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By April Summers
Did you know that hair is the fastest growing tissue in your body?
If it seems to take forever for your hair to grow, or you’re losing it faster than it’s growing, it might be that you’re undernourished.
Not all undernourished people know it, either.
Many people walk around the planet sick, tired, and struggling physically and mentally because they aren’t getting the proper nutrition.
Often, we look at beautiful hair as a sign of good health.
And it’s true that, along with age, genetics, and hormones, nutrition is a crucial part of growing lovely hair.
Dull, thin hair can often be attributed to a poor diet.
Many nutritional deficiencies are linked to hair loss. Listed below are the top recommendations for growing fabulous, vibrant, and shiny locks.
5 Vitamins for Healthy Hair
Always talk to your health practitioner before adding vitamins to your diet.
It’s essential to know the amounts your body needs because too much of even good things can make you sick.
Your body needs vitamin A to grow hair and keep it moisturized.
It helps your skin glands create sebum, an oil that protects your hair from damage and keeps the scalp healthy.
Hair loss can result from vitamin A deficiency, but too much vitamin A can also cause you to lose hair.
Vitamin A is found in many plants:
These are all high in beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A.
The greens also contain iron, folate, and vitamin C.
Low iron is the most common nutritional deficiency globally and is linked to many different types of hair loss (1).
People who may be at risk for iron deficiency are:
B-vitamins help make red blood cells that carry oxygen and nutrients to your scalp and hair follicles.
Vitamin B is present in many foods, including:
Vitamin B7 (biotin, also known as vitamin H) supports your cells by improving the keratin infrastructure in the body.
This structure is responsible for building healthy hair, skin, and nails (6).
A biotin deficiency can cause hair loss, skin rashes, and brittle nails.
Most people get plenty of biotin in their diet, and a deficiency is rare because it can be found in so many foods.
But pregnancy, breastfeeding, and taking some antibiotics and epilepsy medications can deplete biotin reserves.
If you have healthy hair, taking biotin probably won’t affect it, but people who are deficient are likely to notice more growth by increasing their intake of vitamin B7 (7).
Some research indicates that increasing your biotin intake can also improve hair qualities like thickness and shine.
Good sources of biotin are in:
The most abundant sources of vitamin B12 include:
Besides tasting way better than liver and kale, oranges are one of the most effective foods to help grow and strengthen your hair.
Your body needs vitamin C for iron absorption and collagen production, strengthening blood vessels, giving skin elasticity, and playing a vital part in the hair structure.
It promotes healthy hair growth and reduces hair loss (10).
Vitamin C can also fight dandruff, prevent premature graying, weakening, becoming brittle, and thinning (11).
Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant, preventing free-radical damage and oxidative stress.
Free radicals can block growth and cause your hair to age sooner than expected.
Vitamin C also helps you absorb the iron you learned about with vitamin B. Some good sources are:
Okay, so maybe not ALL the foods containing vitamin C taste better than kale.
Eating foods with iron simultaneously as those with vitamin C will boost iron absorption for a double dose of hair love.
Vitamin D is famous for healthy bones.
A vitamin D deficiency makes you susceptible to rickets, which leads to bone softening and skeletal deformity.
We don’t hear about this condition much because our milk is fortified with vitamin D.
When the body doesn’t have enough vitamin D, keratinocytes in hair follicles have trouble regulating hair growth, sometimes resulting in alopecia (shedding) (13).
A vitamin D deficiency can even cause younger people to lose hair and experience accelerated hair loss over time (14).
Vitamin D is also thought to create new hair follicles in the scalp so new hair can grow (15).
Low vitamin D levels are linked to:
Eons ago, and in some cultures now, people cover up their bodies from head to toe and don’t get much skin exposure to vitamin D from the sun, but this essential vitamin occurs naturally in a few foods:
If you avoid sunlight, have dairy allergies, lactose intolerance, or eat a vegan diet, it’s a good idea to take a supplement to ensure adequate intake of vitamin D (16).
Like any other vitamin or mineral, vitamin D only works when it’s been converted into a form your body can absorb.
The level of absorption is called “bioavailability.”
Taking magnesium with Vitamin D boosts its bioavailability (17).
Along with vitamin C, vitamin E acts as a potent antioxidant to prevent free-radical damage, which is linked to shedding.
People experiencing hair loss have lower antioxidant levels in their scalp and can grow a greater number of hair strands after supplementing with vitamin E for eight months.
The best sources of vitamin E include:
Here’s a short list of hair woes and some foods you might incorporate into your diet.
If you aren’t getting enough vitamins in general or need some to boost your intake, try a good multivitamin with the recommended amounts of A, B, C, D, and E.
But be sure to talk to your medical professional first.
Dull Hair – Salmon with omega-3 fatty acids for extra shine. (Flaxseed for vegans).
Flaky Scalp – Pumpkin seeds to boost your zinc and beat the dryness.
Thinning Hair – Chicken for protein to replace lost hair strands.
Hair Breakage – Strawberries for vitamin C for that hair-building structure.
Sensitive Scalp – Almonds for vitamin E to protect skin cells from chemicals and sun.
Hair Loss – Beans to boost iron for blood supply and growing strands.
Fading Color – Shiitake mushrooms, a source of biotin and copper to protect from premature graying (20).
Disclaimer: The information contained within this site is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have, expect to have, or suspect you may have any medical condition, you are urged to consult with a health care provider. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
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