Does Vitamin Deficiency Cause Hair Loss? Young man looking at his receding hairline

Vitamin Deficiency and Hair Loss - Here’s What We Know

Posted by Otis Skincare on

There’s enormous and conflicting evidence about this!

We know that a healthy, balanced diet is important for healthy hair. And any disruption to that – from sudden weight loss, low-calorie diets or obesity - can all cause hair loss.

But what about nutritional deficiencies?

Which are the vitamins and minerals that are essential to keep your hair follicles healthy?

Keep reading for a list of the micronutrients that if you’re missing out on, could lead to hair loss.

Along with the best food sources to make sure you’re not! …

 

vitamin deficiency causes hair loss

 

The role of your diet in preventing and treating hair loss is a hot topic of research.

Hair Loss and Nutrition 

There are about 100,000 hair follicles on your scalp, and they need specific nutrients - including proteins, vitamins and minerals - to create healthy hair.

These micronutrients are the main elements of the hair follicle cycle. So, even though they’re only required in minute amounts, they’re very important in preventing and treating hair loss.

And deficiencies can also make your hair feel thinner and more brittle.

 

Which vitamin deficiency leads to hair loss?

Certain micronutrients are major elements in the hair follicle growth cycle, playing a key role in cell turnover in the follicle bulb.

This area is quite controversial because research is so limited. But the studies that are available suggest deficiencies in the following micronutrients can all contribute to hair loss:

  • B-Complex vitamins – including riboflavin, biotin, folic acid and vitamin B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Zinc

These are all micronutrients that are involved in the hair growth cycle – and deficiencies can disrupt this cycle leading to hair shedding and hair loss.

Some vitamin deficiencies may also cause your hair to become more brittle, increasing the risk of breaking the hair when you comb or style it.

It makes sense that the best way to get a good supply is to adopt a diet that prioritizes these vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

 

Benefit of Supplements 

Now in an ideal world you would get all these vitamins and minerals from a healthy, balanced diet.

But in this time-pressed world that’s not always possible.

And a lot of these nutrients (with the exception of Vitamin B12) can’t be stored by the body, meaning you have to get a daily supply.

If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet – or you’re intermittent fasting – that can be difficult.

Taking supplements can remove any doubt – and ensure you’re getting an adequate supply of all of them.

 

Vitamin deficiencies and hair loss 

The research isn’t conclusive but the studies that are available suggest you should make sure you have enough of the following nutrients:

B-Complex Vitamins 

There are 8 water-soluble vitamins in this group – but only riboflavin, biotin, folic acid, and vitamin B12 deficiencies have been associated with hair loss.

 

Riboflavin  

What we know about Riboflavin deficiency and hair loss:

Riboflavin plays an important role in the cellular development and functioning of the hair follicle – and deficiency in Riboflavin has been shown to cause hair loss.

Best food sources of Riboflavin:

  • Liver
  • Hard Goat’s cheese
  • Almonds
  • Yeast extract spread is also exceptionally rich in riboflavin.

Other good sources of riboflavin include eggs, broccoli, mushrooms, legumes, milk, leafy green vegetables and meat.

  • Riboflavin is often also added to breakfast cereals.

 

Biotin 

What we know about Biotin deficiency and hair loss:

Supplementing with Biotin to promote hair growth is still controversial.

But we do know that if your Biotin levels are low it can lead to hair loss, skin rashes and brittle nails.

Best food sources of Biotin:

  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Egg yolk and dairy products
  • Organ meats.

Good plant sources include:

  • Legumes
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms
  • and Nuts.

 

Folic Acid 

What we know about Folic Acid deficiency and hair loss:

As with Biotin, a deficiency in Folic Acid can show up as hair loss, skin rashes and brittle nails.

And studies suggest that increased levels of Folic Acid might slow down the rate of hair loss.

Best food sources of Folic Acid:

  • Lamb’s liver
  • Leafy green vegetables, especially Spinach
  • Edamame
  • Peanuts
  • Chickpeas
  • Sunflower seeds

Yeast extract spread is also exceptionally rich in Folic Acid - providing around 3,786 mcg per 100 grams.

