Can Vitamins Improve Hair Growth?
For most people, wanting either longer or fuller hair is a common goal. For many women, length retention is important as long, full tresses are often associated with youth and vitality. Likewise, for most men, a full head of hair can be seen as equally youthful as opposed to premature balding. While genetics is the biggest determiner of hair growth and loss, turning back the hands of time is possible. If a glance in the mirror reveals thinner strands, or hair that takes forever to grow, consider incorporating the following vitamins into a daily routine.
Well known biotin
Of all the hair growth supplements, biotin is probably the best-known option on the market. While the product is heavily touted in a wide range of hair, skin, and nail products, the research suggests that very few people need to consume the water-soluble B vitamin beyond daily dietary intake. Likewise, only in very unique cases has biotin been proven to promote hair growth. For example, people with uncombable hair syndrome or brittle nails will benefit the most while success for the general population is anecdotal at best. However, for people that want to take biotin anyway, experts recommend not exceeding the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) each day.
Other B vitamins
Although evidence supporting biotin as a hair super nutrient is marginal, a proven link exists between other B vitamin deficiencies and hair growth issues. In particular, riboflavin, folate, and vitamin B12 have all been linked to hair loss. The issue can be further exacerbated in people on vegan diets as these nutrients are most easily sourced through animal-derived foods.
Iron and zinc
Similar to the above nutrients, both iron and zinc are minerals that can lead to hair loss if a person has a deficiency. However, just like the other nutrients, not enough studies can support the claims that supplementing with a pill will reverse an individual’s hair woes.
The sunshine vitamin
Vitamin D is a critical nutrient that supports many of the body’s systems from the bones and muscles to immunity. While not found naturally in many foods, people can get Vitamin D from fortified options like cereals, milk, and juice. Likewise, safe sun exposure can also boost the body’s levels. Similar to the other vitamin listed above, low vitamin D levels can also lead to hair loss. Evidence is anecdotal at best that opting for a supplement can encourage hair growth or prevent thinning.
Similar to vitamin D, the big C vitamin is best known for immunity and boosting collagen production in the body. Collagen is a critical building block found in hair, skin, and nails. However, even with all of the above being true, few people have a true vitamin C deficiency. As such, even fewer individuals need to supplement with additional vitamin C outside of a healthy diet.
Food over pills
The moral of the story is, short of a known nutrient deficiency, few people need to take supplements to boost hair growth. Instead of searching high and low for a miracle pill, consider focusing on reevaluating dietary choices. Opting for healthier foods that are packed with collagen-supportive nutrients can be more beneficial than popping a vitamin. Oftentimes, supplements have hidden ingredients or excessive amounts of nutrients, which can lead to unexpected side effects. By contrast, a nutritious diet will improve holistic health and potentially lead to longer, more luxurious locks of hair.
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