Can Taking Vitamins Stop Hair Loss?
If you are experiencing hair thinning or hair loss, you are not alone. It is estimated that by age 30, approximately 25% of men start balding and by age 60, that number goes up to 66%. Although baldness is not as common with women, the psychological impact of hair loss can be much greater. With women, hair loss typically occurs after the age of 50 and usually involves a reduction in the density of the hair all around the scalp, whereas with men balding is localized in one particular area.
There are three main causes for hair loss – genes, aging, and nutrient deficiencies. There is little you can do about the first two, but improving your nutritional intake can definitely help you slow down and even stop hair loss. Vitamins, minerals and other nutrients are important for both your overall health and the health of your hair. Studies indicate that that an unbalanced diet, poor food choices, and deficiency in some vitamins and minerals may cause hair thinning.
Here is a list of six vitamins and minerals that are vital to having thick, shiny, and richly colored hair:
1. Vitamin E
A double-blind scientific study carried out at the University of Science in Malaysia concluded that taking vitamin E daily increased hair growth in balding men by 42%.
Often premenopausal women suffer from anemia caused by a deficit of iron. One of the classic symptoms of this condition is hair loss and thinning. Additionally, a person with anemia finds the color of their hair changes and becomes dull. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that men and post-menopausal women take 8 mg of iron per day.1
3. Vitamin B12
In addition to contributing to the development of certain types of anemia, a deficiency of vitamin B12 causes your hair to thin and grey prematurely. The NIH reports the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of B12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms.2
If you are not getting enough zinc in your diet, your hair is mostly likely dry and brittle, which leads to breakage, so your hair appears to be thinning. Additionally, zinc deficiencies cause your hair to lose its color and turn white. The RDA for zinc is 8 to 11 mg.3
5. Vitamin C
If you do not have enough vitamin C in your diet, your hair follicles are likely to become clogged, which leads to ingrown hairs and weakness of the hair so that it takes on a corkscrew shape. You can avoid vitamin C deficiency by ensuring you get 70 to 90 mg of this vitamin each day.4
6. Vitamin B3 (niacin)
One of the early signs of niacin, or vitamin B3, deficiency is the loss of hair. By ensuring you have the recommended daily allowance of this essential vitamin, which is 13 to 16 mg, you can maintain thick and full hair.
Other key nutrients for preventing hair loss are folic acid, biotin, magnesium, inositol, and sulfur.
Stop hair loss with proper nutrition
Making sure that you supplement your diet with these vitamins and minerals on a daily basis is one of the best things you can do to slow down hair loss and maintain the health of your remaining hair. We recommend taking a well-balanced high-quality multivitamin in order to reduce the rate of your hair loss.
1National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Iron: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet. 2007. Retrieved from: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/#h4
2National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin B12: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet. 2011. Retrieved from: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/
3National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Zinc: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet. 2013. Retrieved from: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/#h2
4Finner, A. Nutrition, and hair: deficiencies and supplements. Dermatologic Clinics, 31 (1) 167–172. 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.det.2012.08.015