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15 Vitamins That Help Hair Loss

Discover the 15 vitamins that help hair loss and prevent it from returning.
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No one wants to have to deal with hair loss, but it is something that happens to millions of people around the world.

Often, hair loss can be treated, and in many cases, just following a healthy diet that is loaded with certain vitamins (like biotin) for hair loss can help.

It is important to be sure that we are eating all the right foods for our overall health, and the things we eat can play a huge role in the health of our hair.

Both men and women need to have plenty of certain vitamins and nutrients in their diets to avoid hair loss, and these can be found in many foods and in dietary supplements.

Many people don’t know a whole lot about vitamins for hair loss and the role they play in our health. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the various vitamins that you need and decide if you need more or less of certain vitamins.

What Makes Hair Stop Growing?

Hair is an important part of a person’s total self, and when hair starts to fall out, it can have deep psychological effects. Up to 50 percent of men and 40 percent of women experience partial or total hair loss as they age. According to research, about half of a person’s hair loss experienced before the age of 50 is related to poor nutrition and a lack of vitamins. Typically, women are hit the hardest by nutrition-related hair loss, with up to 30 percent of hair loss cases directly related to vitamin loss and iron deficiency.

A variety of conditions can affect hair loss, including:

  • Poor nutrition
  • Medications
  • Genetics
  • Radiation therapy
  • Hormones
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Skin conditions
  • Weight loss
  • Physical trauma
  • Stress
  • Anemia
  • Pregnancy

The Type of Hair Loss

Not all hair loss is caused by the same thing. If fact, some kinds of hair loss are not related to nutrition at all, and taking more vitamins will do little to help this kind of hair loss. It is helpful to know a little about the types of hair loss and which ones can be improved, slowed, or reversed with the use of vitamins supplements and diet changes.

Alopecia Areata

This type of hair loss is due to an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the hair follicles and causes the hair to fall out. The hair follicles shrink and hair production slows or stops. Researchers typically believe that this form of hair loss is caused by a virus or a vitamin deficiency, which means that this form of hair loss may be reversed by adding the right vitamins back in the diet.

Androgenic Alopecia

Androgenic alopecia is the most common form of hair loss in men and is also known as male pattern baldness. This type of hair loss is genetic, but most researchers believe that hormone levels play a big role in this form of hair loss. Controlling the hormones that cause this form of hair loss can help slow and possibly reverse this type of hair loss. Vitamin supplements can support healthy hair growth and hormone regulation, but for androgenic alopecia, vitamins alone won’t typically reverse all symptoms.

Female Pattern Hari Loss

Women can also have hair loss over time. Up to 40 percent of women lose some of their hair as they age. Female baldness typically shrinks the hair follicles and produces finer, thinner hair. This gives a woman the appearance of less hair, although she probably has the same number of hairs as before. Usually, this form of hair loss in women is also related to hormone levels. A women who has higher androgen hormones will be more likely to be affected by this kind of hair loss. Women with a family history of bald relatives are also more likely to suffer from this form of hair loss.

Telogen Effluvium

Telogen effluvium is a form of hair loss that is affected by phases of hair growth. Typically, hair follicles alter through periods of growth phases and rest phases. TE affects the hair follicles by keeping them in the rest phase longer, which means you have less hair on your head at a time. Vitamins can help discourage this form of hair loss and might even be able to eliminate it completely.

How Vitamin Deficiencies Cause Hair Loss

Vitamins are often responsible for triggering TE hair loss, by not providing enough nutrients to push the hair into the growth phase. Extended nutrient deficiencies can often result in thin, weak, and brittle hair. Adding more vitamins to the diet will boost hair health, extend the growth phase, and make hair healthier, thicker, and shinier.

The Hair Loss Diet

Healthy hair requires more than just vitamins. Your hair also needs proteins and fats to grow healthy and strong. Minerals, vitamins, and amino acids all work together to keep your hair healthy and present on your head. Typically, it takes about four to six months to see full results of a more nutrient-rich diet.

A combination of a healthier diet filled with vegetables, protein, and healthy fats and avoiding processed foods and grains will produce the best results. You can also supplement a healthy diet with any missing vitamins that are essential for hair growth, listed below. Certain herbs like Saw Palmetto have also been linked to helping regulate the hormones that can contribute to hair loss.

