Long, healthy hair feels great and is a fantastic accessory for any look. People have been curious about the factors that affect hair growth for centuries. Genetics do play a significant part in how your hair grows and looks. However, your diet can also greatly affect hair growth and health.
Even though there are no magical formulas to make your hair grow, there certainly are dietary changes that could facilitate hair growth. Some studies prove that a deficiency in some vital nutrients can affect hair growth. Being on a restrictive diet can cause hair thinning and impact hair growth. This article explores some facts about hair and what vitamins are good for its growth.
How Does Hair Grow?
The way our hair grows is unique and interesting. Each hair strand starts to grow from its root, located at a follicle beneath your skin. After it leaves the root, it pushes through the skin layer before becoming visible on your head. Before shooting through your skin, each hair strand passes by an oil gland. This is what gives your hair some shine. Your hair receives nutrients when the blood in your scalp supplies nutrients to the hair follicle.
Scientists say that the number of hair follicles we have at birth is as many as we’ll ever have. However, in our daily lives, we lose about 100 hairs every day, on average. The growth of your hair depends on a few factors, including genetics, diet, hormones, health, hair care, and more. However, there are several ways to facilitate hair growth. A deficiency of these vitamins may lead to hair thinning or even hair loss. This article will explore some vitamins and supplements that may help you achieve longer, thicker hair. Experts have recommended these vitamins and supplements on our list.
What Are The Best Vitamins For Hair Growth?
Some studies have linked certain nutrients to optimal hair growth and health. Some essential vitamins that contribute to cell growth are also essential for optimal hair growth. Several dermatologists agree that a vitamin-rich diet is essential for healthier and longer hair. Vitamin A, B vitamins, biotin, and vitamin E are a few of the vitamins that are supposedly beneficial to your hair.
This complex B vitamin can be found in foods like eggs, sweet potatoes, nuts, and bananas. This vitamin, also called vitamin B7, is popularly known as a hair growth vitamin. A biotin deficiency can lead to hair problems like thinning and hair loss. Even though we can get all our daily recommended amount of biotin from foods, you can still supplement biotin. Biotin is one name you’ve come across while browsing the ingredient list of most hair growth supplements. This fat-soluble vitamin is often also present in some shampoos that promise fuller, healthier hair.
Biotin is involved in the body’s keratin production. This protein is the main structural material that makes up our hair, skin, and nails. Thus, besides growth, biotin also affects skin and nail health. A deficiency in this B vitamin can thus lead to brittle nails and skin problems. Several studies are still ongoing about biotin, and many are skeptical that its supplementation is effective for hair growth. Evidence shows a higher tendency for biotin to prevent hair loss than to cause hair growth. However, biotin supplementation may help prevent hair loss and support hair growth in those with a deficiency. In some cases, a biotin supplement might not prevent hair loss in people with a deficiency of this vitamin. This is often the case when other factors (besides a biotin deficiency) are the root causes of hair loss.
The Food and Nutrition Board at the National Academies of the Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends 30 mcg as the adequate biotin intake for most people. With a regular balanced diet, adults would usually meet the daily recommendations. One of the best sources of biotin is beef liver. Others include salmon, eggs, pork chop, and others. Even though eggs are a great source of this vitamin, raw eggs can be counterproductive, as a protein in egg whites can cause your body to have trouble absorbing biotin.
B vitamins are crucial for the body’s nervous system functions and metabolism. Some complex B vitamins, like biotin and B12, are essential for hair growth and health. Consuming an adequate amount of vitamin B12 (up to the daily recommendations) benefits your hair, skin, and overall health. These vitamins promote healthy cell rejuvenation, thus indirectly strengthening hair follicles and supporting hair growth. Out of the eight B vitamins, the ones most closely associated with hair health are B2, B3, B7, B9, and B12.
These vitamins are responsible for converting carbs to glucose in the body. Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) is instrumental in forming two enzymes responsible for new cell generation in the body. Vitamin B3, also called niacin, may not directly impact hair growth, but its circulation in the body might support oxygen and nutrient flow, which the scalp can feed off.
Vitamin B9 (folate) is present in dark green vegetables, melons, peas, and other foods. It has been linked to hair health. Folate is often used as a generic term to describe both naturally occurring vitamin B9 and manufactured folic acid. Lastly, vitamin B12 aids the production of red blood cells, which might provide nutrients to hair follicles. This process might cause this vitamin to promote the growth of new hair. You can find a high quantity of this vitamin in cooked clam, fish, and poultry. All of these complex B vitamins naturally exist in small amounts in the body. They are also available as supplements for those who might have a deficiency. However, studies have shown that maintaining a healthy diet prevents vitamin B deficiency.
