Vitamin deficiencies are one of the common causes of hair loss and hair thinning. While it is one of the most common and top causes, it is also one of the lesser-known ones. Most people dealing with hair loss will typically not gravitate toward this conclusion.
It's important to rule out vitamin deficiency first and foremost before ruling out other causes of hair loss. This is because nutritional deficiency is one of the easiest issues to treat. If you can determine that this is the main cause of your hair loss, it will be less likely that you'll need to get expensive and drastic treatments.
This article will delve into the specific vitamin deficiencies causing hair loss and provide information on prevention. So, how do you know if your hair loss is caused by a vitamin deficiency? Here is what you need to know.
Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Hair Loss
Everything in our bodies is powered by vitamins, minerals, and the nourishment we get from our diet. The hair isn't any different. It needs essential nutrients to promote healthy hair follicles and regulate hair growth. While topical hair care products are great for improving your hair health, your diet will always be the main source of nutrition.
However, everyone is different. There can be instances when you can't have certain foods depending on your medical status or personal lifestyle choices. Even having the most balanced, nutritious diet can result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies for some because each body can process foods differently.
When this happens, the functions in the hair follicles become sluggish, which can result in weak, brittle hair and lead to thinning hair.
Which Vitamin Deficiency Causes Hair Loss
While generally, keeping a healthy diet will always be beneficial and support healthy hair growth, there are some specific mineral and vitamin deficiencies that cause hair loss more than any other deficiency.
Among the various vitamins, deficiencies in the vitamin B complex, Iron, vitamin D, and Zinc have been associated with hair loss. Let's explore these deficiencies further:
B Vitamin Deficiency
Certain vitamin B deficiencies such as Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), biotin (vitamin B7 or vitamin H), folate, and vitamin B12 deficiency have been associated with hair loss. These are essential vitamins that play a huge role when it comes to cell development and hair strength. Common symptoms of B-vitamin deficiencies include fatigue, weakness, and changes in hair texture. While it is generally uncommon to have this deficiency, it's still possible if, for example, you have a very restrictive diet or are getting older.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
Vitamin B2 is essential for several metabolic processes, such as energy production and cell function, directly impacting hair follicles. It also plays a crucial role in oxygen or blood flow and converting nutrients to energy, all processes necessary for hair growth. Insufficient riboflavin could mess with these processes, slow hair growth, and cause hair fall.
Vitamin B7 (biotin or vitamin H)
Biotin is another b vitamin that plays a big role in the metabolism of fatty acids, glucose, and amino acids. It is also among the most popular hair, skin, and nail supplement ingredients. Biotin deficiency can be acquired or genetic. If genetic, it manifests at birth and is life-threatening, while acquired biotin deficiency can be obtained from eating raw eggs, malabsorption, alcoholism, pregnancy, prolonged use of antibiotics, and certain use of medications.
Folic acid and Vitamin B12 deficiency
Folic acid and vitamin B12 are essential for DNA synthesis, neurological function, red blood cell formation, and amino acid metabolism. Due to their role in nucleic acid production, they can have a big effect on the hair follicles.
It is important to note that other B vitamins, such as thiamin (vitamin B1), niacin (vitamin B3), and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), are necessary for overall hair health, but their deficiencies have not been directly linked to hair loss.
Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency, especially in females with hair loss. Studies suggest this deficiency is directly related to female pattern hair loss and telogen effluvium. Iron deficiency anemia symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, paleness, brittle nails, headaches, and hair loss or damaged hair. If you are experiencing hair loss because of being iron deficient, vitamin C intake is crucial because it helps with iron absorption.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Research has shown that a lack of vitamin D can be associated with alopecia areata. Insufficient vitamin D levels can disrupt the hair growth cycle since it is vital in hair follicle cycling and activation. Vitamin D deficiency symptoms can also include brittle bones, pain, fatigue, and muscle weakness. Adequate exposure to sunlight and consuming foods rich in vitamin D can help prevent this deficiency.
Zinc is essential for several metabolic processes, immune function, DNA, and protein synthesis, including the production of keratin, a protein that makes up our hair. Lack of this nutrient is directly related to alopecia as one of the most common symptoms of zinc deficiency. Other symptoms may include skin dryness and delayed wound healing.
Vitamin Overdose Leading to Hair loss
While vitamin deficiency causes hair loss, it is important to note that excessive intake of certain vitamins can also have adverse effects. Hypervitaminosis A, characterized by an excessive amount of vitamin A in the body, has been linked to alopecia. Similarly, selenium toxicity can also lead to alopecia. Maintaining a balanced approach is crucial to avoid vitamin overdosing which can lead to hair loss.
How to prevent vitamin deficiency and promote hair growth
Thankfully, hair loss caused by vitamin deficiencies is easy to solve. The obvious solution would be to consume more of the vitamin that you are lacking but to give you a bit more information on how you can deal with vitamin deficiency, here are a few more tips:
Maintain a balanced diet and focus on nutrient-rich foods
Maintaining a balanced diet and focusing on nutrient-rich foods is essential for preventing vitamin deficiencies and promoting healthy hair growth. In addition to the vitamins mentioned above, other essential vitamins and minerals, such as omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and vitamins C and E, contribute to maintaining healthy hair. Including foods like leafy greens, citrus fruits, fatty fish, meat, nuts, and seeds and avoiding empty calories can help ensure you receive an adequate supply of these essential nutrients.
Avoid crash diets or extreme weight loss
If you are trying to lose weight, do not do crash diets or anything drastic that will cause extreme and sudden weight loss. It is a very stressful event on the body and can cause severe hair fall. Opt for healthier methods such as exercising and portion control of healthy, nutrient-rich foods. Lose those extra pounds gradually rather than quickly to avoid hair loss and other complications.
Consider supplementation but don't overdose on vitamins
Not everyone can get the nutrients that they need in just their diet. Supplements are sometimes necessary to maintain the amount of vitamins and minerals you need. However, you must know exactly which ones you should take and not overdose on vitamins, as this can have negative health consequences. It is best to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to determine if supplements are necessary and to ensure they are taken in the right dosage.
Protect your hair from damage
Protecting your hair from damage is also important. While hair gets most of its nutrition from your diet, there may need to be more than just vitamins to treat hair loss. Addressing any underlying causes and following a comprehensive approach to hair care is essential.
Avoid excessive heat styling, harsh chemical treatments, and tight hairstyles that strain hair follicles. Natural hair growth products are also a major help in preventing hair fall, protecting it from damage, and promoting hair growth. Consider switching to a hair growth shampoo enriched with natural vegan ingredients specially formulated to promote faster hair growth and prevent hair loss while thoroughly cleansing the hair and scalp of impurities.
Consult a healthcare professional
Before proceeding with anything, it's important to consult a healthcare professional first. Various factors can cause hair loss, including hormonal imbalances, genetics, nutritional deficiencies, and underlying health conditions. A healthcare professional can help diagnose the root cause and provide personalized guidance for hair loss treatment options.
Consulting a professional about what supplements you should be taking and what foods you can eat is also essential, especially for those with intolerances or allergies.
Health Is Wealth!
Hair health is one of the ways we can tell if our body is going through any major changes. Hair loss, dryness, brittleness, and generally poor hair health can indicate that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. Vitamin deficiencies can be one of the root causes of changes in your hair's health.
To be safe and sure, consult a professional to find out if a deficiency is the cause of your hair loss. This is also essential to ensure that your overall health and well-being is taken care of.