15 Vitamins that Help Hair Loss

These 15 vitamins are essential for healthy hair. Add them to your diet and you’ll see improved hair health, hair that stays longer in the growth phase, and hair that is less likely to fall out and break.

# 1 – Vitamin A for Hair Loss

We need vitamin A for the production of scalp oil, also known as sebum. Without sebum our hair gets dry and brittle, and dandruff and a thick scalp will develop, both of which can be annoying to treat.

Dry hair will eventually start to break, and when hair is broken and unhealthy, it can often lead to permanent hair loss.

You can get plenty of vitamin A, which is also an anti-oxidant, from mangos, oranges, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash and liver.

Vitamin A is rich in antioxidants that are used to regenerate skin, nails, and hair. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that you can overdose if you take too much. This can be potentially dangerous for both sexes, but particularly so for women who might be pregnant. Overdoses of vitamin A can cause miscarriages or birth defects. It is not recommended for pregnant, nursing, or for women who might become pregnant to take larger doses of vitamin A than what is present in a multivitamin.

It is also important to eat protein along with vitamin A (and the other vitamins on this list). Protein is also essential for strong, healthy hair and it contains collagen that can help improve the skin on your head and prevent dry, itchy scalp.

# 2 – B Vitamins for Hair Loss

Vitamin B is necessary for healthy hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to the scalp through the red blood cells.

There are various B vitamins, and the best for treating hair loss are vitamin B-6, para amino benzoic acid, biotin and inositol. You can get vitamin B from fish and seafood, poultry, meat, beans, peas, bananas, oatmeal, eggs, potatoes and low or non-fat milk.

Specifically, Biotin and vitamin B5 are the most beneficial for hair growth. Biotin is a vitamin that helps build hair shingles to make them strong and it also helps repair damaged parts of the hair. Biotin is especially important for color-treated or styled hair, which becomes weaker with the excessive use of styling tools, heat tools, and styling products.

Vitamin B5 supports the adreanal glands responsible for boosting and stimulating hair growth. A study from 2011 in the British Journal of Dermatology found that the use of vitamin B5 increased the size of hairs, thickened hair fibers and allowed the hair to withstand greater force before breaking.

Hair loss is often the first sign of a vitamin B deficiency. These deficiencies are often caused by smoking, eating an unhealthy diet, pregnancy, or impaired liver function.

Eating foods high in B vitamins can help counteract any possibly deficiencies. Foods like avocado, legumes, nuts, eggs, beef, shrimp, and potatoes all have high levels of B vitamins that can combat hair loss.

# 3 -- Folic Acid and Hair Loss

This vitamin can play a huge role in treating and preventing hair loss.

Taking supplements and eating foods that have folic acid can not only help to decrease the chance of hair loss and prevent hair from thinning in the future. This can be a great help to those who are genetically pre-disposed to baldness.

Folic acid can be found in chickpeas, frozen peas, boiled asparagus, cooked lentils, medium papaya and collard greens.

Folic acid (also known as folate) is necessary for every tissue in your body. Your skin, nails, organs, and hair all particularly rely on folic acid to function optimally. Folic acid also helps prevent birth defects. Folic acid also helps improve the action of other vitamins in the body, including B-12 and vitamin C. Folic acid helps break down protein and make it more usable, which is essential for healthy hair growth.

One study from the University of Guelph in Canada found that increasing doses of folic acid was able to help reverse some of the symptoms of alopecia hair loss in animals. It took just two months of taking doses of folic acid to return normal hair growth to the animals.

A deficiency in folic acid can not only lead to hair loss, but it can also cause other problems as well. This can cause your hair to grey, mouth ulcers to appear, swollen tongue, stomach ulcers, anemia, and lack of hair growth.

The best way to get more folic acid is through food, but you can also take supplements of folic acid as well to supplement and improve your overall intake. When eating for folic acid, look for dark vegetables, beans, and citrus fruits.

# 4 – Vitamin C for Hair Loss

Healthy collagen development depends on vitamin C, and collagen is important if you want to have healthy hair.

We also need to have vitamin C to avoid many health issues, and it can help keep us from catching colds and the flu.

You can find many delicious foods that are loaded with vitamin C, including oranges, lemons, grapefruits, red sweet peppers, kiwi fruit, tomatoes, green peppers, strawberries, pineapples, mango, blueberries and guava.

