Living in the desert can be torture and no other part of your body takes more of a beating than your hair. How do you combat 100+ degree heat, dry cold and the occasional monsoon weather? Let’s talk about the best vitamins for your hair. This might be the most important thing you can do for yourself.
All cells need vitamin A for growth. This includes hair, the fastest growing tissue in the human body.
Vitamin A also helps skin glands make an oily substance called sebum. Sebum moisturizes the scalp and helps keep hair healthy (2Trusted Source).
Diets deficient in vitamin A may lead to several problems, including hair loss (3Trusted Source).
One of the best known vitamins for hair growth is a B vitamin called biotin. Studies link biotin deficiency with hair loss in humans (5Trusted Source).
Although biotin is used as an alternative hair loss treatment, those who are deficient have the best results. However, deficiency is very rare because it occurs naturally in a wide range of foods. There’s also a lack of data about whether biotin is effective for hair growth in healthy individuals.
Free radical damage can block growth and cause your hair to age. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against the oxidative stress caused by free radicals (6Trusted Source).
In addition, your body needs vitamin C to create a protein known as collagen — an important part of hair structure.
Vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron, a mineral necessary for hair growth.
Low levels of vitamin D are linked to alopecia, a technical term for hair loss (7Trusted Source).
Vitamin D is thought to play a role in hair production, but most research focuses on vitamin D receptors. The actual role of vitamin D in hair growth is unknown.
That said, most people don’t get enough vitamin D. It may still be a good idea to increase your intake.
Similar to vitamin C, vitamin E is an antioxidant that can help prevent oxidative stress.
In one study, people with hair loss experienced a 34.5% increase in hair growth after supplementing with vitamin E for 8 months (8Trusted Source).
The placebo group had only a 0.1% increase (8Trusted Source).
Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen to your cells. This makes it an important mineral for many bodily functions, including hair growth.
Iron deficiency, which causes anemia, is a major cause of hair loss. It’s especially common in women
Zinc plays an important role in hair tissue growth and repair. It also helps keep the oil glands around the follicles working properly.
Hair loss is a common symptom of zinc deficiency (13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source). Studies show resolving zinc deficiency with supplementation may reduce deficiency-related hair loss(15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source).
However, there are some anecdotal reports that supplementing with too high of a dose can also contribute to hair loss.
Hair is made almost entirely of protein. Consuming enough is important for hair growth.
Animal studies show that protein deficiency may decrease hair growth and even lead to hair loss (17Trusted Source).
However, actual protein deficiency is extremely rare in Western countries.