Vitamin A for Hair Growth: Everything you need to know
Did you know that vitamin A is essential for healthy hair growth? It’s true! In this article, we will discuss how vitamin A can be used to promote hair growth in both men and women. We’ll also talk about the different forms of vitamin A that can be used, as well as the best ways to use them. There are plenty of reasons to ensure you get adequate levels of vitamin A – hair growth is one of them!
Can Vitamins Stimulate Hair Growth?
It’s well known that deficiencies of key vitamins and minerals can lead to to hair loss. There has been shown by numerous scientific studies, including a study published in 2018 which links hair loss to a lack of certain key vitamins and minerals, including biotin, vitamin D, folate, and vitamin B12.
Since a vitamin deficiency can cause hair loss, it’s logical to conclude that taking vitamins can help stimulate hair growth. Vitamin deficiencies linked to hair cycle problems can often be resolved with dietary changes or supplements – and there is clinical evidence to support this.
Do Hair Growth Vitamins Work?
With all of the online “hair loss vitamins” and “hair growth vitamins”, it’s hard to tell which ones are actually effective. However, this guide will teach you which nutrients have been directly linked to hair count and stronger hair so that you can make an informed decision when searching for hair growth vitamins and supplements. The good news is there is plenty of clinical evidence to show that some essential vitamins are directly linked to hair follicle health – and that by ensuring we have a balanced diet and intake the recommended dietary allowance of essential nutrients, we can reduce the likelihood of hair shedding or other hair follicle pathologies.
Can Vitamin A Regrow Hair?
Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for hair growth. It helps the skin glands produce sebum, which is an oily substance that lubricates and waterproofs the scalp and hair. Vitamin A also helps with cell growth, which is necessary for hair follicles to grow new hairs.
Vitamin A Deficiency
A lack of vitamin A can lead to a dry, flaky scalp, which can eventually lead to hair loss. In one study, women with hair loss were found to have lower levels of vitamin A than women without hair loss.
Fortunately, vitamin A deficiency is relatively rare in developed countries like the United States. However, if you are experiencing hair loss, it may be worth getting your vitamin A levels checked by a doctor.
Foods Rich in Vitamin A
If you’re looking to increase your intake of vitamin A, there are a few foods that are especially rich in this nutrient. These include sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, spinach, and eggs. For many people, simply eating a healthy balanced diet may supply them with enough vitamin A to improve hair health.
Here's a list of Vitamin A Rich Foods:
- Fortified cereals
- Butternut squash
- Sweet potatoes
Vitamin A Hair Supplements
Vitamin A supplements come in a variety of forms. Capsules, tablets, and liquids are some of the most popular. Gummies, chewables, and even powders are also available. Each type of supplement has its own set of advantages and drawbacks.
Vitamin A Capsules
Many people take capsules as their source of vitamin A for hair growth. They are easy to consume and have a long lifespan. You will often see capsules that are being marketed as vitamins for hair growth that contain this nutrient.
Vitamin A Tablets
Another frequent type of supplement is tablets. They are frequently less costly than capsules and may be easier to consume for individuals who have difficulty swallowing pills. They can, however, be bulky and inconvenient to transport with you on the go.
Liquid Vitamin A Supplements
If you don’t want to take pills or tablets, another option is liquids. They come in a multitude of flavors and mixing them with food or drink is simple. Nevertheless, they can be messy to deal with and if not refrigerated, will go bad quickly.
Vitamin A Gummies
Gummies are a delicious and fun way to get your daily vitamin A dose. They come in a variety of flavors and forms, making them a favorite among children. Nonetheless, they may be pricey and less healthy than other types of vitamin A supplements.
Chewable Vitamin A Supplements
Chewables are like gummies, but they’re usually smaller and have a firmer texture (think skittles as opposed to gummy bears). They come in different flavors (just like gummies) and are a favorite among kids. Even though chewables are convenient, they typically cost more than other types of supplements.
Vitamin A Powder for Hair
Although powders are not as common, they are quickly becoming a more popular form of vitamin A supplement. Vitamin A powders come in different flavors and can be mixed easily with food or drink. Some people don’t love the taste, but that varies greatly from brand to brand.
Oral vs. Topical Vitamin A
There are two forms of vitamin A that can be used for hair growth: oral supplements and topical treatments. Let’s take a closer look at each one.
Oral Vitamin A Supplements for Hair Growth
If you decide to take oral vitamin A supplements for hair growth, it’s important to talk to your doctor first. This is because taking too much vitamin A can be toxic and even cause hair loss!
