Vitamins, minerals and nutrients have proven to be a powerful aid to maintaining and nurturing a healthy head of hair, preventing hair loss and some may even help to regrow lost hair naturally. The reason? Vitamin deficiency and hair loss are directly linked. Making sure your diet includes some hair loss prevention vitamins, you can improve circulation to the scalp (thus allowing the hair follicles to function efficiently), subtly adjust your hormonal balance and reduce stress, which is a major cause of alopecia. But which are the best vitamins to help hair growth?
Vitamin D for hair loss
In 2009 research was published claiming that the majority of people suffer from a vitamin D deficiency. The results of such a vitamin deficiency can have a detrimental impact on the health of the hair follicle and the cells which make up the hair shaft, and ultimately cause the onset of female and male pattern baldness, by weakening the hair at the root. Vitamin D is also extremely effective for the treatment of skin conditions such as psoriasis; as the health of the skin on the scalp directly affects the proper functioning of the hair cycle, it stands to reason that supplementing vitamin D or making sure that you consume an optimum amount of vitamin D through the food you eat, can prevent hair loss and grow hair.
Biotin is one of the most powerful vitamins to help hair growth
Originally referred to as vitamin H, Biotin is a component of the B vitamin complex. It is one of the main ingredients of most modern hair loss solutions and supplements and is proven to stimulate healthy regrowth. It also plays a significant role in slowing down (and in some cases reversing) the ageing process of the hair; many subjects have experienced a reduced amount of grey hair after supplementing Biotin for as little as two months.
Fatty acids play a vital part in the regeneration of many human cells. Because Biotin metabolizes fatty acids, it encourages the natural growth of new, healthy hair.
Biotin is naturally found in milk, liver and yeast. Egg yolks are rich in Biotin, but its effectiveness is hindered by a substance called avidin, found in the white of the egg. This can be countered by cooking the white as heat destroys avidin.
Biotin has proven to be particularly potent for the treatment of male pattern baldness and in some cases significant hair restoration may be achieved.
To learn more about Biotin, read Does Biotin for Hair Loss Really Work?
Optimum levels of Pantothetic Acid keep your scalp healthy
Also known as Calcium Pantothenate, Pantothetic Acid is a critical aid in maintaining a healthy scalp. Its primary function is to change fat and carbohydrates into energy, but it also plays a vital role in the efficient operation of the adrenal glands that produce male sex hormones, the correct balance of which is necessary for regenerating strong hair.
Most often found in the B complex, foods rich in Pantothetic Acid include potatoes, milk, liver and whole grains.
Protein deficiency equals brittle, weak hair
Protein is actually the main component of all human hair, which is why the intake of protein as part of a balanced diet is so important. Many of the leading shampoos and conditioners designed to treat hair loss are extremely rich in protein.
Supplementing protein in the form of gelatine has been found to increase the thickness of individual hair strands by as much as 50%.
Vitamin C produces collagen
When looking for vitamins to help hair growth, you should not underestimate the power of Vitamin C, as it is essential for the development of collagen, which has proven to be highly beneficial for strengthening hair follicles. Supplementing Vitamin C is an option, but try eating oranges and lemons daily and introduce kiwi fruit, guava and peppers into your diet.
Vitamin C also allows the body to properly absorb vitamin B12; B12 can prevent premature ageing of the hair, which can make it brittle and more susceptible to falling out.
Iron prevents hair loss by stimulating good circulation
Iron is strictly a mineral, not a vitamin, but is an important stimulus for a good hair cycle; it increases blood circulation to the scalp. However, be certain to check with a doctor before increasing your iron intake, as an excess of iron can cause problems, including accelerated hair loss.
Iron is found in high levels in apricots and liver
Vitamin E keeps the body young
Like many hair loss prevention vitamins, Vitamin E works to slow down the ageing process, which for many can be accompanied by balding or thinning of the hair. Greying and thinning hair are thought to be conditions of degenerating body health; supplementing Vitamin E can slow down and even reverse this process.
Great sources of Vitamin E include broccoli, spinach and Brussel sprouts.
Para-Aminobenzoic Acid reverses the ageing of the hair
As the hair ages it may change colour and start to thin or completely fall out on certain areas of the head. Para-Aminobenzoic Acid or PABA can combat this process. Part of the B complex family, PABA helps return the hair pigment to its original colour and improves quality and strength of growth. It is most effective when combined with folic acid.
The best food to eat as a source of PABA is liver, but it is also present in yeast and whole grain.
Zinc is one of the best vitamins to help hair growth for men
Like taking vitamin D for hair loss, supplementing Zinc can prove extremely effective in the regeneration of strong, thick hair. Several studies have shown that increased Zinc levels make the hair fuller and more likely to grow faster, and that Zinc deprivation is directly linked with premature hair loss. Male pattern baldness in particular was shown to be somewhat preventable with the supplementation of Zinc.
If you lead a highly stressful life, it is more than likely that you Zinc levels are depleted, so make sure you eat plenty of pumpkin seeds, sea food and egg yolks to restore a healthy balance.
Inositol regrows hair
Inositol is another member of the super B complex family, which have proven to work in combination with one another to be highly effective in the battle to promote healthy hair growth. It is a compound occurring in the brain, eyes, liver, kidney and muscles. As well as reducing the amount of cholesterol in the blood, Inositol is a powerful stimulant to hair regrowth, particularly in men. Even in less successful cases of supplementing Inositol, the vitamin has been proven to stop hair loss. In some subjects it has been shown to regrow hair and in the most successful cases, baldness has actually been reversed, leading to a full head of healthy hair.
Choline reduces stress
Stress is one of the primary causes of alopecia, so it stands to reason that reducing stress can have great results in combating thinning locks. Choline works at counteracting stress in humans and thus prevents resulting baldness.
Vitamin A helps strengthen hair follicles
One of the main functions of vitamin A is to monitor and regulate the synthesis of retinoic acid in hair follicles, vital for hair growth and regrowth. Vitamin A can be taken internally, but often produces better results when it is massaged directly into the hair shaft.
It’s important to remember that different people have different reactions to the various vitamins that help hair growth. Some may have great success with vitamin D for hair loss, whereas others may experience thickening of the hair using Biotin. Any increase in vitamin intake will normally take around 3 to 4 months before the body reacts positively and the vitamins take effect. It may be worth considering other ways to grow hair naturally alongside treatments such as the FDA approved medical solution Minoxidil (brand name Rogaine) and being open to ways of disguising any hair loss you may experience with products like Toppik Hair Building Fibers, all the while experimenting with vitamin supplementation over a sustained period to find out which hair prevention vitamins are best suited to you.