Oxidative stress is attributed as a factor for hair loss as a person ages. Vitamin C is high in antioxidants, making it the ideal vitamin for preventing damage and stress on hair due to free radical damage. The older a person gets, the more free radicles are present in the body, damaging DNA, proteins, membranes, lipids, and hair follicles. The body also produces less defensive enzymes to fight oxidation as it ages, leading to further damage that can cause hair loss and the aging. Some research suggests that higher doses of vitamin C in the body can extend hair health and even delay the greying of hair. Researchers suggest taking up to 1000 milligrams of vitamin C daily in supplement form to fight free radical damage.

# 5 – Vitamin D for Hair Loss

Hair loss and rickets are two health issues associated with a lack of vitamin D. It is involved in the health of hair follicles.

Research done on mice showed that when certain genes were removed, the mice displayed vitamin D deficiency symptoms. These symptoms included rickets and hair loss.

Fatty acids play a role in the body’s production of vitamin D. Without enough essential fatty acids, the body is not able to produce enough vitamin D, leading to a deficiency that can cause psoriasis and a flaky scalp.

Vitamin D, although it is called a vitamin, is actually a hormones. Vitamin D is a hormone that is essential for calcium homeostatis, cell growth differentiation, and immune regulation. Individuals who have hair loss also often are deficient in vitamin D (as many Americans are).

Research has suggested that low vitamin D levels are associated with autoimmune disorders, including the autoimmune triggers for hair loss. One study of patients with alopecia areata found that individuals with AA were more likely to have hair loss, and the lower their vitamin D levels, the more hair loss they had seen. Researchers suggested that adding more vitamin D to the diet might slow or prevent the progression of AA hair loss.

The best way to absorb vitamin D is through sun exposure. Sitting in the sun for about 10 minutes a day can help you absorb up to 10,000 units of vitamin D. You can also take supplements of vitamin D3 and eat vitamin D rich foods like seafood, mushrooms, and grass fed dairy products.

Although this study did not focus on whether supplementing with vitamin D reversed hair loss, it is possible that adding more vitamin D to the diet can help regulate the autoimmune system that often triggers hair loss, which would prevent further hair loss from occurring.

# 6 -- Vitamin E for Hair Loss

We need to have vitamin E in order to have good blood circulation in the scalp. It also helps to increase the absorption of oxygen, which is also important.

You can find vitamin E in vegetable oils, safflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil, nuts, turnip greens and other leafy vegetables. It is best to ingest vitamin E rather than use it as a topical solution, as it will be absorbed by the body much better this way.

# 7 – Omega 3 for Hair Loss

This is an essential fatty acid, and it is necessary that we have omega-3 acids for healthy hair. The three main nutrients found in Omega 3s are ALA (alpha linoleic acid), EPA (ecoisapentaionic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenioc acid).

Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in shrimp, clams, salmon, halibut, albacore, trout, salmon, sardines, catfish, cod, tuna, herring, walnuts, almonds and flax seed.

Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to have direct improvement on hair health in studies. In one study, 62 percent women who supplemented with omega three reported an increase in hair density and thickness after the study concluded. 88 percent of the women in the study reported seeing some thickening or re-growth of hair by the study’s end.

Six months later, 89 percent of the women reported that their hair loss has slowed. 78 percent reported an increase in the diameter of each individual hair strand. 86 percent reported shinier hair. 92 percent of the women in the study reported improvements in hair quality, health, and thickness after six months.

This strongly suggests that omega 3 fatty acids can help strengthen and thicken hair and can help reverse and prevent hair loss in women, and likely men as well.  

# 8 -- Zinc for Hair Loss

We need to have zinc for a number of reasons, including for healthy hair. Zinc is necessary for the production of sebum, which is the natural oil produced by the scalp and is necessary for healthy hair.

Zinc helps to keep the scalp conditioned, preventing dandruff, and keeps the hair shaft healthy and strong. Not enough zinc in your diet can lead to premature greying or balding. The body does not naturally store zinc, so it is important to get it from healthy dietary sources, such as yeast, egg yolks, pumpkin seeds and shrimp, or from dietary supplements.

It is important to remember to only take the recommended daily amount, unless otherwise directed by a physician, as too much or too little can lead to many problems, including hair loss.