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin A is 700 micrograms (mcg) for women and 900 mcg for men. However, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, your RDA may be different.
It’s also important to note that vitamin A supplements can interact with certain medications, so be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking them.
Topical Vitamin A for Hair Growth
Topical vitamin A treatments are usually in the form of lotions, creams, or serums that are applied directly to the scalp. These treatments can help improve hair growth by increasing blood flow to the scalp and by helping the hair follicles grow new hairs.
Vitamin A Serums for Hair Growth
Topical vitamin A serums are commonly marketed for the purpose of encouraging hair growth. Proponents of Vitamin A serums will often claim that they work by increasing blood circulation to the scalp and helping to promote new hair growth. Some formulations also include other potentially helpful ingredients, such as B vitamins, biotin, and caffeine, which may further support healthy hair growth.
When opting for a vitamin A topical hair serum to boost growth, it is important that you select a high-quality product. Some serums can be too harsh on the scalp, causing irritation. For this reason, proper research beforehand is vital to finding the right serum for you and your needs.
Prescription Strength Topical Vitamin A
There are a few different topical vitamin A treatments that are available over the counter. However, if you want to try a prescription-strength treatment, you’ll need to talk to your doctor. One example of a prescription strength Vitamin A treatment is Tretinoin, which is a topical all-trans-retinoic acid. Retinoic acids like Tretinoin are derived from Vitamin A. In a 1986 study, Tretinoin was shown to stimulate hair growth in a significant amount of patients with androgenetic alopecia. Although topical Tretinoin is only FDA-cleared for treating acne, it’s likely that some small amount of medical providers prescribe it for hair loss.
Excess Vitamin A Can Cause Hair Loss
While it’s been shown that having a lack of vitamin A in one’s diet can lead to hair loss, it’s also been demonstrated in peer-reviewed studies that excessive vitamin A can also lead to hair loss! In fact, one study showed that when rats were given high doses of vitamin A, they lost hair at an alarming rate.
So if you’re considering taking vitamin A supplements for hair growth, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional to make sure you’re taking the right dosage and that you’re not at risk for any adverse effects.
The Bottom Line: Can Vitamin A Regrow Hair?
Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for hair growth. This means that if you are losing hair due to a vitamin A deficiency, adding vitamin A to your diet or taking a vitamin A supplement may help you regrow hair. If you are experiencing hair loss, talk to your doctor about whether you might be deficient in vitamin A. If it is determined that you do have a vitamin A deficiency then dietary changes, supplements, or topical treatments could be right for you.
Other Hair Vitamins and Minerals
There are a few other supplements that have been shown to be effective for hair growth. These include biotin, iron, zinc and more. Here’s a concise overview of other vitamins and minerals that have been shown to have a direct relationship with hair health.
Biotin Supplements for Hair Health
Biotin (B7) is a water-soluble vitamin that’s often taken as a supplement to help with hair loss. Biotin is essential for good hair, skin, and nail health. Biotin affects hair health in the way it helps the body convert food into energy.
There is some limited evidence to support the use of biotin for hair growth. Despite the widespread use of biotin supplements for hair growth, this review study concluded that biotin supplements are only likely to help those with a biotin deficiency in their diets.
Foods Rich in Biotin
Biotin Deficiency Symptoms
Biotin deficiencies are rare, although they can cause a slew of health problems. Hair loss is one of the most typical biotin deficiency symptoms, which can affect both males and females. Other signs include brittle nails, dry skin, and rashes on the skin.
Many different biotin supplements are for sale, such as both serums you put on your scalp and pills. Even though some topical serums (applied to the head) say they help with hair growth, we don’t yet have enough scientific proof that it actually works. On the other hand, taking oral biotin supplements might improve hair health, specifically for people with a biotin deficiency.
Best Biotin Supplements for Hair
Biotin supplements are not all created equal, so choose wisely. Some biotin supplements are of better quality than others and some come from more reputable sources. With such a wide variety in the market, be sure to do your research before selecting one supplement over another.
Although biotin supplements are usually safe and helpful when used as indicated, there are a some possible negative side effects that you should know about. These can include an upset stomach, headache, or rash. To keep from experiencing these problems, make sure to always follow the directions printed on the supplement bottle and consult with your doctor if you’re ever worried.
Dietary Iron for Healthy Hair
Iron is an important mineral for hair growth. It helps carry oxygen to the cells, which is necessary for healthy hair growth. If you’re struggling with hair loss, your doctor may recommend getting your iron levels checked.
Iron creates hemoglobin, which transports oxygen in blood. Therefore, when iron is low, less oxygen reaches the body’s tissues resulting in fatigue or other symptoms like hair loss.
