Hair loss is on the minds of 50 million men and 30 million women in the U.S alone. Many people deal with genetic and hormonal hair loss. For men, this might appear as a receding male pattern baldness hairline. For women, this often occurs as an all-over thinning of hair called female pattern baldness.
If your hair feels thinner than it used to, it might be a good idea to learn about the vitamins and minerals that are building blocks to a healthy hair growth cycle. Eating nutrient-dense meals could directly impact the health and overall appearance of your locks.
These are the most vital vitamins for healthy hair
Let’s break down the best vitamins for hair growth and where to find them naturally occurring in food.
#1 Vitamin A
All cell growth requires vitamin A; this includes hair growth. To grow any cells, you’d need a sufficient amount of vitamin A in your body.
While healthy levels of Vitamin A are necessary, it is rare that those in developed countries are deficient. The highest risk of deficiency is in those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, infants, and children.
Signs of Vitamin A deficiency:
dry skin, dry eyes, hard time seeing at night or in dim lighting, slow wound healing, acne.
Foods rich in Vitamin A
Veggies: Sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens like spinach, broccoli, carrots, cantaloupe, squash, bell peppers.
Animal products: Salmon, tuna trout, and liver.
#2 Biotin (Vitamin B7)
B vitamins are essential and contribute to the proper functioning of the metabolism and the central nervous system. Having low levels of B7 can cause or exacerbate hair loss.
Correcting these low levels or eating a diet rich in biotin may help reverse the effects of vitamin deficiency-caused hair loss.
A deficiency in biotin is considered rare. However, pregnancy can alter biotin catabolism which can cause a marginal deficiency. Half of the pregnant women in the US are marginally deficient in biotin.
Symptoms of B7 deficiency:
hair loss, thinning hair, red rash on face, depression, brittle nails, fatigue, tingling of the extremities.
Foods rich in Biotin
Veggies: Beans, peas, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, bananas, broccoli, avocado.
Animal products: Eggs and organ meat such as the animal liver.
#3 Vitamin B12
Another essential nutrient, vitamin B12 has a similar role to B7. B12 also assists the production of oxygenated red blood cells which are needed to supply blood to hair follicles.
A B12 deficiency could result in premature hair loss or greying.
Signs of B12 deficiency:
weakness, fatigue, pale skin, constipation, diarrhea, nerve issues like tingling or numbness, vision changes, depression, irritability.
Foods rich in B12
Animal products: Liver and kidneys, sardines, steak, tuna, salmon, eggs.
Other products: Fortified cereal and plant milk.
#4 Vitamin D
The sunshine vitamin is necessary for so many functions in a healthy body. One being keeping bones, teeth, and hair strong. Vitamin D is also needed for healthy hair growth and can aid in hair follicle health.
Much of the developed world is very vitamin D deficient as we spend so much of our lives indoors. Given that the best source of vitamin D is the sun, it’s no wonder we’re lacking.
This vitamin is also important for proper immune function.
Signs of Vitamin D deficiency:
Depression, overall fatigue, muscle weakness, muscle aches, bone pain, getting sick often, and hair loss.
Foods rich in Vitamin D
Much of our vitamin D needs can be absorbed from 15 minutes in the sun during midday (12 – 3 PM) 3 times a week.
Animal products: Fatty fish such as tuna and salmon, eggs, beef liver.
Low iron can cause hair loss and can affect oxygen levels throughout the body. Having low levels of this mineral can cause a low red blood cell count which can cause many problems.
This deficiency is called anemia and is incredibly common; roughly 30% of the world’s population, or two billion people, have anemia.
Studies have shown iron deficiencies can cause hair loss similar to male pattern hair loss. Iron levels have been shown to be directly linked to hair growth and hair loss.
Signs of Iron deficiency (Anemia):
Coldness in hands or feet, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, brittle nails, hair loss, restless leg syndrome, chest pain, paleness, tingling in legs,
Foods rich in Iron
Veggies and grains: Beans, spinach, pumpkin seeds, quinoa.
Animal products: red meat, chicken, turkey, shellfish, organ meats such as the liver.
Supplementing a healthy diet can boost your efforts
If you are trying to improve your hair health, it’s a good idea to consider a multivitamin that is formulated specifically for the health and growth of your hair, skin, and nails.
Use supplements to complement your nutrient-dense diet, your hair (skin and nails) will thank you.
If you have excessive hair shedding or worrisome hair thinning, reach out to hair experts for free consultations and ask about specifically formulated hair growth medications. Much can be done to treat hair loss, however, to avoid any damage to hair follicles it’s best to consult with a physician. Follow FixHealth for more!