trichotillomania research

The use of supplements in BFRB treatment

Quite a few dietary supplements have been found helpful at treating Trichotillomania and other BFRBs. Scientific studies show good success rates. Trials are often conducted using higher doses but we recommend that you consult your doctor if you want to exceed doses stated on the product packaging.

We don’t recommend that anybody take all of the health supplements listed here but instead pick one, take that for six weeks and then if you wish you can add another. If you take all the supplements at once, not only do you run the risk of draining your energy levels and raising toxins, but you also won’t know what, if anything, caused an improvement or a negative reaction.


Gaba is a soothing self-regulation neuro-transmitter which reduces over-stimulation of nerves. Together with Vitamin B6 and Inositol, GABA can reduce over-thinking, anxiety, attention deficit, depression and insomnia. GABA also reduces stress responses like cheek chewing, knuckle cracking and other BFRBs. 

Milk Thistle

Reassuring research shows the significance of Milk Thistle as being a suitable supplement for people with trichotillomania and is safe for children to take.


L-theanine is a component of green tea, which has a calming effect on brainwaves within less than an hour.

NAC (N-Acetylcysteine)

A recent study shows an amino acid NAC is affective at treating Trichotillomania. NAC is a food supplement naturally occurring in foods such as brussels sprouts, broccoli, chicken, eggs and has very few reported side effects. You can buy NAC from health food shops or online. It is not recommended if you’re pregnant/breast-feeding or have any heart, kidney or lung problems including asthma. If you have any concerns, please consult your doctor.

Trials were undertaken with people who didn’t know what they were trialling, and some volunteers were given placebos, while others were given the NAC. The NAC group showed significant lessening in hair pulling. The effect of NAC is restorative in the area of the brain we have known for a while is affected by glutamate and Trichotillomania. Urge reduction can take more than 10 weeks. Trials have so far lasted for three months but we suggest supplementing for a full year as it could take that long to redress any deficiencies within your body.


Some pull free success has been reported by people taking Inositol. Inositol can be purchased from most health food shops. It regulates serotonin, which is a brain transmitter chemical believed to be a partial cause of Trichotillomania and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). In studies, Inositol doses (built up gradually to 18 grams per day) have been shown to significantly improve OCD.

N.B. Inositol must never be taken with Lithium. Check with your doctor before taking any alternative treatment, especially if you are on any form of medication, whether that medication is for Trichotillomania or not.

Possible side effects: diarrhoea and wind, but these should cease within three days to a week. Not everyone has side effects.



Taking melatonin tablets (available online but not in the UK shops) may help as melatonin (only produced in the body by natural sunlight) helps the body to produce serotonin, which wakes us up and keeps us in a good mood.


Potassium supplements have been reported to help with Trichotillomania. It isn’t advisable to take potassium supplements as excessive amounts can be dangerous.

Updated 17 July 2022 review 18 July 2023