We naturally lose hair every day, but as we age the amount of hair loss increases. Hair loss that does not re-grow is known as alopecia. The causes of alopecia are circulatory problems, hormonal imbalances or other disease processes. The problem can also be medication related, such as steroid use, bacterial infections, vitamin deficiencies and hair processing like coloring. Genetics also play a role. Giving your scalp and hair follicles the proper nutrition and vitamins can help relieve hair loss and possibly even help hair to re-grow.
Vitamins Good for Hair Loss
1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A regulates retinoic acid at the level of the hair follicle. This helps hair to grow and can also be good for the skin. Vitamin A can be taken as a supplement, in foods or rubbed into the scalp and hair in liquid form.
For vitamin A, eat foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, paprika, butternut squash, apricots and cantelope.
2. Vitamin B Complex
All of the B vitamins help the body with increased levels of stress. Stress can cause hair loss, so vitamin B needs to be at optimal levels during stressful times. It is important to take all the B vitamins together in a complex for proper absorption.
- Vitamin B 12. Vitamin B12 nourishes the hair directly and is a part of the actual hair strands not just the follicles. Vegetarians often need to supplement vitamin B12 since the highest quantities are in animal products. Other foods that contain vitamin B12 are fish, cereals fortified with vitamin B, soy items that have been fortified, Swiss cheese, eggs and low-fat milk.
- Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 helps to increase hemoglobin levels, which helps to oxygenate the blood. Getting enough vitamin B6 helps your hair follicles get enough oxygen and helps keep them healthy enough to grow healthy hair. Eat plenty of foods like chickpeas, hummus, pork loin, bananas, green peas and asparagus, bran, pistachios, and raw garlic.
- Vitamin B7 or Biotin. This vitamin is often infused into hair products, but the body does not really absorb it through the skin. Deficiency in Biotin is a direct cause of balding on the face, body and scalp. Taking supplements orally is the best way to absorb Biotin or foods containing Biotin can be eaten. Foods containing Biotin include carrots, almonds, milk, Swiss chard, halibut, cauliflower and onions.
- Vitamin B9 or Folic Acid. This is one of the B complex vitamins and helps with red blood cell production. Eat foods like peas, collard greens, lentils and papaya for a folic acid boost.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is not manufactured by the body and it is a crucial part of iron absorption. Absorbing iron is necessary to help the hair grow properly. It also helps in the formation of certain proteins that help build hair.
It is important to get enough vitamin C through the diet by eating foods such as citrus fruits, broccoli, green peppers, red peppers, green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and winter squash.
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is another nutrient that is not made by our body. We need to get it from either food or adequate amounts of sunlight. Vitamin is important for hair growth and can stimulate the hair follicles to grow new hair.
Vitamin D can be obtained by eating foods including dairy products, fish, cod liver oil, fortified cereals, oysters, eggs and mushrooms.
5. Vitamin E
Vitamin E increases the blood flow to the scalp by causing new blood capillaries to form and bring nourishment to the scalp. This helps to increase the growth of new hair.
Foods that are high in vitamin E are nuts, tropical fruits (papaya, kiwi), red bell peppers, whole wheat and vegetable oils.
More Nutrients for Hair Loss
1. Iron-Rich Protein
Iron-Rich protein serves two purposes for the hair. Protein helps build up keratin levels which helps hair grow stronger and faster. Iron from protein meats is better for the body to absorb over the iron from vegetarian sources.
The top foods for iron-rich protein are fish, lean beef, turkey, chicken, egg yolks, lamb and pork. The moderate iron-protein foods are soybeans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, black eyed peas, garbanzo and kidney beans.
2. Beta Carotene
Beta carotene is the precursor to vitamin A. Your hair needs vitamin A to ensure healthy growth and a healthy appearance. Too little vitamin A can make for dry hair and flaky scalp.
The best way is to eat foods rich in beta carotene such as pumpkin, carrots, butternut squash, green leafy vegetables, watermelon, cherries, mangoes, tomatoes and apricots. You can also take a vitamin A supplement, but this should be in the form of retinol. Food sources are always the best sources for this vitamin.
Zinc feeds the oil glands near the follicles, which in turns keeps the hair nourished and supple. Not enough zinc in your diet will cause your hair to become dry and brittle and your scalp will flake. Too little zinc can also contribute to hair loss.
Foods containing zinc are wheat germ, chicken without skin, turkey, any kind of beans, peanuts and peanut butter, pecans, sunflower products, oysters, mussels, pumpkin seeds and yogurt.
4. Omega 3 Fatty Acids
These are a healthy essential oil that can help reduce hair loss and encourage growth. Our bodies do not make Omega-3 and they can be obtained in salmon, mackerel, sardines, flaxseeds and their oil and walnuts.
Hair is made from protein and lysine is an essential part of protein that benefits hair production. Animal proteins have the most lysine like chicken, beef and eggs. You can also supplement lysine at a dosage of 500mg up to 1000mg a day.