10 Best Vitamins for Hair Growth
Hair loss is an unpleasant experience that can occur in a variety of ways. Whether it’s due to aging, stress, illness, medication, or any other factor, hair loss can be extremely frustrating and embarrassing for men and women alike. Fortunately, there are several vitamins that are known to promote healthy hair growth and stop hair loss in its tracks! Read on to learn about the 10 best vitamins for hair growth.
Biotin, otherwise known as vitamin B7, is a water-soluble vitamin that promotes hair growth by keeping your follicles strong and healthy. Like many vitamins, biotin is present in a variety of foods. For example, it’s found in egg yolks, soybeans and avocado. Biotin also helps metabolize fatty acids like omega-3s, which is why you’ll find it added to shampoos and conditioners designed to make your hair healthier. Plus, research shows that taking biotin supplements may increase hair density over time.
2) Vitamin A
Vitamin A, also known as retinol and beta-carotene, is a fat-soluble vitamin that aids in cell growth and supports hair follicles. Vitamin A works by increasing collagen production (collagen makes up many of our skin cells), which results in increased volume. According to a research study, it may also help thicken hair follicles when combined with zinc (source). The recommended daily intake of vitamin A is about 7,000 IU per day for men and 9,300 IU per day for women. However, more than 3,000 IU per day may cause side effects such as headache or nausea (source). To get your recommended daily dose of vitamin A through food sources include: sweet potatoes, carrots and kale.
Iron is a trace mineral that’s essential to healthy hair growth. It allows your body to produce hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to your organs and tissues. About two-thirds of your body’s iron supply resides in your red blood cells, where it helps with respiration and maintains their flexibility. The rest is stored in tissues such as muscle and skin. Women are at particular risk of deficiency due to menstrual cycles and childbirth. Your doctor can check your levels with a simple blood test if you think you might be lacking in iron.
4) Folic Acid
Folic acid is an essential vitamin, meaning your body doesn’t produce it on its own. In fact, over half of Americans don’t get enough folic acid in their diet—something that can lead to hair loss or thinning hair. That makes supplementation a smart idea if you want to promote healthy hair growth. While we do need folate in our diets, there’s a big difference between folate and folic acid. They are not interchangeable because they have very different chemical properties and have different physiological roles in your body.
Protein helps keep hair strong and healthy, so take a few minutes at dinner to cut up a little bit of your lean protein (like chicken or fish) and add it to your salad. Protein-rich foods are also important in helping grow new hair. Protein can be found in meat, eggs, nuts, legumes and some fruits and vegetables. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, you should consider adding a protein supplement to your diet. Vegan protein powder made from rice is a cheap way to help get all of your daily nutrients if you don’t eat enough beans, nuts or soy products in one day.
6) Coconut Oil
Coconut oil contains fatty acids that help hair grow, making it ideal for moisturizing dry locks. If you’re struggling with thin or brittle hair, try mixing a teaspoon of coconut oil into your favorite shampoo to give it some extra body and shine. You can also apply coconut oil directly to your scalp and work it through your hair. Be sure to cover up any loose strands with a shower cap if you’re planning on leaving the treatment in overnight! Coconut oil is also often used as a natural conditioner—just be sure not to leave it in too long, as that could cause buildup.
7) Egg Yolks
Egg yolks are an excellent source of biotin and folate, two key vitamins for hair growth. Biotin, also known as vitamin H or B7, is an essential nutrient that promotes healthy hair growth by helping to maintain normal levels of keratin, a protein found in your hair. As egg yolks contain 10 micrograms (mcg) of biotin per serving, that’s nearly all your body needs to grow healthy hair each day. Your daily recommended intake of biotin is between 30 mcg and 100 mcg depending on your age—which means you’ll get enough from eating one egg a day.
You may have heard that zinc-rich foods are great for your body, but did you know that they’re also beneficial to your hair? Zinc, a trace mineral that helps in cell division and growth, is an essential part of any healthy diet. Fortunately, most Americans consume adequate amounts of zinc from their diets. For example, just one serving of beef liver contains over 1 mg of zinc. Many other foods contain zinc as well—but if you suspect a deficiency (it can be difficult to gauge whether or not you’re getting enough), it may be best to consider taking supplements.
9) Horsetail Herb
This herb grows near water sources and is sometimes called shave grass because people used to harvest it when their razors got dull. The herb is packed with silica, which helps your hair grow long and strong. Horsetail also promotes collagen production, which can make your hair look fuller. Additionally, horsetail has antibacterial properties that help prevent dandruff and folliculitis—also known as ingrown hairs. To get the most from horsetail in terms of your hair growth vitamins, you should eat fresh or dried horsetail leaves regularly. You can also use supplements containing horsetail extract on a daily basis to ensure you are receiving all of its benefits.
10) Silica Supplement
The most common use of silica supplements is to strengthen nails, skin and hair. Silica works in several ways to promote hair growth. First, it helps your body absorb important minerals that are required for strong healthy hair. Silica also helps produce collagen, a protein that provides strength and elasticity to your hair strands. Finally, silica promotes blood circulation in your scalp which improves overall circulation. According to some studies, taking 100 milligrams of silica per day can enhance hair growth by up to 19 percent after six months.