For many people, their hair is their crown or way of expression; losing it can be stressful. While experts say shedding between 50 to 100 hairs daily is normal, losing lumps of hair regularly can be a warning of a bigger issue at hand. Factors such as medical conditions, stress and vitamin deficiencies all can affect your hair health.
After consulting with a doctor or dermatologist to get to the root of your hair loss, one way to ensure you’re doing the most to support your tresses is by evaluating your diet. A healthy lifestyle plays a major role in ensuring the luscious, long and thick hair you may desire. Continue reading for the supplemental and natural ways for you to get the vitamins you need for healthy hair growth.
What vitamins are good for hair growth?
Vitamins do many amazing things for hair: They can aid in cell growth, prevent free radicals from damaging it, keep it from graying prematurely and nourish the follicles that stimulate growth.
Here are the best vitamins for hair growth and thickness.
Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, stimulates the production of keratin to increase follicle growth. Biotin deficiencies tend to be rare, with those diagnosed with Biotinidase Deficiency being the most common. You can find this vitamin in many foods, including eggs, meat, fish, nuts, eggs, sweet potatoes and seeds.
The recommended intake is 30 micrograms for adults daily.
Hair cells are the fastest-growing part of the body. It makes sense, then, that vitamin A is the perfect fuel for that growth. When your body absorbs vitamin A, it produces sebum. That’s an oily substance that moisturizes your scalp, keeping it and your hair follicles healthy. Having a vitamin A deficiency could result in you experiencing hair loss.
If you’re looking to consume more vitamin A, you’ll want to consume foods high in beta-carotene, which turns into vitamin A. Foods high in beta-carotene include sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, spinach and kale. You can also find it in cod liver oil, eggs, yogurt and milk.
The recommended daily intake for vitamin A is up to 900 mcg for men and 700 mcg for women.
Oxidative stress is one of the main factors contributing to hair loss. This occurs when we have an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in our bodies which can lead to an electron imbalance that could result in hair loss.
The solution is to consume foods with vitamin C. Your body possesses antioxidants that curtail free radicals’ hair damage by balancing their electrons when you do. Along with balancing the scales, Vitamin C aids your body in producing collagen (prevents hair from graying prematurely) and absorbing iron which can help hair grow. Smoking, drinking alcohol and having a poor diet can lead to a vitamin C deficiency.
Daily intake for vitamin C is up to 90 milligrams per day for adult men and 75 milligrams for adult women. Taking too much Vitamin C could result in heartburn, muscle cramps, fatigue, skin flushing and possible kidney stones.
To get more vitamin D intake, you can incorporate fatty fish, cod liver oil, fortified foods (cereal, eggs, bread, yogurt) and mushrooms into your diet. Alternatively, you can catch some midday sun rays.
600 IU of vitamin D is the recommended dosage for adults. Taking too much vitamin D could result in nausea, weight loss, disorientation, and heart rhythm issues.
Vitamin E contains the same antioxidant prowess as its vitamin C counterpart possesses. It means it can curb oxidative stress by balancing out the electron level in free radicals. People more susceptible to vitamin E deficiencies include those with health conditions such as Crohn’s or cystic fibrosis.
Vitamin E is an effective method for treating hair loss. A small study revealed that people taking vitamin E supplements for eight months experienced a 34.5% increase in hair growth. You can also find vitamin E in sunflower seeds, spinach, avocados, and almonds.
If you plan to go the supplemental route, the recommended dietary allowance is 15 milligrams daily.
Iron fuels the production of hemoglobin, a protein found in your body’s red blood cells. These cells distribute oxygen to cells throughout your body, aiding in their repair and growth. An iron deficiency can lead to hair loss, with women being the most susceptible.
You’ll find iron in foods like eggs, red meat, lentils, spinach, oysters and clams. If your doctor recommends it, you can take an iron supplement.
The recommended daily iron intake is 45 mg. Keep in mind that taking too much iron could result in constipation, stomach pain, and vomiting.
Zinc promotes hair growth and keeps the oil glands surrounding the follicles working well. If you have a Zinc deficiency, you could experience hair loss. Those most susceptible to zinc deficiencies are those who drink alcohol excessively, people with Crohn’s, pregnant or breastfeeding women and those with chronic kidney ailments.
You can find zinc in many common foods like beef, spinach, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, oysters and lentils. The recommended daily dosage of iron is 11 mg for men and 8 mg for women. Taking too much could result in loss of appetite, cramps and headaches. It can also lower your good cholesterol.
How long do hair growth vitamins take to work?
Hair supplements are not overnight solutions. It may take months before you’ll notice small improvements. Remember that the success rate depends on the cause of the hair loss, your diet, genetics and other factors.
Vitamins can restore damaged hair, prevent it from aging prematurely, reduce hair loss, and improve growth and volume. However, they’re not a one-size-fits-all solution. You’ll want to consult your doctor if you’re losing a significant amount of hair, as it may stem from your environment, an underlying medical condition or another factor. They’ll work with you to create a targeted plan that may include vitamins.