Genetics, diet, hormonal changes, pollutants, and stress are some factors that can affect hair growth.
Thinning hair is also commonly associated with aging because certain functions of hair follicles are altered as we age. The graying of hair, except for premature canities, also happens as we age because melanin production in the follicles also slows down.
When it comes to hair loss treatment, there are several approaches you can try these days. But maintaining or improving hair health doesn’t have to be too complicated.
You can simply start by taking note of the essential vitamins and minerals that may enhance the overall condition of your hair and scalp. And in this article, we’ve gathered eight of the best hair growth vitamins so you can start your hair health regimen immediately!
1. Biotin (Vitamin B7)
Biotin is one of the B-complex vitamins that help enzymes break down carbohydrates and convert them to glucose, which fuels our cells. In particular, biotin is linked to the production of keratin.
That explains why biotin is a commonly recommended vitamin for hair loss. And its role in keratin production also suggests it may help improve nail and skin health.
Experts note that there are no reported toxicities related to biotin supplements. And because it’s a water-soluble vitamin, excess biotin won’t be stored in the body.
What about using biotin for hair loss treatment? A recent review of biotin use for hair loss treatment noted that research on its efficacy is still limited.
Nonetheless, it is good to know that earlier studies on oral biotin supplements for thinning hair found them safe and effective.
2. Vitamin E
You may recognize vitamin E as a common ingredient in skincare products. But it’s also been considered an important vitamin for hair health because of its antioxidant properties.
Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals in our bodies. There are claims that vitamin E may improve the overall condition of the scalp and create a protective barrier. So there are perceived hair health benefits from vitamin E.
In one clinical study, vitamin E capsule supplementation showed positive results when used for hair loss treatment. Researchers noted that this could be explained by its antioxidant effect, which may help reduce oxidative stress in the scalp. The effects of topical application of vitamin E onto the scalp still need more research.
Vitamin E supplements taken orally could be one of the best hair growth vitamins you could take. You might also benefit from hair products containing vitamin E and other antioxidants.
A study published in 2021 reported that the regular use of shampoo and leave-on hair treatments with antioxidant ingredients might help reduce hair shedding and improve scalp health.
3. Vitamin C
You’ll find that several vitamins associated with skincare, like vitamin C, may also have health benefits for the scalp and hair. This isn’t surprising since hair grows out of hair follicles in the dermis.
It’s vital in collagen formation, which is composed of amino acids also found in keratin. So it may help improve hair strength and may promote hair growth.
Vitamin C deficiency is quite rare, especially in developed countries, because plenty of foods are rich in this vitamin, including citrus fruits and cruciferous vegetables.
But you can also get more of this vitamin through ascorbic acid supplements. And more hair products now have vitamin C as an active ingredient.
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient that helps with bone health by improving the body’s absorption of calcium and phosphorus. And it helps the immune system to fight viruses and bacteria.
But clinical studies on animals also showed vitamin D has a role in the hair growth cycle. And vitamin D deficiency has been associated with autoimmune diseases that attack the hair follicles.
Sunlight is a widely known source of vitamin D. But as you may know, too much sun exposure has its dangers, too. Vitamin D is also naturally found in some foods, including fatty fish, mushrooms, and egg yolks.
You can also get vitamin D from dietary supplements and multivitamins. It’s best to consult with a health professional, especially those with health conditions that can make it harder for the body to absorb vitamin D.
5. Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Healthy hair and scalp are some of the benefits we can get from the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6.
Research on supplementary fatty acids with antioxidants showed it can improve hair density, suggesting it may be an effective hair loss treatment. Omega-3 has anti-inflammatory properties that may help with a flaky and itchy scalp.
But the body can’t naturally produce these fatty acids. So it’s crucial to include foods rich in omega-3 in our diet, including fish, nuts, and flaxseed.
6. Folic Acid
Pregnant women and people with anemia are often recommended to take folic acid supplementation. But they may not be the only ones to benefit from it.
It plays several important roles in our bodies, including DNA synthesis and the normal growth of cells like the ones found in hair, nails, and skin tissue. That makes it a potentially helpful vitamin for hair loss.
Rigorous scientific studies on folic acid’s efficacy for hair loss treatment are still needed. But research on people experiencing premature hair graying showed lower levels of folic acid, vitamin B12, and biotin levels in participants under 20.
With folic acid’s role in cell growth, its possible benefits to hair growth have been considered. So it’s become one of the nutrients commonly suggested to promote hair health.
Iron deficiency might be one of the most commonly heard nutrient deficiencies, possibly due to the importance of having enough iron for the body to function well.
This mineral produces red blood cell proteins (hemoglobin), which transport oxygen to the body. Since oxygen is needed in cell growth, having enough or low iron levels may affect hair growth.
While we still need more evidence to conclude that iron deficiency directly causes hair loss and thinning, research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology suggests hair loss treatment may be improved while addressing iron deficiency.
If you’re looking to add more iron into your diet, whether or not as a vitamin for hair loss, iron supplements are widely available. You could also benefit more from multivitamins with vitamin C, as they may enhance the body’s iron absorption.
The even better news is that iron is found in various food groups, including red meat, seafood, poultry, green leafy vegetables, and nuts.
You may be surprised by how many roles zinc play in helping keep our bodies healthy.
It’s a critical nutrient involved in metabolism, strengthening of the immune system, wound healing, and hormone synthesis. Zinc also has a role in forming DNA and promoting healthy growth and development. It’s also been associated with hair growth.
Zinc deficiency is uncommon, and people with it may experience hair loss, among other symptoms.
A study in Korea also found zinc supplementation may potentially deliver “positive therapeutic effects” to patients with autoimmune conditions that cause hair loss. But researchers noted that the positive results “were not statistically significant.”
Despite these many roles in various body functions, zinc is one of the vital trace minerals. It means we only need it in small amounts, and the recommended daily intake of zinc for adults is just 8mg for females and 11mg for males.
The Best Hair Growth Vitamins Are Within Your Reach
There’s a good chance that everyone will experience hair loss at some point. Experts say losing 50 to 100 strands of hair daily is normal. But certain factors may exacerbate hair loss, making it more concerning.
It’s difficult to determine the exact cause of hair loss. But we may have a better chance at getting on top of our hair health by ensuring we incorporate vitamins and minerals associated with hair growth.
Keeping in mind foods rich in vitamins for hair loss and incorporating them into your diet would be a great approach.
But particular health conditions, like vitamin deficiencies, require more than just consuming nutritious foods to support overall hair health. In this case, supplements for thinning hair can also be good options.