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Which Vitamins for Thinning Hair and Hair Loss Should You Take?


Most minerals and vitamins for thinning hair, hair loss and alopecia patients can be gained simply from a healthy diet. This very simple nutrient, vitamin, mineral and supplement guide will explain all…

Foods for Hair Growth

Protein

Hair is made from a protein called keratin. And proteins are formed from amino acids.


Most amino acids are made by the body. Others (called "essential amino acids") must be obtained from the diet.

Obtaining adequate protein consumption is not an issue for most people.

(Vegetarians are the most at risk from hair loss caused by long-term iron deficiency - chronic telogen effluvium or CTE).

There are 25 amino acids. Six of these, with their importance to hair growth, are detailed:


Methionine
and Homocysteine - These both contain sulphur (an important mineral for healthy hair growth). Arginine produces nitric oxide (NO) in blood vessel linings which causes blood vessels to relax and dilate, promoting an increased blood flow. This is important for scalp circulation.

L-Lysine also helps maintain nitrogen balance in the body and is also important for proper growth, formation of collagen, etc.

Tyrosine may help hair regain its natural colour and Cystine is believed to improve quality, texture, and growth of hair.

Carbohydrates

Unrefined carbohydrates (wholegrains, beans, vegetables, etc) will provide the fibre and nutrients your body needs, contain vitamins for thinning hair and other hair loss conditions, and are converted to glucose for energy at a steady, balanced rate.

Refined carbohydrates (white rice, white flour, cakes, etc) lack fibre and nutrients and will rarely contain naturally occurring vitamins for promoting hair growth. They will also quickly convert to glucose: this causes insulin levels to rise quickly. And insulin helps convert excess glucose into body fat and cholesterol (see the "Fat" section below).

Note: potatoes are mostly starch - they are rapidly converted to glucose (even faster than white sugar!) They will cause a rapid rise in blood glucose levels.


Fruits and vegetables contain many beneficial vitamins for thinning hair and hair growth.

Fats

There are various types of fat. Although some fat is required by the body, too much is not good, and it's saturated fats that are especially bad.

Saturated
fats (mostly derived from red meat, milk, cheese, etc) tend to increase your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. And cholesterol can be broken down by the body to produce the hormone DHT (which is associated with androgenetic alopecia).

So, it's easy to see how a junk food diet can make your hair loss worse!


There will be very few vitamins for hair growth in this meal

The most beneficial fats to consume are monounsaturated (e.g., almond, avocado, and olive oils, etc) and polyunsaturated fats.

Polyunsaturated fats include: Gamma linolenic acid (GLA), linoleic acid (omega 6) and alpha linolenic acid (omega 3). These three types of essential fatty acids are the most powerful 5-alpha reductase and DHT blockers known, and so many of those foods that reduce DHT contain these types of fat.

GLA is found in evening primrose oil, borage (starflower) oil and black currant seed oil. Omega 6 and Omega 3 can be obtained from certain plant oils (e.g., walnuts, pumpkin seeds, rape seed oil, soya). Flax seed (linseed) oil is also very high in Omega 3.

However, the richest source of Omega 3 comes from oily fish (especially salmon, herring and mackerel) where it exists as EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

Note: other Other types of food that reduce DHT include: soya, pumpkin seeds and green tea.

The Best Vitamins for Thinning Hair and Healthy Hair Growth


Assuming you follow a healthy diet, most people in most countries will not be deficient in most vitamins and minerals needed by the body.

Here's a list of specific vitamins for hair loss with a few good food sources for each:

Vitamin A (retinol) 

Promotes healthy hair follicle cell growth, and prevents dry, brittle hair and rough skin. Natural sources: liver, oily fish, eggs. Vitamin A is also formed from beta-carotene (e.g. carrots).

B complex vitamins

There are several B vitamins for thinning hair, strong hair growth and retaining hair colour that you need to know about:

B3 (Niacin) - Can help increase scalp circulation. Natural sources: chicken, turkey, fish, wheat germ.

B5 (Pantothenic acid) - Important for adrenal gland function and conversion of carbohydrates and fats into energy. Pantothenic acid is considered to the best vitamins for thinning hair and hair loss. Natural sources: whole grains, liver, kidney, egg yolk.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) - B6 is good for maintaining hair colour, and a deficiency in can cause hair loss. Natural sources: wheat germ, yeast, soya.

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) - Essential for normal metabolic function of cells and nervous system. Hair loss and pernicious anaemia could eventually result from a vitamin B12 deficiency. Natural sources: meat, fish, poultry, eggs.

