Vitamins for Hair Growth
If you're interested in learning more about vitamins for promoting hair growth, there's a lot to consider. Many factors play a role in how long, fast, full and strong your hair will grow, and vitamins are only one part of that equation.
Consult with your physician if you experience significant hair loss, as this may be a sign of a condition requiring medical intervention. It's also a good idea to speak with your doctor before starting new supplements.
Read on for more information on how to improve your hair through your diet!
Beta carotene is one of many vitamins that promotes hair growth. The nutrient is converted into a carotenoid in the body, a form of vitamin A.
Vitamin A is essential to cell growth throughout the body, including scalp and hair cells. In addition to supplements, you can find this nutrient in the following foods:
- Hot peppers
- Mustard greens
Since high doses of vitamin A and other antioxidants in the body may be dangerous, it's recommended that you get these substances through a balanced diet and not supplements, unless directed by your doctor.
Folate, a B vitamin critical to cell growth, is a very important nutrient -- especially before and after pregnancy. A deficiency in this vitamin can cause graying and weakened hair. If you've lost a lot of hair after pregnancy or while taking hormone medications, consider taking a folate supplement. Additional folate may help reverse hair loss related to a hormone imbalance.
If you're looking to increase your folate intake, try these foods:
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- Great northern beans
- Wheat germ
Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that may stimulate scalp circulation and support hair growth. Vitamin C is used to create collagen, a substance necessary for healthy hair.
To get more C, increase your intake of the following foods:
- Bell peppers
- Brussels sprouts
- Rose hips
Biotin and Other B Vitamins
Biotin is an important nutrient for both hair and nail growth, as are other B vitamins. In fact, a deficiency in biotin causes hair loss. Some time ago people realized that horses given biotin grew stronger hooves, which cemented its status as the "hair and hoof" vitamin.
Besides taking a supplement, you can get biotin from eating:
- Egg yolk
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble, antioxidant vitamin found in wheat germ, whole grains, almonds and from other food sources. Many shampoos contain wheat germ or some other form of vitamin E because its topical application can stimulate circulation to the scalp and enhance nutrient absorption into the hair follicles, which encourages hair growth.
Taking dietary and supplemental vitamin E has the same effect from the inside of your body. The USRDA for vitamin E is 30 iu per day.
Zinc is another vitamin important for healthy cell growth. Zinc deficiencies may lead to dull hair, hair loss, and greying hair. The antifungal properties of some zinc shampoos may also help treat dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis.
Food sources of zinc include:
- Lean beef
- Clams and mussels
- Pumpkin seeds
- Dark meat chicken
It's All About Lifestyle
There are lots of factors involved in how your hair grows, and diet is only one of them. Hormones, stress levels and genetics all play a role in dictating how quickly your hair grows, or how thick, or how long.
If you want your hair to grow thick and full, managing your overall health is important. This means exercising, getting enough sleep, drinking lots of water and making sure to keep stress at bay. If you make adjustments to your overall lifestyle and live a healthier life, your appearance will improve - including your hair.