Which Vitamin Deficiency Causes Hair Loss?
The word “vitamin” is derived from “vital aminos” or “vital minerals,” and these compounds are certainly key to our health. Besides the macronutrients that make up our food, vitamins are the natural, powerful substances that give us greater vitality and quality of life.
With proper vitamin intake, we can unlock our full potential, while also looking and feeling our best. External indicators of health like hair are a perfect example. Studies show that certain vitamin deficiencies can take a toll on hair health.
Let’s look at the role of vitamins in hair strength, health, and longevity. Then we’ll figure out which vitamin deficiencies can lead to hair loss — and the best way to remedy the situation.
The Role of Vitamin Deficiency in Hair Loss
We know that vitamins improve everything from immunity to cognitive performance, but where does hair health factor into the equation? Here’s what we know about vitamins and hair loss so far.
Hair Loss Prevention
For most men and women, the primary aesthetic goal is to stop hair thinning and hair loss from happening in the first place. Vitamin intake has been shown to maintain healthy hair as it is, helping hair follicles continue the optimal anagen (growth), catagen (regress), and telogen (rest) phases.
Since balding tends to result from an extending catagen and permanent telogen phase, any compound that can encourage proper life cycles can help support hair loss prevention efforts.
It’s always easier to keep existing hair strong and healthy instead of trying to grow back lost hair. A balanced vitamin regimen is your best bet to keep the hair you have in place.
Regrowth and New Hair
A true hair regrowth cure has yet to be discovered, but a complete vitamin game plan may help alopecia patients make strides in the right direction.
Since thinning hair and hair loss can stem from hormone imbalances, metabolic issues, stress, and other environmental factors, vitamins could help support important lifestyle changes and help improve your overall health.
Vitamins likely won’t bring hair back, but they can be a way to great way to support your wellness.
More practically, if you’ve seen a dermotologist and discovered your hair loss isn’t associated with genetics, vitamins can be used in conjunction with a hair restoration protocol established by a leader in the field, like Dr. Jae Pak.
While vitamins may not be the main event, they can play a supporting role.
Skin Health and Scarring
Another strong argument for vitamin use is the overall impact these compounds have on health, including systems of the body like the immune system and immune function, skin and cellular regeneration.
If patients have undergone trauma like scarring or burns, certain vitamins have been shown to be beneficial in supporting recovery, as part of a total wellness plan. Some people believe they aid in the hair restoration process in these areas.
The same principle may apply when the body is recovering from a medical condition or undergoes adverse side effects from medication or treatment like chemotherapy. With vitamins helping to maintain the system as part of a healthy diet, the body can better perform daily processes.
Common Vitamin Deficiencies in Hair Loss Patients
Evidence supports the role of vitamins in a supporting role for hair loss prevention and even restoration. But what vitamins actually make the most significant difference in your hair health? Let’s explore the top compounds and see how they can support your hair right now and in the future.
The link between vitamin D and hair loss has become clearer to scientists in the past few years. Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent among patients with advanced androgenetic alopecia and a range of autoimmune disorders that can lead to other types of hair loss.
Luckily, if you aren’t getting enough vitamin D, you can up your levels of vitamin D simply by getting 20 minutes of direct sunlight per day, consuming fortified foods like vitamin D-enriched cereal or milk, or taking convenient vitamin D supplements for an extra boost.
We usually think of vitamin A as supporting eye health, but that’s just one aspect. This essential nutrient is key to cellular regeneration and white blood cell production. It plays a key role in immunity and ensuring the healthy development of all bodily tissue.
Skin and hair are often the first to show signs of wear and tear with vitamin A deficiency. Dryness is one of the common causes of a vitamin A deficiency — and a giveaway that you may not be getting enough. If your scalp is dry and your hair bears the burden, put vitamin A, something easily found in foods like leafy greens, at the top of your list.
Since there are more than a dozen B vitamins discovered, it can be confusing to know which B vitamins are the most important, especially when it comes to hair growth.
