Do Vitamin supplements help in hair growth?
It is a long-debated topic among well-known dermatologists and hair-care specialists.
But one thing is certain that most of the hair loss issues do occur because of the lack of vitamins and minerals required for the growth and sustenance of healthy hair.
Several studies have clearly proven that the intake of biotin and prenatal vitamin supplements help in the better growth of the hair.
Just like the body cells, the hair follicles and strands also need specific vitamins and nutrients for the continuous growth of hair.
All vitamins for hair growth are usually included in the diverse food we consume, but unfortunately, because of the imbalanced diet, many of us miss out on some of these essential vitamins. A good quality multivitamin supplement contains nutrients like zinc, biotin, iron, Vitamins A, C and B-Complex that are essential for the growth of the hair.
The healthiest sources for all vitamins are veggies, nuts, fruits, eggs, meat, fish and dairy products. In case, if you regularly lack a balanced diet, vitamin supplements and externally used hair supplements are the alternative sources to get them.
Which Are The Vitamins For Hair Growth?
Vitamin C, A & D, B-Vitamins such as Biotin (Vitamin B7 or Vitamin H) and Niacin (B3) are important for healthy hair growth. Besides these vitamins, minerals like zinc, iron, and potassium are also important for hair growth and prevention of hair fall and graying of hair.
Let us have a little more detailed look into each of these vitamins and nutrients.
1. Biotin For Hair Growth
One of the fundamental reasons for the hair loss issue is the lack of Biotin. It is a vitamin of the B complex (also called as Vitamin B7 or Vitamin H), abundantly found in egg yolk, liver, and yeast.
This B-complex vitamin is also very important for the synthesis of fatty acids and glucose.
Biotin deficiencies are caused by the imbalanced diets, certain medications (e.g. epilepsy medicine), or as a side effect of stomach stapling for weight loss.
If you are experiencing an increasing amount of hair loss on a regular basis, it is good to test your biotin level in the body medically.
Among the B-Complex vitamins, Biotin, Niacin, and cobalamin are important for the continuous development and growth of hair.
It is actually the biotin that contributes most to making the hair thick and healthy.
The body can receive a good bit of biotin if you can include whole grains, eggs, avocados, liver and legumes in your diet.
Consuming Biotin supplements alone is not healthy as all B-Complex vitamins must be in proportionate balance for better health unless your body already has all the other B-Vitamins insufficient amount.
2. Vitamin A For Healthy Hair
Vitamin A is one of the most misunderstood and suspected vitamins as it is widely debated as ‘good and bad’ for hair growth.
Some of the past studies noted that when Vitamin A supplements were administered to subjects of the particular study, it increased hair loss in them.
At the same, there other studies that proved the effectiveness of Vitamin A are indeed needed for the healthy growth of the hairs.
The misunderstanding on the effectiveness of Vitamin A for hair nourishment arose as some of the health scientists in the past ignored the fact that Vitamin A is not very useful unless its co-factor nutrient, Vitamin D, is present in adequate amounts. Both of these Vitamins are interdependent and work in tandem to promote hair growth.
For example, Vitamin D increases antimicrobial peptides (natural antibiotics) while Vitamin A does its role in removing those microbes.
3. Vitamin D Helps In Hair Follicle Cycling
A hair follicle is a mammalian skin organ that produces hair. Hair production occurs in cycles/phases, the life cycles of hair include the growth, rest, and cessation. Vitamin D helps in hair follicle maintains hairs’ life cycle.
The hair loss is not directly related to Vitamin D, but Vitamin D receptors control the mineral balance in the body required for hair growth.
For example, zinc is a necessary constituent for hair growth, and this mineral is moderated by Vitamin D receptors.
Vitamin D helps in hair growth by helping the body to maintain a balanced amount of essential vitamins and minerals required for the growth and nourishment of the hair.
4. Vitamin C For Healthy Hair
Collagen is an important protein that is found in most connective tissues, and nearly 30% body is made up of this protein. It is important for the health of the skin, bones, muscles, nails, and hair.
Each bulb of the hair strands is surrounded by collagen that connects the hair to micro-vessels that supply the hairs with vitamins and nutrients required for its growth and maintenance.
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin for the buildup of collagen protein.
This Vitamin is also an excellent antioxidant that fights the free radicals that damage the hair. Usually, the hair becomes dry and develops split ends due to Vitamin C deficiency.
5. Iron For Nourishment Of Hair
Iron is an important mineral that plays a vital role in the growth cycle of hair.
First of all, iron is an important part of nutrients that go into the making of hemoglobin blood cells that carry oxygen to all body cells, including the hair follicles.
