The EssentialsUnfortunately, there is no way to grow out your hair overnight. No matter how many vitamins you take, it will still be a process. By choosing the right vitamins, you can help your hair by making it stronger and healthier, which will all but eliminate the breakage that slows down your progress. The following vitamins are our top choices for hair growth. You can mix and match them by identifying your biggest issues and create the perfect vitamin routine for your body.
- Biotin: This is probably the best-known supplement for healthy hair growth. It supports the production of glucose and it helps break down proteins into amino acids – both of which are essential to healthy hair. Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, which means any extra biotin you ingest that your body can’t use is expelled in your urine. Many hair care products now contain biotin, so look for it on the ingredients label.Biotin is a type of B vitamin and, while it is most important for hair growth, the other B vitamins are also beneficial. Consider getting some vitamin B12, as it is one of the essential B vitamins for cell production. All of the B vitamins support your energy and metabolism, so, if you feel more fatigued than usual, you may have a deficiency. You should replenish your B vitamins every day because, like biotin, they are all water soluble.
- Fish Oil: Fish oil is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which play an essential role in promoting hair growth. It supports hair thickening and reduces inflammation that can cause hair loss. It has even been shown to help regrow hair in women who have experienced hair loss. A small amount each day is sufficient to provide these health benefits for your hair. Be careful, though; fish oil can increase bleeding, so it should not be taken if you are on blood thinners or a daily aspirin regimen.
- Iron: While iron is a mineral usually associated with red blood cells, iron deficiency has also been linked to alopecia – a family of hair loss diseases. In less extreme cases, iron deficiency can make hair seem dull and dry. Increasing iron intake will lead to more healthy hair by helping red blood cells bring more oxygen to your body – especially the scalp. Iron is not water soluble, though, so you must take care not to overload on iron. Symptoms of iron overload are subtle, but long periods of iron overload can lead to serious health complications such as diabetes or arthritis.
- Niacin: Niacin is another B vitamin that is important enough to stand alone. Rather than acting directly on hair, niacin promotes scalp health. A healthy scalp will, in turn, provide many benefits to your hair, such as preventing it from being brittle or falling out. Again, all B vitamins are water soluble, so there is no chance of “overdosing” on niacin or other vitamins in the B family.
- Vitamin A: Vitamin A is necessary for normal cell growth, so it will ensure your scalp and hair follicles are healthy. It is also important to promoting the secretion of scalp oils to ensure your hair and scalp are naturally moisturized. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to a multitude of skin problems, as well as hair loss. However, vitamin A can build up in the body and lead to vitamin A toxicity or an overload of vitamin A. If you notice changes in vision, dizziness, or frequent nausea, stop taking vitamin A and see your doctor.
- Vitamin C: You may only think of vitamin C as an immune booster to help our bodies fight off colds and infection, but vitamin C also plays a vital role in hair growth. Vitamin C promotes the body’s production of collagen, which is one of the main proteins used in the production of hair and nails.Vitamin C also fights free radicals in the body, which attack body tissues causing hair to be weak or brittle. Free radicals can block hair growth completely. Vitamin C promotes the body’s absorption of other vitamins and minerals, including iron.
- Vitamin D: Often referred to as the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D can be absorbed through your skin by exposure to sunlight. It is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies among Americans and is another link to hair loss diseases like alopecia. Hormone fluctuations affect every part of your body, but your hair is probably the most vulnerable. Vitamin D helps regulate your hormones, your immune system, and cell growth in your body. Some research has shown that vitamin D can promote the growth of new hair follicles, though researchers are still unsure exactly what role vitamin D plays in hair production.
- Vitamin E: Vitamin E is a very powerful antioxidant that is beneficial to your whole body. It helps to repair damaged hair follicles and prevents future tissue damage. It stimulates circulation, which promotes healthy hair growth. It is also an important ingredient in your hair care products to condition and strengthen the hair from root to tip. There is even evidence that vitamin E can help prevent premature graying!
MultivitaminsIf you’ve made the promise to yourself that this will be the year for long, healthy hair, a multivitamin may be your best bet for success. A general multivitamin is good for your health, but it probably won’t target your specific goal: hair growth.
By choosing a hair, skin, and nails formula multivitamin, you can receive the correct dose of every vitamin and mineral that supports hair growth and health. A multivitamin is a good choice for someone who believes her vitamin needs are not being fulfilled by her diet. Single supplements are best if you are sure that you are getting enough of the other vitamins and minerals you need in your diet.