Another vitamin that has been linked to hair growth is vitamin D. Its deficiency usually results in conditions such as female pattern hair loss, alopecia, and other medical conditions. Vitamin D has several functions in the body. It helps to keep your skin healthy, strengthens the immune system, strengthens bones, and promotes the growth of new hair.
The midday sun is a primary source of vitamin D, although we also get vitamin D from certain other foods. 15 mcg is the daily recommended dosage of vitamin D. Maintaining healthy levels of vitamin D will result in healthy hair growth. This vitamin helps to stimulate both old and new hair follicles. Thus, a deficiency would certainly lead to hair loss. If your daily vitamin D intake is lower than recommended, it might affect your overall hair health. Speak to your doctor to find out if your levels are low and if you should consider supplementation. Low vitamin D levels are often a result of. Observing a diet low in vitamin D will result in a deficiency of the nutrient and lead to hair problems. Other causes of vitamin D deficiency include wearing too much sunscreen and spending prolonged periods indoors away from the sun.
Some studies reveal that people with alopecia have a vitamin D deficiency. Fatty fish, some cereals, and orange juice are great sources of vitamin D. There are barely any studies to show that upping your vitamin D intake can lead to hair growth. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that hair can significantly regrow after supplementation. To help your hair grow, spend adequate time in the sun daily and eat vitamin D-rich foods.
Vitamin C is found abundantly in fruits and vegetables and has several functions in the body. As an antioxidant, it helps to neutralize damage caused by free radicals, thus promoting hair health. The vitamin C naturally occurring in the body is referred to as ascorbic acid. Being a collagen-booster, this vitamin might benefit scalp skin health and hair growth.
Dermatologists agree that vitamin C is great for all hair types. It’s used to treat hair with appropriate hair treatment. susceptible to breakage and might help restore sheen to dull hair. Some research shows that vitamin C interacts with a hormone called DHT. This hormone is often linked to hair loss, and vitamin C has been shown to repress the effects of DHT, thus helping to prevent hair loss.
Vitamin C supplements exist for both oral and topical use. Vitamin C is a major ingredient in shampoos that treat damaged hair. Most dermatologists suggest that topical use of vitamin C for hair health is more effective. Although vitamin C benefits all hair types, discussing your options with your doctor before proceeding with vitamin C supplements is best.
Several studies have linked iron deficiencies to hair loss, and the studies mostly showed that women are most susceptible to this. Eating sufficient iron-rich diets will ideally promote hair growth and regrowth. If a person has low ferritin levels, iron supplements will help facilitate quick hair growth. Iron produces hemoglobin in the body, which is crucial for hair growth. It also helps circulation in the body, allowing oxygen to flow to the scalp. This can, in turn, lead to faster and longer hair growth. Besides hair growth, it can play a role in thickening and nourishing the hair.
Red meat, lentils, and oysters are some iron-rich foods that might help to facilitate your hair’s growth. If your doctor diagnoses the cause of your thinning hair or hair loss as iron deficiency, they would likely recommend that you improve the iron content in your diet. In some cases, however, you might need to supplement.
Selenium is a popular ingredient in anti-dandruff products, and this is due to its effectiveness in neutralizing fungi causing dandruff. A clinical study also showed that selenium might help form antioxidants that help neutralize free radical damage that weakens hair. With selenium, care has to be taken not to exceed the daily recommended dosage. This is because over-consumption of selenium can lead to severe hair loss. Brazil nuts, bread, and dairy are some foods that contain selenium. The recommended upper limit is 400 mcg; staying within these bounds could make your hair healthier. Going over these limits might result in severe alopecia.
This is a protein that is naturally produced in the human body. It is present in the hair and nails. This protein is responsible for your hair’s silkiness and sheen. It is a structural protein that provides external protection for your hair strands. Over time and due to several factors, keratin can deplete from your hair, leaving you with dull, damaged hair.
Essentially, keratin makes up the fundamental structure of your hair. Thus, many believe that its supplementation might result in a boost in hair growth. Keratin treatments have become popular recently as a way of returning sheen and strength to your hair. People who use keratin treatment applaud it as an effective way to make hair more manageable and glossy. It’s said to remove frizz and dullness from hair.
