Viviscal and Nutrafol Supplements for Hair Growth

When it comes to hair loss supplements, the two most widely cited brand names that I have kept hearing about for years are:

  1. Viviscal.
  2. Nutrafol.

Update: A 2022 study in JAMA found that both Viviscal and Nutrafol were potentially effective in reducing hair loss in men and women.


Many hairdressers and dermatologists have recommended Viviscal and Nutrafol (both trademarked) to me in the past. However, most were too pushy in trying to sell them, so I was skeptical. The prices are also somewhat expensive, especially since you have to take these pills daily.


It should be noted that, nowadays, there are a number of other vitamin and mineral containing hair loss products that seem to be even more popular than Viviscal or Nutrafol.

Among the ones with a huge number of reviews on Amazon include Hair Rush and HairAnew and HairFluence. As always, look out for fake reviews and ratings. Many product reviews on Amazon are based on people getting free samples in exchange for reviews.

Pattern Hair Loss Can’t be Cured by Supplements

Vitamins, minerals and related supplements can never permanently reverse male pattern hair loss (aka androgenetic alopecia). Neither can they usually help stop the progression of hormone driven female pattern baldness.

Having said that, some can modestly reduce testosterone and its hair destroying derivative dihydrotestosterone (DHT). See my post on natural DHT blockers. However, usually, all this does is reduce your hair shedding slightly and cause modest hair regrowth in absolute best case scenarios. Even then, the effect is often temporary in nature.

Natural products for hair loss can almost never match the efficacy of synthetically made drugs Finasteride and Dutasteride. Even the latter two drugs do not work in many people, or often stop working and loose efficacy after a few years. People often prefer to start with natural products due to fears of side effects.

Vitamins and Minerals for Thicker Hair

For a very small fraction of hair loss sufferers, nutritional deficiencies are causing their hair loss rather than genetic susceptibility to DHT. Sudden changes in diet can cause telogen effluvium. In such cases, vitamin and mineral supplements could help boost hair growth and reverse thinning hair.

Sadhu with Long Hair
An Indian ascetic (sadhu) with great long hair. Most of these holy men partake in prolonged periods of fasting, and are usually vegetarian.

However, it should also be noted that in many poor countries with massive starvation and nutritional deficiency problems, residents often have better hair than in developed countries.

In fact, high-protein and fat heavy meat based diets in Japan have been blamed for increased rates of hair loss at younger ages. So it is also possible that excessive nutrient and caloric intake can worsen hair loss. Perhaps via altering hormones such as estrogen, testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

In my life, I have known numerous people who were anorexic or had extremely strange and unhealthy diets. Many of them still had excellent scalp hair and no baldness in old age. Genetics usually trumps lifestyle in the case of hair loss. All of us know homeless people, alcoholics and drug addicts with great heads of hair.

I am not too much of a believer in nutritional deficiencies causing permanent hair loss. Nevertheless, I am not a doctor or medical professional and you should always take my theories with a grain of salt.

Viviscal vs Nutrafol Comparison

Both Viviscal tablets and Nutrafol capsules are oral dietary supplements and nutraceuticals that have to be taken daily. The Viviscal women’s tablet is supposed to be taken twice daily. The Nutrafol women’s capsule is supposed to be taken four times daily. Best results are seen after at least 3 months of daily ingestion.

It seems like for both brands, the women’s product is far more popular than the men’s product. Viviscal has a separate site for its men’s products. Nutrafol’s Instagram is filled with women’s before and after photos and testimonials.

Both Nutrafol and Viviscal also sell shampoos. And you can buy their products in various versions such as Viviscal Extra Strength and Professional; and Nutrafol Women’s Balance. Neither of these neutraceutical and dietary supplement brands require FDA approval. Make sure to search Reddit for opinions on Viviscal versus Nutrafol for your receding hairline.

Dosage and Price of Viviscal and Nutrafol

Viviscal recommends taking 2 tablets per day. Nutrafol recommends taking 4 capsules per day.

As of 2020, the price of 120 capsules of Nutrafol Women’s Supplement is $88. And the price of 60 tablets of Viviscal is $34.

So taking 4 Nutrafol capsules per day would cost around $3 per day. And taking 2 Viviscal tablets per day would cost around $1 per day.

