Hair plays an important role in a woman’s personal appearance and how we feel about ourselves. We associate luscious locks with health, beauty and youth.
While there are other factors that contribute to hair growth, optimal nutrition intake is key.
The absolute best way to get these nutrients is by eating a balanced, real food-based diet that includes plenty of nutrient based foods.
Your hair grows about 1/4 to 1/2 inch every month if you have an adequate diet with healthy nutrients.
Vitamin C is essential for the production of a protein known as collagen in the body – the amino acid that is responsible for skin rejuvenation, strengthening our bones, teeth and making our hair beautiful and strong.
When you are not getting enough vitamin C, it can lead to dry or splitting hair, which in turn can lead to hair loss.
Vitamin C is water-soluble. Which means that your body doesn’t store or accumulate it. That’s why daily intake is highly important.
As an added bonus: Although intake of Vitamin C is not directly linked to upliftment of your mood, it does play an integral role in targeting serotonin.
Vitamin C is another serotonin cofactor that can act as a natural antidepressant. (1)
One study found that participants who were given vitamin C reported feeling happier, often within as little as one week. (2)
Vitamin C Supplementation
If you can’t get adequate amounts of vitamin C through your diet due to illness or other reasons, you may need a supplement. The U.S. Department of Agriculture sets the Recommended Dietary Allowance of vitamin C at 90 mg daily for men and 75 mg a day for women. If you smoke, are pregnant or breast-feeding, the RDA is increased by 35 mg everyday for both men and women.
Foods Rich in Vitamin C
- Citrus Fruits
- Bell Peppers
Try to consume these foods in their raw forms, heat causes reduction of Vitamin C in foods.
Research also shows that vitamin D may help create new follicles — little pores where new hair can grow (4).
One of the things that Vitamin D is known for is helping to reduce stress and keeps you feeling good. This in turn helps keep more hair on your head, especially if your hair loss is exacerbated by extreme levels of stress. You can actually find Vitamin D inside the follicles of healthy hair, and you don’t find it in the follicles of unhealthy hair.
Listed below is only a fraction of other amazing benefits of Vitamin D.
- Vitamin D provides calcium balance in the body and prevents arthritis.
- Vitamin D regulates blood pressure and reduces stress and tension. It also relieves body aches and pains by reducing muscle spasms.
- Vitamin D also helps to differentiate between cells, aids in insulin secretion and helps to fight depression
- Research has indicated that people with low level of Vitamin D have a significantly lower risk of developing cancer, as compared to people with adequate level of Vitamin D.
- Vitamin D optimizes our body’s ability to absorb other important weight loss nutrients, especially calcium. If our body lacks calcium, it can lead to up to 5 fold increase in fatty acids synthesis, an enzyme that converts calories into fats.
- It is an important way to arm the immune system against disorders like cold and flu.
- It also reduces the risk of developing sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis is much less common near the tropics where there is ample sunlight.
- Vitamin D keeps the brain active even at later stages of life. It also helps to maintain body weight.
Unlike other vitamins, we do not need to get Vitamin D from foods. The main source of Vitamin D is made by our own body with the help of sunlight. Our body can synthesize Vitamin D with adequate exposure to sun.
People who are exposed to normal quantities of sunlight do not need Vitamin D supplements because sunlight promotes sufficient Vitamin D synthesis in the body.
Always consider a doctor before taking any vitamin, as overdose of vitamin D can be harmful.
The best way to get Vitamin D is through sunshine, but sometimes that just isn’t possible.
So here is a list of foods rich in Vitamin D:
- Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon
- Some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals
- Beef liver
- Egg yolks
Similar to vitamin C, vitamin E is an antioxidant that can 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 (5).
Vitamin E is a great stimulant for growth of capillaries, when the capillaries are healthy and profuse, the blood circulation in the scalp will be enhanced which will therefore promote strong and healthy growth of hair.
Vitamin E contains effective and potent antioxidants that inhibit good health of our body tissues, when our body tissues are strong and healthy, our aging process slows down as well. Therefore, aging signs that may appear in our skin and hair will slow down as well. With regular intake of vitamin D, you will notice that not only will the skin look younger, but premature graying of the hair will be prevented as well (6).
