Our hair thrive for the right blend of nutrients to grow just like our body does and its intake depends on foods rich in proteins, minerals and certain essential vitamins. However, the current unhealthy diet that most of us follow and the hairstyles requiring heat to straighten and perm the hair can very easily strip off the protein and the nutrition that makes our hair strong and healthy.
Crash diets that are extremely low in calories, can significantly reduce the intake of nutrients essential for promoting long and healthy hair like Vitamin A,B and omega-3 fatty acid. Moreover, smoking can also contract blood vessels, reducing blood circulation in the scalp, keeping the hair devoid of nutrients needed for hair growth.A diet lacking vitamins slows down hair growth, making it appear dull and brittle leading to the shedding of hair.
Obtaining these nutrients by consuming the right diet, consisting of all the essential vitamins and proteins has been considered to be much better than using marketed dietary supplements that claim to thicken or promote faster growth since they are very good chances that they may back-fire.
Formulated with essential nutrients, the following list of vitamins can boost your normal hair growth rate i.e. on an average about half an inch per month to an inch per month.
Vitamins For Hair Growth
Vitamin A acts as a powerful anti-oxidant that improves scalp health, by helping in the production of an oily substance called sebum by hair follicles. This fluid lubricates the hair, acting as a natural hair-conditioner or a moisturizer and promotes hair growth. Dark green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, swiss chard, cabbage, fruits like apricots, peaches, oranges and fish liver oil, meat, eggs, milk and cheese are good sources of vitamin A and C. Including carrots in your diet or as toppings on salads can serve as an excellent source of vitamin A, that promotes a healthy scalp which forms the foundation for shiny and well conditioned hair.
However, a dosage of more than 25,000 IU of vitamin A daily has been found to have an opposite effect on hair and may prove detrimental for hair growth. Excess vitamin A would lead to excess secretion of sebum that can make the hair oily. Similarly, a deficiency of vitamin A can make the hair appear dull and dry by depriving it of sebum.
B complex Vitamins
Exclusively found in fortified wheat bread, whole-grain breakfast cereals and in other foods like poultry, eggs, fish, green vegetables, B vitamins are very important for hair growth and also for preventing hair loss and breakage.
Biotin promotes healthy hair growth and protects hair against dryness. It also aids in the synthesis of a hair protein called keratin that prevents shedding and graying of hair. Its deficiency leads to slow growth and thinning of hair making them brittle. Its daily required dosage of 150-300 micrograms can be obtained from sources like cereal-grain products, liver, egg yolk, soy flour, yeast and legumes like lentils and kidney beans.
Vitamin B3 (Naicin)
This vitamin improves blood circulation in the scalp by essentially improving blood flow to the hair follicles, which in turn promotes hair growth. Found mostly in wheat germ, fish, chicken, turkey and meat, its required daily dose is 15 mg.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)
Studies have shown that vitamin B5 is very essential for hair growth and it also gives flexibility, strength and imparts a shine to the hair. A daily dose of 4-7 mg of vitamin B5 mostly found in foods like egg yolks, whole grain cereal, organ meats etc. helps in preventing hair loss and graying.
Vitamin B6 has a major role in regulating the function of hormones and hence acts to promote hair growth, preventing it from shedding and thinning. It also serves as a precursor for a compound called melanin that gives the hair its color. Its food sources include cereals, egg yolk, vegetables and liver and a daily dose of 1.6 mg is needed for obtaining healthy hair.
This vitamin promotes hair growth by keeping the hair follicles healthy at the cellular level. Mostly found in foods like whole grains, brewer’s yeast, liver and citrus fruits, a daily dose of 600 mg can help in the growth of healthy hair.
A daily dose of 2mg of vitamin B12 helps prevent hair loss and speeds hair growth. Increasing vitamin B12 consumption by including fish, eggs, chicken and milk in your diet can stimulate hair growth.Salmon is the best source of vitamin B-12, omega-3 fatty acids and proteins whose deficiency can lead to a dry scalp making the hair appear dull. Eggs also promote hair growth and forms a good source of the two important beauty nutrients namely biotin and vitamin B-12.
Acting as a powerful antioxidant, it help maintain healthy hair, prevents hair breakage and promotes hair growth. All citrus fruits like grapefruit, oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines, strawberries, berries, kiwi, melon, cantaloupe, pineapple, green peppers, potatoes, tomatoes and dark green vegetables form a good source of vitamin C. A daily Dose of 60 mg has been recommended for hair growth.
Yet another antioxidant, vitamin E enhances blood circulation in the scalp thus encouraging hair growth. It also repairs damaged cells and synthesizes proteins essential for maintaining long hair. A daily dose of up to 400 IU can be obtained from food sources like leafy green vegetables, cold-pressed vegetable oils, soybeans, wheat germ oil, raw seeds, beans, nuts, dried beans, and avocados. However, people using medication for high blood pressure will need clearance from a medical practitioner to include vitamin E supplements in their diet since the intake of this vitamin can reduce blood clotting and raise blood pressure.
Found mostly in seafood, green vegetables, figs, eggs, liver, wheat, cabbage, oatmeal, and in dairy products like yogurt and milk it is known to strengthen the hair and promotes its growth. The daily dose recommended is 90-120 micrograms. Hence enriching your diet with food sources consisting of the above mentioned hair vitamins that form the strongest sources of healthy hair can strengthen and promote hair growth, allowing you to get rid of dull hair, without causing any side-effects. One can even consult a doctor and start taking multivitamin supplements, if their diet lacks the essential vitamins needed for hair growth.