When you were little, I am sure you remember chewing some flavored vitamins. I know I did, mine were cherry-flavored. When I was little, I had no idea what were they for.
All I know is that they are edible, they would make me feel strong, and they were usually in the form of some favorite cartoon character. For example, I am sure you remember the Flintstones vitamins. Now, I know exactly what their purpose was. Turns out, those were vitamins for hair growth, stimulating and supporting healthy growth of my hair.
Today, more than ever, we need vitamins for hair growth. There are countless of reasons why our hair starts to fall and thin, stress being the main cause and factor. Malnutrition and diet poor in healthy vitamins also comes in mind. So, which are the essential vitamins for hair growth you need to consume? Let’s take a look.
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is responsible for boosting our immune system, and every time we have deficiency in vitamin C, something bad happens. Serving as an antioxidant, vitamin C is also responsible for hair growth and prevention of hair loss. Just look at the label of some of the hair products you see in the store. Chances are, almost all of them, if not all, have vitamin C in their composition. Make sure you get enough vitamin C in your daily diet from sources like lemons, kiwi fruit, spinach, peppers, leafy greens, broccoli, berries, tomatoes, oranges and other citrus fruits.
One of the first signs of iron deficiency is hair loss. Iron is responsible for carrying oxygen to every part of your body, your hair included. Without oxygen, your hair doesn’t receive the nutrients it need for growth. That being said, even people who are not anemic can have low iron levels and suffer from hair loss. Some of the best sources for iron are red meats, but you can get your daily dose from leafy greens, chickpeas, lentils, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and soybeans.
3. Vitamin E
Arguably one of the most overlook and underrated vitamins, vitamin E is often forgotten in our daily diet. Vitamin E can be found mostly in nuts (almond, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios), but also leafy greens, avocado, shellfish, olive oil, kiwi fruit, mango, peach and berries. Vitamin E is essential for hair growth and hair health, and is crucial for absorption of other vitamins on the list. Vitamin E is the vitamin that binds all other vitamins on the list together.
4. B Vitamins
The B-Complex group of vitamins includes several vitamins such as B6, B12, folate, riboflavin, biotic, thiamine, niacin, and pantothenic acid. For starters, we will list all of the B-complex group vitamins for hair growth, but we will also talk individually about some of them. If you are not getting enough B-vitamin from your diet, you can always take some supplements. The first signs of vitamin B deficiency include feeling of fatigue, feeling of tiredness and weakness, as well as easily bruising.
The most important vitamin in the B-complex group for hair growth is niacin. The vitamin promotes healthy hair growth and nourishes the scalp, providing your hair with nutrients needed. Without niacin, your hair becomes lifeless, and then falls down. There is even a scientific name and condition for when you are not getting enough niacin from your diet. The name is pellagra. And while you can get a supplement containing B6, B1 and B12, niacin or the B3 vitamin doesn’t come individually as a supplement. You need to source from foods like tuna fish, chicken and turkey meat, pork, liver, beef, mushrooms, green peas and avocado.
Biotin can actually be sourced individually in a pill form. However, there are side effects, and therefore I recommended sourcing it from foods rich in biotin. Those include eggs, whole grains, milk, legumes, nuts, and almonds. Biotin is one of the most commonly used compounds in hair products for hair growth. The biggest problem with biotin is that it is water soluble, meaning that your body doesn’t retain it and you must consume it on a daily basis.
7. Vitamin D
I know that sometimes too much sun exposure can harm your hair, especially if you’ve dyed it recently. However, you absolutely need vitamin D for hair growth, especially for follicle cycling. Those of you who live in areas poor in sunlight, source vitamin D from foods such as oily fish (tuna, sardines, trout), mushrooms, tofu, eggs (hard boiled), fortified milk and cereals.
8. Vitamin A
This one is tricky, as you can also suffer from too much vitamin A. Large doses of vitamin A can be counterproductive for your hair growth. Therefore, you should better stick to foods high in vitamin A, and do not risk it with supplements. Now, for the foods that contain high doses of vitamin A, I am sure you already know carrots are the poster child. However, you can also source vitamin A from sweet potatoes, squash, leafy greens (kale especially), dried apricots, tuna fish, sweet red peppers, and mango.
The mineral most of you know as mineral that prevents muscle cramps and fatigue, magnesium is also essential for your hair growth. I know some of you love taking magnesium supplements. If you fall into that category, make sure to mix magnesium with calcium, as these two bind together perfectly. On the other hand, if you like to source from foods, grab some bananas, kale, spinach, nuts, seeds, avocado, whole grains, and lentils.
I think zinc is one of the most underrated minerals and vitamins in the world. Tell me, when was the last time someone said “I have zinc deficiency”? Most of us think of magnesium, iron, calcium and potassium when listing important minerals. But zinc is also one of the much needed minerals and vitamins for hair growth, and one that is not easily sourced. Most regular diets are high enough in zinc, but if you need more, grab some oysters, beef and lamb meat, spinach, pumpkin seeds, cashews and mushrooms.
Protein might not be a vitamin or mineral, but it is still essential for your hair growth. I know most of you associate protein with muscle build, and bodybuilding, but us regular and averages Joes need protein as much as the bodybuilder next to us. Chicken breasts, turkey meat, wild salmon, eggs, yogurt, seafood, pistachios, soy products, pork, those are some foods to name.
So, after listing all the vitamins and minerals that promote healthy hair growth, let’s try and one cocktail that contains almost all of the vitamins I mentioned. This is my go-to product for hair growth, and I recommend it to everyone I know that is losing hair or his hair is thinning. Here are the ingredients:
- 250ml pure nettle shampoo
- 1ml B6 vial
- 1ml B12 vial
- 5 B-complex tablets
Start by crushing the B-complex tablets. Add the crushed powder from the tablets into the nettle shampoo, add the B6 and B12, and then mix. Mix for at least five minutes, so the vitamin mixture doesn’t accumulate on the bottom of the shampoo. Wash your hair with the shampoo two to three times per week. This cocktail will give you enough magnesium, zinc, iron and vitamin C from the nettle, but you also enrich it with vitamin B. If you know any other cocktails for hair growth, feel free to share with the rest of us.