(OrganicJar) When it comes to having healthy hair, it's more important to step out of the shower and into the kitchen. Without adequate nutrition, hair is more likely to be dull, to be thin and to turn gray. A change in diet and vitamin intake can improve the heath and appearance of your hair.
So if you're looking to improve the health of your hair consider supplementing your diet with these vitamins and minerals. Don't forget, the best way to obtain these nutrients is from whole foods.
The Most Important Vitamins for Healthy Hair:
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USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 20.
Mayo Clinic; Vitamin E; December 2010
University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC): Vitamin H (Biotin); Steven D. Ehrlich; 2009
University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC): Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid); Steven D. Ehrlich; 2009
Folic Acid (Vitamin B9 or Folate)
One of the most important nutrients to prevent hair loss.
Folic Acid is one of the most chemically complicated vitamins and is vital to the proper functioning of the human body. Folic Acid aids in tissue growth and the proper functioning of cells. It's responsible for hair growth by renewing the cells that grow hair, a deficiency in folic acid can inhibit the health of your hair and lead to premature graying and hair loss.
Best food source for Folic Acid: Lentils, spinach, asparagus, turnip greens, beans, and sunflower seeds.
Suggested Daily Dose of Folic Acid: 400 mcg
The second most important vitamin for hair loss prevention.
Vitamin A is an antioxidant known to improve hair texture and sheen. Vitamin A protects your hair from free radical damage and assist in producing sebum in the scalp which leads to healthy oils throughout the hair preventing dry hair. Also, vitamin A is used to help your body deal with stress, which can be a key factor of hair loss.
Best food source for Vitamin A: Liver, dandelion greens, carrots, broccoli leaf, sweet potato, kale, spinach, and cantaloupe melon.
Suggested Daily Dose of Vitamin A: 5,000 IU *More than 25,000 IU of animal Vitamin A (Retinol) is toxic and can cause hair loss and other serious health problems. There is no reported limit to plant Vitamin A (Carotenoids).
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
The most essential vitamin for protecting hair against free radicals.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant vitamin. Vitamin C increases blood circulation throughout the body, including the scalp and helps prevent hair breakage, and promotes hair growth. It is also known to prevent both discoloration and hair loss. Dry and splitting hair may be the result of a deficiency in Vitamin C.
Best food source for Vitamin C: Camu Camu, acerola, rose hip, green chili pepper, guava, red pepper, parsley, kiwifruit, and broccoli
Suggested Daily Dose of Vitamin C: 1,500 mg
The most important vitamin for increasing scalp circulation.
Vitamin E is another antioxidant that enhances scalp circulation and is essential to the overall appearance of your hair. Vitamin E is known to help in the production and repair of hair cells, which in turn prevents split ends, aids in the prevention of hair loss and helps your hair grow faster.
Best food source for Vitamin E: Wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, almonds, hazelnuts, spinach, turnip, beet, and avocado.
Suggested Daily Dose of Vitamin E: Up to 1000 IU. *Over 1000 IU can raise blood pressure and reduce clotting so check with your doctor if you're on high blood pressure medications.
Biotin (Vitamin B7 or Vitamin H)
The most important vitamin for hair growth.
Biotin has the important function of helping cells produce energy. It produces a fibrous protein called keratin that helps prevent hair loss and hair greying. Biotin also increases the elasticity of the hair's cortex, thus preventing breakage. A Biotin deficiency can leave your scalp itchy and scaly.
Best food source for Biotin: Swiss chard, raw egg yolks, liver, saskatoon berries, leafy green vegetables, and peanuts.
Suggested Daily Dose of Biotin: 35 mcg
The second most important vitamin for hair growth.
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient used in DNA formation as well as the creation of red blood cells that provide oxygen to all the vital organs in the body. The hair follicles require oxygen just like the rest of your body and if there is a shortage the hair follicles don't receive proper nutrients. A deficiency in Vitamin B12 can result in hair loss, slow hair growth, and premature greying.
Best food source for Vitamin B12: Liver, oysters, clams, mussels, octopus, mackerel, crab, beef and cheese.
Suggested Daily Dose of Vitamin B12: 5 mcg
Niacin (Vitamin B3)
An essential vitamin to prevent hair thinning.
Niacin plays an essential role in assisting with the body's energy production. Niacin has a dilating effect on blood vessels and capillaries which results in an increase in circulation throughout the body including the scalp. This increase in circulation helps stimulate hair growth and prevent hair thinning. Studies have found niacin works best when combined with biotin.
Best food source for Niacin: Yeast extract (marmite), rice and wheat bran, tuna, liver, paprika, peanuts, veal, chicken, and sun-dried tomatoes.
Suggested Daily Dose of Niacin: 20 mg