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Having strong and healthy hair is a sign of youthfulness and beauty. It is no surprise that when someone experiences hair loss, they can begin to feel self-conscious. Research shows that hair loss can affect an individual’s confidence. While it is normal to shed around 80 strands a day on an average, but if you notice that you are losing significant amount of hair, it is a cause for concern and calls for supplements for hair loss.
Hair loss is more prominent among men than women. Ageing is known to trigger hair density to change and individual strands to become thinner. While hair loss is pretty common, it can be a symptom of a serious illness or nutritional deficiency. Most cases of hair loss are treatable and can be stopped.
Supplements for Hair Loss
Hair cells are the second fastest growing cells the body produces. Due to this, every strand needs a constant supply of energy to grow which is unlikely to be achieved through nutrients in our diet alone. Therefore, supplements can give us the boost of minerals and vitamins which are required for proper care of our hair.
As hair loss can be due to issues like lack of protein and iron, you need to determine what it is that you are lacking in your body to take the necessary supplements. A blood test can help you find out what supplements you need to take based on your results. Keep in mind that hair supplements are only known to work if you have a nutritional deficiency.
Below is a list of supplements you can take for reducing hair loss-
1. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is known to have several health benefits including preventing hair loss. It has antioxidant properties that can reduce cell damage and foster hair growth. It is also claimed that it could help support a healthy scalp and hair.
The antioxidant properties help in preventing oxidative stress that causes hair follicle in scalp to break down. A study on a group of people with hair loss showed that supplementing with Vitamin E for eight months helped promote hair growth by 34.5% compared to a placebo, which only had a 0.1% increase.
Vitamin E is also known to increase shine in damaged hair. Many oil manufacturers add Vitamin E to their products to restore damaged hair. Leafy greens, nuts and seeds, sunflower seeds and avocados are all good containers of Vitamin E.
2. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is needed by cells for their growth. This includes skin and hair. An oily substance known as sebum is required by the scalp to keep it moisturized and healthy. Vitamin A helps skin glands make sebum and repairs hair to make them lustrous.
However, high amounts of Vitamin A can result in hair loss. So it is best to intake it through the food daily. You can consume Vitamin A by including eggs and dairy products in your diet.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is responsible for creating and maintaining collagen in the body which is important for hair growth. It helps absorb iron which keeps our hair strong and healthy. It also prevents free radicals which cause structural damage to the proteins in hair which lead to split ends and breakage.
Oranges, kiwis, peppers, strawberries and guavas are good sources of vitamin C.
4. Vitamin D
Deficiency of Vitamin D causes hair loss and other hair problems. Research has shown that people with alopecia have much lower levels of vitamin D than people who do not have it. Vitamin D helps in creating new hair follicles- the tiny pores in which hair can grow. New follicles help prevent existing hair from falling out and maintaining their thickness.
Fish liver oils, salmon, cereals, milk and orange juice, are great sources of Vitamin D.
Iron helps in producing haemoglobin that your body uses to transport oxygen in the blood. Its deficiency, which leads to anaemia, can cause difficulty in transporting oxygen to cells that stimulate the growth of hair. This is a major factor in hair starting to thin or fall out. However, it is temporary, and you can regrow the hair you’ve lost.
Reversal of iron deficiency often leads to restoration of hair.
Some iron-rich foods are poultry, salmon, fish, eggs, nuts, broccoli, berries and legumes.
Also called B7 or Vitamin H, Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin which is found in foods such as egg, milk, nuts and grains. It breaks down carbohydrates into energy. As it metabolizes nutrition, it can improve your mood and well being too. It is needed to keep your hair, nails and skin in good health.
Studies have shown that women who took biotin supplement experienced a significant amount of hair growth in the areas affected by hair loss. They also shed less hair. However, Biotin deficiency is rare as it occurs in everyday diet.
Zinc is an essential mineral needed not only for our overall health but also for hair cell growth. It helps in hair tissue growth and repair. Zinc is a powerful antioxidant, which like Vitamin C helps prevent the onslaught of free radicals on hair. It also helps to produce sebum, our hair’s natural oils, which keeps the scalp sufficiently moisturised and free of unwanted microbes and flakes.
Zinc levels are reported to be lower in people suffering from alopecia compared to normal people. Zinc supplementation has proven to show improvements in hair growth according to studies. However, a high dose of zinc supplementation may cause hair loss too. Chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, cocoa powder, whole grains, spinach, soya products and chicken are all excellent sources of the mineral.
Protein is one of the main constituents in keeping your hair healthy and lustrous. Hair cells are composed of keratin, a protein produced in the hair follicles. If you do not consume adequate amounts of proteins, your body will stop supplying it to your hair to ration it. Your hair will become brittle and dry as a result of this.
You can add protein to your diet by consuming all essential amino acids such as cheese, milk, legumes, lentils, soy and yoghurt.
Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid that helps in the maintenance of the cardiovascular system and tissue maintenance. A study published in Advances in Therapy noted that omega-3 significantly reduced hair fall in women. Other studies have showed that lack of omega-3 acids results in dry looking hair which itself can cause dandruff and an itchy scalp. Omega 3 acids add elasticity and brightness to your hair by lubricating hair follicles.
The best sources of Omega 3 acids are flaxseeds, shellfish, canola oil and fish oil supplements.
Selenium is an essential mineral that plays a significant role in hair growth. It neutralizes free radicals, protects hair from oxidative damage and hair follicle morphogenesis. Selenium develops into selenoproteins which promote hair growth. However, too much of it can cause hair loss and should be taken in regulated amounts.
Chia seeds, brown rice, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts and mushrooms are known to be good sources of selenium.
Causes of Hair loss
One of the most common causes of hair loss is hereditary balding, also known as male pattern baldness in men and female pattern baldness in women.
2. Improper chemical treatments
Chemical treatments like dyes and bleaches used to treat hair can damage them. On regular usage of these chemicals, hair becomes thin and brittle.
3. Diseases and hormonal changes
Diseases such as lupus, PCOS and diabetes can increase hair loss. Hormonal changes due to pregnancy, childbirth and thyroid problems also affect hair growth.
4. Inadequate nutrition
When the body suffers from poor nutrition due to fad diets, eating disorders or other illnesses, it causes hair loss. Lack of protein in the diet can also trigger shedding hair.
Hair loss is generally experienced by people after they go through an emotional or physical shock. However, this type of hair loss is temporary and is generally reversed.
Certain prescription drugs, including those for cancer, arthritis, depression and heart problems can cause hair loss as a side effect.
These Vitamins as supplements can curb hair loss to a great extent and improve the texture and quality of hair.