair by now.) Will it ever come back if it falls out? My dermatologist says the follicles don't look scarred. I'm not sure what that means. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Tuesday, February 10, 2004 - 01:18 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Michelle Cantwell:

I hope you don't start on the Accutane route again. There are better, less toxic ways, to treat acne. Click here - Acne - for one idea to explore. I don't think there's any one vitamin pill (Vit C) that will stop the shedding or make your hair return. Everyone seems to rely on a pill to solve a problem. My suggestion is getting a lot of antioxidants (vitamin C, E) and the entire B-complex from natural sources. The nutrients from natural sources are easy to assimilate. Of course if you can't resist junk food, then a good multivitamin is OK.

But time is the best hope you have for restoration of your hair. After the trigger (Accutane) for hair loss is removed, your hair follicles should rebound. Be patient though. It might take a year.

Posted on Tuesday, February 10, 2004 - 01:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post


Thanks for your reply. Trust me, I will never take accutane again. My skin looks beautiful, but I've traded one problem for another. I'm trying to take things one day at a time, but seeing what comes out each day is overwhelming. Have you ever heard of the TE phase lasting long enough for all the hair to fall out? Also, have you ever heard from anyone who didn't get their hair back after accutane? Do you know how long the Vit. A will remain in my body? It seems like being off the medication for 7 weeks is a long time. Any advice? Sorry to bombard you with so many questions. I'm searching for as many answers as possible so when I see my Dermatologist on Monday I'll be armed with questons. Thanks!

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2004 - 07:12 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


Women with TE do not lose all their hair and they do not get bald spots. The thinning with TE is diffuse but it can be quite severe.

Yes, I have heard of a few women not getting back all their hair after using Accutane. This is rare though.

Even though the vitamin A derivitive of Accutane stays in the body a relatively short time, this does not mean that the hair follicles in TE will bounce back in a short time. It takes time for the follicles to regain a measure of stability again and go through the various stages of the hair cycle before they respond to the now nontoxic environment.

Posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2004 - 09:26 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


From what I understand it is VERY rare for people not to get their hair back after accutane-induced TE has developed.

michelle c
Posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2004 - 11:56 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Tom & Anonymous,

Thank you both for your input. I hope I'm not that "rare" person who doesn't get her hair back. I'll just try to wait and see and not stress so much about it because I'm sure stress only adds to the problem. If anyone has expreienced this hair loss due to accutane, please post your experience and the results you had. I'm curious. Thanks again! Also, to the anonymous person who responed above, I'm curious as to why you're at this site. If you don't mind sharing your experience, I'd love to know your situation. Since you believe it's very rare for people not to get their hair back after accutane, I'm wondering if you also took accutane. Please reply if possible.

Posted on Thursday, February 12, 2004 - 09:31 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


Yes, I was on accutane up until about a year ago. I remember when speaking to my dermatologist before going onto it, he warned me that some degree of hairloss is a side effect in about 5-10% of cases. He said, however, that it has only been VERY rare (emphasised the "very" part) for those who experience hairloss not to get their hair back. That is all the evidence I have unfortunately. I'm sorry I can't be of more help. I did not experience TE as a side effect of my accutane treatment. I am on this site because of male pattern baldness but saw ur post and thought I would offer my limited advice...

You sound like a person who has a good attitude and I hope that you are successful in remaining positive and not stressing about the situation you are experiencing. I know it can be hard to do, but try to think of how insignificant one year can be in the scheme of someone's life. that's how I managed to get thru my very tough 6 months on accutane. In the end it will make u a stronger person, although it is tough to see it that way at first...

Good luck.

michelle c
Posted on Thursday, February 12, 2004 - 10:02 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Dear Anonymous,

Thanks for sharing. I appreciate your positive input. You're right about being positive and becoming stronger. I've been through two high risk pregnancies which involved some serious stress, surgery, and bed rest, so I guess hair loss pales in comparison to these events. I should try to be glad that for now my acne is gone and my skin is radiant, and my liver is healthy, at least I think it is. Thanks again for your help and support. Good luck to you in your situation. (My husband is 38 and for the last year or two his hair is thinning and receeding. His dad is completely bald, so he doesn't think he can be helped.) Thanks again.

Posted on Monday, February 23, 2004 - 02:36 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

..I take Vitamin C for a skin condition and it makes me shed more hair..why?..

