We’ve all seen the commercial. A young woman walks into a room in slow motion with thick, shiny, billowing hair which she shakes from side to side for no apparent reason. Then a hair product pops up on the screen and promises to give you a similar mane of healthy, beautiful hair.
While this ideal of glamor is a nice goal, the reality is that most people need a lot more than shampoo or any external product to give them luxurious locks. The truth is that one of the most important things you can do to keep your hair healthy is to provide it with proper nutrition.
Reasons for Hair Loss
But before we dive into what vitamins are good for hair growth, let’s break down why your hair can get damaged, thin, and brittle in the first place.
Inadequate Nutrition: Many nutritional deficiencies are linked to hair loss.
Health Conditions: Thyroid problems, anemia, hormonal imbalances, and stress can cause hair loss.
Aging: As we get older, the hair growth process naturally slows down.
Genes: Much of the population carries the gene for male and female pattern hair loss.
Giving Birth or After Surgery: It’s normal to shed 100 to 200 strands of hair a day, but up to half of your hair can go from a growing to a shedding phase postpartum. This can also happen after major surgery.
Vitamins & Supplements for Hair Growth
A well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet is key for your hair to grow and thrive, and there are certain vitamins and minerals that are particularly important in this process. After all, hair is the fastest growing tissue in the human body and needs a lot of fuel to keep it flourishing.
Biotin & The B Vitamins
Known as “the beauty vitamin,” biotin (or vitamin B7) is often used to promote hair growth and improve hair follicle health. It does this by stimulating keratin production, the structural protein that makes up 95% of your hair.
The other B vitamins also foster healthy hair by helping create red blood cells which carry oxygen and nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles — basically “feeding” your hair. Without enough B vitamins, the hair cells can starve, making your hair more prone to shedding, slower growth, and breakage.
The B vitamins are water-soluble, which means that they’re not stored in the body and, when taken in excess, are excreted in the urine. That’s why it’s critical to consume them every day in your food or in supplement form (to learn more check out B Vitamins — The Benefits Of The “B Team”).
Food sources include meat, eggs, beans, nuts, green leafy vegetables and whole grains. Another way to boost your Bs is with Super B-Complex™ — a food-form source of all eight B vitamins made through a fermentation process using organic vegetables and fruits, then activated with enzymes and probiotics for enhanced bioavailability.
Iron deficiency, which causes anemia, is quite common among women and is a major cause of hair loss. That’s because the iron in your red blood cells carries nourishing oxygen to your hair follicles as well as to the rest of your body.
While the level of iron in your blood may be considered normal, it’s still possible for you to have low ferritin — the “bank” of iron your body stores to draw upon when it needs it. Low ferritin has been linked to slow hair growth and increased shedding.
Some iron-rich foods include meat, seafood, beans, seeds, and dark leafy vegetables. But even if you eat an iron-rich diet, you may not be getting enough of this essential mineral since iron is hard to absorb. That’s where our next vitamin for hair growth comes in.
Vitamin C is a superstar nutrient essential for many aspects of your health. One of the long list of things vitamin C does is help your body absorb iron. So, if you’re anemic or low in iron, you’ll want to up the amount of C in your diet as well.
Good sources of vitamin C are berries, citrus fruit, peppers, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and brussels sprouts, among others. But the foods with the highest concentrations of vitamin C, like camu camu berries and acerola cherries, are difficult to obtain since they’re from one of the most remote places on earth — the Amazon rainforest.
Pure Radiance C® is a whole-food vitamin C supplement made from 11 organic berries and fruit including concentrated camu camu berries and acerola cherries. Plus, it’s gentle on your stomach with no acidity and has no synthetic ascorbic acid.
Just like biotin, zinc is an essential nutrient involved in keratin production. Even a slight zinc deficiency may result in hair loss and make it susceptible to dryness and breakage. Some people with a higher risk for zinc deficiency include pregnant or breastfeeding women, vegetarians or vegans, and the elderly (to learn more about this versatile mineral check out 10 Ways Zinc Benefits Your Health).
Oysters provide far and away more zinc per serving than any other food, but red meat and poultry provide the majority of zinc in the US diet. Other good food sources include beans, nuts, shellfish like crab and lobster, whole grains, and dairy products.
Many zinc supplements are harsh on the digestive tract and cause stomach irritation, nausea, and vomiting. Zinc Complex™, is made using a fermentation process which converts the mineral into a food-form matrix, which is gentle on the stomach and easy to absorb. This fermented zinc is then synergized with an organic food complex of shiitake mushrooms, camu camu berries, collard greens, spinach, parsley, and cruciferous sprouts.
Omega Fatty Acids
Research has demonstrated that supplementing with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids can improve hair growth, enhance hair density, and protect against hair loss. Eating salmon and other fatty fish will ensure a healthy dose of omegas. Some plant sources include flax, chia, and hemp seeds, walnuts, and soybeans. You can also reach for a high-quality omega fatty acid supplement which comes in both capsule and liquid form.
Vitamin D is another well-known nutrient that promotes your health in many ways. One of the numerous activities that it’s involved in is the creation of new hair follicles, which can in turn support hair thickness and prevent premature shedding.
Vitamin D deficiency is remarkably common, and low levels are linked to hair loss. The vitamin is produced in your skin when the sun’s UVB rays shine on it. You can also get it from eating oily fish like salmon or sardines, from egg yolks, and certain mushrooms.
D3 + K2 Complex™ is a blend of vegan sources of vitamins D3 and K2 along with fermented K1, plus an organic food complex of shiitake mushrooms, camu camu berry, collard greens, spinach, parsley, and cruciferous sprouts.
Beauty From Within
Maintaining a balance of vitamins and minerals in your diet and supplementing when necessary is vital not only for healthy hair, but for the overall wellbeing of all aspects of your health. An easy way to ensure you’re getting all the nutrition you need is with a daily whole-food, organic multivitamin. That way you can cover all the gaps in your diet that over time might lead to deficiencies that could potentially lead to hair loss.