Many suffer from excess hair fall, but only a few understand the importance of hair vitamins for the growth and thickening of hair.
If you want to have healthy hair, daily you should be eating a well-balanced diet that contains all essential vitamins for hair growth.
There are 13 essential hair vitamins necessary for the health of the hair; they include Vitamins E, K, A, D, C, niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamine, riboflavin, Biotin, Vitamin B-12, vitamin B-6, and folate. Among these 13 nutrients protein, vitamins D and B-Complex (especially niacin and biotin) are essential for hair.
Deficiency in any of the above said vitamins and minerals have the potential for causing poor hair growth and hair loss.
Now let us briefly analyze 10 of the most prominent hair growth vitamins and nutrients.
Vitamin D is important for the better health of the bones, skin, and hair.
A 2012 study published in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine (SCTM) emphasizes vitamin D as a necessary hair vitamin required for the creation of new follicles.
According to a Harvard study, the absence of vitamin D receptor (VDR) leads to the development of alopecia. Vitamin D in combination with chemicals reactivates the dormant follicles and this results in the fresh growth of hair.
An adult person should get 15 micrograms of vitamin D as per the recommendations of the Office of Dietary Supplements under the National Institute of Health.
According to WHO reports over one billion people worldwide suffer from Vitamin D deficiency.
The best natural sources of Vitamin D are fish, grains, mushrooms, fortified orange juice and low-fat milk. Exposure to direct sunlight can also help the body to produce vitamin D.
The Office of Dietary Supplements warns that consumption of vitamin D supplements is NOT healthy as it can build up fat tissues at dangerous levels if consumed in excess. Taking more than the required amount of Vitamin D through supplement can also lead to high levels of calcium in the blood leading to kidney problems and other health hazards.
The best vitamins for hair growth are the B complex. B Vitamins also regulate metabolism, coordinate the central nervous system. B-complex vitamins rank top on the list of best hair vitamins.
A report by the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMM) recommends B-Complex vitamins as essential for healthy hair and skin. Among this cobalamin (B-12), biotin, and niacin are particularly needed for strengthening hair strands.
The best sources of vitamin B are natural foods like whole grains, avocado, cauliflower, carrots, dark leafy greens, poultry, egg, beef liver, nuts, soybeans, and legumes. The vegetarians who usually experience a deficiency in B-Complex vitamins may have to depend on supplements for it.
Vitamin C is, generally, known for its importance in creating a healthy immune system and supply of antioxidants to the body.
One of the common causes of hair loss is vitamin C deficiency. People who have deficient levels of Vitamin C in the blood usually have dry and splitting hair that is easily susceptible to hair fall.
One of the studies by Kim M.K et al., from the Kyungpook National University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea, found that ‘Ascorbic Acid 2-Phosphate stimulates the growth of dermal papilla cells and promotes the elongation of hair shafts in isolated hair follicles in culture.’
Vitamin C plays a major role in the synthesis of collagen that determines the health of skin and hair.
Vitamin C is required for the maintenance and functional enhancement of tyrosine (amino acid). It is this amino acid that maintains the structural integrity of hair strands and cells of hair follicles.
The antioxidant properties in Vitamin C contribute to the re-growth of hair. It does this by preventing oxidative damage to the cells of hair follicles.
You should have seen ads on vitamin E supplements and gels that help promote hair growth.
Vitamin E has a major role to play in the healthy growth of hairs. This vitamin has antioxidants that help to build and repair tissue.
Some of the studies have established a close association between oxidative stress and alopecia. Most of the alopecia patients usually exhibit lower levels of antioxidants and a higher lipid peroxidation index. Tocotrienols belong to the vitamin E family and are known to be potent antioxidants.
When vitamin E is applied to the scalp, it reduces the inflammation and repairs damages to the follicles. Through this process, the rejuvenated follicles promote hair growth again.
Deficiency in vitamin E intake can lead to overall bad hair health such as dry hair, split-ends, and hair fall. Best dietary sources of Vitamin E are green leafy vegetables, sprouts, oils, and nuts.
Many women and men have iron deficiency (anemia). One of the visible symptoms of iron deficiency is excess hair fall and brittle nails.
