While hair care products can help your hair look and feel amazing, there’s no shortcut for good nutrition. And as experts point out, your hair can’t do without nutrients like vitamins A, C, D, E and B vitamins. Essential for keeping hair healthy, moisturized, and protected from damage, a deficiency may result in hair fall or hair loss and age your hair faster than it should!
Best Vitamins For Hair Growth
- Vitamin A: Moisturizes Hair
- B Vitamins: For Healthy Hair Growth
- Vitamin C: Prevents Hair Graying
- Vitamin D: Prevents Hair Fall
- Vitamin E: Protects Hair From Sun Damage
Lustrous locks don’t just need the right hair care products from the outside. What you do to nourish your tresses from the inside is just as important. Which is why there’s a growing focus on ensuring diets backup the nutrition your hair needs. But there are certain vitamins more important than others when it comes to hair care. So here’s what you need to know.
5 Best Vitamins For Hair Growth
- Keep Your System Well-Oiled With Vitamin A
Vitamin A is important for keeping hair growth going like a well-oiled machine, quite literally. This nutrient is what is responsible for sebum production. Sebum is the natural oils your body produces to keep your skin and hair moisturized. Its why your hair doesn’t dry out when left to its own devices. The sebaceous glands(that produce the sebum) present near the roots of your hair, in the dermis layer of your skin, rely on a supply of fat soluble vitamin A for normal development and maintenance of their function.1 So if you want your hair to stay soft and silky be sure to include:
- Yellow fruits and vegetables
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Fortified cereals and milk
- Cod liver oil in your grocery list.2
- B Vitamins For Hair Growth
Healthy hair growth needs a foundation of B vitamins. Their absence on the other hand can bring on hair fall, as research on the importance of B vitamin biotin, has found.3 A childhood B12 deficiency has also been implicated in premature graying. So stock up on B vitamin-fortified cereals, fish, eggs, meat and milk.4 B12 in particular is found in:
- Organ meats5
- Vitamin C: Your Defence Against Aging
Vitamin C, found widely in a range of citrus fruit and other yellow and orange vegetables, spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, and berries6, is important for collagen production.7 The protein collagen in your hair shaft can help with hair growth, acting as a building block of hair itself. Besides this, the antioxidants in Vitamin C play a vital role in protecting your body from free radical damage, by neutralizing these free radicals. Without such non-enzymatic antioxidants, your hair would see progressive deterioration as cellular structures would experience damage – what we interpret as aging. The result? Graying hair and alopecia or reduced hair production.8
- Vitamin D
Researchers have found a connection between inadequate vitamin D intake and alopecia or hair loss. The vitamin is an important immune regulator and is also involved in cell growth and differentiation. Animal studies found that test subjects benefitted from therapeutic use of the nutrient, demonstrating its potential for promoting hair growth in those with alopecia areata linked hair fall issues. However, more research is needed to confirm the safety and effectiveness of therapeutic use of Vitamin D on human subjects for hair loss.9 You can get vitamin D in your diet through fatty fish(salmon, tuna, mackerel) or through cheese, egg yolks, and beef liver. Just as important, be sure to get some sunlight exposure every day to help your body generate this vitamin internally too.10
- Tap Into The Protective Effects Of Vitamin E
Vitamin E, a popular ingredient in many cosmetics is invaluable for your hair too. Among other things, it protects hair from sun damage or oxidative stress, when it is exposed to harsh UV rays. One study found that Vitamin E supplementation for 8 months brought about a 34.5 percent increase in hair growth among test subjects with alopecia.11 Like Vitamin C, Vitamin E too is an antioxidant and part of your body’s defense against free radical damage, graying, and reduced hair production or alopecia.12 You’ll find this vitamin in foods like:
- Green leafy vegetables
The Downside Of A Vitamin Deficiency
- Research has found that hypopigmentation of hair, commonly known as premature graying, is linked to deficiency of vitamins like D3 or B12.14
- While falling short of your recommended intake of these vitamins can cause other health problems, your hair too will suffer. In fact, not having enough of these vitamins could cause your hair to age faster without the protective effects of these nutrients.
- Besides their individuals roles, these vitamins are also antioxidants that have a more far reaching protective effect for your hair. They shield your hair from toxins that it is exposed to, which would otherwise hasten damage and the aging process.
In other words, without their support, you may end up with drier more brittle hair that breaks and falls easily. Or you could see hair graying prematurely or at a faster pace than it should normally. Or if you’re especially unlucky, then all of the above!15