Both the companies that make these products tout their clinical trials. However, I have not tried to analyze the quality, rigor and thoroughness of these trials. Nor whether there is any potential bias in the various trials’ sponsorship or otherwise.

Clinical trials and research pdf booklet for Viviscal.

Clinical trials for Nutrafol, with before and after photos.

Nutrafol Ingredients

Among the main ingredients in Nutrafol, the ones that stand out in uniqueness are: Marine Collagen (made from North Atlantic Cod); Ashwagandha (root and leaf); Japanese Knotweed Extract; Horestail Extract; Curcumin; Tocotrienol Complex; and Resveratrol.

Well known hair growth promoters such as biotin, zinc and saw palmetto are also contained in the Nutrafol Synergen Complex. In the Nutrafol Blend, one also finds L-Cysteine, L-Lysine, L-Methionine and Keratin.

For vegetarians, vegans and those concerned with mercury in seafood, this product is not ideal.

Nutrafol Ingredients
Nutrafol Hair Loss Supplement Ingredients.

Viviscal Ingredients

Viviscal Ingredients
Viviscal Ingredients.

The most unusual ingredient in Viviscal hair loss supplements is its AminoMar Marine Complex (trademarked). It is derived from shark cartilage and oysters and supposedly nourishes hair.

I wish they would find some other ingredient from the ocean to replace this marine complex shark powder. Especially since there are so many studies from Asia that show various seaweeds and sea vegetables to be helpful in growing hair.

Other ingredients in Viviscal include Vitamin C, Niacin, Biotin, Iron, Zinc and Horsetail Extract.

For vegetarians, vegans and those concerned with mercury in seafood, this product is not ideal.

58 thoughts on “Viviscal and Nutrafol Supplements for Hair Growth”

  1. There will be another two lectures in august given by Takashi Tsuji in a free Zoom conference:
    Can you please ask the Japanese Youtuber or Fuji Maru Kagurazaka to join this and share the content with us?

    Lecture No 1

    8/25 ADJ Online New Product Presentation
    Updated: July 15, 2020
    Seminar ID: 5291311
    Date: August 25, 2020 10:30-12:30

    Location: Online
    Lecturer: Takashi Tsuji, Team Leader, Organ Induction Research Team, Center for Biofunctional Sciences, RIKEN

    Lecture No 2

    Thursday, August 27

    23. Special Lecture 3. 15:15 ~ 16:15 Takashi Tsuji
    Toward the realization of hair follicle regenerative medicine as next-generation organ regenerative medicine

    1. Good post. We need someone to get the info and post it on here. Would be cool to get some kind of update.

  2. Never tried Viviscal and Nutrafol, but I can’t say I’m overly enthused either. In the past, I’ve tried lots of natural products for hair loss. Saw Palmetto, biotin, coconut oil, Fusion a Hair Tonic, etc, etc, etc. Apart from reducing some shedding-either real or imagined? they basically did nothing-(for me). Like a gullable twat, I even tried évolis and Watermans products. All they did was add volume to my hair, albiet for a few hours only. They certainly didn’t add any volume to my wallet. Watermans for instance, offer discounts if you post before and after pics in their review section. Most are bs pics posted by seemingly bs customers claiming their hair looks/feels healthier, fuller, thicker, etc, all the while hoping to get 10% off their next online purchase. My personal favourites: “My husbands hair started growing back after only three weeks!” And “After using this product for a short while, my hairdresser couldn’t believe how much thicker my hair looked.” :-(

    1. Which product made husbands hair grow in three
      weeks and yours thicker. Seems like most information always run together and not distink.
      Don’t know why I waste time reading. Most too long.

      1. @Dorothy@Norma. I was merely pointing out the ridiculous claims of both évolis and Watermans customers. As far as I know, no product on earth will regrow visible hair in just three weeks?!

  3. There is no direct correlation with too much/little food and hair loss.
    In today’s snowflake world, some even want to deny the link between obesity and too much food so you have a fight on your hands with that one.
    It’s purely genetic luck. You roll a 6 or a 1 or something in between.

