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Eating a well-balanced diet that contains all of the 13 essential vitamins can help maintain hair health.
Although there is no evidence to suggest that individual vitamins can encourage the hair to grow faster, deficiencies in specific vitamins can lead to hair loss or thin, brittle hair. Consuming enough of each vitamin in the diet may help keep the hair healthy.
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Vitamins For Hair Growth
Researchers have carried out studies on how the following nutrients might support hair growth:
- vitamins D
- vitamin E
- B complex vitamins
This article provides some information on how these and other vitamins might promote strong, healthy hair.
Supplementation with vitamin D may not have direct links with hair growth, but having a deficiency may impact hair health.
A 2019 review found evidence to suggest a link between vitamin D deficiency and alopecia areata, which can involve severe hair loss. Many of the studies in the review found low levels of vitamin D in people with alopecia areata. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition.
According to the review, some research also suggests that symptoms of alopecia areata may be more severe in people with low levels of vitamin D.
However, the authors of a 2016 study that collected information from 55,929 women in the United States did not find a strong link between total vitamin D intake and hair loss in alopecia areata. There is also little evidence to suggest that vitamin D can lead to hair regrowth.
Some studies have found that low vitamin D levels may be associated with female pattern hair loss, which is the most common type of hair loss in women. However, further studies are necessary to confirm this potential link.
More research is also necessary to confirm the potential benefits of vitamin D for hair growth.
Getting enough vitamin D
The Office of Dietary Supplements recommend that adults get 600 international units (IU), or 15 micrograms (mcg), of vitamin D per day.
However, many experts agree that this daily recommendation is likely too low to reach optimal blood levels, which most experts agree lies between 30 and 60 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml).
People can find out their vitamin D levels and whether or not they are deficient by asking their doctor for a blood test.
Few foods contain significant amounts of vitamin D, but the following foods are among the best sources:
- fish, such as salmon or swordfish
- egg yolks
- fortified orange juice
- fortified milk
Sun exposure is also essential, as this enables the body to produce vitamin D. People should remember to wear sunscreen, however, as too much sun exposure over time can lead to skin damage.
Vitamin D supplements are available for purchase online, but a person should always check with their doctor before taking any vitamins.
That said, vitamin D supplements are relatively safe, and toxicity is extremely rare.
However, taking vitamin D in very high doses can lead to toxicity that may result in severe complications. An excessively high dose would be over 50,000 IU or when blood levels of vitamin D are greater than 150 ng/ml.
Cases of vitamin D toxicity are typically related to inappropriate dosing. To prevent problems, a person should ask their doctor to test their vitamin D levels and suggest a suitable dosage.
Taking vitamin D with a meal that contains fat will improve the absorption of this vitamin.
B vitamins are essential for metabolism and nervous system function.
B complex vitamins help regulate metabolism and maintain the central nervous system.
Many websites and beauty influencers also claim that popular B vitamins such as B12 can help strengthen and condition the hair. The following sections will look at what the research says.
B complex vitamins
Researchers have looked into the link between B complex vitamins and hair loss, but they have not yet confirmed a link.
The B complex vitamins are:
- B1, or thiamin
- B2, or riboflavin
- B3, or niacin
- B5, or pantothenic acid
- B6, or pyridoxine
- B7, or biotin
- B9, or folate
- B12, or cobalamin
It is best to consume vitamins from the diet. Some food sources of B complex vitamins include:
- whole grains
- vegetables, including dark, leafy greens
- meat, such as beef liver and poultry
- whole eggs
- beans and legumes
B vitamins are water-soluble, which means that the body cannot store them. The body excretes in the urine whatever it does not use. This is why people should consume water-soluble vitamins on a daily basis.
Although dietary sources are best, many people may need a B complex supplement to meet their needs.
Factors that can make supplementation necessary include:
- older age
- the presence of conditions that impact the digestive system
- following a plant-based diet
- the use of certain medications
People with any of these factors are at higher risk of developing a deficiency in certain B vitamins.
Some sources have suggested that vitamin B12 may play a role in hair health. However, several studies mentioned in a 2019 review found no evidence of a link between changes in B12 levels and hair loss or retention.
