Vitamins for Hair Loss


Hair follicle cells have a high turnover. Their active metabolism requires a good supply of nutrients and energy. A caloric deprivation or deficiency of several components, such as proteins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and vitamins, can lead to structural abnormalities, pigmentation changes, or hair loss, although exact data are often lacking.

Malnutrition & Weight Loss Diets

Diets that are low in calories, whereby amino acids are used to provide energy and are not available for tissue and plasma protein synthesis and other functions. The glycogen content of the follicular sheath is reduced, providing less energy for cell mitosis. The hair is thin, sparse, fragile, and even more easily shed.

Diets for weight loss can also lead to hair loss, especially if the daily calorie intake is less than 1000 kcal and if protein intake is inadequate. This cause should be suspected especially in young obese women. The hair loss may be more profound in diets with a negative nitrogen balance (loss of lean body mass) and be partly due to reduced thyroid activity.

 


Proteins

Protein is the major constituent of hair fibers. Therefore, a reduced protein uptake can impair hair growth, even before serum albumin levels are decreased.

Other situations of low protein uptake are infants on special diets, such as in urea-cycle disorders, milk-free diets, gastrointestinal disease, blood loss and blood donations, anorexia nervosa, depression, drug addiction, or malignancy.

 

Vitamin C

Helps strengthen and grow your hair faster, it can also help with hair loss. Vitamin C doesn’t store in your body (because it’s soluble in water), therefore sufficient daily intake is highly recommended.

Ascorbic acid is essential for collagen synthesis and cross-linkage of keratin fibers. The reference daily intake for men is 90 mg and for women is 75 mg. A deficiency is called scurvy and often occurs in elderly patients, alcoholics, and patients with chronic disease.

 

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant. It chiefly mops up reactive oxygen radicals produced from fat oxidation. Vitamin E helps reduce inflammation and repair damage to the follicles, and healthy follicles encourage hair growth. This antioxidant action makes Vitamin E essential for regenerative functions in the body where it protects tissues and organs such as the hair from damages.

The recommended daily intake for dietary sources of Vitamin E increases steadily from 4 – 5 mg for infants to 15 mg for adolescents and adults.

 


Essential Fatty Acids

 Omega-3 fatty acids contributes to lubricating hair follicles and so add elasticity and brightness to your hair.

Linoleic acid and alpha-linoleic acid are required for normal human metabolism. They are an important component of cell membranes.. Hair loss of the scalp and eyebrows and depigmentation are symptoms of a deficiency, among other complaints.

 

 Biotin

Biotin deficiency is rare, however, it does occur in athletes, epileptics, elderly and pregnant and nursing mothers. Biotin like Vitamin C is water-soluble. Biotin prevents hair dryness, and hair loss, it increases the elasticity of a hair and therefore, reduces hair breakage. It doesn’t boost growing of new hair but strengthen the existing ones in roots and cortex.

Symptoms include structural changes of the hair and nails, perioral dermatitis, conjunctivitis, and infections. The reference daily intake for adults is 30 μg. Antieplileptic drugs can reduce biotin levels.

 

Vitamin B12

A deficiency of cyanocobalamin is seen in vegetarians, fish bandworm infestation, and various gastrointestinal disorders, including atrophic gastritis with antibodies to intrinsic factors leading to pernicious anemia.

It can cause gray hair, megaloblastic anemia, peripheral neuropathy, Hunter glossitis, and angular cheilitis. The reference daily intake for adults is 2.4 μg.

 


 Zinc

Zinc is a trace element in the human body yet it is essential for a lot of biochemical processes. Zinc may help improve the hair structure from the inside out. Deficiency can lead to thin white and brittle hair.

Zinc deficiency occurs in elderly persons, in persons with alcoholism, anorexia nervosa, nephropathy, pancreatitis, after prolonged breast feeding without supplementation, following gastrointestinal bypass surgery. During treatment, zinc levels should be monitored because overdose can lead to copper or calcium deficiency, drowsiness, and headache.

The daily reference intake for men and pregnant women is 11 mg and for women is 8 mg. In deficiency, the recommended dose for adults is 25 to 50 mg of elemental zinc and 0.5 to 1 mg/kg for children.

 

Niacin

Niacin improves blood circulation and brings more blood flow to the scalp. More blood flow means more oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles. Niacin can also improve the thickness of hair and reduce hair loss.

The recommended daily intake for male adults is 16 mg and for women is 14 mg.. A deficiency is called pellagra, meaning “rough skin.” Pellagra occurs in areas where maize and millet are the main food, such as parts of Asia, Africa, and India.

Iron

Many women and men have iron deficiency, also known as anemia. Iron is in tight connection with carrying oxygen for the growth and repair of all body cells including the cells that make up hair follicles. Iron deficiency is ranked as the world’s most common deficiency by the World Health Organization, affecting up to 80% of humankind.

Iron works as a catalyst in oxidation and reduction reactions, . Its deficiency causes diffuse hair loss and other skin symptoms, such as glossitis, cheilitis, and kolonychia, can occur. The impaired keratin production can lead to thinner hairs. In African hair, band-like color changes have been reported.

The daily reference intake is 8 mg for men and 18 mg for women between 19 and 50 years of age; different values apply for children, seniors, and pregnant or lactating women.