7 Vitamins and Nutrients To Slow Down Hair Loss
In 30 Seconds
- You are what you eat. And never more so than when it comes to your hair. There’s research to suggest that poor nutrition can have an adverse effect on hair loss at all ages, even during your teen years.
- A super healthy diet that leaves you feeling great, rather than groggy, has the potential to help your hair stay as thick and windswept as it once was (or close).
- Key vitamins are A, D, H (biotin) and E. Plus make sure you’re getting enough zinc, iron and L-lysine in your diet too.
Perhaps you’ve started to notice slightly less hair on your temples or on top? Or maybe there’s just a little more in the plug hole? Before full-scale panic sets in, there’s plenty you can do to go from forehead to full head, whatever your genetic disposition. While male pattern baldness is generally considered to be predominantly genetic1 and can’t be naturally reversed, it can be paused. Good news for those of us that want to hold onto as much of our thatch as possible.
As the old adage goes, you are what you eat. And never more so than when it comes to your hair. There’s research to suggest that poor nutrition can have an adverse effect on hair loss at all ages, even during your teen years.2 Think about it: if your body doesn’t get adequate protein, vitamins and minerals, hair growth isn’t supported. For example, some athletes who follow a restrictive diet are prone to developing iron-deficiency anemia, and are at a greater risk of hair loss. The take-home? Feed your follicles.
A super healthy diet that leaves you feeling great, rather than groggy, has the potential to help your hair stay as thick and windswept as it once was (or close). Check out the key vitamins and minerals you need to feel proud of your crowning glory.
A collection of compounds including retinol, retinal, retinoic acid, and provitamin A carotenoids, make Vitamin A the hair growth king. According to science, it’s more complicated than just eating a lot of carrots. Studies on rodents have shown that dietary Vitamin A can activate hair follicle stem cells, although its role is complex and “precise levels of retinoic acid are needed for optimal function of the hair follicle”3.
Munch on: Sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, apricots, spinach, kale, cabbage and broccoli.
Scientific research on animals has shown that Vitamin D plays a part in hair follicle cycling4; a regenerating system that regulates hair growth via a complex interaction between hormones, neuropeptides and immune cells.5 Vitamin D can be used to treat hair loss due to scalp psoriasis and it’s been proposed that an optimum concentration of the vitamin is essential to delay the aging process – including slowing down hair loss6. Count us in.
Munch on: Fatty fish such as tuna, mackerel and salmon. Eat foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice and cereals. Include beef liver, cheese and egg yolks in your diet.
Vitamin H (Biotin)
You may recognise biotin as an ingredient in many hair thickening shampoos and hair loss supplements. A word of warning though, there’s currently no clinical trials that have demonstrated that biotin supplementation can heal hair loss when there’s no existing deficiency.7 The upshot? If you’re already getting enough biotin in your diet you’re halfway there when it comes to maintaining a full thatch.
Deficiency of biotin in humans is rare. If it does occur it can lead to skin rashes, loss of hair and cholesterol problems. Despite the inconclusive evidence, many men take a Biotin supplement8 (also known as B5) to help with the hair’s building block protein (keratin) needed for thick, shampoo-ad hair.
Munch on: Cooked eggs especially egg yolks, sardines, nuts (almonds, peanuts, pecans, walnuts) and nut butters, soybeans, legumes (beans, black eyed peas), whole grains, cauliflower, bananas and mushrooms.
Tocotrienols and tocopherols belong to the vitamin E family and are powerful antioxidants, hence them being used in skincare products since the year dot. There’s only a slim amount of scientific evidence that directly links an increase in Vitamin E to preventing or healing hair loss, but investigations have shown a connection between oxidative stress and hair loss or alopecia.9
Munch on: Vegetable oils (corn, soybean), wheat germ, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, whole grain cereals and green leafy vegetables.
And The Star Nutrients…
Nutrient deficiencies including iron, zinc, biotin and important amino acid L-lysine, have been connected to a rise in hair shedding.10 Up your rations and eat plenty of chicken, red meat, lobster and oysters to increase your zinc intake.
One cause of hair loss is anemia due to iron-deficiency, so make sure you’re getting enough lean beef, fish, poultry, spinach, broccoli and tofu. The right amino acids are important too, such as L-Lysine which studies believe may play an important role in iron and zinc uptake.11 Lysine-rich foods include lentils, tempeh, black beans, quinoa, pistachios and pumpkin seeds. Eat your heart out Jamie Oliver.