Keratin supplements are available over-the-counter at health food shops. They often come in the form of a powder or as pills. Note that it’s important to seek medical advice before taking keratin supplements. Overusing this supplement can result in adverse effects due to protein buildup. Many keratin shampoos and serums exist in the market, although their effectiveness is still uncertain.
Keratin treatments have become popular recently and afford users a semi-permanent solution to hair dullness and frizziness. However, these treatments come with some risks. The treatment process often releases a high amount of formaldehyde. Therefore, people with respiratory issues should completely avoid this treatment. Also, pregnant women or people sensitive to formaldehyde should avoid keratin treatments.
Vitamin A promotes cell growth and is popularly known to promote healthy vision. However, the benefits of this fat-soluble vitamin are more far-reaching. Vitamin A exists naturally in foods such as cod liver oil, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, eggs, pumpkins, etc. It’s also available in different forms as a dietary supplement.
Our hair is the fastest-growing tissue in our body. Thus, like all cells in the body, it requires vitamin A for growth. Vitamin A works in the skin glands to produce sebum, an oily substance that moisturizes the scalp and promotes healthy hair. Like selenium, taking too much vitamin A can be counterproductive, resulting in hair thinning and loss. Thus it is best to stay within the recommended doses. The recommended daily allowance of this vitamin is 900 mcg for men; however, the RDA for women is 700 mcg.
The role of zinc in the body is essential, and this trace mineral is only found in small amounts in the body. However, its presence is crucial to several important functions like cell growth and DNA formation. Low zinc levels are one major cause of alopecia. Besides hair loss and hair thinning, poor wound healing is another symptom of low zinc levels.
Some zinc-rich foods include spinach, lentils, beans, nuts, meat, etc. Excessive alcohol intake, as well as pregnancy and breastfeeding, can lead to zinc deficiency. These low zinc levels can, in turn, result in hair loss. Good zinc levels promote hair follicle health and, thus, hair growth. Its recommended daily dosage is 8 mg and 11 mg for women and men, respectively.
Some Other Beneficial Nutrients For Hair Growth:
Besides the vitamins listed above, several other nutrients benefit hair health. Omega-3 fatty acids, for example, are thought to benefit hair health and growth. This nutrient naturally occurs in shellfish, and flaxseed is also available on the market as hair supplements.
Keeping your protein intake up is also great for your hair. Some studies show that deficiency of some vital proteins might lead to severe hair loss, while adequate levels may help hair regrowth. Although it’s rare to find protein deficiency in the western world today, vegans and vegetarians might need to supplement these vital proteins. In all of these, however, you must remember to boost your diet to include nutrient-dense meals. There’s also some research to back up claims that caffeine-infused products might facilitate hair growth.
Recommended Supplements For Hair Growth:
Although foods are the best way to obtain the nutrients necessary for hair growth, a need to supplement might arise sometimes. Several over-the-counter hair supplements are formulated to stop hair loss and facilitate growth. Before using these dietary supplements, note that most of them are not regulated by the FDA. Thus, you must ensure that third-party laboratories test the products to verify their content. You may need to speak with your physician or dermatologist about using hair growth supplements.
This supplement consists of some active vitamins to “prolong” the growth phase of your hair. A placebo-controlled study showed that women who took this supplement showed a noticeable difference in hair volume after 90 days. It is formulated with AminoMar, which can help promote existing hair growth. Its clinically proven formula is highly reviewed by users for its effectiveness in improving thin hair and encouraging existing hair growth. Its formula contains ingredients like vitamin C, biotin, and amino acids. Their line of products is completely drug-free and is great for all genders.
Olly Undeniable Beauty Gummies
These supplements come in the form of grapefruit-flavored gummies. They contain vitamins C and E, as well as biotin and keratin. These gummies have received rave reviews as potent hair growth supplements.
Hum Hair Sweet Hair
Hum makes the tastiest vegan gummies that are potent to encourage hair growth by promoting hair follicle health. These gummies contain vitamin B12, folic acid, and other vitamins that are beneficial to your hair and scalp. With consistent use, all-natural, this supplement will greatly benefit your hair health.
Keranique KeraViatin Hair and Scalp Supplements
This supplement contains zinc, the amino acid L-cysteine and other essential hair growth vitamins to promote hair growth. The soft gels are clinically tested to promote hair and scalp health.