Although a deficiency in B12 may lead to hair loss, research does not suggest that people who do not have a deficiency can improve their hair growth by using a supplement.
Nevertheless, getting enough vitamin B12 is essential for overall health. Good sources of vitamin B12 include meat, dairy, and other animal foods. Supplements are also available.
Symptoms of a B12 deficiency include anemia and fatigue.
The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion suggest that adults get 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12 per day. Pregnant people need 2.6 mcg per day, and people who breastfeed need 2.8 mcg per day.
Always check with a doctor before trying supplements, as some can interfere with the effects of medication.
Low levels of vitamin B7, or biotin, can lead to hair loss.
A 2016 study in 541 females found a biotin deficiency in 38% of the participants who were experiencing hair loss.
Although research has shown that supplemental biotin can be beneficial for hair growth in people who are deficient in this vitamin, there is not enough evidence to support the use of biotin supplements for hair growth in people with healthy biotin levels.
Researchers have conducted some studies into vitamin E and tocotrienol. Vitamin E is a nutrient that acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body.
A 2013 study found that people with alopecia areata had significantly lower concentrations of vitamin E in their blood than those without the condition. However, not all the studies confirm these findings, according to a 2019 review.
The results of a 2010 clinical study also found that using tocotrienol supplements improved the hair health of people with alopecia. These supplements also helped prevent hair loss.
A person can incorporate vitamin E into their diet by eating wheat germ, spinach, fish, and almonds.
Some people choose to rub vitamin E oil directly onto their skin or scalp, believing that it will speed up cell regeneration. However, scientific evidence does not yet support this.
Vitamin E is also available in pharmacies and online in capsule form and as a liquid.
However, it is worth noting that over-supplementation with the fat-soluble vitamin E can cause hair loss as well as other adverse side effects.
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There have been few studies into the effects of vitamins D, B, and E on hair, and even fewer have looked into the hair growth benefits of other essential vitamins.
The list below looks at some other essential vitamins and how they may affect hair:
- Multivitamins: A multivitamin can supplement dietary sources of all of the essential vitamins. Getting a good supply of vitamins will enhance overall health, and it may also help protect the hair. Multivitamins are available for purchase online.
- Vitamin C: A symptom of vitamin C deficiency is corkscrew hairs. This suggests that vitamin C may help maintain hair health, despite a lack of evidence that it can prevent hair loss. Red peppers, leafy green vegetables, and citrus fruits all provide vitamin C. However, supplements are available for purchase online.
- Vitamin A: Also known as retinol, vitamin A contributes to hair health. It supports the secretion of sebum, which is a substance that prevents hair breakage. Vitamin A supplements are available for purchase online. However, some research has found that taking too much vitamin A can lead to hair loss.
Maintaining a balance of nutrients in the diet and supplementing known nutritional deficiencies are the best ways to support hair health
Yogurt for skin
Yoghurt is easily the best food for glowing skin. Most of the skin ailments that we have are caused on account of having an unhealthy stomach, bowels and gut. Yoghurt is known to contain probiotics that aid in the process of digestion, thereby ensuring that problems such as breakouts and skin dryness do not bother your radiant flawless complexion.Consume as much yoghurt as you like, after every meal and with smoothies and fruits salads. As the Turks would say, yoghurt is the cure for absolutely everything!
Green Leafy Vegetables for skin
Nothing says good skin like a bowl of fresh, green leafy vegetables. Whether it is spinach, coriander, parsley, or broccoli, these viridescent leaves are full of antioxidants and various other essential nutrients and vitamins that help your skin retain its brightness and youth. And there are just so many things that you can do with these garden-fresh ingredients. You could make soups, salads, or sandwiches, and if you’re more of a fan of traditional Indian cuisine, the good old’ ‘Sarson ka Saag’ or ‘Palak Paneer’ are just about as beneficial for your skin, and arguably, much more delicious. The road to glowing skin might not really tantalize your taste buds, but as they say, it is vital that you ‘eat your greens’.
