Hair, Hair! The Best Vitamins for a Healthy Hair Routine
Food is delicious. Food is energizing. Food is comforting.
But the most important part of what we eat is the nutritional benefit food supplies our bodies. Unfortunately, only 5% of Americans actually get the necessary vitamins their bodies need from food.
If you're not giving your body the vitamins it needs, your hair will suffer. Getting enough nutrients is a vital part of a healthy hair routine.
Upping your vitamin intake is a simple way to restore damaged, brittle, and thinning hair. Adding the right mix of nutrients to your diet can repair years of damages that heating products and hair gels have caused.
What vitamins do I need to take for healthy hair? Let's explore.
Iron for Resilient Hair
Iron is critical for healthy and thick hair.
Without the proper amount of iron in your blood, your body cannot generate hemoglobin. Hemoglobin carries oxygen to cells that stimulate growth and cell repair. A lack of iron means less hemoglobin to restore damaged hair cells.
Iron-deficiency causes thin and brittle hair that easily breaks. Other signs that your body doesn't have enough iron includes:
- Pale skin
- Extreme fatigue
- Brittle nails
- Unusual cravings
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Cold hands and feet
Iron-deficient people may notice hair falling out faster than normal. They may observe more hair in their shower drain, hairbrush, or on their pillow. They may also find bald patches along their scalp.
In addition to hair problems, a lack of iron can lead to iron-deficiency anemia, which affects approximately five million Americans.
How to Get More Iron
Increasing your iron intake boosts circulation. It stimulates hemoglobin production to keep hair cells well-nourished.
People who are vegetarians, pregnant, or living with autoimmune disorders that hinder the body's ability to absorb iron (such as celiac disease) are most at risk of being iron deficient.
In most cases, you can up your iron levels and restore your hair health by adding more iron to your diet. Iron-rich foods include:
- Red meat
- Leafy greens (like spinach, kale, and broccoli)
- Dried fruits (such as raisins or dates)
If you have trouble adding these ingredients to your meals, iron supplements and vitamins are also available. Taking iron supplements or a multivitamin that includes iron can help grow hair faster, longer, and thicker.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Stronger Hair Follicles
Omega-3s play a key role in healthy and shiny hair.
Inflamed hair follicles are a prime cause of hair loss. The fatty acids provide skin cells and hair follicles with essential proteins to prevent inflammation. Omega-3s also boost circulation in the scalp to trigger faster hair growth.
Fish oil, in particular, is an omega-3 fatty acid most associated with healthy hair. It builds strong hair follicles, assists in faster hair growth, and adds luster for a healthy-looking shine.
How to Get More Fish Oil
The oil comes from fish tissue. Humans cannot generate fish oil on their own. Therefore, we must eat certain foods or take supplements if we want to enjoy the benefits of fish oil.
The easiest way to get fish oil is by adding more fish to your diet. Salmon, mackerel, and herring are perfect examples of delicious and nutritious ocean delights.
If you can't eat more fish, try taking fishing oil supplements. There are also fish oil creams to add to your hair to boost its shine.
Zinc for Hair Repair
Zinc enhances hair health by keeping the oil glands on our scalp well-nourished. It helps keep hair smooth and hydrated. Zinc plays an essential role in regrowing hair tissues and repairing damaged hair follicles.
Zinc deficiency isn't just harmful to your hair. Without enough zinc, your immune system and growth may be hindered. Common signs of zinc deficiency are loss of appetite, impotence, skin lesions, and diarrhea. An estimated 12% of the American population is at risk of zinc deficiency.
How to Get More Zinc
Other than taking zinc tablets and multivitamins, try adding oysters to your diet. Oysters have more zinc per serving than any other food in the world.
Other zinc-filled foods include:
- Crab and lobster
- Chicken (primarily dark meat)
- Swiss cheese
- Pumpkin seeds
- Baked beans
Zinc ointment and topical creams are also available for people who need to quickly increase the amount of zinc in their bodies.
Biotin for Long and Luscious Locks
Biotin is part of the vitamin B family. It converts nutrients into energy.
