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  5. The Best Hair Growth Vitamins & Minerals You Need Right Away!

The quest for longer, thicker and healthier hair is real! You can't wait to see those new inches of hair, can you? We feel you. And, if there is that one magic formula that can actually speed up your hair growth, it is the intake of vitamins - either in your diet or as supplements.

We chatted with hair care experts at SkinKraft to understand the role of vitamins in hair growth.

Why Do We Need Vitamins For Hair?

Vitamins are crucial for some functions in the cells throughout your body, including the ones responsible for your hair.

Your hair is made up of a structural protein called keratin [1]. Vitamins help in strengthening hair follicles, cell turnover [2], optimal use of protein and maintaining healthy hair.

Though there is no scientific evidence to support the role of vitamins in hair growth, a deficiency can lead to hair loss. Many people have been using vitamin supplements for hair and have found them beneficial.

Dr. Zeel Gandhi, a hair care expert at SkinKraft and Chief Ayurvedic doctor,explains that a deeper understanding of nutritional deficiencies is needed to understand their link to hair fall. She says, “Junk foods, unhealthy food patterns, psychological nutritional issues like anorexia nervosa, bulimia etc, unidentified gut allergies or absorption disorders may be causing these deficiencies.”

Dr. Zeel further adds, “ Deficiencies [3] of all kinds should be tried and corrected with a change to a healthier diet and lifestyle. This not only addresses the sought issue, it also builds good health practices for life and prevents many more diseases in future.”

What Are The Best Vitamins For Hair Growth?

1. Vitamin A

We clearly overlooked the power of carrots and greens back in school, didn't we? These are some of the many foods packed with vitamin A. Vitamin A [4] (carotenoids and retinoids) aids in the production of sebum [5] or oil on the scalp. This helps in maintaining its moisture and helps in blood circulation to strengthen hair follicle for hair growth.

Food Sources:

Carrots, spinach, milk, eggs, yogurt, cod liver oil, red pepper, broccoli, peas, apricot, pumpkin.

Available Forms:

  • Capsule: 7,500, 8000, 10,000, 25,000 Units
  • Tablets: 10,000, 15,000 Units

Recommended Dosage:

10,000-20,000 units of vitamin A per day for 2 months. 600 µg is the recommended daily intake of vitamin A through food or supplements.

2. Vitamin E

Vitamin E [6] is known to contain antioxidant properties to fight free radicals [7], which means it reduces cell damage and may lead to good hair health and growth.There is not enough research to support the role of vitamin E against hair loss. However, people add vitamin E to their hair care to add an extra layer of protection and restore the lost shine. Some people use vitamin E capsules to rub the oil onto the scalp for hair growth.

Vitamin E has 8 chemical forms: alpha-tocopherol, beta-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, delta-tocopherol, alpha-tocotrienol, beta-tocotrienol, gamma-tocotrienol and delta-tocotrienol. Humans need only the first one, alpha-tocopherol. Tocotrienols in edible form are also administered to the human body.

Food Sources:

Nuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, vegetable oil, wheat germ, spinach, kale, and almonds.

Available Forms:

  • Vitamin E- fortified shampoo and conditioners
  • Vitamin E oils
  • Vitamin E supplements (capsules)

Recommended Dosage:

The recommended daily intake of vitamin E is 10 mg

3. Vitamin B7

Vitamin B7 [8] or biotin helps break down proteins into amino acids necessary for hair growth. Biotin also repairs the damage caused by heat styling, sun and chlorinated water. Biotin supplements when used regularly result in thick and voluminous hair.

Food Sources:

Almonds, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, peanuts, walnuts, milk, salmon, cereals, avocados, raspberries.

Available Forms:

  • Biotin capsules
  • Biotin tablets

Recommended Dosage:

The recommended daily intake of vitamin B7 is 30 micrograms.

Word of Caution:

Azithromycin, erythromycin, ciprofloxacin and clarithromycin may have side effects when they interact with biotin. Consult your doctor before starting a course of biotin supplements.

4. Vitamin C

Vitamin C [9] or ascorbic acid can aid in production of collagen, an important part of hair's structure. It aids the production of antioxidants that fight free radicals. Vitamin C helps in the absorption of iron, an essential mineral for hair growth. Vitamin C can be called a hero vitamin due to its incredible benefits. It also prevents the hair from ageing faster.

Food Sources:

Citrus fruits like lemon, oranges, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, spinach, cabbage, brussels sprouts, guava, parsley.

Available Forms:

  • Vitamin C capsules
  • Vitamin C tablets

Recommended Dosage:

The recommended daily intake of vitamin c in the form of foods and as supplements is 75 milligrams.

5. Vitamin D

Lack of vitamin D can cause alopecia areata - an autoimmune disorder that leads to excessive hair loss [10]. In some studies, people with alopecia had low levels of vitamin D in their blood. Vitamin D is produced in the body when you are exposed to sunlight. It's advised that you soak yourself in the sun for a few minutes in the day.

Word Of Caution:

Excess ingestion of vitamin D leads to the formation of more calcium and kidney stones eventually. If you are taking a vitamin D supplement, choose fat diets so that it absorbs vitamin D.

Food Sources:

Mushrooms, grains, fortified juices, fish, low fat fortified milk.

Available Forms:

  • Tablets
  • Capsules
  • Injectives
  • Sachets
  • Granules

Recommended Dosage:

Adults should get 600 international units, or 15 micrograms (mcg), of vitamin D daily.

What Mineral Supplements Should I Take To Control Hair Loss?

1. Iron

Iron [11] is an essential mineral that helps transport oxygen to your hair follicles. It also aids in making your body use protein to grow healthy hair. While iron deficiency is linked to female pattern baldness [12] (hair loss in the middle portion of the scalp), there is not enough research to back this claim.

Food Sources:

Meat, spinach, oyster, chicken, green leafy vegetables, fish and legumes.

Available Sources:

  • Iron supplements (tablets and capsules)
  • Iron injections

Recommended Dosage:

The recommended daily intake of iron is 15 mg.

2. Zinc

Zinc is an essential mineral [13] that your body needs to store for physiological responses. Zinc maintains the function of sebaceous glands on the scalp and repairs hair damage. Zinc levels are lower in the blood of men experiencing male pattern baldness. There is no evidence that zinc can reverse baldness, but an extreme deficiency can lead to hair loss.

Food Sources:

Nuts, pumpkin seeds, beef, eggs, dairy, meat, shellfish, legumes, potatoes, green beans, dark chocolate and whole grains.

Available Sources:

  • Tablets
  • Capsules
  • Tonic
  • Lozenge

Note:

Nasal sprays containing zinc should be avoided as they are associated with loss of smell.

Recommended Dosage:

The recommended daily intake of zinc is 15 mg.

Word of caution:

Zinc, when taken along with antibiotics, diuretics or drugs for rheumatoid arthritis, can cause negative outcomes. Consult your doctor before you take zinc supplements.

Wrapping Up

Hair loss and thinning has become a common scene, thanks to stress, pollution and lifestyle habits! Turning to dietary vitamins or supplements shows hair growth within a few weeks of usage. Make sure you do not overdose these micronutrients and consult your doctor before using them.

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