 

Vitamin B12

What we know about Vitamin B12 deficiency and hair loss:

Several studies found that your levels of Vitamin B12 can affect the progression of alopecia (or hair loss).

And getting enough vitamin B12 is certainly essential for your overall health.

Best food sources of Vitamin B12:

Animal-sourced foods are virtually the only dietary sources of vitamin B12.

These include:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Dairy products
  • Seafood
  • and Eggs.

With liver, octopus, oysters, herring and tuna being exceptionally rich sources.

 

Vitamin C 

What we know about Vitamin C deficiency and hair loss:

Among its many benefits for your skin, hair and general good health, Vitamin C is an important antioxidant.

It also plays a vital role in helping your body to absorb iron.

So a deficiency in Vitamin C can lead to iron deficiency – which can lead to hair loss.

Best food sources of Vitamin C:

  • Citrus fruits – Oranges, lemons, kiwi fruit, Grapefruit
  • Beets
  • Blueberries
  • Pomegranates
  • Leafy Green Vegetables – Spinach, Kale, Broccoli
  • Tomatoes

 Pomegranates. A source of vitamin C that prevents hair loss

 

Vitamin D 

What we know about Vitamin D deficiency and hair loss:

Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for hair health.

Not only can low levels of Vitamin D lead to hair loss, but it can also influence how quickly and severely you experience it.

Studies show that correcting any Vitamin D deficiency can improve symptoms of alopecia – and enhance your response to any hair loss treatments.  

Best food sources of Vitamin D:

  • Fortified Orange Juice
  • Fortified Dairy and Plant milk
  • Egg Yolk
  • Salmon
  • Tuna Fish
  • Fortified Breakfast Cereals

As well as these food sources, Vitamin D can be synthesized by your body when your skin is exposed to direct sunshine for just a few minutes each day.

 

Iron 

What we know about Iron deficiency and hair loss:

Iron deficiency is the most common deficiency in the world – and Iron is vital in the hair growth cycle.

In fact, it plays an important role in all tissues with high cellular turnover, like the hair follicle.

With several studies showing a strong link between iron deficiency and hair loss.

Best food sources of Iron:

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Oysters
  • Eggs
  • Liver
  • Spinach
  • Dark Chocolate

 

Zinc 

What we know about Zinc deficiency and hair loss:

As well as hair loss, a deficiency in Zinc can result in extensive hair changes - including your hair becoming thin and brittle, leading to breakage.

Interestingly, there’s also evidence of hair regrowth occurring when zinc supplements are taken.

Best food sources of Zinc:

  • Shellfish – Crab, Oysters, Lobster
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Legumes (Lentils and Chickpeas)
  • Nuts
  • Flax Seeds
  • Wholegrains
  • Eggs

 

Nuts contain Zinc that can help with hair loss

 

You might also like:

 

FAQ’s 

What are the reasons for hair loss?

There are lots of factors that can lead to hair loss -  genetics, stress, emotional issues, a compromised immune system, drug issues, chronic disorders, and dietary inadequacies.

A healthy, balanced and regular diet is very important for healthy hair: sudden weight loss, low-calorie diets, and obesity can all cause hair loss.

 

Can your diet help you keep your hair?

A diet rich in the following 8 vitamins and nutrients will keep your hair follicles healthy and help stimulate new hair growth.

They’ll give you smooth, glowing skin too!

  • Vitamin A
  • B-complex vitamins
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • and Collagen

 

The Takeaway 

The role of your diet in preventing and treating hair loss is a hot topic of research.

But available studies suggest that deficiencies in the following micronutrients can contribute to hair loss, and make it more likely that your hair can become thin and brittle:

  • B-Complex vitamins – including riboflavin, biotin, folic acid and vitamin B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • and Zinc

It makes sense that the best way to guard against deficiencies is to adopt a healthy, balanced diet that prioritizes these vitamins and minerals.

But taking supplements can remove any doubt – and ensure you’re getting an adequate supply of all of them.

 

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