Iron Deficiency and Hair Loss
There are many possible causes of iron deficiency. One is not getting enough iron in your diet from either not eating enough iron-rich foods or not absorbing the iron you eat properly. Other causes can include blood loss, pregnancy, and certain medical conditions.
People with severe iron deficiency anemia frequently have tiredness and a lack of energy. Some people also experience pale skin, shortness of breath, chest discomfort, rapid heartbeats, headache, or dizziness as a result of iron deficiency anemia. A complete blood count (CBC) is used to diagnose iron deficiency anemia because it determines the amount of hemoglobin in your blood and the number of blood cells.
Iron deficiency is common in both men and women, and it has been linked to hair loss. This 2013 study found that iron deficiencies were strongly associated with patients experiencing female pattern hair loss (FPHL) and male pattern hair loss (MPHL).
Iron Supplements and Injections
Dietary changes, supplements, and in more extreme circumstances, iron injections can often correct an iron deficiency. If your body is lacking iron, your doctor may tell you to consume foods that are rich in it. This includes but is not limited to meat, lentils, cereals fortified with vitamins, and leafy green vegetables. Furthermore, foods high in vitamin C can assist your body in absorbing more iron from these aforementioned sources.
If you aren’t getting enough iron in your diet, your doctor may tell you to take an iron supplement. Multivitamins and supplements that are marketed as for hair, skin and nails often contain iron.
Some individuals with severe iron shortages may need to get injections. This is usually the case when other therapy has failed or during pregnancy.
Dangers of Too Much Dietary Iron
Having too much iron in the body, a condition commonly referred to as “iron overload,” can be dangerous. Too much iron can damage organs such as the liver and heart, and also raises the risk of other health problems, like cancer.
People who have hereditary hemochromatosis are more likely to develop iron overload. This is when the body absorbs too much iron from food. Some sufferers of this disease may need to give blood or take medicine to reduce their iron levels.
Your doctor may recommend reducing your consumption of iron-rich foods or taking an iron supplement if you are getting too much iron from your diet.
Zinc for Hair Regrowth
Zinc is an important mineral for healthy hair growth. It plays a role in creating new proteins, which are necessary for hair growth. If you’re experiencing hair loss, your doctor may recommend getting your zinc levels checked to see if they are deficient.
Zinc Affects on Hair
Adequate levels of dietary Zinc are believed to help hair growth since it aids in the activity of enzymes required for healthy hair development. Zinc insufficiency has been connected with hair loss, and zinc supplements may aid in restoring hair health in those who are deficient.
Zinc Deficiency Symptoms
Zinc deficiency can produce a variety of problems, including:
- Hair loss
- Appetite problems
- Weak immune system
- Night blindness
- Pale skin
Dietary Sources of Zinc
If your doctor has diagnosed you with a zinc deficiency, they will probably tell you to begin consuming foods that have high levels of zinc. This could be anything from meats and beans to lentils, cereals, and leafy greens. It’s also beneficial to eat foods rich in vitamin C because it helps the body absorb more zinc.
Zinc Supplements for Hair
If you are not getting enough zinc from dietary sources, your doctor may recommend that you supplement with zinc. Supplementation comes in many forms, including pills, capsules, liquids, and drops.
Zinc Overdose Risks
Zinc is an important mineral for the human body, but taking too much of it can have adverse consequences such as nausea and vomiting. It can also lead to electrolyte imbalance and lower blood pressure. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should immediately contact your doctor.
Vitamin D for Thinning Hair
Clinical studies have found a connection between vitamin D deficiency and hair loss. A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology showed that people lacking in vitamin D were more likely to lose their hair. The study demonstrated that patients who had critically low levels of vitamin D experienced hair loss at a much higher rate than those with normal levels.
Researchers are still investigating the correlation between vitamin D deficiency and hair loss. However, it is believed that vitamin D defends hair follicles from harm. Also, a deficiency in vitamin D can trigger poor health throughout the body, and this can lead to thinning hair.
How Hair Growth Cycle Relates to Vitamin D
When hair follicles don’t get the nutrients they require to develop hair, they might shrink and enter a resting state. This can be caused by an insufficiency of vitamin B12 or other health-related factors. When hair follicles are in a resting phase, they cease producing new hair and existing hair can shed and thin as a result.
Vitamin D is essential for the health of our hair follicles. According to a 2021 study published in Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, women with female pattern hair loss experienced significant hair growth after receiving vitamin D supplementation. There’s further medical evidence to suggest that vitamin D levels are also linked to male pattern baldness.