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Monday, February 23, 2004 - 01:06 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post


That's a good question - why? I never heard of vitamin C causing hair loss.

Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2004 - 04:47 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

..I think it's because {not positve though} Vitamin C helps the adrenal glands which increase blood pressure which then causes the prostate to enlarge slightly and produce more DHT HORMONE which is the main cause of hair's a chain reaction..blood pressure medication is often prescribed for enlarged prostate..that's how they found out PROPECIA helps hair's a blood pressure medication..but it's a lower dose when used for hair loss..I don't like the side effects of it though and it's expensive as hell!..Saw Palmetto blocks DHT just as well for me..

michelle c.
Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2004 - 01:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I could use your advice again. I saw my dermatologist last week about my accutane indused hair loss. (TE) She said I shouldn't keep worrying, because she sees some new regrowth. (1 - 4 cm pieces of hair) I see it too. She told me to continue Men's Rograine for anothet 3 - 4 months, and I've already been on it for over 2 months. I'm not sure what to do. The doctor said she's seen success with Rograine keeping the hairs in the anogen phase from shifting to the telogen phase. But what will happen when I eventually stop taking it? I obviously can't take it forever. Should I just bite the bullet and stop it now or keep using it? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. By the way, my hair loss has slowed down somewhat. I'm still losing a lot though.

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Thursday, February 26, 2004 - 09:07 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


From what I've read I gather that Rogaine will help people with TE grow their hair back faster, but not by much. When you stop using the Rogaine you will not lose all that you've gained. If you use Rogaine for pattern baldness, on the other hand, you will lose all that you've gained when you quit treatment.

You have to make your own decision about what to do. You'll probably feel better following the advice of your doctor. One always feels better following the voice of authority. :-)

Tall Brunette
Posted on Sunday, March 07, 2004 - 11:57 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

I was hospitilized for almost three weeks this past Nov. for double bacterial pneumonia. Two weeks of a couple very strong antibiotics and many chest xrays. I was searching the net for the reason of my dramatic hair loss, when I saw too much Vit A as a possible cause, along with the above mentioned. I am a 47 year old healthy white female, went through menopause in 2002. As a smoker (not any more) I took A,E,C,& ZINC every day for years. Since the first of the year I started taking 2400-4800mg daily of Fish Oil for the Omega-3 & 6 and Beta Carotene equivalent to 2500I.U. Vit A, along with my usual 8,000 I.U. Vit A. I have lost half of my beautiful mane in the last 6-8wks. Never knew it could be self-induced. I found your site pursuing this possibilty. I am stopping the Fish Oil, and Vit A immediately. Do you think I should also stop the Beta Carotene. I will let you know when/if my hair stops falling out. Thank you for your information. This is a wonderful service you are providing.

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Monday, March 08, 2004 - 07:55 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Tall Brunette:

Don't take my advice as the last word on the subject. Do some more studying, and then decide if what I'm going to write makes sense.

You're getting vitamin A in milk, cereal (most cereals have added vitamin A), margarine, butter. You probably don't need any more in your diet. I think 5000 I.U. is sufficient. This is one vitamin that you don't want to load up on. It's not like the water-soluble B-complex that's quickly flushed out of your system. The fat-soluble vitamin A stays in your system a long time. If you're taking too much, it builds up. This can be disastrous for hair.

Even though carotene can be converted into vitamin A, you don't have to worry about getting too much of this phytonutrient. I prefer to get it from steamed broccoli and carrots. A study done in Finland suggests that the carotene in pills is almost useless. Read my article - Eat Your Broccoli.

I used to take a small amount of cod liver oil for the omega-3, but now I get the essential fatty acids from flaxseed oil, evening primrose oil, and walnuts.

Be careful about too much zinc. You need zinc for healthy hair, but copper is also essential. Too much zinc interferes with copper absorption, and this can even cause incomplete iron metabolism.

I take brewer's yeast powder (not the pills) from It has a nice balance of the trace minerals like copper and zinc, plus all the B-complex except B-12. It tastes OK too if you blend it with orange juice. Some brands of brewer's yeast taste horrible.

"Two weeks of a couple very strong antibiotics and many chest xrays."

People who take antibiotics for long periods of time often have hair problems because of the antibiotics effect on intestinal bacteria. Biotin is synthesized by intestinal bacteria. Antibiotics kill off this bacteria. But two weeks on antibiotics is no problem.

