Keratin hair supplements are the ingestible pill version of the well-known and beloved hair straightening treatment designed to smooth and shine frizzy hair. But do keratin hair supplements promote healthy hair and what are the risks of keratin hair supplements?
What does keratin do?
Keratin is the protein component found in hair strands. Topical keratin treatments or keratin hair supplements are intended to nourish and strengthen hair strands with proteins. in fact, keratin treatments for hair growth often include formaldehyde, which can be very damaging to strands and can be a harmful chemical that can cause adverse reactions in some individuals and, some experts believe, may cause cancer in the long term. Not only that, but keratin protein treatments involve a high-heat flat iron to smooth the hair cuticle and remove frizziness. The use of high-temperature styling tools plus the formaldehyde in keratin supplements can cause hair loss, and dry, brittle and damaged hair, not to mention the potential risks to your health.
What are keratin supplements for hair made of?
Keratin hair supplements are generally a blend of soluble keratin (cynatine HNS) such as herbs or nutriceuticals claiming to nourish hair. Keratin hair volumizers may also contain collagen, which claims to boost the elasticity and strength of hair. Some clinical studies have shown that supplementing with keratin over a 3-month period may decrease hair loss and promote hair strength. However, keratin hair supplements are a less common and less well-known hair loss supplement. More research needs to be done on the short- and long-term effects of ingesting keratin for hair growth.
Risk factors: Keratin hair supplements and overdose of keratin in the body
As with any ingestible, keratin hair supplements should be used in moderation and only as directed on the label. If you have a question about whether keratin supplements are suitable for you, you should consult your doctor.
Because keratin is a protein, taking keratin hair supplements may lead to excess protein in the body, a condition called proteinuria. In particular, proteinuria refers to an excess amount of protein in the urine. Excess protein in the body may overwork the kidneys as they try to metabolize it. And in over time, this extra work takes its toll on the kidneys. It may even lead to renal insufficiency, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. People with this condition are advised to limit their protein intake. If renal insufficiency goes untreated, it could lead to complete kidney failure.
When the body makes too much keratin, or ingests too much keratin. it’s known as a condition called hyperkeratosis. Hyperkeratosis may manifest as rough, thick, dry skin or produce a coarse texture in the hair. There is minimal research showing the effects of excess keratin from supplements. If you begin taking keratin hair supplements and suspect you have the symptoms of hyperkeratosis, discontinue use and consult a doctor.
Keratin Hair Supplements vs. Viviscal Extra Strength
Keratin hair supplements are primarily made of keratin, plus various nutrients or herbal supplements, depending on the manufacturer or formulation. There have been a few clinical studies demonstrating the effects of keratin supplements on hair growth, but more research needs to be done.
In contrast, Viviscal Extra Strength hair growth supplement is a clinically proven formulation that combines hair growth vitamins including Biotin, Niacin and Vitamin C, and minerals for hair growth including Iron and Zinc. Plus, only Viviscal supplements contain the marine complex AminoMar®, which is a proprietary blend of marine extracts and polysaccharides that has been shown to nourish thinning hair and promote hair growth. The Viviscal Extra Strength formula is backed by 25 years of research and development.