You can find zinc in red meats, poultry, liver, wheat germ, shrimp, pumpkin seeds, soy products, egg yolks and shrimp.

# 9 -- Beta Sitosterol for Hair Loss

This is a natural plant extract that is loaded with nutrients necessary for healthy hair. Because it is all natural, there are no side effects, and it can be taken in combination with your regular medications.

Beta sitosterol treats hair loss and promotes healthy new hair growth.

There is no danger in taking beta sitosterol, and it can be used by both men and women. It is often recommended to men who are experiencing hair loss, and regrowth of hair occurs in many cases.

# 10 -- Iron for Hair Loss

A lack of iron can cause hair loss in women, so it is important to make sure that women are getting enough of this nutrient in their diets.

There are three main reasons why women may have iron deficiencies: heavy periods with a lot of bleeding; ulcers and inflammations of the stomach that cause bleeding in the digestive tract, and blood loss after giving birth.

Dietary sources of iron include lean red meat, dried fruit, tofu and broccoli.

One of the strongest links found between vitamins and hair loss is the link between iron deficiencies and hair loss. Iron deficiencies have been associated as a possible cause for all major types of hair loss.

Researchers in Iran found that individuals who had TE hair loss were more likely to also be low in iron than individuals without TE hair loss. The study authors concluded that women who are low in iron are also more likely to have hair loss.

Eating more iron-rich foods can help counteract some of the risks of a low-iron diet. Spinach, red meat, navy beans, Swiss chard, eggs, and beef are all naturally high in iron. You can also take iron supplements under the direction of a doctor. It is possible to overdose on iron, so don’t take iron supplements unless you are under advisement from a qualified health professional.

If you want to supplement with iron on your own, don’t take more than is included with a basic multivitamin and make sure you take the supplements with food each day.

# 11 -- Grape Seed for Hair Loss

This is one of the safest things that can be used to treat hair loss. It is available in liquid and capsule form, and it inhibits hair loss while promoting healthy hair growth.

Those who have certain genetic diseases or suffer from poor nutrition and are experiencing hair loss can benefit from using grape seed extract, which can be found at most health food stores or any store that has a vitamin section.

It stimulates the hair follicles, and hair loss can be reversed by using grape seed extract. It is also great for cleansing the body due to its many detoxifying agents.

# 12 -- Amino Acids for Hair Loss

Hair loss can be treated with amino acids, which will work even better when combined with other vitamins and nutrients.

The amino acids that are best for treating thinning hair are:

  • Methionine, which is a strong anti-oxidant and an excellent source of sulfur;
  • Cysteine, a non-essential amino acid that can increase hair growth substantially;
  • Cystine, another non-essential amino acid that is used to treat thinning hair and promote hair growth;
  • Tyrosine, yet another non-essential amino acid that is used to treat many health problems, including hair loss.

# 13 -- Inositol for Hair Loss

This is used to help inhibit hair loss and allow healthy hair to grow back. It is also great for reducing cholesterol levels.

Inositol is used by men and women to treat thinning hair, and it has anti-oxidant properties that keep hair follicles healthy.

There are many delicious ways you can get plenty of inositol in your diet, including unrefined molasses, raisins, Brewer’s yeast, oat flakes, nuts, wheat germ, bananas, beef and pork brain, liver, hearts, brown rice and a variety of vegetables.

# 14 – Biotin for Hair Loss

Biotin is considered to be “food for your hair”, and it plays a huge role in hair loss.

It is one of the most important vitamins you can have in your diet for healthy hair growth, and it may be that you will need supplements in order to get as much as you need.

Two foods that are excellent sources of biotin are liver and egg yolks, but you need to eat so much of these that it is much better to take supplements, or you would be doing nothing but eating liver and eggs all day long.

If you are eating a healthy diet, but find that you are still not getting all of the vitamins you need for optimal health and to avoid or treat hair loss, you may want to consider taking vitamin supplements.

Saw Palmetto Extract

Saw Palmetto is an herb that comes from the fruit of the American dward fine tree. This herb has been associated with benefiting hair and slowing or reversing hair loss. In one study, 60 percent of patients who supplemented with Saw Palmettos saw improvements of hair growth. Only 10 percent of the placebo group reported seeing thicker hair.