My strong feeling is that with a proper diet your hair will rebound and you'll be taller and more brunette than ever.

michelle c.
Posted on Monday, March 08, 2004 - 11:10 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


When I read the above post something came to mind. (I'm the gal who has questioned you several times about your knowledge of accutane related hair loss.) Well, before I started accutane in August, I went off antibiotics used to suppress my acne outbreaks. I had been on some type of anibiotics for about 9 years straight. The most recent one I was on was minocycline. My hair began shedding in October after about 3 months on the accutane and 3 months off the antibiotic. Do you think the sudden shift from continual antiobiotics, plus the accutane trigger, is why my hair is still continuing to shed? I am taking bioin now, about 300 mcg daily. I'm also seeing my dermatologist today to have some blood work done. I'd appreciate any thoughts you may have to share on this subject.
Thanks in advance!

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Tuesday, March 09, 2004 - 07:20 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


Some people with skin conditions like acne and rosacea used to take antibiotics for sustained periods of time. There are better ways to treat these conditions now. Many of these people on that prolonged use of antibiotics had problems with hair loss as one of the side effects.

"Do you think the sudden shift from continual antiobiotics, plus the accutane trigger, is why my hair is still continuing to shed?"

It's hard to pinpoint what a trigger is, but that combination might very well be it.

Where are you getting that 300 micrograms of biotin from? If you're taking a pill very little of this member of the B-complex is being absorbed. My suggestion would be to get the entire B-complex from natural foods or even from brewer's yeast powder mixed with orange juice. All members of the B-complex work synergistically. If you take huge doses of one B vitamin it could throw out of balance the synergistic properties of the complex. (300 micrograms of biotin is not a huge dose.)

Posted on Wednesday, March 10, 2004 - 10:06 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

I don't take Omega 3 oil but soft gels. Do they also contain vitamin A?

Posted on Wednesday, March 10, 2004 - 10:29 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

You say that Evening primrose oil is an alternative to Omega 3 oil. Does it mean that it contains less vitamin A, but has similar benefits? Thank you.

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Thursday, March 11, 2004 - 08:02 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

There is no vitamin A in most omega-3 products, certainly not in flaxseed oil or evening primrose oil. If you're getting your omega-3 from fish oil softgels, you had better check the label.

Posted on Sunday, March 21, 2004 - 09:24 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

I used to have a full head of hair and then I started an accutane treatment programme to treat severe chronic acne. My acne cleared up but my hair started thinning. I completed treatment last November, but my hair loss hasn't got any better yet. I've heard that the loss is reversible in most cases. How long will this take though?


Tom Hagerty
Posted on Monday, March 22, 2004 - 08:38 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


The kind of hair loss that many people suffer from after a course of Accutane is called telogen effluvium. This is not a permanent condition, but the time-frame for getting back your hair is depressing - 6 months to 72 months. Most people see improvement in a year's time though.

Posted on Tuesday, March 23, 2004 - 02:43 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Tom and "anonymous" from above,

I just wanted to post some really good news about my "accutane related hair loss." I think that the shedding has finally stopped after 5 long months. (I've been off the medicine since Jan. 2nd and losing hair since mid Oct.) I had a scalp biopsy last week and a bunch of blood work which showed nothing out of the ordinary, except that the follicles looked good and that I was experiencing a temporary hair thinning condition called telogen effluvium. (Duh, that's what my dermatologist has been telling me for months now.) Anyways, a few days after the biopsy, when it was okay to wash, I did so and noticed that hardly any hair came out in the shower. When I combed it out wet, I only had about 25 hairs as compared to my usual 80 - 100. I've washed my hair several times since and I'm only getting about 10 hairs. Wow, what a change. The only other factors that may or may not have contributed are that I quit using Rogaine about 3 weeks ago,and I started using Nioxin about a week ago. I really doubt either one played a big part - I really think it's what everyone has been saying all along, TE takes time to recover from. I've still got tons of regrowth coming in. (My hair dresser hadn't seen me since mid Jan. and she was shocked at all the new hair.) Now if that just stays in. Anyways, I wanted to be sure to relay my good news because I know how upsetting and frightening this whole hair loss process has been. I know when I found this site I was looking for some truthful answers and hopefully some promising ones too. Hang in there "Anonymous" and anyone else suffering this situation.
Michelle C.

