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Vitamin C for Hair Loss - How it Helps

Here are some interesting facts on how vitamin C helps with hair loss.
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You have more than likely heard for many years about the benefits of having enough vitamin C in your diet, but did you know that this vitamin can also promote healthy hair growth and actually stimulate regrowth after hair loss?

Losing hair does not have to be a permanent thing, and there are many natural treatments for premature balding, including using vitamin C.

What is Vitamin C?

ASCORBIC ACIDVitamin C or ascorbic acid is an essential nutrient for humans. Its active form is L-ascorbate or L-ascorbic acid.

While Vitamin C is synthesized in almost all plants and animals, certain mammals including humans cannot synthesize the vitamin. Therefore, Vitamin C must be ingested in humans either through diet or supplements.

The recommended daily intake allowance of Vitamin C is still in contention but experts agree that a range of 45 mg to 400 mg is required and considered safe. However, a daily dose of up to 2 g is permissible.

Although scurvy is the main symptom associated with Vitamin C deficiency, hair loss is also a derivative sign of this deficiency. A low blood level of the vitamin is strongly correlated with dry and splitting hairs which, of course, quickly fall off.

Because Vitamin C is important for the synthesis of collagen, a deficiency of the vitamin leads to scurvy which is a presentation of weakened collagen on the skin.

In a similar manner, the production of tyrosine is dependent on the vitamin, and tyrosine is important for the maintenance of the structural integrity of hair strands and the cells of hair follicles.

Another known property of Vitamin C which can contribute to its ability to encourage hair regrowth is its action as an antioxidant. This is important in promoting skin health and preventing oxidative damage to the cells of hair follicles.

Since it also boosts the immunity, Vitamin C is a general champion of good health.

Facts about Vitamin C

There are many reasons why vitamin C is so good for us, and why it can be used to treat hair loss.

For one thing, vitamin C is water-soluble, so the body does not store it and accumulate too much in your system.

Here are some more interesting facts about this vitamin:

  • EATING ORANGEVitamin C is loaded with anti-oxidant properties, just like vitamin E and zinc. These anti-oxidants reduce the damage that is caused by free radicals that are formed when food is converted into energy by the body. These free radicals can do a lot of damage to your hair, which is one reason why we need to make sure that we have enough of this vitamin in our diets.
  • When you have enough vitamin C in your system, you will have the nutrients you need to help produce collagen, which is necessary for healthy skin, bones, ligaments, muscles and blood tissues.
  • Vitamin C can also help reduce scar tissues and promote the healing of wounds. It is essential for healthy teeth and bones, and of course, hair.

The DKK-1 Link

The blood level of circulating androgens is important to the mechanism of hair loss. For example, a high level of DHT (dihydrotestosterone), a product of testosterone has been identified as the chief cause of androgenic alopecia.

Male hormones and their metabolites such as DHT bind to certain receptors of an important group of cells in the skin, the papilla cells. Papilla cells are chiefly responsible for transporting nutrients to other cells in hair follicles.

These cells play a key role in the events leading to balding or alopecia. When they are blocked by male hormones, they cannot effectively feed the hair follicles; therefore, hair production slows down.

To test whether Vitamin C has any positive effect in the reversal of hair loss, a group of Korean researchers from Kyungpook National University took some papilla cells from the skin of balding men and exposed them to a derivative of Vitamin C.

The derivative used was Ascorbic acid 2-phosphate which is used in many topical cosmetic products and which is converted to Vitamin C in the cell.

The idea to try Vitamin C salt on actual hair cells was born out of a prior research in which the group of researchers demonstrated that ascorbic acid 2-phosphate boosts hair growth.

To explain their findings, the researchers drew attention to the fact that androgens such as DHT are known to activate the dickkopf-1 gene which in turn produces a protein called DKK-1. The DKK-1 is sometimes called the baldness protein since it is found mostly in skin cells in people undergoing hair loss.

The study showed that as the DKK-1 protein level rose, the papilla cell population dropped. Just as these papilla cells died, the cells responsible for synthesizing the outer root sheath of hair strands stopped functioning. This quickly led to a sharp drop in hair growth and more hair loss.

However, when the Vitamin C salt was added to the papilla cells taken from balding people, the production of the DKK-1 protein was inhibited.

There was, however, an additional benefit: the vitamin also led to an increase in the production of IGF-1, a growth factor, in the papilla cells. Both of these effects lead to a reversal of hair loss.

Still, further studies are needed to determine what form of Vitamin C will provide the most benefit for people experiencing hair loss and whether topical preparations or supplements will better serve them.

Meanwhile, an important proof has been established directly correlating Vitamin C as effective in inhibiting the actions of androgens in relation to hair loss. That, in itself, is a major milestone since androgens, especially DHT, are known to a major cause of hereditary alopecia and hair loss in steroid users.

Not Enough Vitamin C?

When you are not getting enough vitamin C, it can lead to dry or splitting hair, which in turn can lead to hair loss.

At the very least, your hair is not going to be healthy looking, and you may see many other problems.

There are many delicious dietary sources of vitamin C. There are also a number of different types of dietary supplements to make sure that you are getting all that you need. You may want to choose a supplement that contains just vitamin C, or one that contains many of the vitamins and minerals that help to promote healthy hair.

Some of the foods that you should have in your diet include:

  • CITRUS FRUITSSpinach
  • Blueberries
  • Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons and grapefruits)
  • Kiwi
  • Pineapples
  • Winter squash
  • Mango
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Green Peppers

According to the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the average adult should be eating five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily in order to ensure that they are getting enough vitamin C.

Vitamin C in Plants (mg/100g)

Kakadu plum - 5000 mg
Indian gooseberry - 440 mg
Green chili pepper - 245 mg
Blackcurrant - 200 mg
Strawberry - 60 mg
Orange - 50 mg
Lime - 30 mg
Apple - 6 mg

Vitamin C in Animals (mg/100g)

Calf liver - 35 mg
Beef liver - 30 mg
Pork liver - 23 mg
Chicken liver - 12 mg
Human milk - 4 mg
Cow milk - 2 mg

Adult men need about 90 mg daily, while women should have 75 mg daily. Smokers and women who are pregnant or breast-feeding need to up their intake by about 35 mg daily.

Because ascorbic acid is a water-soluble vitamin, the chances of overdose are pretty low since it will simply be excreted in the urine instead of being absorbed.

Still, it is important to not exceed stipulated doses especially in individuals known to suffer from iron overload disorder (Vitamin C improves iron absorption) or those with the genetic disorder in which the level of the enzyme G6PD is always low.

If you are experiencing premature hair loss or thinning hair, and you want to find ways to treat it naturally, it may be that you need to have more vitamin C in your diet.

Make sure that you are eating plenty of foods rich in this and other nutrients. Also, check with your physician to see if taking hair loss vitamins is right for you. He or she may have other suggestions as well to help you treat your hair loss.

Next Article: Grape Seed for Hair Loss - Should You Try It?
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