The appearance of hair plays an important role in people's physical appearance and self-perception, so it can be devastating to experience hair loss, especially when there doesn't seem to be anything you can do about it. But did you know that there are vitamins for hair growth? In fact, poor nutrition, including vitamin deficiencies, is a major factor of hair loss. These natural hair loss remedies work to fix the root of the problem, like regulating your hormone levels or fighting oxidative stress that increases with age.
Fewer than 45 percent of women go through life with a full head of hair while a majority of men go through some type of hair loss in their lifetimes. The hair care industry knows that consumers have a great desire to look youthful now more than ever so it constantly delivers new products that promise to promote hair growth. Before you spend your money on yet another product that may leave you disappointed, try using these vitamins for hair growth first.
Vitamins for Hair Growth
The truth is that hair loss is a complex process that involves various genetic, hormonal and environmental mechanisms. Just like our skin, the hair follicle is subject to intrinsic and extrinsic aging. Intrinsic factors include our genetic and epigenetic mechanisms, and extrinsic factors include smoking and UV radiation.
Sometimes hair loss is due to a vitamin deficiency too. Luckily, a deficiency can be corrected by adding vitamin-rich foods to your diet or using supplementation. Some vitamins have antioxidant properties that help to fight the extrinsic factors of hair loss, and some vitamins help the body balance hormone levels, another factor that stops hair growth.
Try these vitamins for hair growth if you're wondering how to thicken hair naturally.
1. Fish Oil - Oils rich in different fatty acid species have been used extensively in both animal and human studies to evaluate the effects on skin and hair health. Omega-3 fats nourish the hair, support hair thickening and reduce inflammation that can lead to hair loss, which is why fish oil benefits hair and is one of the top vitamins for hair growth.
A 2015 study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology evaluated the effects of a six-month supplementation with omega-3, omega-6 and antioxidants on hair loss. After six months of treatment, photograph assessment demonstrated a superior improvement in the supplemented group. Hair growth increased compared to the control group, and 89.9 percent of the participants reported a reduction in hair loss, as well as an improvement in hair diameter (86 percent) and hair density (87 percent).
Eat omega-3 foods like salmon, mackerel, tuna, white fish, sardines, egg yolks, walnuts, hemp seeds and natto to reduce inflammation and balance hormones.
2. Zinc - Oral zinc compounds have been used for decades for treating disorders such as telogen effluvium and alopecia areata, forms of hair loss, because zinc benefits hair follicle health. Zinc is an essential co-factor for multiple enzymes and is involved with important functional activities in the hair follicle. Zinc is also a potent inhibitor of hair follicle regression, and it accelerates hair follicle recovery. Studies suggest that some alopecia areata patients have zinc deficiency, and oral zinc sulfate therapy serves as an effective treatment.
3. B-Complex Vitamin (Biotin & B5) - Biotin and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) has been used as alternative treatments for hair loss. Biotin benefits your hair by rebuilding hair shingles that have been damaged from over-shampooing, exposure to the sun, blow-drying and ironing. Vitamin B5 supports the adrenal glands, which helps stimulate hair growth.
A major sign of a biotin deficiency is hair loss. A deficiency can be caused by smoking, impaired liver function or even pregnancy. To reverse hair loss and increase hair strength, take one B-complex vitamin tablet daily or take biotin and vitamin B5 separately. Eating biotin and vitamin B5 foods, such as eggs, beef, chicken, avocado, legumes, nuts and potatoes, also helps you to avoid a deficiency and aid hair growth.
4. Vitamin C - Experimental evidence suggests that oxidative stress plays a major role in the aging process. Reactive oxygen species or free radicals are highly reactive molecules that can directly damage cellular structural membranes, lipids, proteins and DNA.
With age, the production of free radicals increases and the amount of antioxidative enzymes that defend the body decrease, leading to the damage of cellular structures and the aging of hair. By working as an antioxidant, vitamin C fights oxidative stress that contributes to hair graying and hair loss. To fight free radical damage and protect the hair from aging, fill up on vitamin C foods like oranges, red peppers, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, strawberries, grapefruit and kiwi. If you need supplementation, take 500-1,000 milligrams of vitamin C twice daily as an antioxidant.