Whether you choose a multivitamin or single supplements, there is a very important notation on the label to which you must pay attention. The vitamins and minerals in any supplement or multivitamin will be either naturally derived or synthetic. Vitamins that are naturally derived will be present in the supplement exactly as they occur in nature. Synthetic vitamins have been created in a lab with ingredients that are not found in nature or with a structure that has been altered.
It is important to only buy vitamins that are naturally derived. These vitamins will be absorbed by the body more easily and will provide the full range of benefits of that vitamin. Synthetic vitamins may not be as beneficial.
DietWhile supplements and multivitamins are an easy fix for deficiencies, it is always best to get as many nutrients as possible from your diet. When you ingest nutrients through food, your body can process them more easily and will use every part of the food to nourish every part of your body. If you want to boost your intake of a specific vitamin without a supplement, it is easy to find foods rich in any vitamin through a quick internet search.
To tailor your diet to your hair growth goals, here are some foods rich in each of the vitamins we recommend:
- Biotin: Almonds and other nuts, sweet potatoes, eggs, whole grains such as oats, and onions.
- Fish Oil: Salmon and other oily fish, oysters, caviar, flaxseeds or flaxseed oil, chia seeds, and walnuts.
- Iron: Red meat, pork, beans, spinach and other dark green vegetables, raisins and other dried fruits.
- Niacin: Poultry (specifically turkey), peanuts, any type of mushrooms, tuna, and beef.
- Vitamin A: Sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, and other dark, leafy greens such as collard greens or mustard greens.
- Vitamin C: Oranges and other citrus fruits, kiwi, broccoli, bell peppers, and berries.
- Vitamin D: Cod liver oil and oily fish such as trout or mackerel, Portobello mushrooms, and soy products like tofu and soy milk.
- Vitamin E: Dark, leafy greens such as spinach and Swiss chard, nuts, sunflower seeds, avocados, and shellfish.
Facts and MythsOpen any women’s magazine, and you’ll find hundreds of articles on how to look your best. Over the years, there have been thousands of tips and tricks to growing out long, healthy hair, but only a fraction of those helpful hints has any proof that they are effective. Here are some of the most common facts and widely known fictions.
1. Trimming your hair makes it grow faster. FALSE. Though this has been common knowledge for years, there is absolutely no evidence that cutting or trimming your hair has any effect on growth. However, regularly trimming off dead ends can make your hair look fuller, which can be perceived as extra length.
2. Shampooing makes your hair shed. FALSE. You naturally shed approximately 50-80 hairs per day whether you wash or not. While it may be more noticeable that you are shedding hair in the shower, not shampooing your hair is even worse. The oil buildup can cause inflammation that will lead to increased hair loss, so keep regular shampooing part of your grooming routine.
3. Brushing wet hair can break it. TRUE. Wet hair is more fragile and can stretch, so brushing it when it is wet can lead to more damage. Use a wide tooth comb or a paddle brush if you absolutely need help detangling after a shower.
4. The more you brush your hair, the healthier it will be. FALSE. This is great news for those busy gals who don’t have time for 100 brush strokes per day. Over-brushing your hair can damage it by weakening the cuticle. Don’t brush it any more than is needed to remove tangles or to style.
5. Scalp massage will make your hair grow faster. TRUE. Massaging your scalp stimulates the skin and will promote circulation, which definitely promotes hair growth. Massage with some coconut oil for an added benefit.
Anytime you hear a hair tip that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Always check with your hair care professional or do a little online research before you try something new. You don’t want months of great progress to be destroyed by a new fad or untested product.
You should also avoid heat styling as much as possible. Hair dryers, flat irons, and curling irons are very damaging to hair. If you must use these tools, look for shampoo and conditioner and styling products that are formulated to protect hair against heat damage.
ConclusionA healthier head of hair is just a few vitamins away. Before you start shopping for your supplements, always check with your doctor to ensure there will be no interactions with any of your other medications. Your doctor can also help suggest dosages that will be most beneficial for your body and goals. Choose tested and trusted vitamin brands to ensure you receive all of the great benefits without side effects or harmful chemicals.
Whether you are growing it out for a special occasion or just because, the right nutrition will help you reach your goal with time to spare. With all of the help these nutrients provide, you’ll have the long locks of your dreams in no time. These nutrients are also very beneficial for skin and nails, as well, so be prepared for longer, stronger nails and a brighter, more youthful complexion. What great added bonuses! Go stock up on these great supplements today.