  4. This is my opinion that is just purely a guess based on nothing. MPB is often chalked up to aging which is pure nonsense because many many 40 year old women have zero hair loss, and men do clearly MPB is not aging.
    IMO MPB is not getting vitamins like say vitamin D its something that goes defective in the DP cells of some men, and its an immune system reaction like some people get allergies and others dont.
    Its something like the study on vitamin D where men with MPB follicles have a defect that prevents them from properly converting vitamin D, and using it correctly in the hair life cycle. Its not the presence or lack of the vitamins, but how the hair processes them.
    Vitamins dont fix MPB because the issue is not the presence of vitamins. What you eat does absolutely nothing but maybe change hormone levels but hormones are not the real culprit either.

  5. It’s all genetic. Each one of your follicles are programmed to fall out at a certain time. External factors like stress, bad diet, environmental effects can speed the process up. If you dont have mpb gene in your body then you can eat crap food all day, smoke, do crack and whatever and still have thick sense hair.

    1. hair density and hair diameter are influenced by diet. Iron supplements, vitamin D, biotin, b12 pills will maximize you hair status WITHOUT any effect on androgenetic alopecia. However, in a lot of men hair loss is caused both by bad diet and DHT, so you can get wonderful results if you combine the above supplements and finasteride. So, in conclusion, it’s not all genetic.

  6. For new Nutrafol users: Ashwagandha is not for people on immune disorder medications meant to lower immune responses and curcumin is a blood thinner.

    I’ve been reading a lot about L-Rheuteri (probiotic) supplements and it anecdotally helping with hair loss.

  7. @Rick+C please elaborate on L-reuteri? Seems BS to me, used for 1-2 months (enough to colonize biome, I assume) with 0 effect.

  8. @Baumer My endocrinologist suggested I use it for high cholesterol and with anything I use, I research it first. L-rheuteri has been shown to decrease inflammation by suppressing interleukin-17 production, which has been shown to inhibit hair growth. The specific strains you want to buy are: ATCC 55730, DSM 17938, ATCC 6475. I bought it last week from BioGaia for $29.00.

  9. Hi,

    Sorry for the off-topic post. I recall in the past that there was news on an upcoming shampoo that helps minoxidil efficiency. However I cannot find anything on it looking back. I may have imagined it, but if not could someone let me know the link to this

    Thanks vm!

    1. I watch the video from the link above and was curious as to the drug it referenced fro the Turkish company . Does anyone know what this is ?

  10. Hello everyone,

    Long term reader (lurker), first time commenting.

    First of all, thanks to all the contributors and most of all to admin for your insight and for keeping the follicular dream alive.

    Sorry for the off topic question, but I have just started taking oral Finasteride and wondered whether using a topical solution of finasteride and minoxidil would be overkill/do more harm than good?

    I can’t seem to find any advice about this online.


    1. continue to use only oral finasteride for a few months and see how it works, if that is not enough add 5% minoxidil once a day. I started my battle 25 years ago, trust a veteran.

      1. Haha thanks Lorence, I always listen to the wise nowadays, but I had to learn that the hard (stupid) way.

        I didn’t articulate my question very well…assuming I respond well to the oral finasteride, if I also used a topical finasteride (As well as) would I increase/ensure maximum efficacy or would that increase the chances of any potential damage or side effects?

    1. Interesting, but seems like the patients are getting a “shotgun” therapy (3-5 different treatments)? So hard to tell what part of the success is due to any one product.

      1. @Admin I think it should be clear by now that you have to combine several different treatments to get good results. Thats a known fact since years now. Please dont tell me you did not know that!? So it doesnt matter which drug results better or less. They work only that good all together.

        1. John, the Cole video seemed to imply it was about exosomes and adipose cells. Then I saw lasers (which you have complained about in the past), topical Fin and a couple of other things in there too. So hard to tell the exact impact of exosomes or adipose cells.

          You seem to be talking about drugs and treatments advice in general rather than the Cole video?

  11. Hello Admin,

    What is your verdict on exosomes?
    Is there anywhere legit proof it works?
    You said this before in 2019 …

    “Dr. Greco sent me the 3 month before and after patient photo, but he does not want it shared on this blog as yet. There is clear hair growth in that photo. The patient had a depleted donor supply from FUT and FUE done somewhere else. If Dr. Greco shares the photo in future, I will paste it here.”

