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Hair Loss? It May Be Vitamin D Deficiency
Understanding the possible connection between hair loss and vitamin D can help decide if a nutrition-based approach is the answer.
We have been hearing for a while now how milk does a body good, but have you really been thinking about how that could also affect your hair?
Vitamin D as well as other hair loss vitamins play a vital role in the overall health of your body, so it shouldn't seem too far a stretch to see the link between this vitamin and hair loss.
To make the most of your prevention efforts, it is important to gather all the data possible.
Vitamin D is sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin” because it is naturally produced in the body on exposure to sunlight.
Vitamin D describes a group of related fat-soluble steroid-like compounds. There are five known members of this group and they are identified as Vitamin D1 through D5. However, the most important ones are Vitamin D2 and D3.
Ultimately, Vitamin D is used in medical literature to refer to Vitamin D2 or D3 or both of them. These two forms of the vitamin are known as calciferol.
Since Vitamin D2 or Ergocalciferol is synthesized from ergosterol, a compound not found in vertebrates, it is ingested rather than produced in humans.
Vitamin D3, or Cholecalciferol, is synthesized in the skin from 7-dehydrocholesterol on ultraviolet irradiation.
Once obtained, Vitamin D is transported in the human body to the liver where it is converted to calcidiol, a prohormone.
Calcidiol is only converted to calcitriol, the active form of Vitamin D, in the kidney or by the cells of the immune system. From there, Vitamin D binds to a specific protein for onward transport to the various organs where it is needed.
Vitamin D is known to be essential to cell division and differentiation. It also contributes to the immune system.
However, the major role of Vitamin D is the regulation of calcium and phosphate levels in the body.
Vitamin D maintains the calcium balance by encouraging its absorption in the intestines, promoting re-absorption of the mineral in the bones and stimulating the parathyroid to regulate serum levels of calcium.
Vitamin D deficiency or hypovitaminosis D leads to improper mineralization of the bones.
This means that minerals essential to bone health such as calcium are lost instead of gained. Therefore, the bones become soft and fragile. The two most common manifestations of this are osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children.
Vitamin D deficiency is also implicated in other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and some cancers.
A 2010 study published in Dermatology Online Journal established that low levels of Vitamin D leads to inhibited hair follicle growth cycles.
Studies have indicated for years now how Vitamin D plays a role in the condition of one's skin. Few people realize the connection between how having healthy skin on your scalp can help prevent hair loss and even stimulate regrowth.
There are some other things you should know to better understand the vitamin D hair loss link:
The link between Vitamin D and hair loss follows from the fact that Vitamin D Receptors (VDRs) contribute to hair follicle growth cycles.
Studies showed that in mice, and later in humans, mutated Vitamin D receptors always produce hair loss in subjects. Where the Vitamin D receptors are inactive, and Vitamin D cannot properly bind to them, alopecia or hair loss always presents in the individual.
Even though this results in Vitamin D deficiency, merely dosing with Vitamin D did not reverse the hair loss in mice. This might be because the mutated receptors cannot produce the proper effect even when more Vitamin D is available.
Of course, the effect has not been studied in humans, and it may be possible for Vitamin D supplementation to reverse hair loss even in individuals with mutated VDRs.
Another study, however, established the positive effects of Vitamin D analogs in reversing hair loss due to mutated VDRs. These Vitamin D analogs acted on keratinocytes to stimulate new hair growth in mice.
Keratinocytes were identified as the cells causing the defective mutated VDRs.
Furthermore, Vitamin D supplementation was found to stimulate hair growth in chemotherapy patients who have experienced hair loss due to their treatment.
While further studies are required to firmly establish the benefits of Vitamin D in reversing hair loss, positive outcomes from such preliminary studies and testimonials from people treating their alopecia with the vitamin are strong arguments in favor of the sunshine vitamin.
Food sources of Vitamin D include fatty fish such as catfish, sardines, eel, mackerel, salmon and tuna.
Vitamin D can also be found in appreciable amounts in fish oils, whole eggs, liver, fortified foods as well as yeast and mushrooms exposed to ultraviolet irradiation.
Because of the risk of developing skin cancer, experts do not actively advocate exposure to sunlight to get the daily recommended intake of Vitamin D. Instead, foods rich in Vitamin D and supplements are recommended.
Therefore, published values do not take into account the Vitamin D synthesized during sun exposure.
15 micrograms per day is the recommended Vitamin D intake for anyone below 70 years. Older people are advised to ingest 20 micrograms of the vitamin daily while 10 micrograms per day is the recommended value for babies 1 year and younger.
However, the upper tolerable values for Vitamin D are 25 micrograms for babies, 75 micrograms for children below the age of 10 and 100 micrograms for anyone older.
Vitamin D deficiencies can cause health problems that include or can lead to hair loss, but getting too much vitamin D can have adverse effects. This is especially true for those who continue to take higher than recommended doses over a prolonged period of time.
Excess amounts of vitamin D stay stored in the liver and become toxic. Some other things to keep in mind for pros and cons include:
While some people are under the impression that there is no connection between vitamin D and hair loss, recent research has shown that vitamin D stimulates hair follicles which leads to increase hair growth.
|Next Article: Vitamin B and Hair Loss - Does it Help?|
Advecia is a natural DHT blocker that has been formulated to restore the appearance of existing hair, while decreasing the psychosocial impact of hair loss.