Vitamins for Promoting Hair Growth - Important Nutrients
What are the useful and important nutrients and vitamins for promoting hair growth?
Beautiful, luxuriantly full hair adds to a persons natural radiance and vitality. In essence, it serves as a reflection of ones health.
The hair growth process moves cyclically, with periods of growth and rest. A high-quality liquid or capsule multivitamin supplies the body with the proper amino acids, vitamins and minerals that may not be present in sufficient quantities in the average diet, and will help create bountiful and healthy hair.
During the hair growth process, as in other body processes, many cellular metabolic requirements of the hair follicle must be met in order to ensure optimal hair growth. Therefore, certain vitamins and minerals must be present in adequate proportions or hair growth will be impeded.
The average modern diet, for a variety of reasons, lacks many vital nutrients. Such a poor diet affects general health, energy levels, as well as contributing to weak or unhealthy hair.
Nutrients and Vitamins for Promoting Hair Growth
Taking proper, daily vitamins and minerals plays an enormous role in keeping hair healthy. Any nutritional deficiencies can lead to thinning hair or even total baldness. Principally, the main vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that you must ingest in some form to maintain healthy hair are vitamin A, all B vitamins - particularly vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid, biotin, vitamin C, vitamin E, copper, iron, zinc, iodine, protein, of course, silica, and essential fatty acids (EFAs, formerly known as vitamin F). In gist, these are the important nutrients and vitamins for promoting hair growth.
Also, you must drink water to stay hydrated.
The best way to maintain a healthy vitamin and mineral intake remains paying careful attention to diet. Many over-the-counter vitamins have been chemically processed and cannot be completely absorbed into the system, while natural whole foods can be absorbed efficiently by the body; it is thus always ideal to obtain your fix of vitamins for promoting hair growth through the latter.
If you do indeed choose to consume supplements to get your supply of vitamins for promoting hair growth, it would be much preferable to go for whole food supplements (e.g. barley grass powder), as supposed to single-substance supplements (e.g. vitamin A pills, or iron tablets).
As part of a holistic natural treatment for hair loss, dietary and lifestyle changes are very important; vitamins for promoting hair growth should ideally be used as a supporting tool, and not in place of those changes. Here is a breakdown of various nutrients and vitamins for promoting hair growth.
Nutrients and Vitamins for Promoting Hair Growth
- Beta-Carotene - 10,000 to 15,000 IU of beta-carotene daily. Beta-carotene serves as an important component of hair growth because beta-carotene converts to vitamin A as the body needs it, helps maintain normal growth and bone development, protective sheathing around nerve fibers, as well as promotes healthy skin, hair and nails.
- Inositol - This micronutrient keeps hair follicles healthy. Food sources include whole grains, organ meats and citrus fruits like lemon or grapefruit.
- Niacin (Vitamin B3) - Aids in promoting scalp circulation. Abundant in food sources like wheat germ, fish, poultry and other lean meats.
- Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) - Helps prevent graying and hair loss. Good food sources include whole grain cereals, organ meats and egg yolks.
- Vitamin A - Vitamin A is a key component to developing healthy cells and tissues in the body, including hair, and acts as an antioxidant that aids in the making of healthy sebum in the scalp. This makes it one of the key vitamins for promoting hair growth. Food sources replete in vitamin A include fish liver oil, meats, low fat milk, cheese, eggs, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, apricots and peaches.
Additionally, vitamin A works with silica and zinc to prevent drying and clogging of the sebaceous glands, the glands vital to producing sebum, which is an important lubricant for the hair follicle that gives hair shine and some strength. Vitamin A deficiencies commonly cause thickening of the scalp, dry hair, and dandruff.
Air pollution, smoking, extremely bright light, certain cholesterol-lowering drugs, laxatives, and aspirin inhibit vitamin A, and should be monitored.
Be particularly careful if you take vitamin A supplements, as vitamin A is fat-soluble, allowing the body to store it and making it easy for the body to overdose on vitamin A. Vitamin A overdoses can cause excessively dry skin and inflamed hair follicles, and in some cases ironically can cause hair loss.
