In the age of quick fix beauty cures and high tech hair potions, the effects of proper nutrition are often overlooked in the quest to get thick, healthy hair. While it’s hard to measure the direct effect of a proper diet on hair, there is no doubt that what’s on your plate is just as important as what’s on your bathroom shelf.
Plus, here’s some good news about hair loss that is due to vitamin deficiency: it’s super easy to correct. Here’s a rundown of the most essential vitamins you should be getting to ensure healthy, thick hair growth.
Best Hair Vitamins #1. B-vitamins
It’s easy to lump them altogether, but they each have distinct chemical compositions as well as roles in our bodies. One thing’s for sure, though – the whole range of B-vitamins are essential for us to stay healthy and happy: They boost energy by helping our bodies break down carbs into glucose, they assist in the breakdown of fats and proteins, they’re essential for muscle tone in our midriff area, and they support skin, eyes, mouth, and liver health, among other things.
Not to mention the super important role this range of vitamins plays in hair growth and health. Let’s go over the most important B vitamins for hair growth and what they do!
Folate. Folate aids in the production of red blood cells, which are the carriers for both oxygen and nutrients to travel to different parts of the body. Since the base of the hair follicle is directly connected to blood vessels, it is dependent on a constant supply of blood to derive the nutrients and oxygen it needs to facilitate hair growth.
Aside from keeping blood in tip-top shape, folate helps the body create and use proteins, including keratin, which is the main component of hair. It is also said to aid in cell division and growth, considering that hair is one of the fastest growing body parts (about 1cm per month), a boost in folate could be what you need to jumpstart hair growth.
Biotin. Also known as Vitamin H or B7, Biotin is probably the best-known hair vitamin. Which is no surprise considering it is essential in cell growth – it breaks down the protein and carbs we consume and uses the nutrients to nourish different parts of the body. When you ingest foods rich in vitamin B7, the Biotin quickly reacts with cell enzymes and plays a key role in breaking down animal and plant-derived proteins from your diet and turning them into amino acids. In turn, these amino acids become the main components when your body creates it’s own proteins such as keratin, which is what your hair is mostly composed of.
Panthotenic Acid. Another one of the B-Complex vitamins, Panthotenic Acid also known as Vitamin B-5, aids in the metabolizing of protein and is also a needed component in the growth of red blood cells and keratinocyctes. Keratinocytes are vital for the growth of healthy hair by protecting the epidermis, and the hair follicles beneath it from the damaging effects of UV radiation .
Vitamin B 12. Known as Cobalamin, Vitamin B 12 is essential for your body to convert food into fuel and utilize the nutrients present in your meals. Aside from ensuring that your hair follicles gets the right amount of nutrients, this vitamin also aids in the production of red blood cells (RBCs) in your bone marrow. An abundance of red blood cells means that more amounts of oxygen (which is carried by RBCs) will be able to reach your hair follicles through your blood vessels.
Best Hair Vitamins #2. Vitamin E
One of the more popular vitamins used to treat a bevy of skin conditions, who would have thought that Vitamin E would be effective for hair too? The chief role that Vitamin E plays in hair growth is that it temporarily dilates the capillaries in the scalp, allowing it to absorb more nutrients that the base of the hair follicle can use when it’s creating new hair.
A lack of Vitamin E can also weaken capillaries causing these threadlike structures to break. This will disrupt the transfer of oxygen and nutrients from your blood to your hair follicle. Lastly, Vitamin E is also essential for cell regeneration and enzymatic breakdown, which is essential since both processes aid in the creation of protein that is used as the building block for for your hair strands.
Best Hair Vitamins #3. Vitamin A
Vitamin A functions both as an antioxidant and also as a regulator of Retinoic acid in hair follicles. A German study shows that Retinoic acid could be detrimental for hair since it can also cause telogen effluvium, an abnormality wherein the growing phase of hair or the Anagen phase, is dramatically shortened, and hair suddenly shifts to Telogen phase, stopping hair growth and eventually cause it to fall off.
Best Hair Vitamins #4. Vitamin C
The primary purpose of this vitamin is to aid in producing collagen, a protein that’s necessary for hair follicles to produce healthy hair strands. Aside from collagen, Vitamin C also helps producing tyrosinase, which protects your hair pigments, and keep hair from turning gray prematurely.
Plus a quick tip, while popping a multivitamin is helpful to some degree, it doesn’t beat getting your nutritional fix from fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables.