Olive Oil for Hair Growth
Olive Oil for Hair Loss: Does It Actually Help and Everything Else You Should Know
By Meredith A. Iager
There are a variety of hair growth products on the market. Some are proven to be helpful, but may contain harmful chemicals. If you’re one to go the natural route for hair growth, using olive oil can have a number of benefits for your hair and general health. It’s a better alternative to cook with, as well as treat your scalp and hair follicles.
To better understand the impact olive oil can have on your hair growth you need to know what it’s made of, types of olive oil to use, and read through the studies that have shown its benefit.
Olive Oil Makes Harvard Medical’s Super foods List
Olive oil is such a great oil to incorporate in your diet and made its way to the super foods list on a blog at Harvard Medical School.
Along with berries, nuts, dark leafy greens, high protein and good fats, olive oil is also considered a super food according to Katherine D. McManus MS, RD, LDN. She believes the combination of all foods across all food groups provide health benefits. No single food can provide what we need for health benefits, nutrition and energy. Clearly the list is essential for a healthier body as a whole.
McManus says, “These super foods offer some very important nutrients that can power-pack your meals and snacks.” The Mediterranean diet is the key to the reduction of disease, especially cardiovascular.
Now that we’ve established it’s a super food, we know it’s excellent for your body and hair.
What Does Olive Oil Contain That’s Beneficial for Hair
Hair loss can be devastating for anyone. With the use of olive oil you can reap the benefits of the nutrient and vitamin rich oil for your body, scalp and follicles. These nutrients have all shown benefits to make hair stronger, healthier, prevent breakage and split ends, pro-circulation and ultimately prevent loss.
Nutritional Value Areas
The oil is made up of common fatty acids which are essential for helping hair become soft and smooth. These fatty acids form a film on the hair surface. This helps to lubricate hair which ultimately prevents knotting and tangles to form. This can prevent hair loss.
They are monounsaturated fatty acids. This is a healthy fat that help to reduce cholesterol in your blood. It also helps to raise good cholesterol levels in the blood. Omega 3 fats are also essential to boost your hair and skin elasticity.
Extra virgin olive oil also contains vitamin E, vitamin K, polyphenols and antioxidant, as well as chlorophyll and carotenoids. Vitamin E assists with fighting off free radical damages from the sun and environmental pollution according to Catherine Davies MD who is a Johannesburg dermatologist who also focuses on hair restoration issues.
Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory, Boosts Immune Function
What Does It Do For Hair?
Antioxidants are essential for strengthening the immune system and protecting the body. Without them we can’t fend off free radical molecules that can damage organs, especially the largest organ on our body which is our skin. Having a healthy immune system is key to healthy hair follicles and promotes hair growth.
Another big problem today is inflammatory issues causing a variety of medical conditions. Having a dosage of olive oil daily can prevent inflammatory conditions to occur because it reduces interleukin-6 and the C-reactive protein according to the 2008 study in the European Journalism of Clinical Nutrition. The less inflammation you have the better your hair quality and promotion of hair growth.
Olive oil also contains the anti-inflammatory substance called oleocanthal. It is similar to over-the-counter NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen.
Make-up of Olive Oil:
- Fatty acids: palmitic acid, oleic acid, squalene, terpenes
- High in antioxidants, polyphenols
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Anti-inflammatory: oleocanthal Proteins
Studies That Show Olive Oil Benefits With Hair Loss
Now that it’s established we know olive oil is good for the body and your hair. The oil can also make strands of your locks thicker as well as reduce sebum, and this can cause slowed hair growth. But some concrete evidence from the experts says it all.
Olive Oil Study Showing Benefits of Plant Polyphenols
In a February 2018 study at NIH the potential health benefits of olive oil and Plant polyphenols there were positive results to be found. The benefits of plant polyphenols is seen in a number of health areas including anticancer effects from olive oil polyphenols, cardiovascular disease, and anti-inflammatory conditions. Polyphenols come from fresh fruits, vegetables and certain processed plant foods.
The power of polyphenols to be an extraordinary antioxidant in the body helps with immune system function. Natural polyphenols help decrease the level of reactive oxygen which helps to protect biomolecules against oxidative damage in the body. The study also showed that the polyphenols are found to modulate the human immune system which affects the proliferation or increase of white blood cells, helping to reduce infection and the production of cytokines.
Fatty acids found in olive oil help reduce inflammatory issues and powerful antioxidants show anticancer properties as well. The study does note that further studies are needed but these are all positive findings. Olive oil shows promise in not only cancer treatment but cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases as well.
It also notes that an increase of consumption of virgin olive oil rich and polyphenol compounds does provide a variety of health benefits.
If you are at risk for inflammatory health conditions you may be struggling to control diabetes or have a risk of getting diabetes. The oil has also showed promise to potentially eliminate medications as it can help regulate sugar levels. Uncontrolled Diabetes Causing Blood Flow Issues and More
Too many people today suffer from diabetes type II. This is essentially weight gain that has caused the pancreas to be overworked and blood sugar levels are too high and need to be regulated. This way, your digestion, nervous system, circulatory system and overall immune function isn’t compromised. Damage to your blood vessels can restrict blood flow and will provide less oxygen and nutrients to your hair follicles. This leads to hair loss.
