Healthy hair is an extension of the human body. If you have vitamin deficiencies or don’t get the right nutritional balance in your diet, your hair can start to look dull and unhealthy. Using chemical-laden hair products can also wreak havoc on healthy hair strands. Fortunately, there are vitamins for hair health and hair growth that you can add to your daily routine to support shiny, lustrous locks. Read on to discover the best vitamins for hair whether you want to increase growth or simply achieve healthier, stronger strands.
The 6 Best Vitamins For Healthy Hair
Biotin supplements are among the most popular hair supplements. These supplements are particularly beneficial for people who have a biotin deficiency, which can cause hair loss and increased breakage. While the vitamin has been proven to prevent hair loss, it is only effective at treating hair loss caused by biotin deficiencies, not those caused by genetics, aging, or hormonal imbalances.
A double-blind study published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology examined the effects of biotin in women with temporary hair thinning. Researchers found that participants who supplemented with biotin daily for 90 days showed significant increases in hair counts compared to placebo. Additional benefits included a perceived increase in hair shine, hair thickness, and smoother skin (1).
To boost your intake of biotin, take a dietary supplement or look for hair growth supplements, which typically contain biotin as the main ingredient. You can also get biotin in your diet by eating egg yolks, animal liver, nuts, seeds, salmon, and avocados.
2. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is another important nutrient for the human body and hair in particular. Vitamin A deficiencies can cause hair loss in otherwise healthy individuals and while research is ongoing, these results have been replicated in many animal studies (2). Getting the proper amount of vitamin A can help to prevent hair loss and support healthy hair growth.
Vitamin A is also beneficial for hair thanks to its oil-controlling properties. Vitamin A is a key component of the sebum production process in hair follicles. Sebum is a naturally-produced oil that helps to keep skin and hair hydrated (3). By locking in and producing moisture, vitamin A may help to prevent breakage including split ends and dry hair.
Foods that are rich in vitamin A include eggs, dairy, and liver. You can also find vegan-friendly vitamin A —known as carotenoids such as beta-carotene — in carrots and dark green vegetables.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can support healthy hair by preventing the breakdown of cellular processes caused by free radicals. Free radicals are uncharged cells that readily attach to healthy host cells and produce changes in healthy processes that can result in oxidative stress — the body’s form of rust (4). These free radicals are increased by pollution, an unhealthy diet, and other environmental factors.
Taking a vitamin C supplement may help counteract the damaging effects of free radicals and oxidative stress. Vitamin C also plays a role in the production of collagen, a key ingredient in healthy hair.
Try supplementing with a vitamin C tablet each morning or increase the vitamin C in your diet by eating citrus fruits, berries, spinach, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.
4. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant that can prevent free radical damage and oxidative stress. Research published in Tropical Life Sciences Research found a strong link between oxidative stress and alopecia — a disease that causes thinning of the hair. The researchers also found that daily supplementation of tocotrienol — a member of the vitamin E family — had a 34.5 percent increase in the number of hairs at the end of the trial (5).
Take a vitamin E supplement or look for shampoos that are fortified with vitamin E. You can also eat foods like sunflower seeds, almonds, avocados, spinach, and butternut squash.
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for human health. Many people across the globe experience vitamin D deficiencies from poor diet and based on their regional location. Places in the far north or far south don’t receive much sunlight in the winter. Sunlight is a rich source of vitamin D and as a result, many people in these harsh climates have vitamin D deficiencies that can lead to mood disorders as well as thinning hair and hair loss.
Vitamin D plays a crucial role in hair health. Vitamin D receptors are responsible for the creation of new hair follicles. It does this by modulating the growth and production of keratinocytes — cells that produce keratin and work with other human proteins to produce hair (6). Keratin is a fibrous protein that forms the building blocks of hair, skin, and nails and protects cells from damage.
Reach for vitamin D-rich foods like fatty fish — tuna, mackerel, and salmon — as well as cheese, egg yolks, and fortified dairy.
6. B Vitamins
B vitamins include a wide range of healthy nutrients from biotin to folic acid. These vitamins are essential for red blood cells, skin, and healthy hair. B vitamin deficiencies can cause hair loss and other hair problems.
Folic acid, a synthetic form of vitamin b9, plays an essential role in protecting and promoting the health of skin and hair cells. Research shows this vitamin may be beneficial for hair growth in people who have B vitamin deficiencies (7). This powerful cell-growth agent is also known as folate when it is found in foods — asparagus, spinach, and avocados — instead of its synthetic form. Aim to take 400 mcg of folic acid each day.
You should only supplement with b vitamins if you have a deficiency. Taking too much of these vitamins can cause other health problems. It’s also important to note that vitamin b12 is only found in animal foods so it’s important for people who are vegan or vegetarian to consider using a dietary supplement.
7. Fatty Acids
Eating fatty acids or supplementing with them may help to improve the look and feel of hair. Studies show that fatty acids help to reduce or slow down hair loss and can increase the thickness of hair when taken regularly (8).
Apply coconut oil or olive oil to your hair or add it into your homemade shampoo to help boost shine and hair strength. You can also eat foods rich in fatty acids like fish, oysters, caviar, and sardines.
Improving Hair With Vitamins
If you want hair that looks like a thick horsetail, you may be able to improve the look of hair by supplementing with vitamins. Vitamins though are only one portion of the equation. Genetics play a role in how thick or full your hair can be and taking hair growth vitamins can only do so much. If you have a deficiency in vitamins A, B, C and others, you may be able to grow hair healthier if you take a supplement.
Taking vitamins may help to support fuller hair and healthier hair along with hair growth. These vitamins work to provide the immune system with healthy ingredients it needs to fight off infections and skin rashes that can affect hair follicles and hair strands. These vitamins also provide a rich source of nutrients to keep hair looking shinier and healthier.
If you’re looking to improve hair growth, prevent hair loss, or simply want healthier hair, taking these vitamins may help you reach your goals. It’s a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional before taking dietary supplements since they are loosely regulated and may cause side effects. A doctor or dermatologist can help you decide which vitamins to take and proper dosage amounts for your specific needs.
Once you know what you’re looking for, you can purchase hair vitamins or gummies from online retailers like Amazon or from your local health food store. Look for vegan-friendly or gluten-free varieties if you are on a special diet. You can also consider taking a multivitamin to help prevent vitamin deficiencies that can cause hair loss to begin with.