If every influencer on Instagram is a spokesperson for SugarBear Hair vitamins, they must truly work, right? Well, the truth about the vitamin and supplement industry is that they don't require FDA approval for any of their products. This allows companies like SugarBearHair to take quite a bit of liberty in marketing their health claims. At SLK, we don't take any skin or hair advice unless it's backed by science, so let's do a scientific breakdown of the ingredient list:
Vitamin B6 - FICTION
Vitamin B6 is known to improve hair growth when it is injected, but unfortunately there is no scientific evidence demonstrating any effect with oral administration.
Vitamin B12 - Fiction
Deficiency of B12 can result in hair loss but this type of hair loss only occurs in vegetarian populations, those with gastrointestinal conditions, or malnourished populations. If you have a B12 deficiency, you should take a true b12 supplement and SugarBear hair supplements should not serve as a substitute.
Vitamin A - FICTION
This ingredient is a real headscratcher for us. Not only is Vitamin A deficiency not an established cause of hair loss, but excess intake of Vitamin A is actually known to cause hair loss (and dry skin too). Additionally, beta-carotene (the food form of vitamin A - your body converts this precursor into Vitamin A in the digestive tract) supplementation may increase mortality from cardiovascular disease and may increase the risk of lung cancer in some people. Anyone living in an industrialized country like the US receives plenty of Vitamin A just by eating a couple meals a day, so we are really not sure why anyone would find the need to supplement this.
If a nutraceutical company must use Vitamin A as an ingredient, no more than 2500 international units of Vitamin A is recommended. We will give SugarBear credit for staying within these guidelines - a single serving of bears only contains 2100 IU. So although it is not beneficial, this dose is not harmful either.
Folic Acid - Fiction
Again, we are not sure why this is included as an ingredient. There is already a considerable amount of folic acid in the diet as it is found in leafy greens and fortified grains. If you are eating a normal diet, extra folic acid will not change anything about your hair.
Vitamin C - FICTION
There is some promising data showing Vitamin C promotes hair growth, but only when it is applied topically. There is no evidence showing it has any effect in any oral or gummy bear form. We also noticed a strange claim on SugarBear's website that "a study found in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology references the use of Vitamin C to improve hair growth." Well, that study happens to belong to their competitor, Viviscal®, which is a supplement that consists of shark and mollusk powder, silica, and vitamin C. Viviscal's study actually shows some nice data demonstrating improved hair growth. So all we can conclude here is that maybe we should just buy Viviscal so we can reap the added benefits of shark and mollusk powder.
Vitamin B5 - Fiction
Vitamin B5 deficiency is exceptionally rare, only seen in starvation. Again, if you are eating a normal diet, supplemental Vitamin B5 will not change anything about your hair.
Vitamin E - FACT
Data is scarce, but oral supplementation with Vitamin E has been shown to increase hair growth upwards of 50%. It is thought that Vitamin E's potent antioxidant properties reduce oxidative stress in the scalp which is a known cause of hair loss. There are 8 compounds in the Vitamin E family and SugarBear chooses to use "dI-alpha tocopheryl acetate." however we would prefer to see "tocotrienol" used as an ingredient. It is considered to be more efficacious than tocopheryl acetate because its structure allows for better distribution in the fatty layers of the cell membrane.
Biotin - FICTION
This is one of the most common ingredients in many hair, nail, and skin supplements. But the truth is, we already receive all the biotin our body needs (35–70 MG/day) naturally in our diets by consuming foods like spinach, tomatoes, eggs, dairy, and more. Plus your intestinal bacteria produce biotin for you too. Thus, biotin only needs to be supplemented when someone has a clinical (read: you had your blood tested and your levels are low) biotin deficiency, which only exists under conditions of extreme poverty and malnutrition, or in people with serious illnesses affecting the gut such as alcoholism or inflammatory bowel disease. Symptoms of biotin deficiency besides hair loss include numbness and tingling in the extremities, hallucinations, and red rashes around the eyes, nose, and mouth. So unless you have a recent history of digestive illness or malnutrition, plus some of these other symptoms, you probably have plenty of biotin.
There is good evidence, however, that even if you do not have a biotin deficiency, biotin supplements can improve brittle fingernails if this is an issue for you.
So in summary, do SugarBear Hair really Gummies work?
Yes, It's possible these gummies are effective due to the presence of Vitamin E, the only ingredient with any "Fact" behind it. However we conclude there is no scientific basis for any of the other ingredients. Is it worth the price-tag? You be the judge!