Everyday vitamins for healthier hair
April, 28 2020 | By Dr. Sangay Bhutia (Hair Transplant Specialist in Delhi)
You use the best, expensive shampoo for your hair, you condition it regularly, use a hair mask every week, massage it with warm oil once in a while, but your hair is still not looking healthy, shiny and as luscious as you would like it. So, what is it that you are doing wrong? Often we focus on buying expensive products and take good care of our mane externally but we forget that a nutritious diet is equally important for healthy and strong tresses. Experts believe that all the 13 essential vitamins are important to maintain the health of the hair and keep it from falling. These essential vitamins include A, C, D, E, and B complex.
Vitamin deficiency can lead to lacklustre hair and even induce hair fall. The good thing is that you don't necessarily have to take vitamin supplements, you can easily get the benefits by adding them or making some changes to your diet plan. Here are the vitamins that are essential for your hair and their sources:
As much as Vitamin A is essential for healthy hair, excessive amounts of this vitamin can also lead to hair loss. If someone is deficient in vitamin A, it may disrupt red blood cell generation, and force hair follicles to remain in the resting or the telogen phase of the hair growth cycle, for longer than it is necessary. Vitamin A also keeps the scalp moisturised and helps in hair growth.
Its deficiency can be easily tackled by adding eggs, fruits, milk, sweet red peppers, apricots, yoghurt, and leafy green vegetables to your diet. Often, patients who take acne medicines, especially retinoids, may have a higher level of vitamin A which can cause hair fall. Therefore, those experiencing hair fall should make sure that they talk about it while consulting their doctor on acne medication. Isotretinoin, which is commonly used for acne treatment lists hair fall as a side effect, however studies say that this can happen only on very high doses and is temporary.
This essential vitamin, which we get primarily through sun exposure, is great for immunity, stimulates cell growth, and helps in keeping hair and skin healthy. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with alopecia or hair fall. It is important to get some amount of unprotected sun exposure, a minimum of 10-15 minutes, so that we can absorb vitamin D.
Some foods that are rich in vitamin D are fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, cod liver oil, milk, egg yolk, mushrooms, and orange juice. Research shows if we increase our vitamin D levels, it can restore hair growth to some extent.
A common ingredient in skin products, vitamin E is known for its antioxidant properties. It is also known to boost hair growth and improve scalp and hair health. While a vitamin E deficiency is rare, if you want to boost the health of your hair, you can use products like shampoos, conditioners or oils which have Vitamin E. Some of the sources of Vitamin E are olive oil, sunflower oil, nuts, and green leafy vegetables.
Another popular ingredient in skin creams and lotions, Vitamin C is known for its anti-aging properties. It is also effective in hair growth and strengthening. An important aspect to Vitamin C is that it helps in the absorption of iron, which is important for hair growth. A lack of iron in the body can cause anaemia and general weakness, and even hair fall. The body also needs vitamin C for making collagen, which is a key part of the hair structure.
Vitamin C deficiency can cause dry, rough, and split hair and even lead to hair loss. Vitamin C is also key in maintaining flexible arteries and improving the blood flow, making it easier for nutrients to reach all parts of the body including hair follicles. Vitamin C is found in foods like guavas, sweet yellow peppers, black currants, parsley, thyme, kiwis, lemons, oranges, brussel sprouts, and sweet red peppers.
Vitamin B12 helps in red blood cell formation and neurological function. Its deficiency can cause weakness, fatigue, depression, difficulty in walking, numbness or tingling in the hands and legs, and other neurological and cognitive changes. Women experiencing menopause who have an increased blood flow, are at a higher risk of iron and B12 deficiency. These can both cause hair loss. Vitamin B12 deficiency is often seen in vegetarians and those who have had weight loss surgery.
This vitamin is required for the production of new hair and to promote hair growth. It is found in foods like beef liver, fortified soya milk, fortified breakfast cereal, grains, canned tuna fish, low fat yoghurt. However, people who are above 50 might need a supplement.
Biotin or B7, a B-complex vitamin is also known to boost hair growth. However, people rarely have a biotin deficiency and it is found commonly in foods, like milk, grains, and eggs. If you are considering a biotin supplement, it shouldn’t be done without consulting the doctor first.
Vitamins can do a lot for the health of our hair and their overall appearance. Making small dietary changes to include foods rich in these vitamins can vastly improve the health of the hair in the long term.