Hello to everyone out there! I thought that I would offer you some nutritional advice this month about the nutrients that can really affect our hair. This blog is all about the vitamins your hair needs!
I have been really busy with video consultations and am looking forward to getting back into clinic from mid-July. The amount of dietary related hair problems that I have seen over the past 3 months has led me to share this information.
The Sunshine Vitamin – Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency, or low levels of vitamin D, is very common with an estimated 1 billion people worldwide having low levels of vitamin D in their blood.
Vitamin D deficiency can be really difficult to spot as symptoms are generally mild. However, if you are experiencing excessive hair shedding, don’t just put it down to the stress of lockdown and Covid 19. Think about your vitamin D levels. Excessive hair shedding and thinning is often caused by stress. However, what few people recognise is the impact of nutrient deficiency in this type of hair loss.
Vitamin D stimulates the growth of hair follicles, so a deficiency may directly impact the overall health of your hair. In Alopecia Areata, (patchy hair loss), Vitamin D helps to support the normal functioning of the immune system.
The people most at risk from vitamin D deficiency are the elderly, people who are overweight and those that rarely venture outside or enjoy the sunshine.
In the UK during the Winter months, the sun isn’t strong enough to enable your body to make vitamin D. Taking a supplement is recommended during these months, the daily dosage is 10mcg. Increasing your dietary intake of vitamin D can be achieved by eating oily fish, liver and egg yolks.
Vitamin B – A Whole Group of Important Hair Supporting Vitamins
Hair loss is often attributed to stress, lifestyle, ageing and your genes. What few people recognise is the power that the B complex of Vitamins has to keep your hair healthy.
Vitamin B complex consists of Thiamine, Vitamin B1, Riboflavin, Vitamin B2, Niacin, Vitamin B3, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin B5, Pyridoxine Vitamin B6 and biotin, folic acid and the cobalamins, Vitamin B12.
All vitamin B’s are water soluble, so we don’t store them up in our bodies. We can secrete them very easily. This is why it is important to ensure that you have a good intake of them.
|Thiamine Vitamin B1||Energy Metabolism and Nerve Function||Moderate Amounts in all nutritious foods, pork, whole-grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and enriched breads and cereals.|
|Riboflavin Vitamin B2||Energy Metabolism, normal vision and skin health.||Milk and Milk products, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, enriched breads and cereals.|
|Niacin Vitamin B3||Energy Metabolism, Nerve Function, Digestive System and Skin Health.||Meat, Poultry, Fish, whole-grains, mushrooms, asparagus, leafy green vegetables, peanut butter, enriched breads and cereals.|
|Pantothenic Acid||Energy and Metabolism||Widely available in all foods.|
|Biotin||Energy and Metabolism||Widely available in all foods. Produced in intestinal tract by bacteria.|
|Pyridoxine Vitamin B6||Protein Metabolism, support in making red blood cells.||Meat, Fish, Poultry, Fruit & Vegetables.|
|Folic Acid||New Cell Production, especially red blood cells.||Leafy Green Vegetables, Legumes, seeds, orange juice, liver, added to most refined grains.|
|Cobalamin Vitamin B12||New Cell Production, important for nerve function.||Meat, Poultry, Fish, Seafood, Eggs, Milk and Milk products, not found in plant foods.|
As you can see Vitamin B is all about the production of energy, cell renewal and skin and hair health. Vitamin B12 can often be low in those following more plant based diets and even those who do eat meat, but not enough to provide the protein requirements for the hair. The hair follicle is the second fastest dividing cell in the body. It really does need energy to support healthy hair growth.
- Vitamin B2 helps with the absorption of iron, serum ferritin is the iron that we store in our bodies. If this is low or depleted then excess hair fall and overall thinning can be a problem. Make sure you are absorbing your iron by having a good supply of Vitamin B2. Vitamin B2 also supports the production of collagen. So for great hair, skin and nails add a Vitamin B complex to your regime, or eat a good supply of beef, tofu, fish mushrooms, pork, almonds, avocados, eggs and milk.
- Vitamin B3 is a powerhouse for the hair and scalp. You will see Niacin and Niacinamide on lots of product labels. They are two different types of Vitamin B3. Our bodies can make Niacinamide from Niacin supplements which helps build keratin, supports the lipid barrier of the skin to retain moisture, reduces inflammation, regulates sebaceous gland production, protects against sun damage, supports collagen production, protects against oxidative stress.
- Vitamin B6 supports the production of melanin which gives the hair its natural colour pigment. Research has shown that this vitamin also supports hair growth and can reduce the rate of hair loss. More research is needed, but a star performer for your hair.
- Vitamin B12 helps to keep your body’s nerves functioning properly. But most importantly, helps to keep your red blood cells, which carry oxygen to tissues healthy. Oxygen rich red blood cells feed the hair follicle and assist in making keratin. Low or deficient levels of Vitamin B12 cause a decrease in collagen production. Symptoms of low Vitamin B12 are tiredness and fatigue and can often be missed or attributed to other issues. Restricted diets can cause low levels of Vitamin B12 which is where a supplement really helps.
In summary, if you are concerned about your hair falling out excessively, appearing not to grow, having not shine or condition then you may have lower than required levels of Vitamin D and Vitamin B. Ideally you should have a consultation with a qualified Hair Professional such as a Trichologist. The professional will investigate your nutrition and its effect on the hair. Our hair, skin and nails all have similar needs, that is why taking Absolute Collagen, helps with all 3. Sometimes you may need more than just Collagen. I can help you to find the correct supplements to add alongside your Absolute Collagen that will really help your hair to be shiny, lustrous and your true crowning glory.