Collagen versus Hair Vitamins - which one is more beneficial for hair growth? You may have asked yourself this question and since each hair vitamin product will undoubtedly have a different formulation, there is no simple answer. In this blog we will attempt to provide information that will help answer this question and provide the solution that is best for you.
We begin with the essentials of hair growth. Your hair has two components: the shaft, which is the part you wash and style, and the hair root, which is the part that extends down into the deeper layers of your scalp and surrounded by skin and connective tissue called the follicle. A bulb is located at the base of the hair root (in which new hair cells are constantly being made) and houses a hair papilla which supplies the hair root with blood and the nutrients it carries.
Growth begins in the bulb by the accumulation of cells, from which a strand of hair eventually develops. As more cells form below the hair, the strand is pushed out of the skin. As long as new cells continue to form, the hair will continue to be pushed further out of the skin and continue to grow. Depending upon where on the body the hair is, this growth phase can last from several years (as on our head) to a few months (eyelashes, eyebrows). At the end of growth, the supply of blood to the hair is cut off as the hair separates from the papilla and is gradually pushed out and falls off. The growth phase of a new strand of hair then begins again. Looking at it this way, hair growth may be seen as largely a cellular driven process.
It follows then that healthy cells will be an important factor in maintaining healthy looking hair. We know that abnormalities in cellular DNA can lead to unhealthy or even cancerous cells, so not only will good cellular health help with the appearance of our hair, but our overall health as well. Many of the vitamins and minerals in our product were selected because of their ability to protect DNA from damage or assist with DNA repair and promote cellular health.
Alright, I now understand the importance of vitamins, but what about collagen? And what exactly is collagen? Well, collagen just happens to be the most abundant protein found in your body and is an essential component to your ligaments, tendons and skin. Your body can produce collagen by itself, or it can get it from diet or supplements. Now remember we said earlier that the hair shaft is surrounded by skin and connective tissue. This skin and connective tissue is largely composed of collagen, so a healthy supply of collagen will help supply supporting strength to the follicle, facilitating hair growth and re-growth.
But collagen can help in other ways too. As a protein, it is a large molecule formed by the assembly of smaller molecular units called peptides, which can be further broken down into yet smaller molecular units called amino acids. These amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) are then available to build other proteins, and the important one for hair is keratin, which accounts for about 65-95% of the material in your hair. Now if you have nutritional inadequacies, these amino acids will be directed to your more vital organs for protein renewal. Otherwise, they can be directed towards the bulb where they are used to build keratin for the hair root and eventual shaft.
We can now see that collagen and vitamins support hair growth, but through different mechanisms. Collagen provides follicle strength and the amino acids required to form the keratin in your hair, while the vitamins support the healthy cellular machinery that drives hair growth.
So let’s return to our initial question: Collagen versus Hair Vitamins – which one is more beneficial for hair growth? If you want to choose one over the other, it may be best to examine your diet. Maybe you know your busy day gets in the way of consuming a proper nutritional diet, and since your body can produce collagen by itself, but cannot produce the essential vitamins, perhaps hair vitamins may be a better route. On the other hand, if you are vegetarian, your collagen level may be a little lacking so perhaps selecting collagen may be a better selection. But because collagen and hair vitamins promote hair growth in different ways, the best route will likely be a combination of the two.
Collagen and vitamins promote healthy hair growth in fundamentally different ways. Which one is more beneficial for hair growth is not a simple question to answer because of the different vitamin formulations that are on the market. Your diet may help you make a decision, but the best approach will likely be to use both collagen and vitamins to extract the benefits to both cellular health and protein generation.