If you choose to take additional supplements of this vitamin, consult with a specialist first. The amount in a standard quality multi-vitamin should be sufficient when combined with a healthy diet.
- Biotin - Works as an anti-aging agent by preventing graying of hair and hair loss. Sources of biotin are whole grains, egg yolks, liver (or similar organ meats), rice and milk.
- Vitamin B12 - Prevents hair loss. Food sources include poultry, eggs and milk.
- Vitamin B6 - Approximately 50 mg daily prevents hair loss. Food sources include brewer's yeast, liver, whole grain cereals, vegetables, other organ meats and egg yolks (not whites).
- Vitamin B-complex - 50 mg of the major B-vitamins (including folate, biotin and inositol).
B-vitamins work interdependently and therefore all levels of B vitamins need to be sufficient in order to maintain proper health.
Vitamins B6, folic acid, biotin, and vitamin B12 are all key components in maintaining healthy hemoglobin levels in the blood - the iron-containing portion of red-blood cells. Hemoglobins primary function is to carry oxygen from the lungs to the tissues of the body, so if these vitamins are deficient in your body, then hair and skin will suffer in appearance and vitality. In this way, the B vitamins are among the vitamins for promoting hair growth.
Vitamin B6 is found in protein-rich foods, which is excellent because the body needs a sufficient amount of protein to maintain hair growth as well. Folic acid is found in whole grains, cereals, nuts, green leafy vegetables, orange juice, brewers yeast, wheat germ, and liver again.
Women should take additional folic acid supplements, especially during the reproductive years. Biotin deficiencies are rare unless there is a severe case of malnutrition or a serious intestinal disorder, since a healthy gut produces biotin through the presence of good bacteria found there.
- Vitamin C - Vitamin C is another of the vitamins for promoting hair growth. Sources of this vitamin include citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi, cantaloupe, pineapple, tomatoes, and dark green vegetables with bioflavonoids - one to two grams daily will aid the development of healthy collagen, which must be present in order to hold body tissues together. A vitamin C deficiency can cause split ends and hair breakage - easily reversible with an increase to normal vitamin C levels.
- Vitamin E - Yet another of the vitamins for promoting hair growth, 400 to 800 IU of vitamin E daily helps in improving scalp circulation. Food sources rich in vitamin E are vegetable oils, wheat germ oil, soybeans, raw seeds and nuts, dried beans, and leafy green vegetables.
Vitamin E is necessary to provide good blood circulation to the scalp by increasing the uptake of oxygen. Most ready-to-eat cereals are now fortified with vitamin E, so deficiencies are therefore rare in people in North America and Europe. In the rare case of a vitamin E deficiency, it can usually be traced to an inability to absorb oils and fats. In this situation, dietary supplements are available.
- Copper - Copper is a trace mineral necessary in the production of hemoglobin. Good sources of copper are liver, seafood, nuts, and seeds. It should also be present in multivitamins, but should not be taken in larger than recommended doses.
- Iron - Another key mineral vital in the production of hemoglobin is iron. Iron is found in two forms, heme and non-heme. Heme iron can be easily absorbed into the system. Most people know that red meat can be a source of iron; however, red meat has non-heme iron, which is difficult for the body to absorb, as are many iron supplements. Good heme iron sources include green leafy vegetables, kidney beans and bran, so stock up your refrigerator and pantry with these.
Additionally, you can increase the absorption of non-heme iron into your body by consuming non-heme food sources and vitamin C sources in the same meal. Many women become deficient in iron over the course of a menstrual cycle, so a good womens multi vitamin supplement will help.
Nutrients and Vitamins for Promoting Hair Growth - Conclusion
The information provided here has given an overview on the various nutrients and vitamins for promoting hair growth. Once again, it must be reiterated that the ideal way to get these vitamins for promoting hair growth is through the consumption of a healthy and balanced diet consisting of organic, natural whole foods. If supplements must be taken to obtain these nutrients, whole food supplements are generally much preferred over single-substance ones.
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