Hair loss from iron deficiency occurs because of the low levels of hemoglobin in the blood. Hemoglobin is the protein molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen for the growth and repair of body cells including the hair follicles.
Temporary hair loss such as iron deficiency hair loss is called telogen effluvium.
Best sources of iron mineral are beef, poultry, seafood, beans, dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots and iron-fortified cereals, bread and pasta.
Magnesium is a critical mineral for hair. Besides hair loss, magnesium deficiency also affects the thyroid, metabolism, heart nervous system, muscular-skeletal system, digestive system and more.
Lack of magnesium, especially in women, leads to premature graying of hair, hair thinning, and facial hair growth.
Best dietary sources of magnesium are fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kombucha, pumpkin seeds, spinach, quinoa, millet, wild halibut, almonds, sunflower seeds, and dark chocolate.
Reduce the intake of alcohol and caffeine as they prevent the absorption of magnesium from dietary sources.
You can buy magnesium oil as a spray and apply it every day to the areas of hair loss. It is one of the leading supplements for hair loss. Avoid dying, straightening or perming your hair until your magnesium level is normal.
If you have dry, brittle or weak locks, it means that probably you do not have enough protein in your diet. People who are on a low protein diet often suffer from severe hair loss.
Protein helps the body to produce keratin, which is the most basic element in your hair structure. The hair strands are more prone to breakage when keratin content in them is weak.
According to the USDA, women in ages, 31-50 should get 5 ounces of protein, younger women ages 19-30 can have 5 1/2 ounces.
Choose chicken, turkey, fish, dairy products and egg as best sources of high-quality protein. Best plant-based sources of protein are quinoa, spinach, broccoli, bean sprouts, nuts, etc.
Niacin, also known as nicotinic acid or Vitamin B3, plays a very big role in the healthy growth of hair.
It is a water-soluble vitamin that is very much needed for the body to convert food into energy. Extreme fatigue and tiredness are characteristic symptoms of niacin deficiency.
People who take niacin supplements might experience niacin “flush.” This vitamin widens the capillaries allowing increased circulation of blood flow to all parts of the body including the hair follicles. However, excess intake of niacin supplements has adverse effects on health.
According to an article published on Add-hair.com, niacin stimulates hair growth and minimizes the accumulation of cholesterol under the scalp. The cholesterol build-up on the scalp is dangerous as it converted into enzyme 5 alpha-reductase that causes alopecia.
Shrimp, fish, lean red meat, dairy, beans, almonds, carrots, and celery, are all rich in niacin.
In recent times, there is a lot of publicity on biotin supplements for hair growth; one of the hair supplements that are in high demand now.
Biotin, also referred to as vitamin H, is part of the B-complex vitamin.
Few of the past studies have reported that deficiency in biotin results in hair breakage and hair loss along with cracked and brittle nails. On this basis, it is assumed that having biotin-rich foods or taking biotin hair growth pills would help in increased hair growth and stoppage of hair fall.
Biotin is naturally present in a variety of foods such as halibut, Swiss chard, liver and kidney, eggs, dairy products, wheat products, carrots, nuts, some soy, vegetables, fruits, beans, and mushrooms.
Zinc is a trace element in the human body, without this many biochemical process in the body will be affected partially or fully.
Zinc is an important mineral for healthy hair, nails, and skin; an essential nutrient for hair growth.
Interestingly, zinc deficiency in the body is actually caused by deficiencies of Vitamin A and D. The prominent and most visible sign of zinc deficiency is hair loss.
Zinc is necessary for the building healthy cells, regulation of hormones and helps in the absorption of other vitamins and minerals.
Many of the dermatologists liberally recommend zinc supplements for hair growth and prevention of hair fall.
According to a researchers’ zinc deficiency causes deterioration of the protein structure that makes up the hair follicle. Obviously, weakened follicles will result in hair fall and stunted growth of hair.
The is trace mineral in the body is essential for the production of DNA and RNA, which are required for the multiplication of hair follicles that lead to better hair growth.
There also some studies that suggest the efficacy of zinc pyrithione in eliminating dandruff on the scalp.
In fact, zinc, iron, and magnesium are major ingredients in most hair growth treatments.