There are times when hair does not fully grow back once it fell from the scalp, and it can be quite a problem especially when hair growth seems to be completely stunted. Many medications are available that promise to reinvigorate the growth of our beloved locks, but some of them may come with an undesirable side effect.
For those who want to try out supplements that work with enhancing hair growth, there are some in the form of vitamins and minerals that get the job done while providing other benefits that affect the whole body as well. Aside from their capsule forms, these supplements can also be derived from the foods we eat every day.
This article is written for informational purposes based on research and should never be substituted for actual medical advice. In order to avoid complications, always seek the opinion of experts regarding these supplements before taking one.
Also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H. Biotin is needed by the body for the production of energy, maintenance of blood sugar levels, and the metabolization of important nutrients and amino and fatty acids. The vitamin is also linked to the growth of stronger hair, skin, and nails. In fact, among the many symptoms of biotin deficiency is alopecia. It also works well in combination with other vitamins and minerals that help in growing healthier hair. Food sources of biotin include bananas, beans, liver, mushrooms, sardines, and soybeans. Egg yolks are rich in biotin; however egg whites are packed with avidin, a protein that can actually interfere with the body’s absorption of biotin. Fortunately the protein is destroyed when the egg is cooked. 30 micrograms is the daily recommended intake of biotin for adults which can be easily achieved through the use of supplements. A hardboiled egg provides 25 micrograms but do be careful of rising cholesterol levels that come with regular consumption of eggs.
Collagen is a vital part of strong hair growth and the development of healthier skin. As the body ages, its ability to naturally produce collagen declines, and other factors like an imbalanced diet and stress can contribute to this as well. As part of its benefit for the hair, collagen protects the strands against free radicals that can trigger hair loss and impede growth. Collagen is found in a wide variety of food sources such as salmon, tuna, dark green and red vegetables, berries, and foods that are rich in vitamin C like bright colored fruits and vegetables. Collagen supplements are also available in many health stores, but for those who have certain allergies be warned that some supplements contain chicken and bovine collagen.
Formerly a B vitamin (vitamin B8), inositol has many different forms but myo-inositol is the most prominent. Among its benefits for the body include lowering cholesterol levels, enhancement of cell integrity and structure, and has shown positive effects for the treatment of depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders. Inositol is usually paired with choline in ingredients for some hair loss treatments as this combination forms phospholipids, or lipids that promote hair growth. Even by itself inositol still works on the growth of stronger hair. The human body produces inositol naturally, but it is possible to increase its levels through the intake of supplements and inositol powders. Whole grain bread, Brewer’s yeast, liver, banana, and brown rice are some of its food sources, while drinking coffee may reduce inositol levels in the body.
Hair loss is among the symptoms that indicate a deficiency in iron. Low levels of the mineral hamper the active growth of hair, but it is important to have a ferritin checkup first to see if the body is indeed lacking in iron. An excess of the mineral is proven to trigger potentially fatal side effects, hence taking iron supplements or increasing the intake of iron-rich foods should not be done without any prior consultation first. Chicken liver, oysters, mussels, sesame and sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, and cashews are some of the food sources that are rich in iron. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron, so it is a good idea to consume good amounts of vitamin C along with iron if you need to raise the mineral’s levels in your body.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3’s are well-known for their numerous benefits including bolstering cardiovascular health, sharpening mental acuity, and fighting off inflammation and free radicals. Omega-3 also helps encourage hair growth, minimize instances of hair loss, and brightens hair by lubricating the follicles. Two capsules of omega-3 supplementation or a whole tablespoon of fish oil is equivalent to 2.5 grams, and it is a good enough amount to render its positive effects to the scalp and hair. Some food sources that contain excellent amounts of the fatty acid include mackerel, salmon, cod liver, herring, chia seeds, flaxseeds, tuna, and anchovies. High dosages of omega-3 may affect the efficacy of blood thinners and may also increase the rate of bleeding, so make sure to inquire with a professional regarding the right amount you need.
Better known as vitamin B5, it provides health benefits for the body like relieving certain conditions, bolstering the immune system, fights stress and anxiety, and of course maintains healthy hair and skin. Pantothenic acid helps nourish the hair follicles, not only leading to better hair growth but also remedies problems like flaking and itching. There are food sources of pantothenic acid like cheese, poultry, legumes, milk, and egg yolks, but the vitamin is destroyed upon processing or heating of food sources, making supplementation the only best way to obtain it. It is recommended to take supplements that also provide other B vitamins aside from pantothenic acid, as only focusing on the latter may lead to an imbalance in the long run and can trigger certain health problems.
Riboflavin is also vitamin B2, a potent antioxidant that plays a very important role in the growth of cells,including hair cells that are responsible for the continuous growth of hair. The vitamin also maintains the hair’s vibrant colors and keeping the presence of gray wisps at bay. Hair loss that increases in volume is usually an indicator that the body’s vitamin B2 levels are on the low. Food sources of riboflavin include eggs, dairy products, green leafy vegetables, nuts, lean meats, and legumes. Riboflavin is sensitive and can be easily destroyed through exposure to light, boiling, and soaking, while steaming and roasting can somehow preserve much of it. Just like in iron, vitamin C also enhances the body’s ability to absorb riboflavin.
This vitamin is best known for the maintenance of healthy eyes, bones, and skin, not to mention being a potent antioxidant that protects the body from free radical damage. Vitamin A is also responsible for the proper development of organs and the growth of cells. It is said that the vitamin promotes the production of healthy sebum which helps in keeping the hair moisturized and prevents it from drying and breaking. Organ meats, dairy products, dark leafy vegetables, and orange and yellow colored fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamin A. Supplements should be coordinated first with a medical expert as a vitamin A overdose is linked to occurrences of hair loss.
Just as how soil quality plays an important role in the growth of a healthy plant, a well-maintained scalp ensures that hair grows out to be strong and vibrant. Vitamin E works in maintaining a healthy scalp by promoting proper blood circulation and the transport of oxygen, both of which are needed by the hair to grow. As an added bonus, vitamin E helps slow down the graying of hair as it prevents the tissues from corroding. It is rare to have a deficiency in vitamin E due to its wide availability in many food sources such as green leafy vegetables, almonds, nuts, squash and sunflower seeds, avocados, salmon, and shrimp. Vitamin E softgels can also be extracted and massaged on the scalp to encourage better hair growth and repair follicle damage.
Have you tried any of these supplements for hair loss? Do you know another one that is effective? Please let us know in the comments.