There is promise for diabetes with the use of olive oil. Individuals with type I or type II diabetes can have hair thinning and loss due to the circulation issues and nerves that become unhealthy with lack of treatment.
Diabetes and Hair Loss Cycle
As mentioned above, diabetes can contribute to hair loss through circulatory issues as well as nervous system issues and immune health. If the blood sugars under control you can potentially mitigate or reverse the effects of hair loss. Information from medicalnewstoday.com provided by Jenna Fletcher and D.O. Stacy Sampson provides further insight into this issue.
While hair loss is a part of the natural hair lifecycle when hair reaches to the final stage of the cycle it will fall out. Usually a new hair will grow to replace it however when individuals suffer from diabetes they experience side effects from the condition.
Effects of Diabetes On Hair Growth Cycle:
- Impairing hair growth
- Causing more hair to grow than normal
- Stopping new hair from forming
Tackling diabetes, the root cause, can assist with hair loss issues. You can always incorporate vitamins and minerals such as B to promote nervous system wellness, and potentially the herbal berberine to assist with diabetes issues. Always talk to your integrative health care provider before incorporating these into supplements into your daily regimen.
Virginia Tech Researchers Discover Oleuropein Found in Olives Helps Body Secrete Insulin
At Virginia Tech in September 2017 a research team discovered that the compound oleuropein helps to prevent type II diabetes. This is significant research because the majority of people who have diabetes have it from gaining weight and hazardous health choices they have made.
This particular compound found in olive oil helps the body to secrete more insulin, which is a molecule found in the body that controls metabolism. The use of olive oil is prolific in the Mediterranean diet which has been promoted by a variety of doctors especially cardiovascular specialists.
Bin Xu, Assistant of Biochemistry in the College of Agricultural Life Sciences at the Frail Life Science Institute says this is going to have an impact on the general public. He believes people will pay more attention to olive oil products in light of the current diabetes epidemic in the US.
While this evidence provides more insight into helping reduce diabetes risk for individuals, more testing needs to be done. The next steps for their project include testing the compound in a diabetic animal model and further investigation of other functions of this compound and its components in metabolism.
Other Studies on Hair and Olive Oil
The significant fine from Virginia Tech shows great promise for the reduction of diabetes in our nation and around the globe. A variety of other studies have also shown the benefits of olive oil on hair health. There are studies that show olive oil works on hair health, promotion of blood flow, uses in cosmetics and hormonal balance. The benefits olive oil provides are great for internal and external use as a topical.
Hair Cosmetics Study on Oils
Olive oil can reduce frizz, detangle, and smooth hair due to its emollient properties and fatty acids. In 2015, a study done by NIH shows the benefits olive oil can have on your hair.
The review suggests that hair absorbs mono-saturated oils; this is what olive oil is. Hair care products are used for alopecia and scalp care treatments. The study shows that saturated and mono-saturated oils diffuse into the hair better than polyunsaturated oils. Oils are an important role protecting hair from damage. They also help reduce the amount of water absorbed into the hair which can cause swelling and promote dry hair. Oil can also help the cuticle cells and help prevent substances that are harmful into the follicle.
This particular study also notes a 2005 study that showed all of oil along with other oils left a coding on the scalp. This layer created a heavy look to the hair and it was found it’s best to apply a thin layer on the surface. Oils are rich in tocopherols and polyphenols and powerful antioxidants.
The study indicates that coconut oil, Moroccan oil and olive oil seem to be the most beneficial oils for hair care products. Mineral oil is not filled with a variety of the fatty acids and antioxidants that other oils can carry and more beneficial.
How to Use Olive Oil for Hair and Scalp Treatment
If you’re ready to try the natural approach and use olive oil for your hair there some simple tricks you can do. You can use it as a conditioner however depending on your hair type and the condition your hair is in you may just want to use it as a treatment process only.
As part of the normal hair routine you will want to:
- Get a small amount of olive oil out of bottle
- Apply oil to dry areas of hair and scalp
- Let’s sit for at least 20 to 30 minutes
- Shampoo out with organic product, oil will leave hair greasy if not shampooed thoroughly
- Use different amounts of olive oil portion doesn’t work for you
You can always add more olive oil to your scalp or parts of your hair that need more conditioning. Remember, if you suffer from a variety of medical conditions you want to alleviate the root cause of the condition. Olive oil alone won’t get rid of these problems but can promote hair health and hair growth as long as you take a proactive approach to your whole body wellness plan.
Always remember, not all types of hair will benefit from using olive oil as a conditioner or direct treatment. If your hair is dry and course it will probably benefit you. When your hair is thinner and oilier you may benefit from it however you may find it to feel greasier and have more weight to it.
Add Essential Oils to Olive Oil for Scalp
If you don’t like the olive oil smell, you can always add in essential oils to your prepared olive oil mixture. Not only will it smell better but certain essential oils can help to stimulate the hair growth such as lavender, peppermint, rosemary or cedarwood.
