The irony about going bald is that the anxiety and tension caused by hair loss can result in more hair fall. It’s a double-edged sword. Not many people are blessed with thick, healthy hair. Stress, pollution, unhealthy lifestyle, poor eating habits and many other factors contribute to hair loss. Over 55 percent of women experience hair fall and a majority of men have some type of hair loss during their lifetimes.
The hair care industry is aware of this problem and is quick to cash in on the opportunity by manufacturing and marketing numerous hair care products that claim to prevent hair fall and improve hair growth. Hair loss is a complex process that involves various genetic, hormonal and environmental mechanisms.
So, before you invest your money on these products, consider providing your body with the nutrients that are essential for healthy hair as many studies have shown that poor nutrition, especially vitamin deficiencies, is a major cause of hair loss. Here are vital nutrients that can improve your hair health.
Oral zinc supplements have been used for ages to treat disorders such as telogen effluvium and alopecia areata, which are forms of hair loss. Zinc is vital for hair follicle health and is an essential co-factor for various enzymes related to important hair follicle functions. Zinc is also a powerful inhibitor of hair follicle regression and improves hair follicle recovery. Studies have shown that some alopecia areata patients suffer from zinc deficiency.
In a 2013 study, researchers analyzed the role of zinc in each of the four types of hair loss, including alopecia areata, male pattern hair loss, female pattern hair loss and telogen effluvium. In all of the hair loss patients, the mean serum zinc was significantly lower.
The analysis of each group also revealed that all groups of hair loss had statistically lower zinc concentration, especially the alopecia areata group.
This information led the researchers to conclude that zinc metabolism disturbances play an important role in hair loss.1 Consume foods such as avocados, spinach, beans, almonds, oysters, beef, eggs, liver, and pumpkin seeds that are rich in zinc.
2. Vitamin C
Evidence from many experiments suggests that oxidative stress is an important factor in the aging process. Reactive oxygen species or free radicals can directly damage cellular structural membranes, lipids, proteins and even the DNA.
The production of free radicals increases with age and the levels of antioxidative enzymes that defend the body decrease, which leads to the damage of cellular structures and the aging of hair. By serving as an antioxidant, vitamin C prevents oxidative stress, which causes hair graying and hair loss.2
Consuming foods that are rich in vitamin C like oranges, red peppers, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, strawberries, grapefruit, and kiwi can help fight free radical damage and protect the hair from aging.
3. Fish Oil
Fish oil is rich in various fatty acid species have been analyzed extensively in both animal and human studies to evaluate its effects on skin and hair health. Omega-3 fats nourish the hair, support hair thickening and reduce inflammation, all of which can lead to hair loss. Fish oil provides multiple benefits for hair health and is one of the best vitamins for hair growth.
A 2015 study evaluated the effects of a six-month supplementation with omega-3, omega-6, and antioxidants on hair loss.3 After six months of treatment, photograph assessment demonstrated a superior improvement in the supplemented group of the study.
Eating omega-3 foods sources such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, white fish, sardines, egg yolks, walnuts, hemp seeds and natto helps reduce inflammation and balance the hormones. Alternatively, you can also consume one or two capsules, or one tablespoon, of a good quality fish oil supplement to help reduce inflammation that causes hair disorders.
4. Vitamin D
Hair follicles are extremely sensitive to hormones and vitamin D is a hormone that has a pivotal role in calcium homeostasis, immune regulation, and cell growth differentiation. Many studies have shown that alopecia areata commonly occurs in patients with vitamin D deficiency, vitamin D-resistant rickets or vitamin D receptor mutation.4
Many experiments have shown that inadequate levels of vitamin D are responsible for a variety of autoimmune diseases, including alopecia areata. Researchers concluded that screening patients with alopecia areata for vitamin D deficiencies is important for effectively supplementing such patients with vitamin D.5
Direct sun exposure, especially early in the morning, is the best approach to absorb vitamin D. Topical application of vitamin D also helps in the restoration of hair cycle dysfunction in patients with alopecia areata. Consume food sources that are high in vitamin D, such as halibut, mackerel, eel, salmon, whitefish, swordfish, maitake mushrooms, and portabella mushrooms to increase your vitamin D levels.