Fruits for skin
Right from the citrus fruits like oranges, limes and grapefruits, to the penny plain papayas and the tropical avocados, fruits are absolutely indispensable to the cause of unblemished skin. There’s a host of different fruits out there with a multitude of different uses for your skin. Mangoes help your skin retain and improve its elasticity while eating bananas can help prevent a premature occurrence of wrinkles. Not only does the vitamin-C present in citrus fruits help in collagen synthesis, but it also protects your skin and even repairs any damage that might be caused by the unforgiving sun. Papayas, alternatively, are excellent skin cleansing agents and help your skin in shedding old dead cells. The super fruit of today, ‘the avocado’, is rich in healthy fats and vitamin-E and can help remedy a number of issues such as skin damage, acne, premature wrinkles, moisture retention and having dreary-looking skin. Cherries, berries, apples and kiwis; if it’s a clear complexion you’re looking for, you’ve got to have them all!
Turmeric for skin
When the question—what to eat for glowing skin, arises turmeric is easily the most age-old answer. There are probably a hundred recipes your grandmother must have told you of that have turmeric in them. Antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, ‘anti-all bad things’ superhero of an ingredient is one you can add to everything right from your soups to your smoothies. The curcumin present in turmeric helps fight any bacterial infection both inside and outside your body, whether the turmeric is ingested or applied externally. In your quest to attain the perfect glowing complexion, it certainly does make sense being buddies with some freshly peeled raw turmeric.
Aloe Vera for skin
Aloe Vera is one plant that you’ll find in just about every home. This succulent plant is known to remedy almost all skin problems out there, especially in the case of any skin inflammations. On account of such anti-inflammatory properties of the hormones present in it, aloe vera can provide your skin with relief from a number of ailments (including UV damage and acne problems); whether the gel is applied externally on the skin or its extract is consumed in the form of juice (do not consume the gel directly).
Green Tea for skin
The first thing that comes to your mind when you think of detox most probably is green tea. This food (especially of the Matcha kind), being full of natural antioxidants, is rich in the phytonutrient known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and is extremely efficient in protecting your skin from the harmful free radicals that are majorly responsible for skin problems such as dark spots, premature ageing and even spots. Since green tea also helps lower levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the hormone responsible for your acne issues, it is also extremely efficient in keeping your skin clear and free from any blemishes.
Water for skin
When more than three-fifths of your body is made up of just one ingredient, there is no way that you could not pay attention to its consumption in pursuit of your skin’s health. No matter your skin type, your skin needs water in order to remain fresh, supple and glowing. The water retention capacity of your skin decreases with age and hence, it is even more essential that you consume adequate amounts of water on a daily basis. Not only does a water flush out all the toxins from your skin, but it also provides your skin with that natural glow and even keeps wrinkles away. It is highly recommended that you keep a bottle of water with you at all times and keep sipping on it at regular intervals. If plain old water isn’t good enough for your palate, you can always add cucumbers, some mint and a hint of lemon to it so as to make yourself a pitcher of flavourful skin detox water.
Spinach for skin
It is completely understandable if spinach isn’t your favourite thing to eat, but once you know about the anti-ageing benefits of this popular green leafy vegetable, you may be more tempted to change your mind. Spinach is a great source of plant compounds called lutein and zeaxanthin. These two compounds are absolutely necessary if you want to strengthen your skin’s natural defence against environmental aggressors such as UV rays, pollution, climate change, etc. These factors majorly expedite the process of ageing, and eating spinach helps to mitigate their effects and give your skin a healthy and youthful appearance.
Pomegranate for skin
Did you know that eating pomegranate is a great way to fight a number of skin problems and keep your skin looking young and radiant? This is because, this tropical fruit is a rich source of antioxidants that prevent damage to the skin caused by free radicals in the environment. It is also one of the best sources of natural vitamin C that helps produce the necessary amounts of collagen , which is one of the main requirements of keeping your skin healthy and young for a longer period of time.
Cucumber for skin
One of the best foods you can eat to achieve healthy, clear and youthful skin has to be cucumber. This is because cucumbers contain silica, which is a type of collagen and helps in fighting the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. Additionally, cucumbers also provide a boost of vitamin K and C, both of which work to brighten tired, irritated and puffy looking skin. It also contain vitamin A, which is also known as retinol, and this makes it one of the best foods to consume to fight all signs of ageing.