Biotin is a key nutrient for hair, skin, and nail health. While there isn't enough scientific evidence to support claims that biotin supplements enhance hair growth, many people believe it helps.
How to Get More Biotin
Biotin is naturally found in egg yolk, oats, wheat germ, spinach, and white mushrooms. Eating these foods is the most effective way to increase your biotin levels and boost your hair health.
However, if indulging in biotin-rich foods isn't enough, there are plenty of biotin supplements to choose from. Many hair-healthy multivitamins include high levels of biotin, making them a great choice for your hair routine. There are also biotin lotions and shampoos to apply to your hair or scalp.
Vitamin C to Stimulate Hair Growth
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects your body from free radicals. Free radicals are dangerous particles that can weaken your immune system, cause cancer, and prevent hair growth.
Vitamin C stimulates collagen formation. The more collagen your body produces, the faster and stronger your hair will be.
As we age, our collagen production naturally slows down. Increasing your vitamin C intake can stimulate collagen and keep your hair long and strong.
In addition to generating collagen, vitamin C also helps the body absorb iron. As we know from above, iron plays a key role in repairing damaged and brittle hair. Increasing your vitamin C intake can help your body absorb iron better, resulting in well-nourished and rejuvenated locks.
Other signs of vitamin C deficiency include brittle nails and hair, frequently falling ill, easy bruising, bumpy skin, and chronic joint pain.
How to Get More Vitamin C
The healthiest and most natural sources of vitamin C come from raw fruits and vegetables. Fruits like oranges, kiwis, strawberries, cantaloupe, cherries, rose hips, are guavas are prime examples. Various types of peppers, including yellow, green, and chili peppers, are also rich in vitamin C.
Vitamin C supplements can come in tablet form or they may dissolve in water for people to drink.
Vitamin B-12 for a Healthy Hair Routine
Vitamin B-12 boosts the production of oxygen-rich blood cells. This enhances circulation, helps hair follicles stay well-nourished, and creates smooth hair.
While hair is made from keratin, a dead protein, your hair follicles are alive.
The follicles have a bulb at the bottom that contains microscopic blood vessels. This is the papilla. The papilla connects the follicles to your body's blood supply. As it does, the blood supplies your hair with oxygen and nutrients to stimulate growth.
Without enough vitamin B-12, your follicles can't receive the nutrients they need to thrive. Vitamin B-12 deficiency leads to brittle and damaged hair. It can also cause your hair to fall out more frequently and create bald spots.
Other signs of vitamin B-12 deficiency include an inflamed tongue, chronic fatigue, memory loss, and numbness in the feet and hands.
How to Get More Vitamin B-12
Excellent sources of vitamin B-12 are eggs, milk, and meat. Therefore, vegans have a high risk of being vitamin B-12 deficient. Many medical professionals recommend vegans, vegetarians, and people who eat a restricted diet take vitamin B-12 supplements.
You can increase your vitamin B-12 levels by eating fortified breakfast cereals, yogurt, cheese, beef, chicken, tuna, clams, and salmon.
Vitamin A for Hydrated Hair Follicles
If you're wondering how to get healthy hair, start increasing the amount of vitamin A in your body.
Vitamin A is a necessary nutrient for healthy cell growth. Vitamin A also creates sebum. This oily substance moisturizes skin glands along the scalp to keep hair follicles well-hydrated. Sebum helps hair stay strong and prevents breaking.
People who are vitamin A deficient may notice hair loss or brittle, thinning hair. They may also experience dry skin and eyes, acne, slow wound healing, trouble conceiving, and frequent throat infections.
How to Get More Vitamin A
Aside from taking multivitamins or vitamin A supplements, you can add vitamin A-rich foods to your meals. Carrots, pumpkins, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, cod, yogurt, and eggs contain high levels of vitamin A.
Learn More Lifestyle Tips
A well-balanced and nutrient-rich diet creates strong bones, a resilient immune system, and a healthy head of hair. Make sure to incorporate vitamins into your healthy hair routine to prevent fine and brittle hair.
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