5. Iron - Several studies have examined the relationship between iron deficiency and hair loss, and some suggest that iron deficiency may be related to alopecia areata, androgenetic alopecia, telogen effluvium and diffuse hair loss. Women with an iron deficiency are at a higher risk of hair loss, and serum ferritin levels below or equal to 30 milligrams/milliliter are strongly associated with telogen hair loss. To boost hair growth, add iron-rich foods into your diet every day. Eat plenty of spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens, egg yolks, beef steak, navy beans and black beans. Because an iron deficiency may lead to hair loss, ensure that you get your daily recommended amount by eating plenty of iron-rich foods and taking a daily multivitamin.
However, be wary of excessive iron supplementation. It can cause iron overload and should be avoided. Patients who don't respond to iron replacement therapy should undergo additional testing to identify other underlying causes of iron deficiency and hair loss.
6. Vitamin D - Hair follicles are highly sensitive to hormones, and vitamin D is a hormone that plays an important role in calcium homeostasis, immune regulation and cell growth differentiation. In the scientific world, it's well-known that alopecia areata is commonly found in patients with vitamin D deficiency, vitamin D-resistant rickets or vitamin D receptor mutation. Research suggests that insufficient levels of vitamin D have been implicated in a variety of autoimmune diseases, including alopecia areata.
Direct sun exposure is the best way to absorb vitamin D, plus you can detox your body with the sun. Sit in the sun for roughly 10-15 minutes to absorb about 10,000 units of natural vitamin D. Topical application of vitamin D might also play a role in the restoration of hair cycle dysfunction in patients with alopecia areata. To increase your vitamin D levels with food sources, eat vitamin D-rich foods like halibut, mackerel, eel, salmon, whitefish, swordfish, maitake mushrooms and portabella mushrooms.
Herbs and Foods for Hair Growth - Though not vitamins, two other products can help improve hair growth. Rosemary essential oil used topically can naturally thicken hair, as can aloe vera juice and gel. Using these along with the above vitamins for hair growth, and you're sure to see fuller, thicker hair.
Rosemary Essential Oil- When applied over the scalp, rosemary oil is believed to increase cellular metabolism that stimulates hair growth. A human study conducted in 2015 investigated the clinical efficacy of rosemary oil in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia. Patients with androgenetic alopecia were treated for six months with either rosemary oil or minoxidil (2 percent), which served as a control group. Minoxidil is a medication used to stimulate hair growth and slow balding.
After six months of treatment, both groups experienced a significant increase in hair count. Scalp itching, however, was more frequent in the minoxidil group. The study proves that rosemary oil is just as effective as hair growth medications, with fewer side effects, such as scalp itching.
Aloe Vera Juice and Gel - Aloe vera has nourishing properties and tons of vitamins and minerals that help to keep your hair strong and healthy. Aloe vera benefits have been known for centuries because of aloe vera contains health, beauty, medicinal and skin care properties. It soothes and conditions the scalp, providing the ideal environment for hair growth. You can apply aloe vera gel directly to the scalp or add it to a gentle and natural shampoo. To take aloe vera internally, drink about a half a cup of aloe vera juice twice daily. The healing properties boost your dermatological health. Because of aloe vera's antibacterial and antifungal properties, it also helps eliminate dandruff - perfect for people who want fuller hair and want to know how to get rid of dandruff - and the gel's enzymes can rid the scalp of dead cells and promote the regeneration of skin tissue around the hair follicles.
What Stops Hair Growth?
Hair is considered to be a major component of an individual's general appearance, and the psychological impact of hair loss results in detrimental changes in self-esteem and self-worth. It also affects a large number of people, as 50 percent of men are affected by genetic hair loss by the age of 50. In women, the major cause of hair loss before the age of 50 is nutritional, with 30 percent affected. The main cause of hair loss for women appears to be depleted iron stores, but corrections of these imbalances can stop the excessive hair loss within a few months.
Factors that inhibit hair growth include: Poor nutrition, Hormonal changes, Family history, Medications, Radiation therapy, Pregnancy, Thyroid disorders, Anemia, Autoimmune diseases, Polycystic ovary syndrome, Skin conditions (such as psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis), Stress, Dramatic weight loss, Physical trauma.