Posted on Tuesday, March 23, 2004 - 05:23 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Thanks Tom Hagerty for your quick reply and thanks Michelle for your encouraging news

All the best

Iris Kerr
Posted on Saturday, March 27, 2004 - 09:39 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hi, I dyed my hair black for 8 years, no problems. I was also on Accutane for 4 months a year 5 times during that period, weighing 125 lbs at 40mg of Accutane. The 5th time I took it was a mystery. 3 months after stopping the Accutane I dyed my hair one night and lots of hair fell out. I stopped dying it and wondered if it was the accutane or the dye. 6months later my hair seemed to have returned to almost its' origninal fullnes and I took accutane again a 6th time. 5 months after stopping accutane I dyed my hair again, and 6 weeks later I dyed it again. THe night before dying it I ate 2 big servings of fish I theink it was sole or haddock (high in Vit. A) Here I am I started to notice a good deal of shedding and thinning hair. Do you think its accutane relatd or dye related. Also is it normal that when I flip my hair upside down to blow dry it and 20 fall out on the ground without even using a brush and then when I continue blow drying towards the end I brush it another 20 are left on the bursh and during the day perhaps 5 come out(that I have noticed at least), how much is too much? And does dying the hair cause hair loss at the scalp level, or is it simply breakage. I am at a loss, because if it were the dye how did I get away with it for 8 years? and if I were sensitve to the dye would n't it show as a rash, irritation when I do a patch test, or even burning of the scalp when I dye it? Finally can zinc cause Vitamin A to be moreactive in the body. Thank you, Iris

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 09:15 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Iris Kerr:

If you read messages on the various hair-loss forums, you'll find people telling of moderate to massive hair loss after a schedule of Accutane treatment. These negative testimonials about Accutane should suggest something to you - stay away from it.

A massive dose of vitamin A from haddock is not going to damage hair follicles. It's sustained excessive levels of vitamin A in the body that may cause hair loss.

Certain dyes can cause problems, but if you have a problem from one specific dye you discontinue using it. Even the most problemmatic of dyes does not cause permanent harm to the follicles.

It's much better to get your vitamins and minerals from natural sources if you can because then you will get these nutrients in balanced proportions without the potential problem of overdosing on any one nutrient.

This is from the Nutrition Almanac - "High intakes of zinc interfere with copper utilization, causing incomplete iron metabolism. Excessive intake of zinc may result in a loss of iron and copper from the liver."

Posted on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 09:48 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Your internal should help to "possibly slow loss". However, a topical is wise choice for frontal loss as extra insurance to hold it back.

This is a hairloss regime that I have built up after some research:

1)Epilobium to inhibit DHT and Estradiol - 500mg 2 x daily
2)zinc picolinate daily to top up my zinc levels - 15 - 30 mg
3)Vitamin B5 daily to stop adrenal upregulating DHT - 500 mg
4)EFA formula to promote Hormone health
5)Piroctone shampoo daily to reduce inflammation in hairloss


John D
Posted on Thursday, April 08, 2004 - 05:23 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hi there, I'm currently 23 years old, and was on accutane when i was 17, and ever since after my courses i've notice mass thinning of my hair, to the sides,front top and even got a baldspot on the crown, just started supplementing myself in the last few weeks with biotin at around 2mg a day, but yet to see any results but have noticed that it has caused my scalp to get very danduffy! jusat wondering whether anyone has gone through this as long a period as me??? as i have no history of MPB in the family i have 3 older brothers spanning up to 18 years older than me all with thick heads of hair! and sisters and dads grandads all have thick heads of hair!can anyone give me any help on the subject? any fixes? i can try!

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Thursday, April 08, 2004 - 07:39 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

It's hard for me to believe that there are people who still think that by popping an isolated member of the B-complex, hair loss problems will be taken care of. It doesn't work that way. This is magic thinking.

You're now taking 2 mg of biotin each day. That's 2000 micrograms, way over what the body needs. Taking too much of an isolated vitamin often causes an imbalance in other vitamins and even a deficiency.


Posted on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 01:41 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

I LIKE THAT LAST MESSAGE!! YES, its is really not good at all to take isolated will disrupt the balance!! and the key to being healthy, including trying to fix you hair problems is BALANCE!! Thats how the problem started in first place...Accutane overdoses in vit A --> imbalance. Pls people, treat the body the way it was ment to be treated. Eat fruits, vegies for your vitamin needs...not pills!! Looking for VIT A? then eat carrots!! and unlike pills..u can never overdose by eating too many carrots because your body will simply not convert the betas to vit A in your body!!! I hope I helped.
ps- I am no doctor, but I have 11 uncles, all doctors!!!