This brand caters to specific hair growth cases. The supplements contain ingredients that strengthen hair, thus allowing for thicker, healthier, and longer hair. Nutrafol has a product to help hair growth for postpartum and menopausal women, one for general female use, and one for men.
The ingredients in this line of supplements target the root cause of hair thinning and loss and fix it. The men’s formula contains saw palmetto, which keeps testosterone from converting to DHT (a hormone linked to male baldness). The formula for women contains ashwagandha, which helps to reduce the production of the stress hormone cortisol.
Lifestyle Tips for Hair Loss Prevention
Besides dietary changes, some other lifestyle changes or additional routines could greatly improve your hair health. Note that hair loss and thinning can be a result of several reasons. Reducing stress might help prevent further hair loss and allow for healthy hair growth. Some research has linked chronic stress to severe hair loss. Thus, reducing stress naturally can help to facilitate the regrowth of your hair. Getting enough rest and exercise are some natural ways to relieve stress.
Besides getting enough rest, protecting your hair while you’re asleep is also important. For starters, consider using a silk pillowcase to prevent friction that could lead to hair breakage. Alternatively, you could wear a silk head scarf depending on your hair type and preferences.
Also, avoid going to sleep with wet hair. This can lead to severe damage. Getting a trim often might also help eliminate split ends that might lead to breakage. Other ways to prevent breakage include using hair conditioner and applying shampoo majorly to your scalp. Research also shows that selecting products containing antioxidants like piroctone olamine could prevent hair thinning and loss.
If possible, letting your hair air-dry might be a healthier option than blow drying. If you can avoid it, avoid coloring and bleaching your hair. These chemicals can cause great damage to your hair. Avoiding heating tools like curling irons also helps to prevent hair damage. Thus, it’s best to keep their usage down to a minimum. Alternatively, you should use a heat protectant when applying heat to your hair. Indulging in scalp massages might also benefit your hair health. You should also consider trying essential oils like lavender oil, jojoba oil, and peppermint oils. A small study showed that topical application of pumpkin seed oil improved hair growth in women with female pattern baldness.
Common Causes of Hair Loss
There are several causes of hair loss. Stress and stressful events have been linked to hair loss in different studies. Physical trauma to the follicles could also result in hair problems. In many cases, hair loss and other hair issues are genetic and hereditary. Health conditions and hormonal changes can also affect your hair and result in hair thinning and loss. An underactive or overactive thyroid gland can lead to hormonal imbalances that might result in hair loss. If you have undergone radiation therapy to your head, it will result in hair loss.
Some medications, such as blood thinners and contraceptives, can also cause hair loss. As we’ve seen earlier, overusing some vitamins, such as selenium, can result in hair loss. Some hairstyles might also be capable of damaging the hair to the point of shedding hair. Being slowly poisoned by substances like arsenic and mercury can also result in severe hair loss.
When Should I Talk to a Doctor?
As we stated earlier, losing hair daily is not unusual. In fact, it is very normal to lose up to 100 strands in one day. This level of hair loss is not a cause for alarm. Also, hair loss is associated with aging; thus, you’re expected to lose more hair as you get older.
However, if you think you are shedding more hair than usual, you should consider seeing a doctor. A board-certified dermatologist might go over your family’s medical history to determine if there’s a hereditary cause of your condition. They would also perform a physical examination of your scalp and your hair. In some cases, a blood test might be required. Also, if you’re considering using a supplement for hair growth, it’s best to speak with your doctor first. After the necessary consultation, your doctor will present you with the best options for your situation.
Conclusion: How To Grow More Hair?
Having full and healthy hair is a desire of most people, regardless of age and gender. However, health conditions or dietary limitations could result in unhealthy hair and hair loss. Boosting your vitamin intake can help grow your hair significantly.
Vitamins serve a major role in the entire body system. However, some vitamins also provide specific benefits to the hair. B vitamins, vitamins A and D, have shown to be very beneficial to hair. This article also showcases other means of growing natural hair. We’ve also listed some hair growth supplements recommended by experts. Note that these dietary and lifestyle changes do not have immediate results. Thus, there’s a need to be consistent and patient with the process.
You could also speak to your doctor about some drugs like minoxidil. This drug has shown some promise in treating some hereditary types of hair loss. All in all, consume foods rich in vitamins and observe the tips we listed above, and you’ll be well on your way to attaining the hair of your dreams.