Perhaps you are a victim of a haircut from hell or are just trying to add a little bulk to your ponytail. Either way, you are in the right place! All the products in the world can only go so far. What’s really important is providing your body with what it needs to make those gorgeous locks grow. That’s why ensuring you are having the proper vitamins and minerals for hair growth is so important!
Now, first I would like to say:You don’t need to buy a thousand supplements to get these nutrients!
That’s right! All of the vitamins and nutrients I am going to list can be obtained through eating whole foods.
Now, if you feel inclined to buy these supplements, I am not stopping you! But you may find that you can save money by simply including foods rich in these vitamins into your diet (don’t worry – for each vitamin or nutrient, I’ve included a list of sources)!
Another thing to note:Genetics play a huge role in hair thickness!
Just as some men begin balding in their twenties, how thick your hair will grow is hugely based on your family history.
But, proper nutrition – aka vitamins and nutrients – to prevent certain deficiencies play a huge role as well.
By ensuring you have adequate levels of these key vitamins, you can be sure that your hair will grow as long and strong as possible.
Now let’s get into the list!
The Most Important Vitamins for Hair Growth
1. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a very unique vitamin, because you get most of it from the sun, not food! One of it’s biggest roles is aiding in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, but it also has some other amazing roles in the body.
Vitamin D deficiency is also known as rickets. In patients who have rickets, hair loss is a common side effect.
This is likely because vitamin D is essential in the growth of hair cells and therefore hair growth!
Though you mostly get vitamin D from the sun (I recommend at least 30-60 minutes outside per day), there are certain foods which are good sources.
- Fortified dairy and plant milk
- Fortified cereal
If you don’t get much sunlight or many vitamin D rich foods in your diet, I recommend taking a supplement. Try out these ones:
2. B Vitamins
The B vitamins actually consist of eight different vitamins, but only a few have been associated with hair loss.
These include:Riboflavin, biotin, folate, and vitamin B12
Though deficiency of these vitamins are quite rare, certain things can inhibit their proper absorption.
For example, avidin, found in raw egg whites, can inhibit absorption of biotin – though I expect this isn’t going to be an issue for most people!
The best way to ensure you are not deficient in these vitamins is to include the following foods in your diet:
- Fortified grains and cereals
- Pork and beef
- Trout, tuna, and salmon
- Black beans
- Cheese and milk
- Sunflower seeds
Because of this, it’s important to take extra care to get in enough iron. Not only can iron deficiency cause hair loss, it can also lead to symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and pale skin.
Also, it’s important to know that there are two forms of iron: heme and non-heme. Heme is found in animal products and is better absorbed. Non-heme is found in plant products and is not absorbed as well.
This doesn’t mean you need to eat animal foods to get your iron. A mix of non-heme and heme iron will help you reach your iron needs!
Some sources include:
- Fortified cereals
- Beans (especially white beans, kidney beans, and chickpeas)
If you have iron deficiency anemia, I suggest talking to your doctor. If you have a hard time getting in your iron through your diet, it may be a good idea to take a supplement as a last resort. I recommend this one:
4. Vitamin C
Typically this vitamin is associated with immunity. But, vitamin C actually has many functions, including the production of collagen, which is very important for skin health.
One of its most important roles is aiding in the absorption of iron. Because of this, it can be a huge help in preventing hair loss due to iron deficiency.
Though this vitamin alone does not help with hair growth, it is super important to protect against deficiencies of iron – which does directly affect hair growth!
Good sources of vitamin C include:
- Red pepper
- Orange juice and orange
- Grapefruit juice and grapefruit
- Green pepper
- Brussels sprouts
- Tomato juice
5. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, helping to fight free radicals.
There is some evidence to suggest those with alopecia have lower levels of vitamin E compared to those who don’t.
Though the research on this isn’t super strong, making sure you are consuming enough vitamin E is still important, considering all of its other benefits!
- Sunflower seeds
- Sunflower, safflower, and soybean oil
- Peanut butter
- Corn oil
This product is supplemented with vitamin E, which is another way to ensure you are getting enough:
Selenium has been found to be an important mineral in hair growth.
Deficiencies in selenium have been associated with loss of pigmentation in hair. Along with this, supplementing selenium in chemotherapy patients significantly reduced hair loss.
But, it is important to note that selenium toxicity, or getting too much, can also lead to hair loss. This is why getting selenium from whole foods (where the chance of toxicity is very low) is the better route to take.
Try out these sources:
- Brazil nuts
- Tuna, halibut, and sardines
- Fortified macaroni
- Cottage cheese
Alopecia is a very common symptom of zinc deficiency. But, there is evidence to show that hair loss can be reversed when zinc is supplemented back into the diet.
Because of this, it’s important to ensure there is no zinc deficiency present.
Try to include more of these foods into your diet:
- Crab and lobster
- Baked beans
- Fortified breakfast cereal
- Pumpkin seeds
Final Thoughts on Vitamins for Hair Growth
Overall, the main takeaway from this article should be the following:A balanced, varied, and nutrient dense diet with adequate vitamins and minerals is the best promoter of hair growth!
All of the vitamins and nutrients listed tend to only cause hair loss when there is a deficiency present.
When you are ensuring you are getting enough foods high in these nutrients, you are ensuring your hair will be growing as long and strong as possible.
Also, make sure you are eating enough calories and macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins)! While vitamins and minerals are very important, your body needs energy in the form of calories to run properly.
I hoped this article was educational for you! As always, feel free to comment or message me directly with any questions. Thank you for reading.