Also, lemongrass is also beneficial for dandruff flakes. Clary Sage oil can also help to accelerate hair growth and prevent breakage.
- Clary sage oil
Oils can help your senses and increase blood flow. Olive oil has been proven to increase blood flow according to researchers at the NIH in this 2013 study. The heavy hitting evidence that shows improvement of these medical conditions has a positive effect on hair loss issues.
Olive Oil Promotes Cerebral Blood Flow According to Clinical Trial
In a November 2013 study done at NIH the researchers found that olive oil or rum extract modulated cerebral blood flow in gustatory brain areas in humans. This is great news for hair loss sufferers as blood flow in the body promotes hair growth and better organ function, and an overall better immune system.
The study looked at and investigated the long lasting effect of fat-free flavor active compounds of olive oil on the brain. They wanted to determine whether those aroma components could trigger fat associated brain responses in homeostatic and gustatory regions.
The study was composed of 11 healthy men who were monitored by MRI. On two different days measurements were taken after the men ate plain low-fat yogurt or low-fat yogurt mixed with a fat-free aroma extract of olive oil. Blood samples were taken at six different intervals. The hunger of each individual was also rated along with the resting CBF 30 and 120 minutes after the yogurt was eaten. The olive oil extract yogurt yielded a higher CBF for both 30 and 120 minutes after the meals.
The trial concluded that it might be possible to stimulate fat triggered sensations on the brain to promote cerebral blood flow.
Not only is olive oil a benefit to increasing production of blood flow, it can be beneficial to increasing hormone production. This is crucial find for fighting hair loss and increasing health and wellness. Further study is needed as this particular study at NIH was only done on a male population.
Hormone Function Increases With Olive Oil Intake in Study
At NIH in January 2013 a study was done to see the effects of argon and olive oil consumption healthy adult Moroccan men. The study was to understand the impact of these oils had during a controlled nutritional intervention.
Sixty young, healthy male volunteers between ages 23 and 40 participated in the study. Over a two-week period they consumed butter. The group was divided into two categories at random. One group had virgin argon oil and the other group had extra virgin olive oil for a three-week period.
Levels of testosterone and other hormones such as luteinizing hormone and DHEA’s were tested at the beginning of the study and the end of each period. All of the results from this study suggest that by consuming virgin argon oil or virgin olive oil might be the origin from the positive impact on the hormonal profile of the men in the study. Though DHE serum concentrations did not show any significant increase like the other hormones tested.
If you’re sold now on olive oil for helping your hair loss problems and general health, then purchase some. Picking out the best kind of olive oil is the key.
Purchasing Olive Oil
If you choose to use olive oil for hair growth and reap other health benefits you need to understand that not all olive oils are created equally. The best grade of olive oil on the market is extra-virgin olive oil. It is the least processed of all of oils on the market and is said to deliver the healthiest benefits mentioned above.
The less processed the oil is the less heat and chemical destroy the integrity of the oil. You don’t want the olive oil you purchase to be compromised. In order to avoid getting the wrong kind, you want to read all ingredients. Even though in olive oil may tell you it’s organic, you still want to read through the ingredients and make sure there’s no additives and make sure the bottle says, “Extra-Virgin.” The differences in olive oil brands are boiled down to, how ripe olives were when they were harvested.
Beauty Products Containing Olive Oil
There are a number of beauty products on the market containing olive oil. You need to be aware that chemicals and other additives can be included in these products. Most of these products have low levels of olive oil and it is best to use a good brand from your grocery store or local farmers market.
Make Sure Your Oil is:
· Extra virgin
· Organic is best
· No fillers, chemicals, other additives
· No natural or unnatural flavoring
· Plain olive oil
Conclusion: Olive Oil Can Help Your Hair Loss Problems
Olive oil seems to be very beneficial for your hair and is no doubt a super food that should be on your grocery list. Using it as a hair treatment can promote a cleaner, healthier scalp and provide a less sebum ridden scalp to help promote hair growth.
It can also help dry damaged hair and scalp. It has benefits from the evidence shown in clinical trial results to help regulate diabetes through increased production of insulin, increase blood flow to the brain, and adjust hormone levels. There is merit to further investigation through NIH and other tertiary hospitals and clinics to further confirm other populations of people tested with olive oil for a variety of medical conditions and hair loss problems.
Unless you have an allergy to olives, then drinking it in small amounts should be okay. You’ll definitely want to use it when you cook and as a natural hair care product. Olive oil will help you become healthier and promote hair growth and scalp wellness.
It’s not a cure all treatment option, but it can certainly become part of a regimen of healthy living.
Meredith A Iager (author) from North Carolina on December 08, 2019:
It is great for many things. I take the capsules of extra virgin olive oil from swansons vitamins ... I always use it in cooking as well. It has helped lower my a1c and helps the gi tract.
Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on December 08, 2019:
I love olive oil and have used it for years but haven't tried it on my hair. With aging, I find I'm losing some hair so I'll start incorporating olive oil to my hair. I always use virgin olive oil.