Vitamins for Healthy Hair - Top Tips from Trichologist Eva Proudman
August 12, 2020
Hello to all you Absoluters out there! I thought that I would offer you some nutritional advice this month, about the nutrients that can really affect our hair.
I have been really busy with video consultations and am looking forward to getting back into the clinic from mid-July. The amount of dietary related hair problems that I have seen over the past 3 months, however, has led me to share this information for you to consider.
Vitamin D – the Sunshine Vitamin
Vitamin D deficiency or low levels of vitamin D is very common, with an estimated 1 billion people worldwide having low levels of vitamin D in their blood.
Vitamin D deficiency can be very difficult to spot as symptoms are generally mild; however if you are experiencing excessive hair shedding don’t just put it down to the stress of lockdown and Covid 19 - instead, think about your Vitamin D levels. Excessive hair shedding and thinning is often caused by stress, however what few people recognise is the impact of nutrient deficiency in this type of hair loss.
Vitamin D stimulates the growth of hair follicles, so a deficiency may directly impact the overall health of your hair. For example, in the autoimmune condition Alopecia Areata, (patchy hair loss), Vitamin D helps to support the normal functioning of the immune system.
The people most at risk from Vitamin D deficiency are the elderly, people who are overweight, and those that rarely venture outside or enjoy the sunshine.
And even among people who are not in any of these categories, Vitamin D levels can be lower than you’d expect. In the UK during the winter months, for example, the sun isn’t strong enough to enable your body to make Vitamin D. So for this reason, taking a supplement is recommended during these months, with a daily dosage of 10mcg. Additionally, increasing your dietary intake of Vitamin D can be achieved by eating oily fish, liver, and egg yolks.
Taking Absolute Collagen alongside a combined Vitamin D and Calcium supplement will not only benefit your hair but your bone density as well, according to research conducted by Bahram H Arjmandi, PhD, RD.
Vitamin B – A Whole Group of Vitamins for Healthy Hair
Hair loss is often attributed to stress, lifestyle, aging, and your genes. But what few people recognise is the power that the B complex of vitamins has to keep your hair healthy.
Vitamin B complex consists of Thiamine, Vitamin B1, Riboflavin, Vitamin B2, Niacin, Vitamin B3, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin B5, Pyridoxine Vitamin B6 and biotin, folic acid and the cobalamins, Vitamin B12.
All Vitamin Bs are water soluble. This means we don’t store them up in our bodies and we can secrete them very easily - which is why it is important to ensure that you maintain a consistently good intake of them.
As you can see, Vitamin B is all about the production of energy, cell renewal, and skin and hair health. Vitamin B12 levels can often be low in those following more plant-based diets and even among those who do eat meat, if they do not consume enough to provide the protein requirements for the hair. You may not know this, but the hair follicle is the second fastest dividing cell in the body, so it really does need energy to support healthy hair growth.
Vitamin B2 for Iron and Collagen
Vitamin B2 helps with the absorption of iron. Serum ferritin is the iron that we store in our bodies, and if this is low or depleted then excess hair fall and overall thinning can be a problem, so make sure you are absorbing your iron by having a good supply of Vitamin B2. Additionally, Vitamin B2 also supports the production of collagen, which of course is essential for healthy hair, skin, nails and more. So for great hair, skin and nails add Vitamin B2 to your regime, or eat a good supply of beef, tofu, fish, mushrooms, pork, almonds, avocados, eggs and milk.
Vitamin B3 for Healthy Hair and Scalp
Vitamin B3 is a powerhouse for the hair and scalp. You will see Niacin and Niacinamide on lots of product labels, and these are two different types of Vitamin B3. Our bodies can make Niacinamide from Niacin supplements which helps build keratin - necessary for full, glossy hair - and also supports the lipid barrier of the skin to retain moisture. It reduces inflammation, regulates sebaceous gland production, protects against sun damage, supports collagen production, and protects against oxidative stress. Vitamin B3 is found in a wide array of foods, including meat, poultry, fish, wholegrains, mushrooms, asparagus, leafy green vegetables, and peanut butter.
Vitamin B6 for Melanin Production and Hair Growth
Vitamin B6 supports the production of melanin which gives the hair its natural colour pigment. When hair loses melanin, this is when we see grey hairs start to emerge. Research has shown that vitamin B6 also supports hair growth, and can reduce the rate of hair loss. At the moment, more research is needed into the specific effects and benefits of Vitamin B6, but it’s definitely a star performer for your hair. You can get Vitamin B6 from a variety of foods including meat, fish, poultry, fruit and vegetables.
Vitamin B12 for Healthy Nerve Function and Red Blood Cells
Vitamin B12 helps to keep your body’s nerves functioning properly, but most importantly it helps to keep your red blood cells - which carry oxygen to tissues - healthy. Oxygen-rich red blood cells feed the hair follicles and assist in making keratin. Low or deficient levels of Vitamin B12 cause a decrease in collagen production, but the symptoms of low Vitamin B12 are tiredness and fatigue, which can often be overlooked or misattributed to other issues. Vitamin B12 is mostly found in meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, milk and milk products, and is not found in plant-based foods. For this reason, restricted diets can cause low levels of Vitamin B12, which is where taking an additional supplement can be a huge benefit.
Ideally, you should have a consultation with a qualified hair professional such as a Trichologist, who will investigate your nutrition and its effect on the hair. Our hair, skin and nails all have similar needs, which is why taking Absolute Collagen hydrolysed marine collagen supplements is so beneficial for overall health and wellbeing as it helps with all three. Sometimes, however, you may need more than just collagen, and if this is the case then I can help you to find the correct supplements to add alongside your Absolute Collagen that will really boost your hair, leaving it shiny, lustrous, and your true crowning glory.
As always, if you have any general concerns then please email me at email@example.com and I will be very happy to help and support you.