Healthy looking hair is a sign of good health and beauty. All of us would like to have a full, lustrous head and not lose our hair. But as we age, many of us suffer from hair loss or alopecia. While factors such as age, genetics and hormones affect hair growth, it can rob us of our confidence and self-esteem, especially if we start losing hair at a younger age than average. That is why a lot of hair salons and hair spas have mushroomed promising hair transplants and other beauty treatments for our hair. A lot of products are available in the market which claims to help in stopping the hair fall and make our hair look good.
Men are more likely to lose hair. However, it can be more devastating for women. The average adult head has up to 150,000 hairs and loses up to 100 a day. As we age, the rate of hair growth slows so you are not replacing as many hairs as you were when you were younger. Also, stress and illness can also affect your hair. Even during the present Covid pandemic, statistics show that 27% of patients recovering from COVID-19 suffered prolonged hair loss as a result.
Like any other part of your body, hair needs a variety of nutrients to grow and remain healthy. In fact, many nutritional deficiencies are linked to hair loss. Supplementing with certain vitamins and minerals may help restore your hair to its youthful glory, or at least help slow hair loss because nutritional deficiencies can be the underlying cause of alopecia. Although food is the best source of the vitamins you need for hair growth., but if you fail to get enough in your diet, supplements may be helpful. According to research, supplements work best in individuals who are already deficient
The best vitamins and minerals which may help to stop hair fall and help in its growth are mentioned below:
1. Vitamin A
All cells need vitamin A for growth. This includes hair, the fastest growing tissue in the human body. People whose diets are deficient in vitamin A often suffer from hair loss because this essential nutrient promotes the growth of all the cells in our bodies. Vitamin A also helps skin glands make an oily substance called sebum. Sebum moisturizes the scalp and helps keep hair healthy. Good sources of Vitamin A are sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, spinach, milk, Kale, and eggs.
2. Vitamin B
One of the best-known vitamins for hair growth is a B-vitamin called biotin. It is often used in hair treatments and shampoos. Other B-vitamins promote the growth of red blood cells that carry oxygen to the scalp and hair follicles. Leafy greens, whole grains, seafood, meat, and fish are food sources of B-vitamins. Additionally, animal foods are the only good sources of vitamin B12. So if you’re following a vegetarian or vegan diet, consider taking a supplement.
3. Vitamin C
Free radical damage can block the growth and cause your hair to age. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against the oxidative stress caused by free radicals. In addition, your body needs vitamin C to create a protein known as collagen — an important part of hair structure. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron, a mineral necessary for hair growth. Good sources include peppers, citrus fruits and strawberries.
4. Vitamin D
Low levels of vitamin D are linked to alopecia, a technical term for hair loss. Research also shows that vitamin D may help create new follicles — the tiny pores in the scalp where new hair can grow. Vitamin D is thought to play a role in hair production, but most research focuses on vitamin D receptors. Your body produces vitamin D through direct contact with the sun’s rays. Fatty fish, egg yolks, cod liver oil and fortified foods are good sources of vitamin D.
5. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can prevent oxidative stress. In one study, people with hair loss experienced a 34.5% increase in hair growth after supplementing with vitamin E for 8 months. The placebo group had only a 0.1% increase. Sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach and avocados are all good sources of vitamin E.
Magnesium plays a critical role in promoting hair growth. Experts call magnesium the “anti-stress mineral”. It is also involved in the synthesis of protein and helps with DNA repair and replication. Magnesium is found in green, leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
Iron is an essential mineral that helps transport oxygen to your hair follicles. It also aids in making your body use protein to grow healthy hair. This makes it an important mineral for many bodily functions, including hair growth. Iron deficiency, which causes anemia, is a major cause of hair loss. Iron deficiency is linked to female pattern baldness. Foods high in iron include clams, oysters, eggs, red meat, spinach and lentils.
Zinc is an essential mineral that your body needs to store for physiological responses. Zinc plays an important role in hair tissue growth and repair. It also helps keep the oil glands around the follicles working properly. Hair loss is a common symptom of zinc deficiency. Zinc maintains the function of sebaceous glands on the scalp and repairs hair damage. Zinc levels are lower in the blood of men experiencing male pattern baldness. Foods high in zinc include Nuts, oysters, beef, spinach, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, legumes, potatoes and lentils.
The quest for longer, thicker and healthier hair is real. Everybody wants to see those new inches of hair on their heads. And, if there is that one magic formula that can actually speed up your hair growth, it is the intake of vitamins – either in your diet or as supplements.
Your hair is made up of a structural protein called keratin. Vitamins help in strengthening hair follicles, cell turnover, optimal use of protein and maintaining healthy hair. Junk foods, unhealthy food patterns, psychological nutritional issues like anorexia nervosa, bulimia, etc, unidentified gut allergies or absorption disorders may be causing these vitamin deficiencies.
The best option is to change to a healthier diet and good lifestyle. This not only addresses the hair fall issue, but it also builds good health practices for life and prevents many more diseases in the future.