Most people believe healthy-looking hair is a sign of beauty or health. Like all other part of the body, hair needs different types of nutrients to grow and be healthy. In fact, different nutritional deficiencies have been linked to hair loss.
People find it shameful when they lose their hair because it doesn’t make them look beautiful and healthy.
While factors like genetics, age and hormones also affect the hair growth, nutrient intake is also a key.
Here are the 5 vitamins plus 3 nutrients that may be vital to hair growth.
1. Vitamin A
Every cell in the body needs vitamin A for growth. This does not exclude hair, which is the fastest growing tissue in our body. Vitamin A also helps the glands to make the oily substance known as sebum. Sebum helps moisturizes the scalp and also keep the hair healthy. Taking diet deficient in Vitamin A can lead to different problems, including hair loss.
While getting enough vitamin A is important, too much of it may be dangerous. Research showed that overdose of vitamin A may contribute to hair loss.
Carrots, spinach, kale, pumpkins and sweet potatoes are all high in beta-caroten that is turned to Vitamin A. You can also find vitamin A in animal products like eggs, yogurt and milk. Cod liver oil is a very good source also.
One vitamin that stands out of other vitamins when it comes to hair growth is a B-vitamin known as biotin. Studies have showed that biotin deficiency can lead to hair loss in humans.
Biotin is used as alternative hair-loss treatment. It is very rare to have biotin deficiency because it naturally occurs in different types of food we eat.
Other B-vitamins helps in creating red blood cells, which carry nutrients and oxygen to hair follicles and scalp. These processes are vital for hair growth.
B-vitamins can be gotten from different types of foods, including almonds, fish, meat, whole grains, dark leafy greens and seafood. In addition, animal foods are the only great sources of vitamin B12. Therefore, if you are following a vegan or vegetarian diet, consider taking a supplement.
So, the bottom line is that, B-vitamins help to carry nutrients and oxygen to your scalp that aids in hair growth.
3. Vitamin C
The free radical damage may block growth and cause the hair to age. Vitamin C is a very powerful antioxidant that helps in protecting against the oxidative stress that is caused by free radicals.
Additionally, your body requires vitamin C to create a protein called collagen- a vital part of the hair structure.
Vitamin C is also vital for body to absorb iron- a mineral that is very important to hair growth.
Peppers, citrus fruit, guava and strawberries are all good source of vitamin C. The bottom line is that, vitamin C is needed for body to make collagen and can help to prevent hair from aging.
4. Vitamin D
A low level of vitamin D has been linked to alopecia, a technical term for hair loss. Different researches also showed that vitamin D can help create new follicles- the tiny pores in the scalp where the new hair can grow.
It is thought that vitamin D plays a role in hair production, but a lot of research focuses on the vitamin D receptors. So, the exact role of vitamin D in the hair growth is not known.
That said, many people don’t get enough vitamin D, but you may need to increase your vitamin D intake. The body produces vitamin D through the direct contact with sun rays. The good dietary source of vitamin D includes cod liver oil, fatty fish, fortified foods and some mushrooms.
5. Vitamin E
In similarity to vitamin C, vitamin E is also an antioxidant that prevent oxidative stress. A study showed that people with hair loss, experienced 34.5% increase in hair growth after supplementing with vitamin E for eight months.
Almonds, sunflower seeds, avocados and spinach are good sources of vitamin E. The bottom line is that, vitamin E helps in preventing oxidative stress and also boosts hair growth.
Iron helps the red blood cells to carry oxygen to our cells. This made it a vital mineral for different bodily functions, including the hair growth. Deficiency of iron that leads to anemia is a major cause of hair loss. This is very common in women.
The foods high in iron are oyster, red meat, eggs, clams, lentils and spinach.
Zinc plays a vital role in hair tissue growth and repair. Zinc also helps in keeping the oil glands around the follicles working appropriately. Common symptom of zinc is hair loss. Studies showed that zinc supplements reduce hair loss that is caused by zinc deficiency. However, too much of zinc can also lead to hair loss, therefore it will be better to get the zinc needed by your body from whole foods.
Foods that are high in zinc are beef, oyster, wheat germ, lentils, spinach and pumpkin seeds.
The main point is that, zinc can improve your hair growth if you are deficient in it.
Our hair is made almost entirely of protein. Taking enough protein is vital for hair growth. Animal studies showed that protein deficiency can reduce hair growth and can even lead to hair loss.
Therefore, eating protein is extremely important for hair growth.
Is it Advisable to Take Hair Supplement?
The best source of vitamins needed for hair growth is food. But if you are unable to get enough vitamins in your diet, supplements may be very helpful. According to researches, supplements work best in people that are deficient in one vitamin or the other.
In addition, overdose of minerals and vitamins can be very harmful if you are deficient. So, make sure you work with your doctor to know if you are deficient or not.
Finally, the best way to get the necessary nutrients is to always eat balanced diet- the real food-based diet that has plenty of nutrient-dense foods.