10 Essential Vitamins for Healthy Hair
Thick, voluminous, and strong hair have a universal appeal, regardless of the length and the gender. You have guys with long hair and girls with a pixie cut, but those three qualities are sought after by everybody.
In simple terms, it looks appealing and hot as hell, because we being a social animal are driven by our biological instincts. So it is natural for you to want healthy hair on your head when you like the same on others.
Not that people don’t have a fetish for bald heads, but having a set of healthy hair won’t hurt your chances of spreading your genes.
Know your Hair
You must have heard that hair is nothing but dead cells, but how do dead cells grow then?
It is true that what you see on your head is mostly dead cells that have become a strand of keratinized protein fiber. The actual place of stimulus for hair growth and nourishment lies within your outer skin (epidermis) in the hair follicle near the root of the hair, where new cells form and push the older cells upward.
It is a fertile region for hair growth that receives nutrition directly from the bloodstream. Therefore, any changes that are reflected by the nutrient concentration in your bloodstream are also reflected in your hair growth. Stress, medication or lack of nutrients can directly affect your hair.
Now, like your mind, healthy hair reside in a healthy body. As you know that they too derive essential nutrients from your bloodstream to grow long, thick and voluminous. So you need to incorporate some essential vitamins and nutrients in your diet that will facilitate their growth.
10 Vitamins You Need to Have for Healthy Hair
It is universally known that Biotin, or Vitamin B7, helps in promoting hair growth. An essential component of vitamin B complex, it is needed by the body to perform its chemical processes involving enzymatic reactions and macronutrients like protein, carbohydrates and fats.
Research have suggested that Biotin is essential to the strength, texture and growth of hair. A deficiency of this nutrient would result in undernourished hair follicles, thus resulting in hair loss.
Biotin is associated with skin, nails and beard as well, so in general, you have Biotin to thank for your good looks.
Biotin is available in sources like Swiss chard, dairy, eggs, liver, barley, soy, almonds, carrot and celery. All in all, adequate amount of protein will keep you covered, Vegans can opt for the supplements. Biotin supplements are easily available and 500 – 1000 mcg of Biotin is recommended for daily intake.
Another important vitamin crucial to your hair is folic acid or Vitamin B9 or more commonly known as folate.
Folic acid is known for stimulating cell division, thus facilitating cell growth, in turn affecting your hair growth. Therefore, it is an important vitamin during pregnancy.
A deficiency of this water soluble vitamin may stunt the growth of the cells in hair follicle. It helps in maintaining the levels of an important amino acid called metheonine in the body. Graying hair is among the symptoms of its deficiency.
Folic acid is found in leafy greens, legumes, liver, and grains
Vitamin C aids in the production of structural protein called collagen, which is omnipresent in our body. It is responsible for the strength and flexibility of skin and the sheen of your hair. It is essential to the health of your hair and Vitamin C is just the nutrient that you need for its ample production in the body.
Apart from that Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that acts on the free radicals which cause ageing and damage to hair.
Instead of relying on 100- 200 mg Vitamin C supplement, you can easily incorporate it in your diet by eating lots of oranges, lemon, broccoli, kale, Kiwi, Brussels sprout.
The natural source of nourishment for hair is sebum or the oil that is produced inside your skin that imparts moisture and strength to your hair. Vitamin A promotes the production of sebum on scalp.
Beta-carotene is also essential part of your diet as it is converted by your body into Vitamin A and is also an anti-oxidant. It is the orange pigment that gives carrot its characteristic color. Balanced intake will promote healthy hair and skin.
Foods rich in Vitamin A are carrots, leafy greens like spinach, kale, chives and melons, liver, cod liver oil, and broccoli.
Vitamin B3 or Niacin stands out on its own, because it provides the essential sustenance for healthy hair to your scalp. Its deficiency would lead to undernourished hair follicles that would mean your hair could turn out brittle, loose strength and thickness.
You can obtain Niacin from food items including, but not limited to, eggs, chicken, avocados, turkey, tuna, leafy vegetables and mushrooms.
6.Vitamin B5,B6, B1, B2 and B12
Vitamins B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B5 (pantothenic acid), like Niacin, provide nourishment to your hair scalp and promote healthy hair follicles. B5 is additionally responsible for overall health and shine of your hair.
Food sources for B1 are pork, cereal, yeast, sunflower seeds and cauliflower. Food sources for B2 are Asparagus, okra, banana and chard. Food sources for B5 are whole grains, broccoli and avocado.
Vitamin B6, which is found in whole grains, meat and banana assists in preventing dandruff. Vitamin B12, present in food items like meat, eggs and dairy products promotes hair strength and reduces hair loss.
Vitamin E gained traction a lot later but turned out to be a wonder nutrient for your hair. Not only it makes the cell membrane of your hair follicles robust, it is also an anti-oxidant that fights ageing in skin and hair. Foods rich in Vitamin E are kiwi, almonds, avocado, and broccoli.
Apart from consuming it directly in the form of food it has some great topical use. Applying Vitamin E enriched oil on your scalp mends the damaged hair follicles, boosts the blood circulation and oxy gen supply and lessens inflammation.
There are numerous studies that link Vitamin D with growth and vitality of hair follicles. While its deficiency may lead to hair shedding and alopecia, not to mention the overall health of your hair does get affected.
What is best about Vitamin D is that you can cover your daily requirement by being half an hour under the sun. If you live in the a place that scarcely has much sunshine yearlong, you can try consuming fish, grains, mushroom and low fat milk.
A mineral that is essential for hair growth is Magnesium that coupled with Calcium is essential for healthy hair follicle as they strengthen the cells from within.
A deficiency may cause, known to primarily affect women, thin and grey hairs and some facial hair growth. A diet rich in fermented foods like yogurt will help, other foods like almonds, nuts, seeds, pumpkin and dark chocolate do help.
Reduction in alcohol and caffeine is important as they prevent magnesium’s absorption in the body.
An essential element for healthy hair, zinc helps in DNA and RNA production that promotes the routine follicle- cell division. Topical use of Zinc has also been effective in reducing the hair loss activity of 5-Alpha Reductase Type II.
Zinc deficiency is caused by the deficiency of Vitamin A and Vitamin D in the body and hair loss is among its prominent symptoms. Going by the research findings, Zinc deficiency results in weakened protein structure of hair follicles.
Naturally, Zinc is present in meat, eggs, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, mushrooms, garlic, spinach, yogurt and seafood.
One thing you might have found common among the above sources of important vitamins and minerals for a healthy hair growth is the presence of food rich in Protein. Eggs and meat are almost ubiquitous in every point. This simply enunciates a clear point – Protein is important for healthy hair.
If your hair are mostly made up of protein, you know how important it is for their well being. Even vegans and vegetarians can take respite in the fact that there is enough plant based protein (like spinach, quinoa, broccoli, avocado, sprouts, etc.) available for them that healthy hair is not some tabloid fiction but a reality that you can have.