Healthy-looking hair is viewed as a sign of health and beauty. And just like all of the other parts of your body your hair needs the proper nutrients to grow and be strong and healthy. Lack of proper nutrition can lead to dull, lifeless strands, slow growth, and even hair loss. Age and genetics are both factors that affect hair growth, but nutrient intake plays a significant role. Here we will discuss the 8 vitamins and nutrients that are most important for healthy hair growth.
1- Vitamin A
We typically associate vitamin A with healthy eyes, and while it’s true that vitamin A is essential for eye health all of the cells in your body rely on this vitamin for growth. This included the fastest-growing part of your body- your hair. Vitamin A helps the oil glands in our scalp to produce sebum which moisturizes and protects your hair to keep it strong and healthy. When you don’t get enough vitamin A your hair can become dry, brittle, and even start to fall out. But you don’t want to overdo it. Studies have shown that too much vitamin A in the diet can lead to hair loss. Beta carotene, the substance that gives orange vegetables their color, is converted to vitamin A in the body. So to get a boost of this vitamin in your diet look for orange vegetables like carrots, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes as well as spinach, kale, milk, eggs, and yogurt which are also good sources.
2- B Vitamins
One of the best-known B vitamins when it comes to hair health is biotin. It’s long been known that biotin is essential for healthy hair growth. Other B vitamins are responsible for the formation of red blood cells that carry oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles in the scalp to support hair growth. To make sure you’re getting enough B vitamins in your diet eat a variety of whole grains, almonds, lean meats, fish and seafood, and dark leafy greens. If you are vegetarian or vegan you may need a supplement to ensure you’re getting enough B vitamins, especially B 12 which is mostly found in meat and animal products.
3- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect your hair against free radical damage that can block hair growth. Vitamin C is also crucial to the production of a protein called collagen which is one of the building blocks of your hair structure. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb and utilize iron which is necessary for healthy hair growth. Increase your intake of strawberries, peppers, tomatoes, citrus fruits, leafy vegetables, and guavas to boost your vitamin C intake.
4- Vitamin D
While the actual role of vitamin D in hair growth is still unknown, low levels of vitamin D have been linked to hair loss. Since most people are deficient in vitamin D due to indoor sedentary lifestyles and heavy use of sunscreens, it’s a good idea to go ahead and supplement with this vitamin. Your skin produces vitamin D when it’s exposed to sunlight so exposing your skin to 10-15 minutes of direct sunlight per day can help boost your levels. You can also take a supplement or add some vitamin D-rich foods to your diets such as fatty fish, cod liver oil, mushrooms that were grown with some sun exposure, eggs, and vitamin D fortified foods.
5- Vitamin E
Like vitamin C, vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant that reduces oxidative stress that can damage hair and slow its growth. People with hair loss that supplement with vitamin E for 8 months may experience an increase in hair growth of up to 34.5%. That’s pretty significant! Sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, and avocados are all foods rich in vitamin E that you can easily work into your diet.
Iron is an essential nutrient that aids in the oxygenation of your entire body. Iron helps the red blood cells carry oxygen to your cells. Iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common causes of hair loss. When your body isn’t getting enough oxygen it shuts down nonessential processes such as hair growth to conserve. Foods high in iron include meats, especially red meats, eggs, seafood, spinach, oats, raisins, and lentils.
Zinc helps the oil glands in the scalp to work properly to keep hair moisturized and healthy. It also plays a role in hair growth and tissue repair. Zinc deficiency often results in slow hair growth and hair loss. But don’t go overboard with this one either because high levels are also associated with hair loss. Resolving this deficiency can reverse this kind of hair loss and stimulate new growth. Foods high in zinc include beef, oysters, spinach, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, and lentils.
Your hair is entirely made up of proteins. Without enough protein intake, your hair simply cannot grow. Lean meats, fish, peas, lentils, beans and rice, eggs, dairy products, almonds, quinoa, and peanuts are all excellent sources of protein to add to your diet.
Good nutrition is vital to help your hair grow, and incorporating some of these healthy foods could give your mane just the boost it needs to get it growing healthy and strong again. If you’d like to explore other treatments to combat hair loss, schedule a free and discreet consultation with the hair loss experts at Hair Restoration Institute. We’ll evaluate your hair loss and develop an individualized plan to get you on the road to a full, healthy-looking head of hair again. You can find us at 8009 34th Ave S, Suite 1225 in Bloomington, MN, or call 612-588-HAIR (4247) for a private, complimentary consultation.