Ideally we’d all have the perfect diets but the reality is a lot of us don’t consume all the necessary nutrients needed to keep our hair at its best. The body is smart and will first use consumed nutrients for the organs that need it most. Our hair usually comes in last. In a previous article the key things you need to know before taking hair growth vitamins was covered. Below I’ll dig a little deeper into what particular vitamins do to for your natural hair growth. Definitely consult your doctor before taking any vitamin supplements.
A decrease in folic acid may contribute to decreased hair-follicle cell division and growth. Signs of folic-acid deficiency include anemia, apathy, fatigue, and graying hair. A therapeutic dose of 400-800 mcg daily is recommended.
Biotin, part of the vitamin B complex, is nutrient associated with preventing hair loss. Biotin is one of the most important nutrients for preserving hair strength, texture, and function. People who are eating adequate amount of protein should not have a problem with biotin deficiency, though vegans may be at risk. Good food sources of biotin are eggs, liver and soy. The recommended dosage of d-biotin is 500-1000 mcg per day.
B5 (pantothenic acid) gives hair flexibility, strength and shine and helps prevent hair loss and greying.
B6 helps prevent dandruff and can be found in cereals, egg yolk and liver.
Helps prevent the loss of hair and can be found in fish, eggs, chicken and milk. Combine with B6, biotin, inositol and folic acid for a well-rounded supplemental program.
One of vitamin C’s major functions is to help produce and maintain healthy collagen, the connective tissue type found within hair follicles. Vitamin C is also a strong antioxidant and protects both the cells found within follicles and cells in nearby blood vessels. A daily dose of 100-200 mg of vitamin C is recommended for hair and skin care.
Vitamin E helps to maintain the integrity of cell membranes of hair follicles. The vitamin provides physical stability to cell membranes and acts as an antioxidant while promoting healthy skin and hair. A daily dose of vitamin E should be within the therapeutic range of 50–400 IU. Vitamin E and selenium work together to prevent attacks on cell membranes by free radicals by reducing peroxide concentration in the cell. Vitamin E – 400 to 800 IU daily.
Beta-carotene is also important for hair growth. This is because Beta-carotene is converted to Vitamin A as the body needs it. It also helps maintain normal growth and bone development, as well as promoting healthy skin, hair and nails. Dosage for Beta- carotene is 10,000 to 15,000 IU daily.
L-Methionine – L-Methionine, one of four sulfur-containing amino acids, supports hair strength by providing adequate amounts of sulfur to hair cells. Sulfur is required for healthy connective tissue formation. Hair requires sulfur for normal growth and appearance.
L-Cystein – Supports hair strength by the provision of sulfur. Skin, nails and hair are high in L-Cysteine. There is evidence that deficiency may be a factor in hair loss. Supplementing the diet accordingly may be helpful.
L-Lysine – It is interesting to note that male pattern baldness is less common in Asians than Americans. Is this in part due to he Asian diet being rich in L-Lysine -an enzyme inhibiting amino acid in vegetables and herbs affecting 5-alpha-reductase in some way.
Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs) – play an important role in cell structure, barrier function, lipid synthesis, inflammation and immunity. PUFAs help reduce dry, scaly skin. Most popular sources are walnuts, fish oil, flaxseed oil etc. People on low-fat and non-fat diets are at risk for nutrition-related hair loss because hair needs essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acid deficiency causes a drying-up of the scalp and skin. These are vital nutrients that support follicular health. When the follicle is not healthy, hair loss or thinning occurs.