Most of us have hair, some more than others, and for those unlucky ones, there could be a dietary reason worth looking into. This article has a single focus: to provide you with 7 vitamins that contribute positively to hair growth, we have used scientific data and research to identify what helps your hair.
Baldness is common across many demographics, in fact, alopecia affects 2 percent of the population, while male pattern baldness
will affect half of all men by the age of 50. Woman fair slightly better since 40 percent of woman
will have hair thinning by age 50.
Niacin (Vitamin B3)
Niacin: also known as Vitamin B3, is thought to increase blood flow to the scalp, it is also proven to reduce scalp inflammation
. A study of 60 females who were suffering from female pattern alopecia showed that Niacin increases hair fullness
, the treatment used two subsets of Niacin called namely: octyl nicotinate and tetradecyl nicotinate. Photographs were used at the beginning and end of the treatment, and the results were generally encouraging. Patient using Niacin
"I have been taking 16mg once daily for hair loss, it does seem like I have less hair loss. I actually took it for over 10 months, and my hair looks fuller"
"I would never take more than 100mg per day, and slowly work my way up if I take 500mg I get rather flushed in the face, but I often take it before I going to bed"
It is thought that Niacin will increase PGD2 which is highly connected to balding. The daily recommended dose is 16mg for men, and 14 mg for women. Foods high in Vitamin B3
Vitamin B Complex
Vitamin B is also thought to enhance blood flow to the scalp, and its benefits are well known. Technically Vitamin B complex is a group of 8 namely: Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12
. We would need some evidence that it works at least, right? A recent study in Vienna tried to combine Micrografts
taken from patients during a hair transplant with Vitamin B12 in order to study its potential effect on hair growth.What are Micrografts you might ask?
These are follicular units of hair tissue that are used in hair transplants. They generally provide a more natural look of fuller hair after surgery - the basic idea is to take hair from the crown and redistribute it to balding areas. Going back to our study, 5 hair follicles were cultured over a 5 day period, Vitamin B12 was used to stimulate the hair shafts which led to Increased lengths in the hair follicle.
In order to create a comprehensive list, we need to talk about biotin
also known as "Vitamin H", it is thought that biotin aids functioning of the skin, nervous system, eyes, and hair
. The recommended intake of biotin is between 50 and 100 micrograms per day. But what evidence is there, and what do ordinary people say? A review of biotin was conducted by Patel and Swink in 2017, they found that in 18 different cases biotin supplements
were effective in strengthening hair and nails. What do patients say about biotin?
Having reviewed some user opinions on these supplements, I found a mixed bag of answers, some people reported side effects like pimples, but added that it did make their hair grow faster. Another patient reported having to use hair extensions before biotin but was happy with the amount of hair seen after taking biotin for 4 months. At least 10 patients were extremely happy with its results since their hair stopped falling out
. Lastly, a few users report that they saw more improvement in their nails than hair. Foods high in Vitamin B Complex
- Beef Liver
Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
Ascorbic Acid: This is just a fancy name for Vitamin C, a well known antioxidant
that protects the cells against damage. But Vitamin C is also known to assist capillaries that carry blood flow to hair follicles
. Antioxidants are chemical compounds that have an affect on oxidative damage, and since there is usually an imbalance between the amount of free radicals
(these cause damage to cells) and the ability of the body to fight these harmful effects, we need the right amount of antioxidants to curb this.
The University of Maryland has claimed that even though Vitamin C is not the primary cause of hair loss, a deficiency will result in more dry hair combined with split ends. In 2006 a study by Sung was done on patients suffering from androgenic alopecia
, they were given Ascorbic Acid, it concluded that vitamin C accelerates hair-regenerative potential
.Foods high in Vitamin C
- Bell Peppers
Tocoferol (Vitamin E)
Vitamin E is found in many foods, it has properties that fight against asthma, skin disorders, sunburns, and chronic fatigue. It is also know to repair damage to hair follicles
. In 2010, an article from Tropical Life Sciences showed significant improvemenin the number of hair follicles grown in participants who were given 100mg of vitamin E daily. Using a small area on the scalp, hair was cut at intervals and measured for any changes. There was a marked increase in the amount of hair found before and after the trial. Natural sources of Vitamin E
- Almond Nuts
- Sweet Potato
- Sunflower seeds
Zinc Low levels of zinc
can lead to hair thinning
, on the other hand high levels of zinc
can cause excess testosterone which actually causes hair loss due to hormonal imbalances. A study was carried out on over 300 participants suffering from alopecia areata. They were also compared to a control group with no issues of the scalp; the results show that the groups with chronic hair loss had lower levels of zinc. It is thought that the hair follicle lacks protein which leads to more hair loss than usual. Natural sources of Zinc
- Sesame Seeds
- Wheat Germ
- Squash Seeds
What are what are amino acids? Well they are composed of hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen - they create proteins that help your body survive. There is a particular kind of protein called keratin which makes up over 80 percent of your hair
. The following amino acids are known to have a positive affect on hair strength.
Natural sources of Amino Acids
- Arginine: Helps accelerates hair growth through the vasodilatory effect (widening of blood vessels)
- Methionine: Improves the tone and strength of the skin, and hair
- Cysteine: this is one of the main protein present in nails, and hair
- Cystine: When the body lacks cystine it can significantly slow down the growth of hair
- Tyrosine: This increases blood supply to the roots of the hair
- Soy Beans
Some Home remedies for hair growth and thickness
Grape seed actually contains large amounts of Vitamin E, It is a great antioxidant that relaxes and boosts blood supply to the hair follicle. It is also a natural conditioner for the hair that helps to combat dandruff.
Studies have shown that applying green tea directly to the hair helps appearance and growth
. A paper published in 2005 by Esfandiari and Kelly showed that mice who were fed green tea showed substantial hair growth during six months of treatment.
Virgin coconut oil
Coconut oil is rich in potassium and is known as a natural conditioner, you should apply it at least once a week
. You can do this by warming up the oil and massaging it gently into your hair.
In order to change your hair growth forever, you need to be proactive. It may also be worth testing out some of these Vitamins - we hope that we have given you some guidance towards what you might be lacking in your diet. Vitamins can work wonders for the body, just as lacking certain ones can have the opposite effect. References
Hair growth and rejuvenation: An Overview
Vitamin B12 Activates the Wnt-Pathway in Human Hair Follicle Cells
Exogenous antioxidants--Double-edged swords in cellular redox state
Analysis of Serum Zinc and Copper Concentrations in Hair Loss
The effects of tea polyphenolic compounds on hair loss among rodents