In each edition, Modern Aesthetics® magazine asks cosmetic physicians about the newest cosmeceuticals—or in this case, nutraceuticals—that they are offering in their practices. Jeanine B. Downie, MD, shares her experience with Nutrafol for Women and Nutrafol for Men. Dr. Downie is the Director of image Dermatology, PC in Montclair, NJ.

What is Nutrafol?

Jeanine B. Downie, MD: Nutrafol is a “nutraceutical” that is comprised of 20 plant-based ingredients including forms of vitamin E, saw palmetto, curcumin, ashwagandha, and hydrolyzed marine collagen. The botanical ingredients are standardized for optimal bioavailability and are clinically tested to address the many causes of poor hair health. Research shows that more than DNA and nutritional deficiencies, hair loss is due to an accumulation of causes: hormones (dihydrotestosterone), inflammation, and stress (elevated cortisol), as well as diet and external aggressors, such as pollution and over-styling. Nutrafol has two distinct formulations (one for men, one for women) with specific ingredients that address the different causes of poor hair health. Nutrafol is effective because the ingredients target these many causes all in one formula—in other words, it multi-targets where all the other solutions out there are mono-targeting one cause only.

Have You Tried Nutrafol?

Dr. Downie: I have been taking Nutrafol for Women since May 2015 and my hair has never been this thick, long, or healthy. When first introduced to Nutrafol, I was pretty skeptical. I have seen many oral hair growth supplements in the past and not experienced great success. After meeting the Nutrafol team and reviewing the science and mechanism of action, I was impressed. I wanted to learn more and personally give it a try. Still cynical of this category, I was not expecting much.

After I had been taking the nutraceutical for three months (each day with my breakfast), my daughter, who is my biggest critic, started to notice a change. She called out my new hair length and texture. After six months, I started to notice a big difference. My hair was easier to manage and it finally grew past my shoulders, which was something I was never able to achieve due to constant breakage. Soon after, my patients started to notice. They really wanted to know what I was doing differently.

I have consistently been taking four capsules of Nutrafol for Women every day with breakfast for 26 months. My hair is a lot longer and much thicker than it's ever been before.

Before (left) and after (right) Nurafol

Do you offer Nutrafol to patients?

Dr. Downie: I made a pact with myself that I would never sell a supplement in my office, but my patients kept bugging me about it. Nine months after taking Nutrafol, I did start to offer it as part of my practice—although I still was not sure how a product like this would do in my office as my patients, who are highly educated, are also very impatient and have high expectations. Since bringing Nutrafol in last January, I have not been able to keep up with the patient demand.

Nutrafol suggests educating patients that they will start to see success within three to six months, so I often sell an initial bundle of three months and advise my patients to consider a Nutrafol subscription through Regimen MD. This allows me to track patient compliance, maintain a healthy revenue stream, and eliminate inventory management. Patients really need to stay on this consistently (daily) and give it a chance for six to nine months.

Many of my patients have tried lasers and other supplements, and some have used minoxidil, which they don't particularly like due to the complexity of application and the texture, which many find to be unpleasant. Other patients are afraid to take drugs, such as finasteride, because of known side effects, such as sexual dysfunction, so they've opted to take Nutrafol, instead. My patients love that it is soy free, gluten free, and shellfish free.

Any side effects with Nutrafol?

Dr. Downie: Side effects, while rare, may include slight nausea. So I make sure patients are taking it with food as is advised in the usage directions. This is also important because food (the fat, really) helps the body absorb all these powerful ingredients. Some patients do not like to eat in the morning and then they forget to take it daily, and some people feel that the pill is too big. This is not my experience with taking it, though. I recommend that everyone take the pills all at once in the morning so that they comply. A great thing about the products is that you can take them all at once.

Are patients pleased with results?

Dr. Downie: We have seen great results from female and male Caucasian, African American, and Latino American patients. Most have experienced a reduction in hair breakage, and everyone has been thrilled with their thicker, longer hair. In my opinion one of the best benefits of this supplement is that it helps hair push past its natural anagen growth phase so that it is longer and thicker than it has ever been before.