Vitamin B12, sometimes missing in the diet of vegans and vegetarians, has been linked to hair loss. It’s an important vitamin that aids in the production of red blood cells.
A vitamin B7 or biotin deficiency, however, could also cause problems in the body as it, too, plays a role in overall health. This deficiency may lead to thinner, more brittle hair.
It may be worth discussing the importance of a biotin supplement with a hair restoration professional like Dr. Jae Pak to see if you should focus on biotin-boosting foods like whole grains or supplements as part of your hair loss treatment plan.
Need another reason to snack on fresh citrus and berries throughout the day? Vitamin C is a proven immunity booster and may help keep your hair growing long and strong as well.
This compound is a powerful antioxidant, supporting your hair follicles against everyday life’s oxidative stress. By stopping free radicals in their tracks, vitamin C gives your hair an extra layer of defense and may potentially promote further growth.
As a bonus, vitamin C is a precursor to collagen production, a supercharged amino acid promoting hair, skin, joint, and gut health.
If there’s one compound on the front lines of the body’s repair squad, it’s zinc. Some people believe that certain types of hair loss are linked to zinc deficiency, especially in people who perform high degrees of physical activity and take on stress.
Zinc can help support your immune system function, though some believe it does more. They maintain that zinc can keep oil glands working properly on the scalp, maintaining an optimal environment for follicle and cell growth.
Healthy hair is more than just protein, so fatty acids like omega-3s are considered essential. The right balance of oils in the scalp and hair can help support hair follicle growth and maintain life cycles without disruption.
Most of all, omega-3s help the scalp retain optimal moisture levels without making it greasy or inhospitable to hair. Nutritional deficiencies, such as not getting enough omega-3s, could help limit your body’s ability to maintain its overall health — which could affect your hair health in the process.
While vitamin D has been shown to modulate keratin production in the body, some people benefit from additional keratin supplementation for good measure.
This protein is produced naturally by the body, and may be key to the structure of hair, skin, nails, and vital tissues. Some people believe that products containing keratin, such as shampoo and conditioner, can help support the health of hair.
Types of Hair Loss and Vitamin Deficiencies
Different hair loss conditions could benefit from a more balanced diet and lifestyle changes. Here’s an overview of the major hair loss causes and what vitamins should be your focus.
Standard male or female pattern hair loss, balding, or hair thinning tend to be genetic, but a proper diet including all the vitamins listed above can help maintain your hair’s overall health.
Vitamins B, C, and D could be a good place to focus. All of these vitamins can be found in standard multi-vitamin capsules for convenient daily intake. Based on your doctor’s medical advice, you may be directed to specific vitamin supplements or products.
This autoimmune disorder is a serious condition that may not be addressed with vitamins alone. However, vitamin C and A can help boost your natural immunity, along with zinc, magnesium, essential fatty acids, and other minerals.
Getting proper medical attention should be your first priority when addressing this type of hair loss, but it can only help to optimize your diet and lifestyle.
Traction Alopecia and More
Alopecia resulting from too-tight hair styles or other chronic friction may be addressed by simply leaving the area alone and changing your current lifestyle and nutrient intake into something a bit more healthy.
It may be worth it to look into procedures like hairline lowering.
Your Complete Hair Restoration Plan
There’s no denying the link between hair loss and vitamin deficiency, and given the affordability and accessibility of vitamins, it’s no wonder that some people add them into their routine.
Vitamins alone will not overpower genetics, however, especially for men and women with advanced androgenetic alopecia. Your best option is to connect with a dermatologist to determine the cause and then visit a hair restoration professional like Jae Pak, M.D. to create a personalized strategy.
Whether it’s advanced treatments or surgeries like transplantation, you’ll get quicker and more sustainable results by working alongside a trusted hair loss pro.
Start by establishing your healthy lifestyle and addressing any vitamin deficiencies, but be ready to take your plan to the next level with a hair loss doctor who knows best.
The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Hair Loss | NIH
Vitamin D – Health Professional Fact Sheet | NIH
Effect of a Nutritional Supplement of Hair Loss in Women | Wiley Online Library
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