In this article, I have discussed the common vitamins and minerals required for hair growth and healthy skin.
Hair loss in an individual can be caused by various factors, from hereditary to medical conditions. Hair nutrition is, therefore, a vital part of any treatment regime. In addition, every stage of malnutrition has important effects on hair growth.
Certain conditions like dry hair indicate a vitamin deficiency or a lack of protein in the diet. Therefore, diet plays an essential role in the health of your hair. Combining essential nutrients can stimulate follicular embryonic activity and prevent hair nutrient depletion. Also, certain nutrients have been found to encourage and protect hair follicle health. Vitamins A and C, biotin, iron, and zinc are prescribed when the cause of hair loss has been determined.
Vitamins are essential for human hair.
1. Vitamin A:
Protect hair follicle cells from damage caused by free radicals. The deficiency of vitamin A causes dry hair. A therapeutic recommended dose is 25,000 IU per day.
2. B-complex Vitamins:
The vitamin B complex includes eight water-soluble vitamin substances:
Pantothenic acid (B5).
Vitamin B12 aids in cell metabolism.
The B complex vitamins (deficiency) associated with hair loss are riboflavin, biotin, folate, and vitamin B12.
Reduced levels of vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), niacin, and pantothenic acid can contribute to the undernourishment of hair follicle cells. Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) is a component of two important coenzymes: flavin mononucleotide (FMN) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD). Riboflavin deficiency can rarely cause hair loss.
Biotin or B vitamin is one of the excellent vitamins when it comes to hair. When there is a lack of biotin, the body cannot create enough red blood cells, and since less oxygen travels through the scalp, it can lead to poor nourishment of the scalp resulting in hair loss. Biotin deficiency can be acquired or can occur due to some genetic conditions.
Biotin deficiency caused due to genetics can be either neonatal or infantile. The neonatal type is a serious condition that can be fatal is manifested during the first six weeks of life. The symptoms of neonatal biotin deficiency may include severe dermatitis and alopecia. In addition, eyebrows, eyelashes, and lanugo hair (very thin and soft hair found on newborn babies) can also be absent. The infantile form of biotin deficiency usually occurs three months after birth due to a lack of biotinidase enzyme. In the infantile form, the hair of the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes are thinly distributed or absent. This form of biotin deficiency is an inherited condition and can be treated.
Avidin, a protein present in the egg white, can bind strongly to the biotin. Acquired biotin deficiency can be due to increased raw egg consumption, where avidin particles attach to biotin and inhibit its absorption into the intestinal gut. Egg whites contain high levels of avidin, but when cooked, avidin is partially denatured, and binding to biotin is reduced. However, in one study, it has been shown that 30% - 40% of the avidin activity was still present in the egg white even after frying or boiling. Other causes of acquired biotin deficiency include malabsorption, alcoholism, pregnancy, prolonged use of antibiotics that interrupt normal flora, and medications such as Valproic acid and Isotretinoin intake. The medicines mentioned above interfere with biotinidase activity. Evidence suggests that 50 % of pregnant women are deficient in biotin.
Signs and Symptoms of Biotin Deficiency:
The signs of biotin deficiency include:
The efficacy of biotin in supplements for hair, skin, and nails as a remedy for these conditions has not been proved through large-scale studies. But only through case reports has it been used to justify the use of biotin supplements for hair growth. The daily use of 3 to 5 mg of biotin supplements in children with uncombable hair syndrome (dry and frizzy hair that cannot be adequately combed) has been reported to improve hair health after 3 to 4 months.
3. Folic Acid:
Folic acid is responsible for healthy cell growth. A decrease in folic acid may decrease hair follicle cell division and growth. One of the signs of folic acid deficiency is graying of hair. Therefore, folic acid can reduce hair fall and premature graying of hair. A recommended daily dose is 1000 mcg per day.
4. Vitamin C:
Vitamin C can promote hair growth and repair an unhealthy scalp. One of the major functions of vitamin C is to help produce and maintain healthy collagen. It is a type of connective tissue found within the hair follicle. Vitamin C acts as a strong antioxidant and protects cells found in hair follicles. A daily dose of 200 mg is recommended for hair and skin.
5. Vitamin E:
It helps maintain the integrity of hair follicles' cell membranes, provides physical stability to cell membranes, and acts as an antioxidant. A daily dose of 50 to 400 IU is recommended for hair and skin.
Iron - Iron deficiency symptoms include brittle hair and hair loss.
Zinc - Zinc is essential for DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and RNA (ribonucleic acid) production, which leads to normal follicle cell division. It is also useful in the removal of free radicals.
Copper - Copper deficiency can lead to baldness, and the recommended dose is 1 mg.
Protein is necessary for the growth of all cells, including hair cells. L-Methionine is a sulfur-containing amino acid. It supports hair strength by providing an adequate amount of sulfur to hair cells, essential for hair's normal growth and appearance. A good source of protein for hair growth is fish, shellfish, and other marine proteins that contain essential fatty acids (EFAs) and vitamin B3 (niacin).
Vitamins and nutritional supplements, when taken more than the daily recommended dosage can also cause hair loss. For example, excessive selenium can cause hair loss with hair brittleness, and taking too much vitamin A can cause hair loss, vomiting, and blurred vision. In addition, when you intake too much vitamin A, your body may develop a condition called hypervitaminosis A. Therefore, it is essential to avoid taking too many vitamins, leading to various health problems.
The recommended daily allowances of these vitamins can be acquired by eating a balanced diet, but the biotin is the only B vitamin produced by the body. In healthy people, a biotin supplement is not required. The solution is to increase the intake of vitamins, minerals, and proteins. But it is also important that you do not intake these vitamins and nutrients above the recommended dosage.
Last reviewed at:
08 Aug 2022 - 4 min read
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