Losing hair, which affects everyone some day or the other, can be an extremely frustrating and depressing affair and can affect one’s self-confidence. However, there is no need to panic as there are options to control hair loss and even options to restore hair and reverse baldness.
While genes, hormones, age are a few factors that cause hair loss, lack of proper nutrition cannot be overlooked as one of the causes. There are vitamins for healthy hair, vitamins for thinning hair, vitamins for hair growth and thickness, basically, vitamins for all conditions of hair. A healthy mix of vitamins and minerals along with other nutrients is crucial for maintaining health of hair. Following are the roles that Vitamins play in keeping hair healthy.
Vitamin A has rich antioxidant properties which helps keep the scalp moisturized and prevent the hair from weakened follicles and breakage. Vitamin A is necessary for cell growth. It also assists in producing the natural oil called sebum which gives shines to your hair. This is one of the best vitamins for hair growth and thickness.
Sources of Vitamin A: Food rich in vitamin A are carrots, eggs, liver, milk, spinach, sweet potatoes, mangoes, dried apricots
Biotin and B5 (Vitamin B-complex)
Biotin benefits hair by rebuilding damaged hair shingles which may be the effects of over-shampooing, exposure to the sun, blow-drying and ironing. Vitamin B5, on the other hand, supports the adrenal glands, which help stimulate hair growth. Intake of Biotin results in the rapid increase in the growth rate of your hair. It strengthens and thickens the hair. Biotin is a B-complex vitamin and adequate amount is necessary for healthy growth of your hair and hair loss is often a sign of Biotin deficiency. To prevent hair loss and increase hair strength, take one B-complex vitamin tablet daily or take biotin and vitamin B5 separately.
Sources of Biotin & B5: eggs, beef, chicken, avocado, legumes, nuts and potatoes
Vitamin B12 promotes cell growth and division which is essential for healthy hair growth. Deficiency of this vitamin may result in slower hair growth. Vitamin B12 helps prevent hair loss and aids in the absorption of iron. While Vitamin B12 is the most important of the B vitamins, for best results try to include them all in your daily diet plan.
Sources of Vitamin B12: Eggs, cheese, milk, yogurt, grains
Niacin (Vitamin B3)
It belongs to the vitamin B family and it is a water-soluble vitamin. It converts food into energy and its deficiency results in fatigue. Niacin is very important as it maintains the structure of the blood cells and thereby improves the blood circulation which nourishes the scalp and helps in promoting healthy hair growth. Its deficiency may make your hair brittle and lifeless resulting in hair fall.
Sources of Niacin: turkey, chicken breast, tuna, mushroom, avocado, nuts, and egg.
Vitamin C is perhaps the most well-known vitamin that promotes hair growth and strength. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, as it helps reduce oxidative damage. it helps in preventing premature graying of the hair as well as hair loss. Vitamin C plays a part in the production of collagen, a protein that is vital for hair growth and thickness. Vitamin C deficiency affects the actual creation of the hair shaft, influencing shaft strength and thus has been cited as an indirect cause of telogen effluvium Daily intake of vitamin C through food items or supplements is necessary to maintain the health of your hair.
Sources of Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, Lemon, Guava, Strawberries, Grapefruit, Bell Peppers, Brussels Sprouts.
The family of Vitamin D consists of many important vitamins that are involved in calcium, magnesium and phosphorus absorption. It helps stem cells to enhance and maintain the ability to produce hair and promote healthy follicle growth. It is also shown to improve the thickness of the hair. One way to boost vitamin D levels is to spend some time outside in the sun.
Sources of Vitamin D: fish(salmon or swordfish), mushroom, egg, grains, fortified orange juice, low-fat fortified milk.
Vitamin E is yet another vitamin with rich antioxidant qualities. It fights damage from free radicals and helps build and repairs tissues so as to help hair growth. It keeps your scalp healthy and also locks in the moisture thereby protecting your hair from drying out. When you apply vitamin E to your scalp through Vitamin E rich oils, it helps reduce inflammation, increases blood circulation, boosts oxygen supply and repairs damaged hair follicles.
Sources of Vitamin E: beans, soybeans, leafy greens, almonds, avocado, broccoli, and nuts.
An essential mineral, iron helps in carrying oxygen to the hair roots which makes it necessary for growth and the health of hair. Deficiency of iron makes the hair dry and dull and results in thinning of hair. Severe deficiency also leads to hair loss. If the quantum of hair loss is more than normal, probably it indicates lack of iron in your body and including iron-rich foods in your diet can arrest the abnormal hair loss.
Sources of Iron: spinach, garbanzo beans, lentils, sesame seeds
Zinc repairs damage to cells as also keeps the oil glands around the follicles in good shape. Deficiency in zinc contributes towards hair loss as lack of zinc weakens the hair shaft causing hair breakage and obstruction to hair regrowth. Zinc promotes cell reproduction and tissue growth. It also repairs broken tissues. Zinc also plays an important role in maintaining a balance in the hormone levels thereby positively affecting healthy hair growth. As a bonus, zinc also helps eliminate dandruff. A word of caution about zinc and hair loss. Too much of zinc in body can actually trigger hair loss, hence, it is advised to take zinc rich diet under guidance from a nutritionist.
Sources of Zinc: Oysters, beef, lamb, spinach, pumpkin seeds, lobsters, mushrooms and dark chocolate
To conclude, I can say that losing hair or hair thinning, both are serious concerns for all. This has led to various studies and has resulted in establishing the link between hair growth and vitamins and identifying deficiencies in our body which result in hair loss and thinning. To stem the loss of hair and instead, stimulate hair growth and thickness, getting the right mix of nutrients, and vitamins and establishing and following healthy lifestyle are a few imperative choices. These would contribute towards arresting the fall, augmenting growth and strength of hair.