10 Vitamin Deficiencies That Can Cause Hair Loss
We rely on vitamins a lot for our overall health and wellbeing. Your body needs an abundance of nutrients to function at a healthy level. But if it's hair loss that you're trying to remedy, it's important to know which vitamin deficiencies can cause hair loss.
To help, VEGAMOUR unraveled the research and spoke to the experts to find out what vitamin and mineral deficiencies can keep you from reaching your hair wellness goals. Plus, learn more about the best products you can use to encourage thicker, fuller looking hair.
Vitamin Deficiencies That May Contribute to Thinning Hair
If you're experiencing thinning hair, a vitamin deficiency may be the culprit. Here are 10 vitamin deficiencies that might contribute to thinning hair:
1. Vitamin D
Often credited with boosting the immune system, enough vitamin D can help keep the skin and bones healthy. It can also create new, healthy hair follicles, which are essential for hair growth.
So, what can a vitamin D deficiency trigger in the body? "Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to hair loss, especially in patients with androgenetic alopecia, telogen effluvium and alopecia areata," said Heather Hanks, a nutritionist with Life Insurance Star.
Research shows that supplementing with vitamin D can help restore hair loss in patients with these conditions. This is because vitamin D plays a crucial role in the formation of many diseases. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body attacks the hair follicles, preventing proper hair growth.
A vitamin D deficiency can also cause mood swings, fatigue, chronic pain, muscle weakness and high blood pressure. According to health professionals, to avoid low vitamin D levels, you can:
- Take a daily supplement with vitamin D
- Eat avocado, chia seeds and nuts, which are all high in vitamin D
- Enjoy time in the sun — safely
- Check medications to see whether they're draining your natural supply
Some experts believe that vegans lack vitamin D and can keep their levels high by taking regular vitamin D supplements. "You can ensure you're getting enough vitamin D by taking a multivitamin that contains at least 100% RDI of D3, which is the more absorbable form," Hanks said.
Of all the nutrients and B vitamins you consume, the one most commonly connected with hair loss is biotin. In many studies, those exhibiting hair loss have shown evidence of clinical improvement after receiving biotin. A regular supply also stops nails from becoming brittle, and it can help reduce blood sugar in people living with diabetes.
Biotin is present in a well-balanced diet, so deficiencies are usually due to genetics. A biotin deficiency can also be triggered in people who smoke, take antibiotics and certain acne medications.
Alongside a healthy diet that includes dark green vegetables, you could take a biotin supplement. GRO Biotin Gummies feature an abundance of vitamins and minerals that help beautify strands, nourish the scalp and support healthy-looking hair. These dietary supplements contain biotin, folic acid and a host of other essential B vitamins to support the body's productions of keratin and collagen.
The body needs iron to create hemoglobin, which helps deliver nutrients and oxygen to cells. So if you're struggling with an iron deficiency, your body essentially goes into survival mode and only delivers oxygen to the fundamental organs. And in the pecking order of essential organs, hair follicles fall pretty far down the list.
Dr. Rashmi Byakodi, the editor of Best for Nutrition, said, "According to a study, low iron stores represent a risk factor for female hair loss in nonmenopausal women. Iron is involved in many critical physiologic processes within the hair follicle, suggesting that iron deficiency could disrupt hair synthesis. In addition, iron deficiency may play a role in female pattern hair loss or chronic telogen effluvium."
While it's clear that the body needs iron to enable healthy hair growth, you could also experience hair thinning, stunted hair growth and even hair loss if the iron deficiency turns into anemia. An iron deficiency can also cause:
- Shortness of breath
- Sore tongue
- Brittle nails
- Restless leg syndrome
You can encourage new hair follicles and more iron in your system by taking an iron supplement and eating more broccoli, berries and leafy vegetables.
Zinc is vital for tissue growth and repair. Zinc keeps oil glands around the follicles working at optimum capacity. A zinc deficiency tends to be present in people who consume many cereal grains or in infants who drink milk formula. It's also often present in people with eating disorders.
