While we lose about 100 strands of hair a day on average, men and women with hair loss can lose much more. Some problems are hereditary, while in other cases it could be stress or certain androgen hormones called DHT. Whatever the case, certain vitamin deficiencies can intensify the issue, making it harder to grow hair.
Studies show taking the right vitamins and supplements can help stimulate new hair growth. Especially, antioxidants like vitamins C, and E that block scalp damaging free radicals. Where taking vitamin B-12, Biotin, Zinc or Iron plays a critical role in hair regrowth.
While you may enlist Rogaine for a topical treatment, many dermatologists also recommend hair growth vitamins and supplements to help with hair loss. So what are the best vitamins for hair growth? Keep reading to find out more.
What Vitamins are Good for Hair Growth?
Minerals and vitamins help the human body stimulate hair growth and maintain a healthy glow. However, if your diet is not rich in some of these vitamins, you may have to increase your intake through vitamin supplements.
Since many nutritional deficiencies are linked to lack of hair growth, some studies have found these vitamins below are essential for hair health.
1. Vitamin A
If you’re not eating enough carrots, then you probably don’t have enough vitamin A in your system. Every person could use a bit more vitamin A in their diets. This fat-soluble vitamin is responsible for everything from vision health to immune system strength to reproduction. Studies have found that vitamin A helps the heart, kidneys, lungs, and other organs to function properly.
In addition, studies have found that vitamin A deficiencies lead to significant hair loss, but you also have to maintain a good balance. When vitamin A tips into overdose, it can actually leave your follicles vulnerable to hair loss.
If you find that your scalp is dry and you have brittle hair, eating nutrient-rich foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, pumpkin, and kale will help as they are high in beta-carotene, which changes into vitamin A in the human body. You can also get vitamin A from eggs, yogurt, milk, and cod liver oil.
2. B-Vitamins or Biotin
B-vitamins are extremely important for basic health by helping metabolize amino acids, fats and carbohydrates. As a B-vitamin, you regularly absorb Biotin from foods like salmon, eggs, and sunflower seeds. It’s also thought that Biotin helps with hair growth. However, to date, the medical science is limited that a surplus of biotin would increase hair growth.
Some patients show results, including thicker hair and a resurgence of hair growth. A Biotin study in 2015 found that after they gave patients an oral marine protein supplement with biotin for 90 days, the patients showed signs of hair growth in areas that were once thin and shedding hair profusely.
While Biotin deficiency is rare, experts recommend that you can add as much as 30 mcg of the vitamin per day, but if you really want to change your body’s chemistry, you should consider adding some of these Biotin-rich foods in your diet:
- Liver or kidney meats
- Egg yolks
- Almonds, peanuts, and walnuts
Besides possible hair growth and even beard growth, Biotin is helpful for improving cognitive functions, lowering blood sugar for those with diabetes, increasing good HDL cholesterol, and reducing inflammation.
3. Vitamin D
If you are suffering from alopecia, you may have a vitamin D deficiency. Studies have shown a link between low levels of vitamin D and hair loss. Researchers now know that vitamin D promotes the creation of new hair follicles on the scalp. While this research is preliminary, it shows that vitamin D plays a role in hair production because of the healthy growth of hair receptors.
While everyone can produce vitamin D by sunbathing and absorbing it through the sun’s rays, there are some good dietary sources that contain this vitamin as well. For example, cod liver oil, mushrooms, fatty fish, and other fortified foods are great sources of vitamin D.
You can also take supplements, but the truth is you may need to spend more time outside exercising to get more vitamin D.
4. Vitamin C
Do you drink orange juice every day to boost your vitamin C levels? Vitamin C is helps you block free radical damage that can hinder hair growth and cause your hair to age faster. Doctors reveal that vitamin C is a strong antioxidant that blocks out oxidative stress caused by these free radicals in the body.
