One of the first things people notice about you is your hair. So make sure it’s healthy. The best thing you can do to maintain a head nicely coiffed with hair is to eat well. Secondly, when discussing nutrition and vitamins for hair growth the main and realistic goal is maintaing the hair you currently have.
Hair loss has many causes with genetics and hormonal imbalances being the most common causes. But, hair health like everything else, is affected by our nutritional status. Hair is protein with protein making up 90% of the hair’s structure. So a good place to start in improving hair health is with lean sources of protein. Hair loss is not just a concern of men. Women suffer from hair loss too, and will also benefit from some of these natural remedies for hair growth.
Let’s now look at not only vitamins but other nutrients available as supplements that can keep hair on your head and off the pillow or sink drain. Let’s look at vitamins for hair.
Vitamins for Hair Growth
Biotin always make the list of nutrients important for healthy hair. Biotin is also known as vitamin H which is a little confusing since it’s a part of the B complex vitamins (perhaps the “H” stands for hair). Biotin strengthens hair as well as nails. It may prevent graying of hair, but that hasn’t worked for me. Good sources of biotin include egg yolks, liver, peanuts, walnuts, poultry, salmon, lentils, mushrooms, and yeast. Recommended doses of biotin for hair health is 2 mg to 3 mg a day.
Vitamins A, C, and E are antioxidants and antioxidants are good for everything. But, be careful because vitamin A can also lead to hair loss with excessive doses. Vitamin A facilitates production of sebum that helps moisturize the scalp. Antioxidants like vitamins C and E protect the hair follicle from toxins that can plug the follicles hindering hair growth.
Vitamin B12 is important for hair health and unfortunately B12 deficiency is not uncommon. See our article “Vitamin B12 and Memory“. B12 levels can be measured easily with a blood test and can easily be treated with either periodic injections or oral supplements. Plus eating foods like fish, meat, and dairy are high in B12.
Inositol protects the hair follicle and is a compound found in the cell membranes.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are linked to preventing hair loss. Omega-3 may limit dihydrostestosterone levels like zinc (see below).
Zinc deficiency is a cause of hair loss. Zinc deficiency also leads to excess DHT or dihydrotestosterone which is linked to hair loss, too. Excessive DHT levels is more of a concern in men, but men and women both can have a zinc deficiency.
There’s some disagreement on how much zinc one should take. Some recommend doses up to 50 mg and others up to 80 mg. The concern with too much zinc can lead to low levels of copper which can lead to excessive hair shedding. Plus, copper deficiency is associated with other health problems.
Keep Stress Under Control
Stress is exhausting in many ways. One thing stress does is exhaust many of these important vitamins and nutrients that are vital for hair growth. So monitor your stress levels. Try to eat better during stressful periods – much easier said than done. Seek out ways, though, to dissipate your stress and get it under control.
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