If you read magazines like ‘TEEN and YM in your youth, then you likely remember those small black-and-white ads in the back–the ones that promised you instant popularity or the secrets to getting a boyfriend. I was always intrigued by the ads that promised long, thick hair without the requirement of patience or good genes. I was not born with those genes–I was nearly bald until I was three years old, and in the years since I’ve had more hair but not the kind that looks good when grown long or bends to the will of product or styling implements.
As it turns out, I’m not entirely resigned to the fates of heredity when it comes to my mane. There are minerals and vitamins for hair growth and health. Whether you get them as part of your diet or as supplements, these “hair vitamins” can make your hair stronger, healthier, and shinier–and when it’s in good condition, you can look like you just walked out of the hair salon all month long.
Here are a few key vitamins for hair health, and suggestions on how to include them in your diet and supplement routine.
Iron for Hair Growth
Women experience monthly iron loss with menstruation, which can result in anemia–and hair loss, along with fatigue and brittle nails, is a symptom of anemia, according to the American Society of Hematology. Iron-rich foods include legumes, meats, and dark green vegetables–eat vegetarian iron sources with a bit of vitamin C, for example a spray of lemon juice on top of spinach greens, to up your absorption. If you find iron supplements hard on your stomach, try liquid iron, which many people find easier to handle. And talk to your preferred health-care professional if you plan to supplement with iron–while it’s essential for good health, it is possible to get too much of this mineral.
Zinc for Hair Strength
Are you a fitness junkie? You might be losing a lot of zinc through your sweat, and zinc is an important vitamin for hair health. WebMD reports that a zinc deficiency can lead to hair loss–even from your eyelashes!–and recommends including oysters, nuts, and eggs in your diet to make sure you’re getting enough. And the Mayo Clinic recommends taking Zincomed, which has 200mg of zinc sulfate, twice a day for three months to help with hair loss, and the International Zinc Foundation recommends zinc for dull or thin hair.
Vitamin D for Scalp Health
We’re learning more all the time about the importance of vitamin D to our overall health, beyond its established role in the health of our bones and the prevention of rickets. Health reports that vitamin D has been connected to the promotion of hair growth, and researchers at the University of Texas found in 2010 that vitamin D receptors in the scalp are important for hair growth. Also, psoriasis can affect the health of your scalp and hair if you have it on your scalp skin, and strong vitamin D supplements and UV therapy have been found to provide some relief. Though vitamin D is found in eggs and milk (through fortification) and produced in the body through UV exposure, many people choose to supplement, especially in the winter months.
B-Complex Vitamins for Thickness and Shine
The many different B vitamins are important for our health in many ways, and your hair is included on that list. Biotin (B7) is often touted as an essential vitamin for strong nails and hair, due to the role is plays in cell growth and amino acid metabolism. Along with supplements, it can be found in foods including egg yolks and Swiss chard. And B12, found in animal products, helps promote hair growth and strength through its role in the formation of red blood cells, according to the book The Beauty Diet.
An important final note: sometimes vitamins for hair is not enough, Hair that’s in poor condition can be a sign of a more serious health issue, and not just bad genetic luck. In particular, sudden changes in your hair’s condition, including dullness and increased hair loss, can be a sign that something is wrong. Conditions related to hair loss include thyroid problems, hormonal changes or imbalances, hereditary factors, scalp infections, and alopecia, the Mayo Clinic advises. If you’re concerned about any sudden changes in the health of your hair–or your health in general–see your physician for more information.
VitaMe Good Hair Day Pack – The Perfect Blend of Vitamins for Hair Growth
Looking for hair vitamins to supplement your diet? VitaMe has built the ideal blend of hair vitamins. Our Good Hair Day pack is designed to promote hair growth, shiny hair and a healthy scalp. Like all of our vitamins, this pack is made of pharmaceutical grade supplements, delivered fresh to your door and are non-allergenic.
Photo credit: Marta Nørgaard