It’s safe to say we all want healthy hair; some may wish to have long hair fast or thicker hair now, but no one wants unhealthy hair. Many cultures around the world view hair as a sign of beauty and health. Unfortunately, for many people growing healthy hair is a challenge. This has led to an increase in hair supplements on the market. Hair growth vitamins are designed to promote new hair growth and strengthen existing follicles after hair loss. They’re often marketed as magic pills that will give your hair volume and a healthy glow. But is that all advertising or do they actually work?
I. A Few Things That Could Interfere With Your Hair Growth:
II. What Are Hair Growth Vitamins?
Hair vitamins are supplements with purported benefits for hair health. Some are a combination of vitamins and minerals and others will only provide vitamins. Many of the supplements may already be in your daily foods or multivitamin if you take one.
The overall health of your body plays a huge role in the way your hair grows, which is why some may swear by hair vitamins. Supplements supply the body with what the body is deficient in or needs on a daily basis. After the right amount of daily vitamins, your body will dump the rest. It is just that simple, the body uses what it needs and gets rid of the rest.
III. What Hair Vitamins Are Good For Hair Growth?
Unhealthy hair can present in several ways, though the most common characteristics are hair thinning, brittle and weak strands, dullness, and lack of growth. The best vitamins for hair growth are chock-full of nutrients like biotin, vitamin C, and vitamin E. There are many essential vitamins and minerals that play a role in hair health, including but not limited to:
1. Vitamin B
Any of the eight B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12) Aka vitamin B complex. The body can’t store B vitamins, so it’s important to take or eat foods rich in them daily. B vitamins affect your energy, metabolism, nerves, muscles, skin, nails, and hair.
2. Vitamin E
An antioxidant that repairs and builds tissue. It can be used as a topical for scalp inflammation. This vitamin contains potent antioxidants, which can contribute to a healthy scalp. Vitamin E is found in avocados, spinach, and almonds.
Vitamin B7, aka biotin, strengthens and maintains the protein structures that makeup hair, skin, and nails. Many people take this to help their hair grow faster and strengthen existing hair. Biotin is one of the most important vitamins for hair growth. However, it’s not a nutrient you can stockpile. Taking more biotin than your body needs doesn’t amplify the benefits.
4. Vitamin A & Vitamin C
Vitamin A is essential for keeping your scalp moist and healthy. It also reduces hair breakage. Vitamin C helps the body produce collagen which is an essential protein in healthy hair. Also considered an antioxidant that fights free radicals that damages body tissue. You can find vitamin A in animal products and leafy greens while Strawberries, peppers, and tomatoes are good sources of vitamin C.
5. Vitamin D
Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with alopecia, among other conditions. Vitamin D also helps hair follicles regulate growth and shedding. Fatty fish, tuna and orange juice fortified with vitamin D can help you get your recommended dose.
6. Zinc & Iron
Being deficient in zinc will lead to reduced digestive health and unbalanced hormones. Alopecia is also associated with zinc deficiency. Zinc is essential for tissue growth and repair. While Iron strengthens and promotes hair growth. Without iron hair will grow slowly, dull, dry, and thin. Food sources with iron include meat, seafood, spinach, beans, and nuts. Zinc cannot be naturally generated in the body and has to be supplemented through your diet. Meat, nuts, and beans are excellent sources of zinc.
If you aren’t getting what you need from your diet, whether because of dietary limitations or medical conditions that impact the gastrointestinal tract, vitamin supplements can help fill the gaps.
IV. Do Hair Growth Vitamins Work?
The short answer is… it’s complicated. No clinical studies definitively back vitamin supplements that restore hair growth and prevent further loss. A vitamin supplement’s ability to help hair health comes down to what is causing hair loss.
If it’s because of medications you are on or medical conditions, vitamins for hair growth aren’t going to help. Some vitamin supplements for hair growth do help strengthen and restore hair shine, but typically only if your problem is a vitamin deficiency. It usually takes up to 3 months from the start of taking a hair vitamin when you will see results. If your body wasn’t deficient in the vitamins/minerals listed, you might not see a change. If your hair is following its natural growing cycle accurately, then the vitamins may not show a difference in hair growth. Also, consider the list above to see if something you are experiencing or may have is interfering with your hair growth.
Hair growth vitamins can also contribute to keeping hair healthy. But while they can help with appearance and strength, they won’t give you Rapunzel-like hair. Many of the nutrients in these supplements are related to hair growth (like biotin and vitamins A, C, and E). That doesn’t mean that taking these vitamins will make your hair grow back longer and thicker.
V. Should You Buy Hair Growth Vitamins?
The best vitamins for hair growth aren’t worth the money unless you have a vitamin deficiency. They aren’t a magic capsule key to commercial-ready hair, and they aren’t something you want to take too much of.
In some cases, changes in your lifestyle and diet can help more than vitamins can. Vitamins are supposed to be supplements to your diet, not a replacement. Rather than purchasing expensive hair vitamins, you’re better off focusing on a healthy diet that includes a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits, whole grains, protein, and healthy fats. This will ensure you get the nutrients your body needs for proper hair growth. Additionally, be sure to focus on other areas of your health, including getting adequate sleep, managing stress, and exercising regularly. When your body is functioning well, it can better support nonessential functions like growing healthy hair.
Hair growth vitamins don’t really work for the average person. However, if your hair is brittle or weak due to age or a vitamin deficiency, vitamin supplements for hair growth may help bring some of that natural shine back.