Hair growth vitamins or herbal supplements are often used to promote healthy hair growth and regrowth. Taking hair growth supplements does not produce results overnight; it usually takes a long time (one to five years) to see results. Normally, hair grows only half an inch a month, so even after taking supplements, it would take five to six years for a new strand of hair to reach shoulder length. However, there are several other changes in the hair that can be seen after a few months of taking supplements. The supplements make the oil glands on the scalp get reactivated, which moisturize and nourish the scalp and hair. The hair starts to appear shinier, moisturized, and healthier. The hair may not be as brittle as it used to be, reducing hair breakage.
Hair fall and damage can occur due to genetics, hormones (pregnancy), medications (cancer medication), and other illnesses (stress, thyroid disease, or autoimmune diseases). If there is hair fall or hair damage associated with a serious nutritional deficiency of certain vitamins or minerals, hair growth supplements can help in hair growth or regrowth. If the hair fall is a result of other medical conditions, such as thyroid disease or autoimmune diseases, hair vitamin supplements will not help unless the medical condition is treated. Vitamins in hair growth supplements also help maintain overall body health. Alongside hair vitamins, a healthy and balanced diet is also required. If hair damage is caused due to other conditions, hair growth supplements would not be sufficient to treat the problem. Therefore, it is always important to consult with a doctor when one is experiencing significant hair fall.
What are hair growth vitamins?
Some important supplements or vitamins that help hair growth include:
- Vitamin A helps form sebum, which is required to keep the scalp and skin conditioned and healthy. A decrease in sebum due to vitamin A deficiency can cause the scalp to become dry, irritated, itchy, and flaky. It also causes the hair to become dry, brittle, and break easily. Vitamin A is found in orange or yellow vegetables such as carrots.
- Vitamin E nourishes the skin, nails, and hair and protects the skin and hair from sun damage. Vitamin E is rich in plant-based oils, seeds, nuts, fruits, and vegetables.
- Zinc can regulate the level of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the body, a hormone that can cause hair loss. A decrease in zinc levels causes an increase in DHT, which can cause hair loss. Sesame seeds, nuts, eggs, and fish are rich in zinc.
- Iron is essential for hair growth. Low iron levels lead to anemia. Additionally, low iron levels affect the hair follicles and disrupt the growth cycle of the hair, leading to hair loss. Iron is rich in lentils, red meat, spinach, or green vegetables.
- Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps in the formation of collagen. Vitamin C also helps in iron absorption. Rich sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits such as oranges and kiwis. Vitamin C is also present in sweet potatoes.
- Vitamin D is important for healthy hair follicle production; hence, it promotes hair growth. Vitamin D also helps reduce stress and depression. It is found in eggs, oily fish, and mushrooms.
- Amino acids are essential for healthy hair growth. Amino acids help produce keratin, which promotes hair growth and nourishes and improves hair texture. Amino acids are rich in protein-rich foods such as dairy, meat, and eggs.
- Omega-3 fatty acids produce oils that keep the skin, nails, and scalp healthy and hydrated. Fish, avocado, and pumpkin seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin B and called vitamin H or coenzyme R. Biotin increases nail and hair strength and texture.
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Almohanna HM, Ahmed AA, Tsatalis JP, et al. The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Hair Loss: A Review. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). Published online December 13, 2018. doi: 10.1007/s13555-018-0278-6
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