Longer, shinier, thicker hair isn’t going to happen overnight. However, with proper hair care and the right vitamins you can help stack the deck in your favor to improve the overall health of your hair. Below you’ll find some of our favorite vitamins for hair.
Just remember, what works for someone else doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you. Before taking any new vitamins or supplements, you should check with your doctor, especially if you have known allergens, are pregnant, or breast feeding.
Fish Oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are thought to nourish hair follicles in addition to several other health benefits. A 2013 report published in Dermatologic Clinics found that fatty acid deprivation or deficiency can lead to hair color changes or hair loss.
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, tuna, egg yolks, walnuts, flax, and chia. If you don’t eat enough omega-3 foods, a quality fish oil supplement can help. As mentioned, you should always talk to your doctor before taking any new vitamins or supplements. Fish oil may not be for you if you take blood-thinning medications (including aspirin).
B-Complex Vitamins (B5 & Biotin)
B vitamins are known to help keep your skin, hair, eyes, liver, and nervous system healthy. Biotin and pantothenic acid (aka vitamin B5) have been used as treatments for hair loss.
Biotin rebuilds hair shingles that have been damaged from heat-styling, shampooing, and exposure to UV rays. In addition to promoting hair health, Biotin is also known to regulate blood sugar, and promote healthy skin and nails. Vitamin B5 supports the adrenal glands, which help to stimulate hair growth.
Foods that contain biotin and vitamin B5 include eggs, chicken, beef, avocados, nuts, legumes and potatoes.
Research has found a correlation between iron deficiency and hair loss. Your hair follicles and roots are fed by a nutrient rich blood supply. When iron levels drop below a certain point, the nutrient supply to the follicles can be disrupted, affecting the hair growth cycle and causing shedding. With healthy iron levels, the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the roots and scalp increase, improving the texture and sheen of hair.
If you think you have an iron deficiency, consult a doctor to measure your levels. Iron-rich foods include liver, meat, fish, tofu, eggs, beans, nuts, seeds, dried fruit (dried apricots, prunes and raisins), dark-green leafy vegetables (like watercress and curly kale), wholegrains (such as brown rice) and more.
Vitamin C plays an important role in absorbing iron, which as you learned above, keeps hair strong and healthy. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, which helps fight oxidative stress that contributes to hair graying and hair loss. This vitamin also helps in the production of collagen, which strengthens the blood capillaries that supply the hair shafts.
The best food sources for Vitamin C are blueberries, broccoli, guava, kiwi fruits, oranges, papaya, strawberries, blackcurrants, red peppers, kale, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes.
Since Vitamin E is an antioxidant, it helps to protect your cells from harmful free radicals. Vitamin E also helps to stabilize the cell membranes in your hair follicles, aiding in hair growth. This vitamin works in conjunction with the mineral selenium (see below) to ward off attacks on the cells in your follicles.
Nuts such as almonds are loaded with Vitamin E. Other foods high in this vitamin include spinach, sweet potato, avocado, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, palm oil, butternut squash, trout, and olive oil.
Zinc and Selenium
Minerals like zinc and selenium help protect your scalp. In fact low levels of zinc can lead to hair loss and a dry, flaky scalp. Fortified cereals and wholegrains provide a good source of zinc along with oysters, beef and eggs.
Selenium is a trace mineral that works in conjunction with vitamin E to help prevent oxidative damage in your body. Selenium also helps recycle vitamin C in the body to improve overall cellular protection and keep tissues healthy. Foods high in selenium include eggs, mushrooms, oats, Brazil nuts, chicken, beef, pork, wheat, tuna, oysters, sunflower seeds, salmon, brown rice, turkey, pasta and more.
Vitamin D is a precursor to the hair growth cycle, acting on keratinocytes to initiate hair follicle cycling and stimulate hair growth. That’s why Vitamin D is usually found in healthy hair follicles and is typically lacking in unhealthy follicles. In fact, low levels of vitamin D are linked to alopecia, a common autoimmune disorder that often results in hair loss.
Your body produces vitamin D through direct sun exposure. 10–15 minutes of sun is enough to absorb about 10,000 units of natural vitamin D. Good dietary sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, cod liver oil, some mushrooms and fortified foods.
More Hair Health Tips
So there you have it, Flirt Urban Salon’s favorite vitamins for hair health. If you’d like to learn more tips for keeping your locks healthy and growing, check out some of our other blogs at the links below or schedule a free 15-minute consultation at our San Diego salon to learn more about our haircut and coloring services.
Hair Health Blogs:
- How to Grow Your Hair Longer
- How to Prevent Split Ends & Hair Breakage
- How to Protect Your Hair During Workouts & Sweating
- How to Take Care of Colored Hair
- 10 Tips for Washing Your Hair: Before, During & After
- How to Sun-Proof Your Hair from UV Damage