For healthy hair growth, it is important to include foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals. Your body needs enough vitamin C, B vitamins such as Biotin and Niacin (Vitamin B3). Foods like sweet red peppers, guavas, Indian gooseberry and dark green leafy kale contain very high amounts of Vitamin C. Dark leafy green Swiss chard, carrots, and nuts such as almonds and walnuts, are naturally high in Vitamin B7. Niacin is prominently present in fish such as tuna and salmon, poultry (chicken and turkey), roasted peanuts and mushrooms. All of these vitamins – Vitamin C, Vitamin B7 and Vitamin B3 have been proven to help promote healthy hair growth and reduce hair loss.
BiotinA vitamin popularly known for its hair health promoting properties, Biotin is a B-complex vitamin that is also referred to as Vitamin H. Biotin promotes healthy hair by increasing the hair’s elasticity; it protects hair from getting too dry, which also helps prevent breakage. Biotin helps produce keratin, a primary protein component of hair. It is also believed that biotin can slow down age-related greying of hair.
Although Biotin deficiency is not common, some of the symptoms are hair loss (sometimes resulting even in eyebrow and eyelash loss), chronic conjunctivitis, dermatological issues, and even mild depression. You can add biotin into your diet through supplements, or consume foods that are naturally rich in this vitamin, such as brown rice, green peas, bulgur, oats, lentils and brewer’s yeast. You daily dose of Biotin should not exceed 100 micrograms in adolescents or adults.
Vitamin AA commonly known antioxidant, Vitamin A is also known as retinol. Although it primarily functions to promote eye health, it is also widely used as a means to promote healthy hair. Vitamin A aids in the production of healthy sebum, a natural oily substance secreted by the scalp, which keeps hair from drying out and breaking off. Vitamin A is also known to fights free radicals that weigh your hair down. Consume foods rich in Vitamin A to promote strong hair and a healthy scalp, such as cod liver oil, krill oil, carrots, peaches and spinach. Although Vitamin A is essential for healthy and vibrant hair, you must limit consumption, either through supplements or diet, or both, to 25,000 IU (international unit). Excessive Vitamin A may lead to toxicity and can actually result hair loss.
Vitamin EVitamin E, an antioxidant that aids is neutralizing free radicals and thus, reduces signs of ageing, is often referred to as the “good skin” vitamin. Vitamin E helps the body’s blood circulation by increasing the blood’s oxygen uptake, which in turn stimulates the body to produce new hair and promote hair growth. Additionally, it is believed that Vitamin E has a positive effect on the body’s immune function, further increasing its potential to reduce the risk of hair loss. It can be taken by consumer orally through supplements, applied topically in the form of creams, lotions and oils, or can be found naturally occurring in beans, soybeans, green leafy vegetables, wheatgerm oil and nuts. Almonds are an excellent source of Vitamin E.
It is recommended that one consumes at least 400 IUs of Vitamin E per day. However, caution must be exercised when supplementing with Vitamin E as excessive consumption has been known to cause bleeding due to blood thinning. One should discontinue the use of Vitamin E prior to any type of surgery, as the blood thinning properties can cause risks of bleeding out.
Commonly known as Vitamin B5, Pantothenic acid is as widely popular as the other vitamins; however, it is highly effective in the prevention of hair greying due to aging. In addition, it also aids in the reduction of natural loss of hair due to aging. It is believed that Pantothenic acid works to strengthen hair follicles and their cells from within, allowing them to function effectively. Additionaly, Pantothenic acid assists in removal of dead skin from the scalp, which fosters the growth of fresh scalp cells and hair follicles.
Pantothenic acid can be found in many Vitamin B complex vitamins and in foods such as whole grains and eggs.
Inositol, unofficially grouped into the Vitamin B group of vitamins, is not a commonly known vitamin, but is responsible for a number of support functions within the body. Inositol aids in the health of cell membranes, particularly those in the eyes, intestines, brain, and bone marrow. A recent study has shown that an increase in intake of Inositol can reduce hair fall.
Inositol is produced by the body through the natural process of breaking down glucose; additionally, it can be supplemented through intake of foods such as beans, citrus fruits, cantaloupe, whole grain breads and brewer’s yeast.
Besides these 5 vital vitamins for hair growth, Iron and Zinc are two minerals that promote healthy hair growth. Iron is an essential mineral that helps to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body to all the cells. Hair loss can be one of the visible symptoms of anaemia, or Iron deficiency. Even if you are not anaemic, low Iron levels may result in thinning hair. Foods that are rich in Iron include lean meats, spinach, chicken and beans or lentils. Foods naturally rich in Zinc include seafood, beef and lamb, wheat germ, spinach and pumpkin seeds. A diet rich in the Vitamins A and E, Biotin, Pantothenic acid, Inositol, Iron and Zinc will help nourish hair from the inside out.