The Truth About Vitamins for Hair Loss & Hair Growth

Whether your hair is falling out, or you just want it to grow faster, hair growth supplements and vitamins for hair loss are an appealing concept. They've been promoted left and right on social media by the Kardashian clan and other celebs  for awhile now.  I mean, all you do is take a little pill (they even have gummy vitamins!) and BAM—long, thick, luscious hair, fast. If it sounds too good to be true, that's probably because it is too good to be true.

Kylie Jenner might claim that bear-shaped gummy vitamins have changed her life, but the truth is that hair growth vitamins and vitamins for hair loss in women probably won't change anything for you. True, people all over the internet claim that "these are the best vitamins for hair loss" or "these hair growth vitamins made my hair grow 6 inches in three months," but personal testimonies are the only thing that supports the assertion that hair growth vitamins actually work. Actually, there is basically zero scientific evidence that suggests vitamins for hair loss in women do anything to fight hair loss or spur hair growth.

 

The Problem with Vitamins for Hair Loss

So why do these supplements typically not work? Basically, it's because multi vitamins in general don't do much—unless you have a nutritional deficiency. For example, a person with anemia might be proscribed iron supplements. Most people who have a balanced diet are unaffected by vitamins, because they already get all the vitamins they need from their food.

However, hair loss and lack of hair growth can be caused by nutritional deficiencies. In these cases, some vitamins are good for hair loss and they may be able to help. Nevertheless, it's important to note that hair loss is usually influenced by hormonal, environmental, and genetic factors; in these cases hair loss vitamins will probably be ineffective.

Unfortunately, vitamins for hair loss most likely won't help with hair loss caused by:

In these cases, you may want to consider getting a wig, topper, or other headwear.

 

The Potential Connection Between Nutrients and Alopecia

Although hair loss caused by autoimmune disorders is typically unaffected by vitamins, some research suggests vitamin deficiencies may affect alopecia areata. A growing number of studies have examined if micronutrient levels in those with alopecia differ from those without, and if supplementation is an effective option. The normal hair follicle cycle depends on micronutrients. Some have even been shown to reduce oxidative stress, which is thought to be a major contributing factor in the development of alopecia.

 

A 2017 review of available alopecia studies found vitamin D, zinc, and folate levels were lower in patients with alopecia than they were in those without alopecia. However, it is also important to note that several studies did not find a correlation between vitamin D levels and the extent of hair loss, number of patches, disease duration, and nail involvement. Moreover, data regarding vitamin D levels among both men and women with AA have been inconclusive.

 

A few studies suggest that topical application of vitamin D affects hair regrowth. In a study conducted on 22 adult patients with alopecia impacting less than 40% of their scalp, 59.1% (13 patients) had hair regrowth after three months of topical therapy, 36.4% (eight patients) exhibited no changes, and 0.04% (one patient) experienced worsening hair loss.

 

Best Vitamins for Hair Loss

So what vitamins are good for hair loss? Supplementation pills simply don't make the cut. In fact, the best vitamins for hair loss are the vitamins you can find in your food. Experts almost universally agree that food is the best source of vitamins and minerals for hair growth. This is because your body is able to absorb the many natural vitamins in the food in combination with fiber and micronutrients, giving you numerous benefits over simple supplements. If you're interested in seeing how vitamins may affect your hair growth, its best to start from the ground up: with food! The following is a list of the best vitamins for hair loss in women and the foods you can find them in. Always consult your physician before taking vitamin supplements. 

 

Vitamin A:

Best vitamins for hair loss - Vitamin A

Why this vitamin is good for hair loss:

It regulates retinoic acid to keep the scalp moisturized and prevent dandruff.

Although it's important to get enough vitamin A, excessive amounts can be dangerous and may actually contribute to hair loss.

