Updated: Feb 19
1. Vitamin A
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. So a diet deficient in vitamin A may lead to several problems, including hair loss. It's important to get enough vitamin A, but don't overdo it - too much vitamin A can also contribute to hair loss.
Foods that you can eat: Sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, spinach, and kale are all high in betacarotene, which is turned into vitamin A. Can also be found in animal products such as milk, eggs, and yogurt. Cod liver oil is an excellent source.
2. B vitamins
The most popular of vitamins for hair growth is a B vitamin called biotin. Studies link biotin deficiency with hair loss in humans. Although biotin is used as an alternative hair loss treatment, those who are deficient have the best results. Biotin deficiency is very rare because it occurs naturally in a wide range of foods. Other B vitamins help create red blood cells, which carry oxygen and nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles. These processes are important for hair growth.
You can get B vitamins from many foods, including:
dark, leafy greens
Important to note animal foods are the only good sources of vitamin B12. So if you’re following a vegan diet, consider taking a supplement.
3. Vitamin C
Free radical damage, block the growth and cause your hair to age. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against the oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
In addition, your body needs vitamin C to create a protein known as collagen — an important part of the hair structure. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron, a mineral necessary for hair growth.
Some foods to eat for Vit C: Strawberries, peppers, guavas, and citrus fruits are all good sources of vitamin C.
4. Vitamin D
Did you know low levels of vitamin D are linked to alopecia, a technical term for hair loss?
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. Your body produces vitamin D through direct contact with the sun’s rays. Good dietary sources of vitamin D include:
cod liver oil
5. Vitamin E
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.
Good source of Vit E: Sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, and avocados
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.
Foods high in iron include clams, oysters, eggs, red meat, spinach, and lentils.
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. Studies show resolving zinc deficiency with supplementation may reduce deficiency-related hair loss.
However, there are some anecdotal reports that supplementing with too high of a dose can also contribute to hair loss. For this reason, it may be better to get your zinc from whole foods.
Foods high in zinc include oysters, beef, spinach, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, and lentils.
Hair is made almost entirely of protein. Consuming enough is important for hair growth.
Studies show that protein deficiency may decrease hair growth and even lead to hair loss.
However, actual protein deficiency is extremely rare in Western countries.
Eating enough protein is important for hair growth, although a protein deficiency is rare in Western countries these days. Additionally, large doses of vitamins and minerals can be harmful if you aren’t deficient. So work with your GP to determine if you have a deficiency.
After all, the best way to get these nutrients is by eating a balanced, real-food–based diet that includes plenty of nutrient-dense foods.