Nutrition and Healthy Hair Growth
Since each hair follicle is cycling through the different hair growth phases, either growing or replacing hair… your body needs a constant supply of the right nutrients to support all of this activity. Diet and nutrition play a key role in the healthy growth and strength of the hair. The right vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fats can help prevent dryness, brittle texture, dull appearance, and hair that is prone to breakage.
Certain deficiencies may even be a contributing factor to hair loss and reviving healthy levels across the board is an essential part of the journey to thicker, fuller hair.
*Consult your doctor before any supplementation.
A 2017 review in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences found that low vitamin D levels have been linked to hair loss and excessive hair shedding. When the body lacks vitamin D, hair follicles have trouble regulating hair growth and shedding. The best way to get vitamin D is 20-30 minutes of sun exposure per day or a fish heavy diet. If that is not possible, supplementation at low levels is an option.
Iron deficiency may lead to hair loss that appears very similar to genetic hair loss, especially for those who are anemic. This type of hair loss is usually temporary and remedied by restoring iron levels and improving scalp health. Foods like leafy greens and grass fed beef are high in iron. If you believe you may be deficient in iron… ask your doctor for a ferritin level blood test before supplementing.
Your body is actually incapable of making Zinc so it’s important to get it from foods or supplements. According to this study… hair loss is a well-known sign of Zinc deficiency and can easily be reversed with zinc supplementation. Zinc is found in meat and fish so if your diet limits intake of these foods… supplementation may be recommended.
A lack of protein may cause temporary hair loss. This occurs mostly during “crash” diets where protein intake is limited. Similar to stress related hair loss, this causes the body to save proteins by shifting hair follicles into the resting (Telogen) phase. It may take 2-3 months for hair loss to be noticeable but should regrow once you’re back on a healthy, balanced diet.
Vitamins and Nutrients to Encourage Healthy Hair Growth
There are many claims of superfoods or specific nutrients that help boost hair growth. While research on each is a bit limited… the following are encouraged to promote healthy hair growth:
- Niacin for healthy hair follicles
- Folic Acid to promote new hair growth
- Vitamin A for follicle protection
- Vitamin C to prevent hair damage and support collagen levels
Your diet on your hair growth journey should also include healthy levels of:
Biotin (B7) can be found in egg yolks, whole grains, and meats. Biotin helps produce keratin and increase hair elasticity.
L-Lysine is an amino acid in protein rich food that is responsible for shape and volume and body of the hair. Meat, eggs, beans, lentils, nuts, and spirulina are all great sources of this amino acid.
Selenium is a mineral involved in creating hair that may help boost growth but too much may also cause brittle hair. A healthy balance can be achieved through meat, eggs, dairy products, as well as breads and cereals. Brazil nuts are also a potent source of selenium.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are not only important for your hair, but also your skin, eyes, and heart. Fish is a well known source of these fatty acids as well as walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and spirulina.
What to Look for in a Supplement
A healthy omnivore diet and sun exposure should be able to provide balanced levels of necessary nutrients but supplementation is also available. A supplement should not only provide you with enhanced levels of vitamins and nutrients - but also herbal blends for added benefits.
Herbal Extracts for Optimal Hair Health
Fo-TI is a traditional Chinese herb used in the treatment of hair loss to promote healthy hair and growth.
NONI contains vitamins and minerals that work to improve scalp circulation.
HORSETAIL helps form collagen in skin and bones, also helps strengthen and help keep hair looking smooth and shiny.