It's worth remembering that zinc is a trace element, which means it's low in concentration and required in minute amounts. It's essential for many biochemical processes and aids cell production, hormone levels and protein synthesis. If you're vitamin A or D vitamin deficient, you're likely also to suffer a zinc deficiency. A deficiency of zinc is often one cause of telogen effluvium or brittle hair.
When it comes to zinc and hair loss, you don't want too much in the body or not enough. Zinc helps keep hormone levels regulated, which is one reason why it can help with hair loss. Zinc is also essential for DNA and RNA synthesis as it aids rapid hair follicle growth and helps stabilize cell growth. To keep zinc levels healthy, include wheat germs, pumpkin seeds and soy products in your diet.
Much like zinc, selenium is another trace mineral that can support healthy hair growth. Also, like zinc, too much selenium can trigger hair loss, so it's important you tread the line carefully.
Selenium has special antioxidant properties that help boost the body's metabolic functioning, which helps maintain a hormonal balance essential for less hair loss and healthy hair production. In addition, selenium is vital to the production of thyroid hormones which help regulate hair growth.
A selenium deficiency can lead to serious health issues and a negative immune function. Still, amazingly, according to a 2017 review, an estimated 1 billion people across the globe are living with selenium deficiency.
If you want to up your selenium intake, include these foods in your next snack:
- Brazil nuts
- Whole-wheat bread
6. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can help protect the cells in your body from damage. It's a vitamin that occurs naturally in a lot of foods, and it's fat-soluble. Renowned for its nourishing and hydrating effect on the skin, it's been popular since the 1950s.
Your scalp is an area of skin that's often forgotten. Vitamin E can help create a protective barrier for the scalp, so your hair stays hydrated and healthy. When you have enough vitamin E, it can help your body reduce the oxidative stress in your scalp — this type of stress is especially linked to hair loss. To avoid an E vitamin deficiency, pump your diet with a host of leafy green vegetables, sunflower seeds and nuts.
7. Folic Acid
Folic acid is often found in prenatal supplements because it plays a significant role in fetal development. It also stimulates cell growth which, in turn, boosts hair growth. It can also help prevent premature graying by keeping levels of oxygen normalized. However, a deficiency of folic acid can cause hair loss, so consider taking a supplement with folic acid to keep hair looking beautifully glossy and nourished.
Other Vitamins and Nutrients of Note
It takes more than a few hair products to maintain the look and feel of your hair. A considered and 360° approach to overall hair wellness can lower stress levels and support hair health.
8. Essential Fatty Acids
Fatty acids Omega-3 and Omega-6 will aid hair growth and reduce inflammation in the body. If you're living with a fatty acid deficiency, you could lose hair from your brows and scalp. You can boost your essential fatty acid intake by consuming flaxseed, walnut and dedicated daily supplements.
Check Out: VEGAMOUR Before & After Photos
9. Vitamin C
Keeping vitamin C levels regulated helps the body produce collagen, which contributes to healthy hair growth. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps also helps the body absorb zinc, which also helps ward off hair loss. Introduce more vitamin C into your diet and avoid vitamin deficiencies by eating blackcurrants, kiwi fruit, kale, oranges, strawberries and guava.
10. Amino Acids
A protein and amino acid deficiency can lead to hair loss and thinning. Amino acids help the body function by boosting tissue repair and hormone regulation. They can also assist with breaking down food internally and keeping immunity strong. For a healthy amino acids intake, make sure you're eating a diet rich in lentils, seeds, cabbage, spinach, avocado, asparagus and soybeans.
If you're dealing with thin hair, rather than solely focusing on your strands, taking a closer look at your lifestyle and making appropriate changes could help you see your hair's health turn around.
Think about adding a little extra support to your routine with a hair serum such as GRO+ Advanced Hair Serum, which has been shown to promote fuller and thicker looking hair in as little as 90 days.
Thin looking hair can be daunting, but you can take matters into your own hands by upping your vitamin and nutrient intake. As with any significant diet change, always talk to your doctor first.
More From VEGAMOUR
- Shop: Shea Whitney's Favorite Hair Products
- These Are the Benefits of Vitamin E Oil for Hair
- The Connection Between Stress and Hair Loss
- 6 Tips If Your Hair Won't Stop Shedding
Photo credit: Daniel De La Hoz/iStock