    1. Hi Netshed, a few doctors have sent me positive reports on exosomes in the past few months. However, several of the photos had issues with lighting so I did not add in the original exosomes post. One doctor was supposed to send me a detailed report a month ago, but got delayed by Covid.

      In general, the consensus seems to be that it is better than PRP. But a lot depends on where you are getting the exosomes from, and there have been some safety concerns per last year’s FDA warning. The Cole video does not seem to divulge much in terms of “exosomes only” treatment.

      1. Thanx Admin!
        Too bad that exosomes report is delayed.

        I agree on the video of Cole.
        The guy also used topical FIN for instance, many more ingredients in the cocktail, AND a hair transplant.
        Anyway, I can imagine the guy is thrilled about his result! Cole seems to be one of the best in the industry.

        BTW: Is the FDA not overly cautious sometimes?

        On their website they request people to send information about negative experiences with stem cell treatments (also stromal vascular fraction for instance).

        So they are still investigating … while on another website it is assumed they have not enough power and possibly manpower (money) to scrutinize/stop all the producers and clinics offering stem cells, for the time being.

        Online I can find a case of sepsis.
        A number of people got sepsis from an exosomes treatment, however that has more to do with the injection procedure of the clinic than with the product. Maybe I am wrong…

        So far about the safety.

        We are also concerned whether it works for hereditary hair loss …

        Some people complain about increased shedding and accelerated hair loss after PRP (Is it a safety issue or more of an efficacy issue? maybe not everybody is a candidate). PRP seems to work great/better for women.

        I still believe there are more types of AGA. Type l, Type ll, Type lll, etcetera. That’s why everybody reacts different to treatments. That goes for the results, but also for the side effects.

  12. @Del: I asked about the grafts in the Dr. Cole video and they said the grafts were to give the hairline more defined borders only.

  13. This exosomes video also is great.
    A NW7 which could be a candidate later for HT just because of the gains he had with exosomes.

  14. Netshrd that video displays two con artists portraying bs results. All before and after just show dimmer lights, hair grown out and dyed darker or toppik. If these results are real it still doesn’t justify the 5k price tag to still look like a nw7 who is trying to grow 5 extra hairs. There has to be some law to ban these ht docs from bs advertising

  15. Question for anyone: when you guys started losing your hair did it come with acne as well? I had acne growing up but I had it under control by the time I was about 21. Now I’m 28, losing my hair rapidly and have pretty substantial acne. Not really a fan of having both. Thinking about starting acutane but have also heard that can cause hair loss. lol of course. Any similar experiences?

    1. DH, are you taking Finasteride or Dutasteride by any chance? I suddenly started getting some forehead acne when taking Dutasteride, but it improved after I changed brands. With the latest batch, I get acne once every month. These drugs can slightly alter your testosterone and estrogen levels, but not always it seems.

  16. I just started taking finasteride but the acne started shortly after my hair loss started about 2 or so years ago. I was honestly hoping that finasteride was going to help a little since I’ve seen stories of that before.

  17. @Aleks That’s an interesting article. If the research stays at NC State and they don’t partner up with a lab in Japan, this could take 20+ years to see the marketplace.

    1. Doctor Tsuji reminds me of one of the many politicians who promise to change the world but in reality they never do anything … just look at the guy … you know is up to no good, is in it for other reasons.

      1. Lorence i don’t agree. I trust Dr Tsuji to get the job done then I do American hair researchers or European researchers.

  18. So someone on Reddit told me that a hair loss cure could happen by accident because of corona virus he said they will make a vaccine and then it will end up curing baldness while also curing COVID. We shall see

  19. Woofy hahahaha I hope you are on the big 3 and not holding out on a bs statement made by some clown on reddit. You cant be that naive or anyone else on here to believe that crap

    1. Mjones I’m on finasteride. And I’m not naive I’m just letting everyone know on here what that person said, do I think it’s a cure? Probably not again I’m just wanted to let everyone know.

  20. Sorry for calling you naive Woofy. My apologies. I must have misread what you wrote. I just want to be sure those who are not taking the big 3 to not rely on reddit posters for mpb cures.

      1. Admin what do You think about this?It is also a mystery whether such a hair will be able to give rise to another one after the end of the growth cycle, or will the procedure have to be repeated anew?

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