Vitamin D and Hair Loss: What's the Connection?
Although the specifics are not entirely known, vitamin D is assumed to protect hair follicles from harm. This may be due to the fact that vitamin D has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
A lack of vitamin D can cause general deterioration in the body, stalling hair growth. In fact, Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to play a role in diabetes, high blood pressure, and autoimmune diseases – all conditions that can interfere with optimal hair growth.
Vitamin D Rich Foods
A few foods are high in vitamin D including:
- Fatty fish like tuna, mackerel, and salmon
- Egg yolks
You can also get vitamin D from fortified foods like milk, orange juice, and grains. If you don’t think you’re getting enough vitamin D through food, a supplement may be useful.
Types of Vitamin D Supplements
There are a few different types of vitamin D supplements available, including capsules or pills you take by mouth, cream or gel you apply to your skin, and injectable shots.
Oral Vitamin D Supplements
Vitamin D3, or ergocalciferol (D2), are the most common form of vitamin D used in Oral supplements. This common type of vitamin D supplement is usually taken as a pill or capsule that you ingest by mouth. Vitamin D is a common ingredient in multivitamins that are marketed as supporting healthy hair growth.
Topical vitamin D serums are applied to the skin. Topical vitamin D ointments and creams have been used clinically for treating hair loss. A 2012 case study showed that a topical vitamin D analog, called Calcipotriol, was used to successfully treat a child patient suffering from Alopecia Areata after his condition was unresponsive to topical Minoxidil.
Injectable Vitamin D
Injectable vitamin D supplements injected intramuscularly and are typically only used by those who severely lack vitamin D and need to quickly raise their levels. Injectable Vitamin D is only offered on a prescription basis and would need to be administered by a medical professional.
Vitamin E for Healthier Hair
It’s widely accepted that a lack of critical vital vitamins and minerals can cause our hair to thin. This is certainly the case with vitamin E. Studies have shown that for patients experiencing hair loss, something as simple as a vitamin E supplement can reduce hair shedding and promote thicker hair growth.
Vitamin E is important for strong and healthy hair. It acts as a shield for the hair shaft, helps produce sebum (an oily substance that keeps the scalp hydrated), and also improves blood circulation to the scalp—all of which contribute to thick and healthy hair.
Vitamin E deficiency can cause scalp issues such as dryness, irritation, and dandruff. Fortunately, this problem may be easily relieved by including more vitamin E-rich meals in your diet or taking a supplement. Nuts, seeds, avocado, olives, and green leafy vegetables are all excellent sources of vitamin E.
Types of Vitamin E Supplements
Beta-tocopherol acts as an antioxidant, serving to protect the body from oxidative damage.
Delta-tocopherol is another antioxidant that benefits the body with anti-inflammatory properties.
Vitamin B - Keeping Hair Healthy
There are many forms of vitamin B, and virtually all of them are essential for healthy hair. Vitamin B6, for example, helps to create keratin, a protein that makes up the bulk of our hair. Vitamin B12, on the other hand, promotes the health of our hair follicles.
Vitamin B and Hair Growth
While many people take B vitamins for hair growth, these important nutrients play multiple vital roles in the human body. For example, a clotting agent found in red blood cells which is crucial to our survival, known as ‘hemoglobin,’ is affected by dietary intake of vitamin B 12. In order for hemoglobin to function properly, we need to ingest adequate levels of vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. A deficiency of either one of these B vitamins can cause pernicious anemia which can cause hair-loss.
Types of B Vitamins
Thiamin (Vitamin B1)
Thiamin is a water soluble B vitamin and it’s essential for human health. You can find thiamin in many different kinds of food – like meats, grains, and nuts. It aids a number of bodily functions such as energy production and nerve function. One thing people don’t know much about is that thiamin also plays an important role in hair and scalp health. Thiamin has a big part to play in the proliferation of epidermal keratinocytes (a type of cell).
Unbalances in the scalp’s skin can be caused by thiamin deficiency. Additionally, thiamin helps regulate blood sugar levels; when these are uncontrolled, it reflects negatively on hair growth.
Thiamin is critical for maintaining a healthy diet for both men and women, but especially important for hair health. Eating foods rich in thiamin may help with hair growth while preventing excessive hair loss.
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
Riboflavin is a B vitamin that occurs in food, such as milk, cheese, eggs, and green veggies. It’s essential for energy production and red blood cell formation as well as several bodily processes, including skin, hair, and nail development. Riboflavin is also involved in the skin’s function.