Posted on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 07:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post


I take the B complex and a lot of other vitamins. Do you know if to many vitamins can have a reverse affect or cause hair loss from build up?
I do read up on everything I take and take them different times of the day, so I am aware of the purposes. I just want to know is to many to much? Will they all eventually have a negative or reverse affect? Thanks for your advise I will list them all if you need to know what I am taking.

anon anonymous
Posted on Thursday, April 22, 2004 - 04:15 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

hello could you please help with these questions

1- what would be an everage or normal number of hairs to be found on your brush after washing and then brushing your hair? would be good to have at least an indication of what is getting back to normal

2- if you only took a half dose of roaccutne would it follow that you are likley to have less problems and things will get back to normal quicker?

3- once you have noticed an improvement over months can you assume that things are going to keep getting better or can things get better over months then all of a sudden get worse again?


Tom Hagerty
Posted on Thursday, April 22, 2004 - 01:15 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post


1. The average number of hairs shed daily is abut fifty.

2. I don't know about that half dose of accutane and things getting back to normal. Is there an other medication you could use in consultation with your doctor?

3. Hair improvement or hair deterioration are seldom straightforward progressions. There are usually many starts and stops along the way to better or worst hair.

Posted on Friday, April 23, 2004 - 05:58 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hello Tom

I am currently taking Pilfood supplement after having encountered excess shedding after a treatment of roaccutane. I have been taking it for about 6 months.

The ingredients are:

Amount Per Capsule
Vitamin E 2 mg (RDA 20)
Riboflavin 0.8 mg (RDA 50)
Vitamin B6 10 mg (RDA 500)
Biotin 0.2 mg (RDA 133)
Pantothenic Acid 23 mg (RDA 383)
Dl-Methionine 200 mg
L-Cystine 105 mg

Can you please advise which of the following 2 options are better:

1. A healthy blanaced diet
2 A healthy balanced diet with Pilfood

I have noted with interest your comments about taking isolated supplements and I would like your opinion on whether I should just come off this supplement and stick to a healthy diet.

Many thanks

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Friday, April 23, 2004 - 12:07 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post


You're just kidding yourself with that Pilfood. Some supplements do help (I hope) in keeping and getting back good hair. I take flaxseed oil for the omega-3, and I take brewer's yeast mixed in orange juice for the B-complex. Both of these nutrients specifically help to promote healthy hair. You can also take 200 to 400 I.U. of vitamin E. But beyond these few supplements, I suggest staying on a healthy diet, which I'm not going to spell out here.

The small amount of nutrients in Pilfood would not be enough to sustain a pigeon. I presume that you're a grown human being.

Posted on Friday, April 23, 2004 - 02:42 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

But Tom, Anonymous didn't say anything about living
on Pilfood. The question was about adding supplements to a balanced healthy diet.

I'm a fan of supplements myself. Currently I am taking:

brewers' yeast tablets
spirulina tablets
dessicated liver tablets
vitamin C
kelp tablets
cod liver oil capsules
saw palmetto capsules
vitamin E
alfalfa tablets (used to take
every day, stopped, just started

Re the kelp tablets--seaweed in general is
said to be excellent for the hair. I don't
cook much or I would use it in cooking more...

Iris Kerr
Posted on Wednesday, April 28, 2004 - 08:24 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hi Tom,
I was wondering (I am an ex-Accutane hair loser)when ever I try to take any vitamin even in the smallest dose (sometimes I split the vitamin in two or three) I get either really greasy hair or tiny littly whiteheads on my face. This reaction to vitamins includes: biotin, b-complex especially, lactobacilicus acidopholous, flax seed oil tablets,vitamin C, zinc...even if I drink green tea... can you figure this one out? I've actually conquered the severe pimple problem - and not by Accutane - but by cutting out sweets, high fat dairies, and sodium and msg. Now I get the average one or two a month, where before I would get a major attack, and run to the derm who would give me accutane - they even offered it to me again in December and I refused even after the doctor said that it is the only thing that works, and that it is not from food. It's actually simple, I simply eat whole foods, meats including fresh deli meat, fresh from deli ground beef, chicken, lots: unfortunately I cant eat fruits like plums, raisins, apples, peach, all the yummies because they give me zits too, however I load up on vegetables steamed (not carrots or brocolli as they are vit A sources and I know from experience that I shed when I eat them),and I dont touch the fish simply because I really do find my hair sheds more the next day, and if I take a multi-vitamin, my hands actually peel a bit. Any way to make a long story short I decided I'd rather have zits than lose my hair, and I was simply wondering why I react to vitamins. Thank you, Iris.

