Viviscal's hair growth vitamin and dietary supplement taken twice daily promises to "reverse hair loss" and grow thicker hair in both men and women experiencing balding and thinning hair. Its primary active ingredient, AminoMar C™ Marine Complex, is said to be a proprietary blend of ingredients and proteins that "provides the essential nutrients needed to nourish thinning hair and promote existing hair growth".
The entire Viviscal product line includes an "all natural" dietary supplement, a shampoo and conditioner, and a scalp lotion. Viviscal is promoted as being 100% natural, drug-free, gluten-free and safe from harmful side effects. But can Viviscal deliver on its promises to reverse hair loss and grow new hair?
In 2011, Viviscal advertisement was banned in the United Kingdom by the Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) who deemed that its claims to maintain optimum hair health were unproven. The ASA concluded:
"Because the evidence sent did not show that the ingredients in Viviscal had been shown to have a positive effect on hair health, we concluded the claims that the product could 'nourish hair follicles' had not been substantiated' and ruled the advert cannot be broadcast until it is changed."
However, as with many similar products promising to grow hair, substantiating their hair growth claims may not be a simple task.
Viviscal’s manufacturer does reference a number of studies that seem to support their claims of growing thicker hair. For example, the results of "Scientific Pilot Study #1" on 40 hair loss suffering females with an average age of 35 concluded, "Viviscal was well received by test subjects and the analysis of hair counts showed a mean reduction in hair loss of 46% in only 10 weeks." Additional studies are cited on Viviscal’s website.
Recently, we learned that Dr. Glenn Charles has publicly endorsed Viviscal. Dr. Charles has an outstanding reputation for performing state of the art hair transplant surgery and is a highly esteemed member of the Coalition of Independent Hair Restoration Physicians. When asked to comment on his public endorsement of Viviscal, Dr. Charles stated:
"I have never had any hair loss patients display any negative effects. I describe it to my patients as a natural supplement that can promote a healthier scalp and hair. It may also, in turn, slow down the hair loss process. I tell all my patients that there are no guarantees with this product. Although most patients believe that they did have improvement after using this product, I admit that some patients do not see any noticeable changes that either they or I can identify."
Other hair loss experts are not as optimistic regarding Viviscal’s hair growth potential. Coalition member Dr. Bill Rassman of Los Angeles states:
"I am skeptical of the photographs (results) and the changes shown make me doubt what the Viviscal marketing department wants me to see. Viviscal reportedly contains ‘special marine extracts and a silica compound’ - and yet I’m to believe this will regrow hair? If these photos were real, the product would have taken over the market years ago."
It's also important to note that Viviscal does not make any claims on their website that their products can reverse the effects of genetic hair loss. Instead, it simply states, "Viviscal works to reverse hair loss due to stress, poor nutrition, and many health related ailments".
So is Viviscal an effective hair loss treatment? More research may be needed before this question can be effectively answered.
While there may be no harm (potential side effects) in trying it, at an average cost of $600 per year there are certainly more affordable and proven treatments available. The only clinically proven and FDA approved medical hair loss treatments currently available are Rogaine (minoxidil) and Propecia (finasteride). While Rogaine may be used by both male and female patients, Propecia is safe and approved only for male hair loss sufferers. Always consult your physician before adding any treatment to your hair loss regimen.
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