Your body also needs vitamin C to create another protein called collagen. Studies have shown that collagen is an important factor in your hair’s structure. As a water-soluble vitamin, vitamin C has many benefits for your body, including the prevention of hair loss.
Most of your vitamin C intake goes to repairing and creating human tissue, which means it’s essential for healing wounds. It also helps create strong teeth and bones. If you have a vitamin C deficiency, you may see more hair loss because without it, hair strands age becoming brittle and easily broken.
Some of the best hair growth food you can add to your diet if you have a vitamin C deficiency includes:
- green peppers
- winter squash
If you want to take a supplement for vitamin C, the USDA sets a recommended dietary allowance of 90 mg daily for adults. If you smoke, then you can increase your intake by +35 mg a day.
Are you anemic? You may have an iron deficiency that’s causing stress and hair loss. Iron naturally helps your red blood cells carry oxygen to other cells.
However, if you have anemia, then you may think you have male pattern balding when it’s actually a lack of iron. Symptoms look the same for patients with anemia and male pattern hair loss.
That’s why iron is one of the best supplements for hair loss prevention. One study found that increasing iron intake for patients led to a significant regrowth of hair, even when patients thought they had male pattern hair loss.
If you do have an iron deficiency, you should ask your doctor for a ferritin level blood test. This measures your blood for levels of a protein called ferritin that stores iron in the body.
Doctors also suggest eating a diet high in spinach, peas, lean proteins like salmon, and dried fruit. Iron-fortified foods are the best to shop for when you have an iron deficiency.
6. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is best known because of its antioxidant characteristics. Antioxidants help reduce free radicals and protect your body’s cells. Although there are many beauty products that contain vitamin E, it’s an essential antioxidant that you need for hair growth and shine.
One vitamin A study in 2010 found that vitamin E supplements increased hair growth significantly. The study found that the supplements reduced oxidative stress and improved scalp circulation. In other cases, it helped to balance out oil production on the scalp.
Some topical applications, including avocado oil creams, have proven to help with hair growth on the scalp. These oils have a high vitamin E content and support a healthy scalp. However, there are also things that you can eat to increase your vitamin E intake naturally. A diet of sunflower oil, olive oil, nuts, and leafy greens can help you increase your vitamin E intake daily.
Most people don’t need to take vitamin E supplements, and these may have an adverse effect on your health. If you want to use pure vitamin E oil, then experts say that you must dilute the oil with water before applying to scalp.
You can use these products to massage into your scalp, then allow the oil to sit for 15 minutes and absorb into your scalp.
Niacin is another B-vitamin known for turning carbohydrates into energy. As a B3 vitamin, it helps distribute energy to our cells and maintains their health.
However, it’s also important to blood circulation. It brings nutrients and oxygen to hair follicles. If you aren’t getting enough niacin in your diet, you may notice thinner hair due to poor scalp health and blood circulation.
Products like Nutrafol can help by improving your niacin levels.
Studies have shown that niacin affects blood vessels near the skin more intensely. These vessels tend to open up when exposed to niacin. Some doctors suggest taking a B3 vitamin after every meal to aid in digestion and increase your niacin intake.
You can also find Niacin in foods like beets, beef, nuts, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, tuna, and many dairy products.
A potential downside of niacin deficiency is weight gain. If your hair is thinning, and you have put on a few pounds, you could benefit from a B3 vitamin.
Doctors also suggest that if you smoke, drink alcohol regularly, or take painkillers, you’re at risk for a niacin deficiency because your body lacks the ability to absorb this vitamin. You may need to talk to your doctor and get a blood test if you’re on these medications and wish to increase your niacin intake.
The short answer is yes! However, not all vitamins will cure pattern hair loss. However, if you have thinning hair and symptoms of male pattern hair loss, you could actually simply have a vitamin deficiency, according to many researchers.
While you may have heard of hair growth supplements, increasing your vitamin and mineral intake at a natural level is a far better way to go. You help your body by improving your nutrition, and you remove the risk of overdosing on vitamins, which can be a problem.