Foods Rich in Vitamin E
- Sweet Potato
- Wheat germ
- Sunflower Seeds
- Palm Oil
- Butternut squash
- Olive Oil
A review of 40 years of research shows that iron deficiency has a much closer link to hair loss than most doctors realize. It may be the key to restoring hair growth, Cleveland Clinic dermatologists find (7).
Iron deficiency hair loss is caused when the body lacks enough iron to produce hemoglobin in the blood. Hemoglobin is the ingredient that carries oxygen for the growth and repair of all body cells including the cells that make up hair follicles.
Foods Rich in Iron
- Red meat
- Leafy vegetables
- Beans and lentils
- Cereals and breads that are fortified with iron
- Black-eyed peas and chickpeas
- Clams and oysters
I can’t say this enough. Do not take iron supplements on your own. Unless you have iron deficiency — diagnosed by a doctor — iron supplements can lead to a very dangerous condition from iron overload.
Hair made almost entirely made up of protein filaments, called keratin, and chains of amino acids. Exposure to harsh chemicals and poor maintenance can break up the chains and lead to brittle, dull, and damaged strands. Protein strengthens and repairs the keratin, therefore giving hair structure and helping it grow longer and stronger.
Protein is essential for every organ in your body. It is particularly involved in healthy hair. Keratinocytes are responsible for making keratin, a type of protein essential to hair growth. If you do not take in enough in your diet, hair loss can occur or hair can become dull and brittle.
Foods High in Protein
- Chicken Breast
- Cottage Cheese
- Greek Yogurt
- Lean Beef
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Turkey Breast
View our previous article on all the wonderful benefits of Vitamin B. Click Here
Always seek doctor’s advice before taking any vitamins, feel good, enjoy your life, and soak in some sunshine. Stay beautiful and healthy!!
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(1) Be Brain Fit, Natural Antidepressants: 14 Proven Ways to Beat Depression Without Drugs, By Deane Alban
(2) NCBI, Vitamin C provision improves mood in acutely hospitalized patients, Zhang M1, Robitaille L, Eintracht S, Hoffer LJ, Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, McGill University, and Jewish General Hospital, 3755 Cote Sainte Catherine, Montreal, QC H3T 1E2, Canada. email@example.com
(3) NCBI ,Ann Dermatol. 2012 Aug; 24(3): 341–344,Published online 2012 Jul 25. doi: 10.5021/ad.2012.24.3.341 PMCID: PMC3412244, Successful Treatment of Alopecia Areata with Topical Calcipotriol,Dong Ha Kim, M.D., Jin Woong Lee, M.D., In Su Kim, M.D., Sun Young Choi, M.D., Yun Young Lim, Ph.D., Hyeong Mi Kim, M.S., Beom Joon Kim, M.D., Ph.D.,corresponding author and Myeung Nam Kim, M.D., Ph.D.
(4) Stem Cell Translational Medicine,1α,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 Modulates the Hair-Inductive Capacity of Dermal Papilla Cells: Therapeutic Potential for Hair Regeneration
Noriyuki Aoia, Keita Inouea, Toshihiro Chikanishib,c, Ryoji Fujikic, Hanako Yamamotod, Harunosuke Katoa, Hitomi Etoa, Kentaro Doia, Satoshi Itamie, Shigeaki Katob,c and Kotaro Yoshimuraa
(5) NCBI, Effects of tocotrienol supplementation on hair growth in human volunteers.Beoy LA1, Woei WJ2, Hay YK1, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia 11800 USM, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia, Hovid Bhd, 121, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, 30010 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
(7) WebMD, Hair Loss? It May Be Iron Deficiency, Too Little Iron in Blood of Men and Women Shedding Hair, By Daniel J. DeNoon
(8) NCBI, Protein intake and energy balance. Westerterp-Plantenga MS1.
Department of Human Biology, Nutrim, and Wageningen Centre of Food Sciences, Maastricht University, P O Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands. M.Westerterp@hb.unimaas.nl
(9) NCBI, Dietary protein to maximize resistance training: a review and examination of protein spread and change theories, John D BosseEmail author and Brian M Dixon