Foods rich in vitamin A:

  • Fortified cereals
  • Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Mangoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Kidney beans
  • Eggs

 

Vitamin B5:

Best vitamins for hair loss - Vitamin B5

Why this vitamin is good for hair loss:

Vitamin B5 works with other nutrients to rebuild damage caused by heated hair tools, over-shampooing, and sun exposure.

Foods Rich in Vitamin B5:

  • Eggs
  • Avocados
  • Mushrooms
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Nuts
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes

 

Vitamin B12:

Best vitamins for hair loss - Vitamin B12

Why this vitamin is good for hair loss:

Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in cell division, red blood cell production, and metabolism. Very little research has been done connecting B12 to hair loss, but this vitamin is integral to producing new hair cells and promoting hair growth.

Foods rich in Vitamin B12:

  •  Beef
  • Lamb liver
  • Clams
  • Sardines
  • Fortified cereal or nutritional yeast,
  • Tuna
  • trout
  • Salmon
  • Fortified nondairy milk.

 

Biotin (Vitamin H):

Best vitamins for hair loss - Biotin

Why this vitamin is good for hair loss:

Also a member of the vitamin B family, biotin has been touted above all others as the best vitamin for hair loss. Biotin strengthens your body's keratin, i.e. the protein your hair and nails are made of.  Because of this, biotin can help improve hair follicles and strengthen individual hair shafts.

Foods rich in Biotin:

  • Eggs
  • Sardines
  • Liver
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Bananas
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms
  • Brewer's yeast

 

Vitamin C:

Best vitamins for hair loss - Vitamin C

Why this vitamin is good for hair loss:

Rich in antioxidants, vitamin c fights off free radicals that cause brittle hair and hair follicle damage. Vitamin C also increases collagen production in the body, which improves hair health.

Foods rich in Vitamin C:

  •  Strawberries
  • Oranges
  • Guava
  • Kiwi
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Bell peppers

 

Vitamin D:

Best vitamins for hair loss - Vitamin D

Why this vitamin is good for hair loss:

As previously mentioned, studies have implicated vitamin D deficiency in alopecia and topical treatment has helped some people attain regrowth. This vitamin is important for overall health, helps support hair follicles, and promotes hair growth. Fifteen minutes of sunshine a day helps the body synthesize vitamin D.

Foods rich in Vitamin D:

  • Eggs
  • Mushrooms
  • Salmon and other fatty fish
  • Cod liver oil
  • Milk

 

Iron:

Best vitamins for hair loss in women - Iron

Why this vitamin is good for hair loss:

Eight of nine women in an Iranian study with iron deficiency anemia also had some degree of hair loss. Iron is one of the recommended vitamins for hair loss in women, especially if she experiences heavy menstrual cycles, since bleeding may increase the risk of anemia.

Foods rich in iron:

  • Spinach
  • Clams
  • Oysters
  • Egg yolks
  • Red meat
  • Lentils
  • Black beans

 

Omega-3 acids:

Best vitamins for hair loss - Omega 3

Why this vitamin is good for hair loss:

This important fatty acid is not produced by the body. It provides necessary oils to keep the scalp healthy and hydrated, but note that excessive amounts can actually harm hair and skin.

Foods rich in Omega-3:

  • Salmon
  • Herring
  • Oysters
  • Sardines
  • Cod liver oil
  • Soybeans
  • Eggs
  • Chia seeds

 

Zinc:

Best vitamins for hair loss - Zinc

Why this vitamin is good for hair loss:

Zinc plays a key role in hair tissue growth and repair, and helps oil glands around hair follicles work optimally. Hair loss is a common symptom of zinc deficiency, and some studies indicate supplementation can reduce hair loss in those with a deficiency. Like vitamin A and iron, too much zinc can contribute to hair loss.

Foods Rich in Zinc:

  • Oysters and shell fish
  • Beef and red meat
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Spinach
  • Legumes
  • Eggs
  • Dairy

Have you ever tried hair loss and hair growth vitamins? Did they work for you? Let us know in the comments below! 

 

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