Supplements and Foods for Healthy Hair

woman in hat

Hair loss isn’t just a “guy thing” as once mistakenly thought – women actually make up forty percent of all American hair loss sufferers. Female hair loss can be absolutely devastating for the sufferer’s self-image and emotional well-being, especially when the onset seems to occur very quickly.  As with so many common ailments of today’s modern society, diet and stress are two major contributors, however, the aging process, certain diseases and genetics are contributors, as well.  Additionally, hormonal imbalances can cause hair to thin, particularly for women who are post-menopausal, but it is also noticeable in women who suffer with hyper/hypothyroidism and polycystic ovarian syndrome (POS).

So if you find that you’ve been wearing hats a lot more often, there are a few things you can do to stop or reverse thinning hair. For starters, examine your life and identify your stressors.  Find a way to mitigate stress or counteract it through exercise, meditation or prayer.  If you’ve recently experienced a highly traumatic event (death of a loved one, divorce, job loss, surgery or physical injury, etc.) and you notice your hair suddenly thinning, take heart knowing that your hair loss is likely due to the sudden extreme physical and emotional stress and will probably return to normal growing cycles within a relative amount of time.  In the meantime, adopting a whole foods based diet can encourage hair to grow and stay strong.  Look for foods and/or supplements that contain the following:

Vitamin C:

Vitamin C is needed to produce collagen, part of the hair structure and hair follicles. Because the human body does not manufacture vitamin C, daily consumption from food or supplements is necessary. Natural sources of vitamin C are fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits, such as oranges and lemons. Vitamin C is added to numerous shampoo and skin care products because of its efficacy.

Vitamin D:

Otherwise referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”, Vitamin D enables hair to grow, according to the University of California at Davis. When people are severely deficient in this nutrient they develop rickets, and one of the symptoms of rickets is falling hair, or hair loss. Vitamin D is absorbed into the skin when it is exposed to sunlight, but since most Americans have been found deficient in vitamin D3, according to research at Purdue University, supplementation is advised.

Vitamin E:

Vitamin E stimulates the growth of new blood vessels. Taken internally or applied to the scalp, vitamin E can help hair regrow and prevent hair loss. This fat-soluble vitamin can be applied directly to the scalp, as well. Massaging vitamin E into the hair follicles can increase circulation on the scalp and help hair grow. Vitamin E is found in nuts, seeds and vegetable oils, as well as in tomatoes, wheat germ, and avocados.

Vitamin B:

The B vitamins nourish hair follicles, the part of the scalp where the hair begins to grow. The B vitamin group is called a complex. Recommended B vitamins for hair growth are B1, B2, B3 and B5. Stress also causes hair loss, they report, and the B vitamins help the body handle stress.

Vitamin A:

Vitamin A creates retinoids in the body, and these help regrow skin and hair and prevent hair loss. Retinoids stimulate the hair follicle and encourage production of new hair. Natural sources of vitamin A include dark green and yellow vegetables.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids:

Omega 3 fatty acids are a healthy form of oil found in fish, especially salmon and sardines. The recommended dose is one tablespoon of fish oil a day to prevent hair loss. Those taking aspirin and other blood thinning drugs should consult with a doctor before taking fish oils, because they can increase the tendency for bleeding.

Iron:

Iron deficiency anemia is a common cause of hair loss. Anemia reduces supply of nutrients to the hair follicles. This disrupts the hair growth cycle. Iron supplements help to restore the normal iron reserve of the body. However, it should be taken under medical supervision. In some cases, consumption of iron supplement causes diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting.

MSM:

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is an important component in the hair and skin. Hair growth might be promoted by consuming about 700 mg of MSM supplement daily. Sulfur present in MSM plays an important role in synthesis of keratin, the key component of hair shafts.

Silica:

Silica is also a very common component of your body and contained in all of your connective tissues such as cartilage and tendons, nails, hair, muscle tissue and bone. Your complexion and shiny hair all depend upon silica, which apart from its other properties help your skin and hair to retain moisture and keep looking young. Silica-rich foods include oats and rice, cucumbers, asparagus, lettuce, cabbage, onions, potatoes and sunflower seeds. Fruits include strawberries, and if you eat a diet rich in these various foods, then you should have a good natural intake.

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