10 Vitamins You Need to Remedy Hair Loss
We know that what we eat is vitally important to how we function, how we feel and our immune systems ability to fight off seasonal nasties. But did you know that thinning hair or hair loss can be due, in part, to poor uptake or a total lack of 10 key vitamins in your diet.
1. Vitamin D
Often credited with boosting the immune system, vitamin D can help keep the skin and bones healthy. It can also create new, healthy hair follicles, which are essential for hair growth.
“Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to hair loss, especially in patients with androgenetic alopecia, telogen effluvium and alopecia areata,” said Heather Hanks, a nutritionist with Life Insurance Star.
Research shows that supplementing with vitamin D can help restore hair loss in patients with these conditions.
A vitamin D deficiency can also cause mood swings, fatigue, chronic pain, muscle weakness and high blood pressure. According to health professionals, to avoid low vitamin D levels, you can:
- Eat avocado, chia seeds and nuts, which are all high in vitamin D
- Enjoy time in the sun (safely).
- Check medications to see whether they’re draining your natural supply.
- Supplement daily with Vitamin D
Some experts believe that vegans lack vitamin D and can keep their levels high by taking regular vitamin D supplements. A 2014 study by Molecular Endocrinology found that the hair on mice grew back two weeks after giving them vitamin D receptors. This perhaps indicates that a vitamin D supplement can help with hair growth rather than the actual nutrient. Hanks continued, “You can ensure you’re getting enough vitamin D by taking a multivitamin that contains at least 100% RDI of D3, which is the more absorbable form.”
If you are in menopause or peri-menopause, Vitamin D has show to help with age related hair loss, skin ageing and mood elevation.
Of all the nutrients and B vitamins you consume, the one most commonly connected with hair loss is biotin. In many studies, those exhibiting hair loss have shown evidence of clinical improvement after receiving biotin. A regular supply also stops nails from becoming brittle, and it can help reduce blood sugar in people living with diabetes.
Biotin is present in a well-balanced diet, so deficiencies are usually due to genetics. A biotin deficiency can also be triggered in people who smoke, take antibiotics and certain acne medications.
Egg yolk, cheese and meat will boost vitamin B levels for a healthy scalp and increased hair growth — but if you’re vegan or vegetarian, you’re likely looking for alternatives. Alongside a healthy diet that includes dark green vegetables, you could take a biotin supplement.
The body needs iron to create hemoglobin, which helps deliver nutrients and oxygen to cells. So if you’re struggling with an iron deficiency, your body essentially goes into survival mode and only delivers oxygen to the fundamental organs. And in the pecking order of essential organs, hair follicles fall pretty far down the list.
Dr. Rashmi Byakodi states, “low iron stores represent a risk factor for female hair loss in non-menopausal women. Iron is involved in many critical physiologic processes within the hair follicle, suggesting that iron deficiency could disrupt hair synthesis. In addition, iron deficiency may play a role in female pattern hair loss or chronic telogen effluvium.”
Low iron also contributes to hair thinning, stunted hair growth and even hair loss if the iron deficiency turns into anemia. An iron deficiency can also cause:
- Shortness of breath
- Sore tongue
- Brittle nails
- Restless leg syndrome
You can encourage new hair follicles and more iron in your system by taking an iron supplement and eating more broccoli, berries and leafy vegetables.
Zinc is vital for tissue growth and repair. Zinc keeps oil glands around the follicles working at optimum capacity. A zinc deficiency tends to be present in people who consume many cereal grains or in infants who drink milk formula. It’s also often present in people with eating disorders.
It’s worth remembering that zinc is a trace element, which means it’s low in concentration and required in minute amounts. It’s essential for many biochemical processes and aids cell production, hormone levels and protein synthesis. If you’re vitamin A or D vitamin deficient, you’re likely also to suffer a zinc deficiency. A deficiency of zinc is often one cause of telogen effluvium or brittle hair.
When it comes to zinc and hair loss, you don’t want too much in the body or not enough. Zinc helps keep hormone levels regulated, which is one reason why it can help with hair loss. Zinc is also essential for DNA and RNA synthesis as it aids rapid hair follicle growth and helps stabilize cell growth. To keep zinc levels healthy, include wheat germs, pumpkin seeds.
Much like zinc, selenium is another trace mineral that can support healthy hair growth. Also, like zinc, too much selenium can trigger hair loss, so it’s important you tread the line carefully.
Selenium has special antioxidant properties that help boost the body’s metabolic functioning, which helps maintain a hormonal balance essential for less hair loss and healthy hair production. In addition, selenium is vital to the production of thyroid hormones which help regulate hair growth.
A selenium deficiency can lead to serious health issues and a negative immune function. Still, amazingly, according to a 2017 review, an estimated 1 billion people across the globe are living with selenium deficiency.
If you want to up your selenium intake, include these foods in your next snack:
- Brazil nuts
6. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can help protect the cells in your body from damage. It’s a vitamin that occurs naturally in a lot of foods, and it’s fat-soluble. Renowned for its nourishing and hydrating effect on the skin, it’s been popular since the 1950s.
Your scalp is an area of skin that’s often forgotten. Vitamin E can help create a protective barrier for the scalp, so your hair stays hydrated and healthy. When you have enough vitamin E, it can help your body reduce the oxidative stress in your scalp — this type of stress is especially linked to hair loss. To avoid an E vitamin deficiency, pump your diet with a host of leafy green vegetables, sunflower seeds and nuts.
7. Folic Acid
Folic acid is often found in prenatal supplements because it plays a significant role in fetal development. It also stimulates cell growth which, in turn, boosts hair growth. It can also help prevent premature graying by keeping levels of oxygen normalized. However, a deficiency of folic acid can cause hair loss, so consider taking a supplement to keep hair looking beautifully glossy and nourished.
Other Vitamins and Nutrients of Note
It takes more than a few hair products to maintain the look and feel of your hair. A considered 360° approach to overall hair wellness can lower stress levels and support hair health. Ensure that you look at shampoo and conditioner ingredients and aim to go ‘parabene free’. There is a range of organic and vegan products on the market that do wonders for healthy scalp and hair follicle growth. Hydration is also critical, healthy hair is hydrated hair. Menopause and Peri-menopause also play a big part in hair loss due to the slowing down of estrogen production. Consult your Doctor for HRT or bio-identical medications that support hormone wellbeing during this stage of life.
8. Essential Fatty Acids
Fatty acids Omega-3 and Omega-6 will aid hair growth and reduce inflammation in the body. If you’re living with a fatty acid deficiency, you could lose hair from your brows and scalp. You can boost your essential fatty acid intake by consuming flaxseed, walnut and dedicated daily supplements.
9. Vitamin C
Keeping vitamin C levels regulated helps the body produce collagen, which contributes to healthy hair growth. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps also helps the body absorb zinc, which also helps ward off hair loss. Introduce more vitamin C into your diet and avoid vitamin deficiencies by eating blackcurrants, kiwi fruit, kale, oranges, strawberries and guava.
10. Amino Acid
A protein and amino acid deficiency can lead to hair loss and thinning. Amino acids help the body function by boosting tissue repair and hormone regulation. They can also assist with breaking down food internally and keeping immunity strong. For a healthy amino acids intake, make sure you’re eating a diet rich in lentils, seeds, cabbage, spinach, avocado, asparagus and soybeans. Supplements that are great for boosting amino acids are spots formulas like BCAA’s or pure amino acid formulas.