It’s no surprise that healthy hair comes from a careful balance of protein, minerals, vitamins, and other micronutrients in our diet. A lack of any one of these vital elements can lead to illnesses, and potentially have serious consequences for our body, skin and hair. So to have healthy and strong hair, you need to have a healthy diet. The vitamins for boosting hair features also help to prevent illnesses and enhance our immune system, cell regeneration and energy levels – so let’s get to know them a little better!
Can vitamins enhance hair growth?
You might have heard that vitamins can directly boost hair growth. However, many hair studies have never managed to directly prove this claim. What is certain is that vitamins affect many body functions related to hair growth, such as red blood cell production, sebum secretion and overall scalp health. All of these things are vital for the growth of new follicles and the health of your hair. Today, there are many ways to introduce vitamins to everyday hair routine, such as
- dietary supplements
- hair products with carefully selected ingredients
- and food with healthy levels of fats and acids
However, it’s important to take these in moderation. Studies show that too little or too much vitamin A can cause hair loss because this vitamin stimulates hair follicles to reach the end of the growth phase faster. The same studies have claimed that vitamin B12, iron, selenium, and vitamin D can reduce the rates of premature grey.
The easiest way to introduce more vitamins into your hair is to directly nourish the scalp. Quality hair products with herbal oils and extracts contain high concentrations of natural vitamins that do wonders for your hair. They not only act as antioxidants but also increase strand elasticity and provide deep hydration.
Poor diet can impact the state of your hair and also cause dryness, oiliness, breakage and various scalp issues. Image source: kylacolorme
Besides boosting your immune system and moisturising skin, vitamin A affects the production of the scalp’s sebum glands. Pumpkins, carrots, spinach, kale ale, and sweet potato are sources of beta-carotene that the liver transforms into vitamin A, according to your body’s needs. Also, you can find vitamin A in animal products such as milk, yogurt, eggs and fish livers.
Vitamin B12 plays a significant role in the production of red blood cells. Since our bodies can’t naturally produce this vitamin, we need to intake the sources of vitamin B12 through food or supplements. Luckily, many animal-based ingredients like poultry, dairy, fish, red meat, and eggs are rich in B12. For vegetarians and vegans we recommend consulting with a dietician to understand which supplements are right for your diet.
So, you might ask yourself how a vitamin that enhances red blood vessels production benefits your hair? Well, since blood cells carry oxygen to the follicles and connect the roots to each strand, a lack of vitamin B12 will reduce the scalp’s ability to receive fresh blood and therefore limit healthy hair growth.
Vitamin B3 or “Niacin”
Niacin is a type of vitamin B that increases protein production, which, in the case of our hair, means increased levels of keratin. Since the strand is almost entirely made from this specific protein, the lack of niacin can weaken the hair and cause thinning. Also, B3 is one of the top vitamins for boosting hair thickness and growth. It can be found in plants and animal-based food, like nuts, seeds, whole grains, fortified cereals, avocados, fish, dairy, organs, beef and poultry.
As mentioned, healthy hair requires keratin. However, in order for our hair to grow stronger, keratin needs Vitamin B7/H/Biotin as a stimulator. This vitamin also fights other scalp issues like dandruff, itchiness, brittleness, and hair loss. You should consume a recommended daily amount of 30 mcg of biotin through food rich in protein, such as liver, salmon, eggs, sweet potato, soybeans, cauliflower, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pecans, or bananas.
Vitamin B5 or “Pantothenic Acid”
Food sources of vitamin B5 are the same as animal and plant-based sources of niacin and biotin. Its intake is crucial for our health because B5 has a similar effect on red blood cells like B12 and B9. However, it also helps us to process other vitamins, especially B2 – the vitamin in charge of lowering cholesterol levels. As for your hair, adding pantothenic acid to your regimen will help increase moisture and improve its elasticity, and ensure a natural glow and volume.
According to The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the intake of vitamin D, vitamin B12, fiber, potassium and calcium in mature age is crucial for bones, skin and hair health. Image source: solintentions_
Vitamin C or “Ascorbic Acid”
You are probably familiar with the potent influence vitamin C has on health. Our bodies desperately need it in order to absorb iron, enhance our immune systems, and to heal and repair all body tissues. And the same way our organism craves it, our hair does too!
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, boosts collagen production – a protein essential for hair growth. In addition, high-performing hair products with fruit acids perform a deep detox of your scalp and roots. Constant exposure to “free radicals” (highly reactive molecules) that accumulate on our scalp and skin can prevent hair growth and harm its health. Shampoos with fruit acids act as potent antioxidants and protect the hair from the oxidative stress that can lead to hair greying and hair loss.
Beside haircare products and supplements, it’s recommendable to consume food rich in ascorbic acids, such as lemon, mandarin, grapefruit, guava, strawberry, and peppers.
The Sun vitamin! This is crucial for our immune system, skin health and bone structure. We primarily absorb it through sun exposure on our skin, but it is also present in some dietary supplements and specific foods. When faced with vitamin D deficiency, we suffer significant health consequences, especially relating to bone weakness and mineralization. However, since our skin health depends on vitamin D intake, so does our scalp and hair since the lack of it affects follicles and may result in hair loss.
Even though the link between vitamin D and hair loss is proven by many research studies, its deficiency is not solely responsible for hair loss. So it’s important not to jump to conclusions if you’re experiencing any similar symptoms! Only a dermatologist can determine and diagnose the causes of hair loss. Nonetheless, introducing products with vitamin D into your hair care regimen will help create new follicles, improve thickness and make your strands healthier.
Even though your skin and hair will benefit from the vitamin D you absorb through sun exposure, too much exposure can cause dryness and color fade. So, the next time you’re enjoying the sun, make sure to protect your hair and skin! Image source: nicole.astradinis
Alongside vitamin C, vitamin E plays a crucial role in protecting our hair from free radical damage. It helps lock in moisture to prevent hair dryness while preserving the scalp’s lipid layer. So, when dyeing your hair, it’s important to consider using leave-in treatments rich in vitamins C and E. Fish, nuts, beet greens, spinach, pumpkin, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and almonds are also excellent sources of vitamin E. Still, enhancing your hair features by directly applying vitamins to the hair and scalp will give more immediate results.
The hard truth is that vitamins for boosting hair features can’t magically solve all your hair problems overnight! As with all health advice, it’s no surprise that scalp and strand issues are often the consequence of our routines, diets, and medical conditions. As much as we might wish otherwise, vitamin supplements are hardly the silver bullet to cure all hair issues. However, the vitamins A, B complex, C, D, and E and minerals such as zinc, copper, iron, and selenium are vital parts of a healthy diet. Healthy hair is a sign of good health and a result of a well-balanced diet full of micronutrients. So remember: you’ll get out of your hair what you put into it!
Featured image source: Kevin Murphy