Hair Loss: Getting to know your Vitamins and Supplements
People frequently ask about vitamins and supplements as a means to prevent or manage hair loss. There are hundreds of causes for hair loss and speaking to a GP should always be your first point of call.
But just like any other part of your body, your scalp and hair requires a variety of nutrients to be in tip top condition to stay healthy and encourage hair growth.
Did you know: Many nutritional deficiencies are linked to hair loss.
While the usual factors - age, genetics and hormones also affect your hair growth, we take a look at some vitamins and food sources that are linked to hair growth.
All cells need vitamin A for growth. And this includes hair, the fastest growing tissue in our bodies.
Vitamin A helps skin glands make an oil called sebum, which moisturises the scalp and helps keep your hair healthy.
However too much may have the opposite effect on your hair. Studies have shown that an overdose of vitamin A can also contribute to hair loss.
Good sources of vitamin A are found in sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, kale and some animal foods.
One of the best known vitamins for hair growth is called Biotin.
Biotin is used as an alternative hair loss treatment - there are a lot of hair, skin and nails companies who actively promote this vitamin. Those who are deficient have the best results. However, deficiency is rare because it occurs naturally in a wide range of foods.
Additional B-vitamins help create red blood cells, which carry oxygen and nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles.
You can get B-vitamins from a range of foods, including almonds, meat, fish, whole grains, and dark, leafy greens.
Animal foods are the only good sources of vitamin B12 so if you're following a vegetarian/vegan diet, consider taking this supplement.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against the oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Your body needs vitamin C to create a protein known as collagen - a main part of hair structure.
Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron, which promotes hair growth. Some fruit you'd benefit from adding into your diet include strawberries, guavas and citrus fruits.
Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to alopecia, which is a universal term for hair loss.
There is a bit of a grey area with the actual role of vitamin D in hair growth.
The body produces vitamin D through direct contact with the sun's rays. Good dietary sources of vitamin D include cod liver oil, some mushrooms, fatty fish and cod liver oil.
Vitamin E is very similar to vitamin C - an antioxidant that can prevent oxidative stress.
The best dietary sources include sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach and avocados.
Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen to your cells. This makes it an important mineral for many bodily functions, including hair growth.
If you have an iron deficiency, it usually causes anaemia, which is a cause of hair loss, common in women.
Iron packed foods include eggs, clams, oysters, red meat, spinach and lentils.
If you use heat or chemicals on your hair, Zinc is your best friend. It plays an important role in hair tissue growth and repair, along with keeping the oil glands around the follicles working properly.
The mineral zinc can improve hair growth in people who are deficient in it. Good sources include beef, oysters, and pumpkin seeds.
Following a healthy diet (and lifestyle) is the best source of the vitamins your hair needs to maintain its health and to continue to grow. However, if you feel like you're not getting enough of the good stuff, supplements may be helpful.
Furthermore, large doses of vitamins and minerals can be harmful if you aren't deficient. Make sure to work with a GP to determine if you have a deficiency.
If you are experiencing hair loss and would like alternative solutions to wearing a wig, get in touch. We specialise in Mesh Integration Systems and work with a handful of charities providing clients support.