Saw Palmetto is easiest to take in supplement form. You’ll often find the herb mixed in with other vitamins and minerals that support hair health due to its reputation as an effective herbal remedy for hair loss. It typically takes between three and six months of daily supplementation to see full results from taking saw palmetto.

Why Use Vitamins for Hair Loss?

Why should you use vitamins that help hair loss when you can take a prescription medication for hair loss that is possibly just as effective and is much easier to take? Although eating a nutrient-rich diet and taking daily supplements can be a pain, there are several good reasons to use vitamins to reverse and prevent hair loss over prescription treatments.

Most vitamins have far fewer side effects (and usually none) than prescription remedies. These vitamins also don’t contain any added filler ingredients and simply provide what your hair needs to grow healthy and strong. You’ll also find herbal hair loss supplements that include everything you need to reverse or prevent hair loss, including:

Herbs that Fight Hair Loss
  • Saw palmetto
  • Curcumin
  • Aloe vera
  • Green tea
  • Horsetail
  • Ashwaganda

Complementary Supplements that Help Hair Loss

Vitamins alone are not always enough to reverse existing hair loss. In some cases, a mixture of topical and internal supplement remedies are necessary to reverse and prevent severe hair loss. The following two remedies are natural supporting remedies that have been shown to have positive effects on hair health and can help provide the necessary topical support to reverse hair loss without dangerous side effects.

Rosemary Oil

Rosemary oil is attributed to stimulating the scalp and boosting cellular metabolism that can stimulate the growth of hair. A study from 2013 found that rubbing rosemary extract onto mice experiencing hair loss was able to reverse hair loss in the mice that had hair loss due to an overabundance of testosterone.

In 2015, a similar study was conducted on men who suffered from androgenetic alopecia. This study had men use either rosemary oil applied to the scalp or a traditional hair growth medication to the scalp. After six months, both groups had siginificantly improved hair thickness and number. The rosemary group, however, reported fewer side effects but experienced just as much hair regrowth, which indicates that rosemary oil can be a powerful natural reversal to hair loss that will work well in conjunction with vitamins that help hair loss.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a soothing plant that has many vitamins and minerals inside it that can help boost hair health from the outside in. Aloe vera has been used for thousands of years as a remedy for skin issues and other topical health problems.

A study from 2012 found that aloe vera jel was able to reduce inflammation and could speed wound healing in mice. Surprisingly enough, a side effect of the aloe vera application was that the hair in the area near the wound grew back faster thanks to the topical application of aloe vera.

The greatest reported benefit of aloe vera for hair health is through its ability to fight radiation damage to the skin. This radiation damage can affect the hair follicles, causing them to shut down and prevent hari growth. Aloe vera also fights free radical damage that can prevent hair growth. The plant also helps soothe dry skin and heal dandruff that could be irritating the scalp and preventing the growth of hair.

Vitamins Can Help Hair Loss

You may not realize it, but a lot of the nutrients you eat every day boost (or suppress) the health of your hair. If you eat the right balance of nutrients, including a lot of nutrients like biotin for hair losszinc for hair loss, and vitamin C for hair loss, then the overall health of your hair will improve. Your hair will become fuller, because the hair will be in the growth cycle longer than the rest phase, which will help your hair stay stronger, healthier, and look better.

Poor nutrition is a large player in hair loss, although many people don’t realize it. Vitamin deficiencies can directly affect hair growth and hair loss. Women with an iron deficiency are much more likely to suffer from hair loss than women you get enough iron. Studies also show that low zinc levels and low vitamin C levels have been attributed to a higher chance of developing hair loss. Other vitamin deficiencies, including deficiencies in vitamin D, biotin, B vitamins, and amino acids can also contribute to hair loss.

Adding more vitamins to your diet can work well in cojunction with other hair supporting health practices, such as taking care of the hair, avoiding heat tools, and eliminating unhealthy food from the diet. Reducing daily stress in your life can also contribute to a healthier head of hair.

Although adding more vitamins to your diet is unlikely to reverse a totally bald head, there is enough evidence to support that adding more vitamins to your diet will slow and potentially reverse thinning hair in women and men alike. Consuming the right balance of vitamins can also help prevent hormones from getting out of balance, which is another common cause of hair loss. 

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