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Wednesday, April 28, 2004 - 10:23 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Iris Kerr:

It's too bad you can't eat powdered brewer's yeast blended in orange juice for the B-complex. Can you eat walnuts for the omega-3 fatty acids since you can't eat flaxseed oil or I presume evening primrose oil. Healthy hair requires the B-complex and the fatty acids.

Are you concerned about eating deli meat which is usually full of msg? At least you can eat fruit and steamed vegetables (except for carrots and broccoli).

You seem to react to vitamins the way I used to react to school work when I was a kid. They disagree with you. It's an interesting problem which I certainly don't have an answer for.

Iris Kerr
Posted on Wednesday, April 28, 2004 - 05:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Dear Tom,
That's funny. Seriously though I think walnuts are okay, I actually thought the meat from the deli had less sodium and no msg or preservatives in comparison to the packaged variety. Thanks for suggesting the walnuts though. Oh yes and the evening primrose oil also gives me a massive breakout, I think my liver has been messed up from all the Accutane, and that;s probably why.

I have been meaning to ask about clubbed hairs. If the hair that sheds has a ball at the top, is that a sign that a new hair should be coming too. And if DHT is a factor in hair loss would a single hair shaft for example be thinner at the top part? Thank you, Iris.

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Friday, April 30, 2004 - 08:25 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Iris Kerr:

After the telogen (club hair) falls out or is mechanically dislodged, the new anagen hair grows out of the same hair canal. The top of this new anagen hair is thin and pointed when looked at closely. You will not see this on most anagen hairs, though, because these hairs have been cut. After the hair is cut, the thinner part on top will be on the floor of the beauty parlor or the barber shop.

Posted on Sunday, May 02, 2004 - 11:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Saw palmetto is good for blocking dht but has can cause sexual side effects for men. Beta Sitosterol has been proven to grow hair and stop hair loss with no side effects known. Can buy anywhere for cheap.

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Monday, May 03, 2004 - 08:06 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


I think beta sitosterol is an important nutrient but cite some source that claims it "has been proven to grow hair and stop hair loss with no side effects known." I don't think any supplement can do that.

Posted on Tuesday, May 04, 2004 - 09:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Hey, I've checked this site out once before but only now I'm actually asking some questions.

I'm a 19 year old guy still in high school, I've noticed my hair's become radically different in two years. You guessed it, I think I'm thinning, in the front. This is quite frankly a huge blow to me, I'm only in high school and should be living it up but instead I worry. Like I've done for a year and a half.

From what I've read, vitamin C is good for hair. I've taken one 1000 mg(timed release) a day for about 2 weeks? And an Iron pill a day for my iron deffiency-(i wonder if that has anything to do with it...) Showering I notice a few hairs go atray. When it's dry it's full on the sides and the back. My hair sort of dangles in the front, and has always been very fine and it's never had a solid hair line across. Past few days I've noticed some of those front hairs dropping out and I'm going mad with worry.

My question to you, all, is what other measures can I take besides buying all those crafty hair gadgets, what can help me out?

Much thanks guys and gals,


Tom Hagerty
Posted on Wednesday, May 05, 2004 - 06:40 am:   Edit Post Delete Post


I don't want to come across as grumpy, but from your message I gather you know very little about what makes hair grow. Popping a vitamin C and an iron pill is not going to halt your hair loss.

High school guys usually resist reading assignments, but still I hope you will read at least several pages on If you gain knowledge about the biology of hair loss, you're more likely to find an effective method to fight your own hair loss.

I know that good hair means as much to you as it did to me when I was your age, so take some time to study about this complex problem then do somethng rational to solve it.

Tom Hagerty
Posted on Wednesday, May 05, 2004 - 09:59 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

This page is getting too full. Please post new messages on this topic on Vitamin A and hair loss: page 2.