The relationship between iron deficiency and hair loss has been established by numerous studies, which suggest that iron deficiency may be related to alopecia areata, androgenetic alopecia, telogen effluvium and diffuse hair loss.6 One such study showed that women with an iron deficiency are at a higher risk of hair loss.7
Ensuring the regular intake of iron-rich foods can go a long way in improving your hair growth. Foods such as spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens, egg yolks, beef steak, navy beans, and black beans are excellent sources of iron.
6. B-Complex Vitamin (Biotin And B5)
Biotin and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) have gained popularity as alternative treatments for hair loss. Biotin is great for your hair as it helps in rebuilding hair shingles that have been damaged because of over-shampooing, exposure to the sun, blow-drying and ironing. Vitamin B5 is essential for healthy adrenal glands, which helps stimulate hair growth.
Hair loss is a clear indication of a biotin deficiency, which can be caused due to smoking, impaired liver function or even pregnancy. Studies show that a considerable number of women develop a biotin deficiency during normal pregnancy as the rapidly dividing cells of the growing fetus need biotin for the synthesis of essential carboxylases and histone biotinylation.
Experts conclude that significant changes in markers of biotin metabolism in the course of pregnancy and breastfeeding suggest that biotin intakes exceed current recommendations to meet the demands of these reproductive states.8
Consider taking a B-complex vitamin tablet daily or take biotin and vitamin B5 separately to reverse hair loss and increase hair strength. Consuming biotin and vitamin B5 foods, such as eggs, beef, chicken, avocado, legumes, nuts, and potatoes help you avoid a deficiency and simultaneously promote hair growth.
|↑1||Kil, Min Seong, Chul Woo Kim, and Sang Seok Kim. “Analysis of serum zinc and copper concentrations in hair loss.” Annals of dermatology 25, no. 4 (2013): 405-409.|
|↑2||Trüeb, Ralph M. “Oxidative stress in ageing of hair.” International journal of trichology 1, no. 1 (2009): 6.|
|↑3||Floc’h, Le, Ahsène Cheniti, Sophie Connétable, Nathalie Piccardi, Colombina Vincenzi, and Antonella Tosti. “Effect of a nutritional supplement on hair loss in women.” Journal of cosmetic dermatology 14, no. 1 (2015): 76-82.|
|↑4||Kim, Dong Ha, Jin Woong Lee, In Su Kim, Sun Young Choi, Yun Young Lim, Hyeong Mi Kim, Beom Joon Kim, and Myeung Nam Kim. “Successful treatment of alopecia areata with topical calcipotriol.” Annals of dermatology 24, no. 3 (2012): 341-344.|
|↑5||Aksu Cerman, A., S. Sarikaya Solak, and I. Kivanc Altunay. “Vitamin D deficiency in alopecia areata.” British Journal of Dermatology 170, no. 6 (2014): 1299-1304.|
|↑6||Trost, Leonid Benjamin, Wilma Fowler Bergfeld, and Ellen Calogeras. “The diagnosis and treatment of iron deficiency and its potential relationship to hair loss.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 54, no. 5 (2006): 824-844.|
|↑7||Moeinvaziri, Mojdeh, Parvin Mansoori, Koorosh Holakooee, Zahra Safaee Naraghi, and Ali Abbasi. “Iron status in diffuse telogen hair loss among women.” Acta Dermatovenerologica Croatica 17, no. 4 (2009): 0-0.|
|↑8||Perry, Cydne A., Allyson A. West, Antoinette Gayle, Lauren K. Lucas, Jian Yan, Xinyin Jiang, Olga Malysheva, and Marie A. Caudill. “Pregnancy and lactation alter biomarkers of biotin metabolism in women consuming a controlled diet.” The Journal of nutrition 144, no. 12 (2014): 1977-1984.|