A measure called ferritin indicates the iron level in the body. It is a proven fact that lower ferritin level, especially in women, is always followed by hair loss and stunted hair growth.
The hair follicles do not maintain continuous hair growth, but they go through a cycle of growth, rest and cessation. Due to lack of iron, the growth phase (anagen) of the hair becomes short and hairs fall out prematurely without reaching the maximum length (normally a healthy hair stand grows up to 5 years).
Most cases of hair loss in women are associated with low ferritin as blood loss in menstruating women depletes iron stores
Iron-rich foods like egg yolks, lentils, spinach, and chicken are good for raising the ferritin level.
6. Zinc For Preventing Hair Loss
Zinc is a trace element in the human body, yet the deficiency of zinc will upset several key biological functions.
Some of the core functions of the body like cell reproduction, protein synthesis production of hormones, etc. require this trace element for healthy functioning.
It is good to note here that deficiency in Vitamin A and D usually leads to a deficiency in zinc as well.
One of the reasons for hair loss is Zinc deficiency. This trace element is also important for maintaining the healthy protein structure in the hair follicles. Lack of zinc-lead to the weakening of hair follicles, and it will result in increased hair fall.
Some studies show the possibility of delayed graying and better hair growth with the intake of diets containing zinc.
Another notable of contribution of zinc is its help in DNA and RNA structure development and maintenance. This has great significance in hair growth as the efficient division of hair follicle cells leads to improved hair growth in the anagen stage.
Even the topical application of hair creams and lotions containing zinc is proved to be good for the increased growth of hair.
The best way to add zinc elements in your body is by including red meat, eggs, liver, pumpkin seeds, soy products, etc. in your diet.
Heavy exercisers and sweaters lose a lot of zinc through sweat, and if they DO NOT keep up with sufficient zinc intake regularly, they become vulnerable to hair loss.
7. Potassium Deficiency Leads To Hair Loss
Potassium deficiency (hypokalemia) is one of the most neglected reasons for hair fall, especially in a woman.
Regular intake of high-salty diets increases the sodium accumulation around the hair follicles which block the vital nutrients required for hair growth.
Potassium can remove excess sodium accumulation in the body.
However, if you have too much of potassium in relation to less salt, this condition will also lead to hair fall. If the body does not get a sufficient amount of sodium the electrolytes won’t function healthy and the nutrients required for the hair growth will not pass through the bloodstream to the hair follicles.
That is to say, for the health of the body and the growth of hair, the potassium and sodium must be present in the body in a proportionate amount.
The main reasons for potassium deficiency in a person could be due to lack of potassium in the diet, excess excretion of potassium through urination; side effects caused certain medication or certain disease that causes poor digestion.
The best natural sources of potassium are bananas, whole grains, sunflower seeds, lean meats, bran, fruits, and vegetables.
Vitamins For Male Pattern Baldness
Men are biologically more prone to baldness. Most men begin to develop male pattern baldness by the age of 50.
Pattern baldness in men is associated with male sex hormones called androgens and hereditary reasons. Androgens have many functions, one of which is to regulate hair growth.
The male pattern baldness becomes severe as the hair follicle becomes smaller or many of them disappear altogether. At this stage, the growth of new hair becomes nil, or it grows only very short and thin.
Some men begin to go bald just after crossing youth age (after 35 years). Early occurrence of male pattern baldness is mostly because of serious vitamin deficiency due to poor diet or health issues related to poor digestion and metabolism.
To get rid of male pattern baldness (0r at least to reduce it) it is important to have regularly balanced diets that have a sufficient amount of Vitamin A, C, D, B Vitamins, Iron, Potassium, and Zinc. Always the natural vitamins for male pattern baldness work better than the synthetic supplements that contain all those vitamins.
Do Supplements For Hair Growth Work?
There is no doubt that most of the hair loss issues are caused by a deficiency in one or more vitamins and nutrients essential for the growth of the hair.
If your hair fall is due to lack of vitamins, the best solution is to have a variety of foods in the diet that contains all essential vitamins for hair growth or start using specific vitamin supplements that contain all these vitamins.
In most cases, it takes a few months for the vitamin supplements to work from within the body and show up the hair growth results. Hair growth is not possible overnight, even when you trim your healthy hairs, it takes several weeks for them to become long again.
You can see whether a vitamin supplement is working for you or not only after you regularly use them for 2 to 3 months.
If you are going to use vitamin supplements for hair growth, it is always good to use the supplements made from organic ingredients as many of the synthetically produced vitamins can cause other health hazards with prolonged use of them.
I am a strong supporter of natural remedies for hair care than using those chemically produced supplements and hair creams.