Folic Acid - Possibly the most important of all the vitamins for thinning hair, hair loss and preventing loss of hair colour. It's also very important for women (especially if pregnant). Natural sources: chicken, nuts, soya and fortified breakfast cereals.

Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) - Can help return hair to its original colour. Natural sources: whole grains, yeast, kidney and (especially) liver.

Inositol - A diet lacking inositol can cause skin irritation/eczema, nerve problems and even baldness. Inositol can help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood. Natural sources: soya lecithin, wheat germ, barley and black-eye peas.

Biotin (vitamin H) - Biotin will help metabolise fatty acids and helps prevent premature greying. Natural sources: egg yolks, liver, milk, yeast and kidney.

Choline - Choline is similar to B vitamins. It can help counteract stress. Natural sources: soya lecithin, egg yolk, yeast, liver and wheat germ.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)

This vital nutrient will assist other vitamins (e.g., it helps iron absorption) and is essential for healthy skin, blood vessels, collagen formation, etc. It is also a powerful antioxidant (antioxidants fight cell-damaging free radicals that cause your body to age). Natural sources: berries, citrus fruits and leafy green vegetables.

Vitamin E

Can help prevent grey hair and hair loss. This antioxidant also promotes healthy blood flow, which can help maintain blood scalp circulation. Natural sources: most vegetable oils, hazelnuts, almonds, soya.

Don't Overdo it!


Taking too many vitamins for thinning hair and hair loss conditions can actually damage your hair. An excess of vitamins C will cause scalp skin cells to reproduce too rapidly and can lead to a flaky scalp. Similarly, vitamin A will speed up cell reproduction in your hair follicles - whilst your hair may grow faster, it can reach the end of its natural growth phase more quickly.

Vitamins A, D and E can be stored in your body because they are fat soluble. In time, an accumulation can cause side effects (e.g., an excess of vitamin A can cause hair loss and weight loss).

Minerals

In addition to vitamins for thinning hair and hair loss problems, minerals can also help…

Copper

Helps metabolise iron and fat and involved in pigment formation so it may help prevent premature greying. Natural sources: liver, yeast, sunflower seeds and nuts.

Iodine

Used in thyroid hormones for controlling metabolic rate, growth, development and protein synthesis. A deficiency may slow your metabolism with symptoms that include hair loss. Natural sources: oily fish, eggs, seaweed.

Iron

Forms a component of haemoglobin(in red blood cells that transport oxygen throughout the body. An iron deficiency can cause anaemia and hair loss. Natural sources: liver, kidneys, fortified breakfast cereals, blackstrap molasses.

Magnesium

Important for the nervous system, it relaxes muscles and may help reduces stress. Natural sources: halibut , nuts, soya, wheat bran.

Selenium

Helps the immune system and protein utilization. This antioxidant can also help counteract dandruff. Natural sources: Brazil nuts, kidney, oily fish.

Silica

Needed for bones, nails, joints, hair and skin Silica is said to helps hair grow thicker and stronger and create more shine and lustre. Natural sources: leafy green vegetables, beets, parsnips, apples, grapes, raw almonds oats.

Sulphur

Sulphur improves the sheen and texture of hair, stimulates blood circulation, reduces inflammation, important for collagen production, etc. Natural sources: garlic, onions and protein rich foods like meat, fish, poultry, liver, nuts.

Zinc

Vital for healthy skin and nails, improvement of the immune system, cell division, hormone balance, absorption of vitamins, protein synthesis, etc. Zinc can stop hair turning grey.Natural sources: wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, brewer's yeast, oysters, mussels, shrimps, egg yolk.

Supplements


But, all these minerals and vitamins for thinning hair conditions that you can obtain from the foods you eat might not be enough! Depending upon your condition, you might benefit from taking supplements for hair loss too...

Omega 3 fish oils, MSM (providing sulfur), soya lecithin (for fat digestion and to provide inositol and choline), multi-vitamin and mineral formulas, curcumin (to lower blood sugar levels), etc. There are a staggering number that you can consider.

Note: no RNI (Recommended Nutrient Intakes) have been given on this page - nutrient requirements and deficiencies can vary from person to person, and be dependant upon digestive system efficiency, nutrient utilization, age, lifestyle, etc.

There are many herbs and essential oils that might not cure thinning hair or baldness, but may help to some extent.

Find out more - Natural Remedies for Thinning Hair.

A New Approach to Hair Loss...


I very much believe that, whilst vitamins for promoting hair growth can help, a hands-on approach to hair loss can far exceed any nutritional supplement you might take.

Following many years of androgenetic alopecia I developed my own natural remedy for thinning hair which produced amazing results for me.

These exercises were based upon my research into skull expansion.

To find out how I recovered my hair using these skull expansion exercises, read this page.


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