Low levels of riboflavin are closely associated with hair growth problems. This is because riboflavin plays an important role in healthy hair growth.
If you are lacking in riboflavin, you might improve your condition by consuming foods that contain high levels of this nutrient or by taking a supplement. Some excellent sources of riboflavin include milk and cheese, eggs, almonds, spinach, and broccoli. You may also find that B2 is commonly included in many multi-vitamins that are marketed for hair growth.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
A niacin deficiency can have some pretty nasty consequences, including hair loss. Niacin is important for hair growth because it helps to prevent oxidative stress on hair cells. Nacin also has a hand in producing energy and fatty acids – both of which are essential for healthy hair. Pellagra is another condition that can develop from a niacin deficiency; its symptoms include skin lesions, diarrhea, and dementia.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
Pantothenic acid is a water-soluble B vitamin that may be found in almost all foods. It is essential for many bodily processes, including hair development, and it is important for the health of the scalp. Pantothenic acid promotes healthy hair growth by preserving scalp health. It also aids in the formation of keratin, the protein that comprises hair shafts.
Vitamin B6 helps create new cells, which is important for hair growth. It also promotes a healthy scalp, which is another key factor in hair growth. You can get vitamin B6 from eating poultry, fish, whole grains, and bananas. It’s also a common ingredient in vitamins marketed to people with hair thinning issues.
Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
Biotin, often known as vitamin B7, is a water-soluble B vitamin that plays an essential role in the health of the hair, skin, and nails. Biotin is present in a variety of foods including eggs, salmon, milk, nuts, and avocados.
Although biotin deficiency isn’t overly common, it can still lead to a series of health issues. One of the most noticeable symptoms of a biotin deficiency is hair loss, which affects both genders. Other less conspicuous signs are brittle nails, dry skin, and skin rashes.
Biotin supplements are available in a variety of forms, including topical serums and oral supplements. Topical serums are commonly marketed as hair growth treatments, despite the lack of clinical evidence to support their use for this purpose. Oral biotin supplements, on the other hand, may make a significant difference for certain people suffering from hair problems.
Biotin supplements are usually safe and effective when taken as directed. However, there are a few minor side effects to be aware of. Stomach issues, headache, and rashes are all examples of potential adverse effects. It is critical to follow the directions on the biotin supplement bottle and consult your doctor if you have any doubts in order to avoid these side effects.
Vitamin B9 (Folate) and Folic Acid
Folic acid is a nutrient found in leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts, and fortified foods. Folic Acid is a precursor to Folate, which helps the body make new cells and develop the nervous system properly.
Many people obtain sufficient folate through their diet, but folate supplements are also appropriate for some. The quantity of folate you require each day is determined by your age as well as other factors. For adults, the suggested daily allowance (RDA) for folate is 400 micrograms (mcg), although the RDA for pregnant women is even greater at 600 micrograms per day.
Although folate and folic acid are frequently marketed as vitamins to promote healthy hair growth, there is little evidence that they will assist with hair development.
Vitamin B12 for Healthier Hair
Vitamin B12 is important for hair growth because it helps to create new cells. It also helps to keep the scalp healthy, which is important for hair growth. Vitamin B12 can be found in foods such as poultry, fish, whole grains, and bananas. It is also a common ingredient in vitamins marketed to people with hair thinning issues.
Vitamin B12 supplements are available in a variety of forms, including topical serums and oral supplements. Topical serums are commonly marketed as hair growth treatments, despite the lack of clinical evidence to support their use for this purpose. Oral vitamin B12 supplements, on the other hand, may make a significant difference for certain people suffering from hair problems.
Vitamin B12 supplements are usually safe and effective when taken as directed. However, there are a few minor side effects to be aware of. Stomach issues, headache, and rashes are all examples of potential adverse effects. It is critical to follow the directions on the vitamin B12 supplement bottle and consult your doctor if you have any doubts in order to avoid these side effects.
Vitamin C - How it Can Affect Hair Growth
Vitamin C, often known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that is required for normal growth and development. Vitamin C is necessary for the body to produce collagen, a protein found in various tissues including the skin, blood vessels, and bones. Vitamin C also aids in the absorption of iron, a mineral required for blood cell formation and normal cell growth. Vitamin C has antioxidant capabilities and can help prevent damage from pollutants such as car exhaust fumes and cigarette smoke by protecting cells against oxidative stress.
Vitamin C Deficiency
Vitamin C deficiency can cause hair loss because it can lead to iron deprivation. Iron is required for the formation of red blood cells, and a lack of red blood cells might result in anemia. Hair loss, as well as other symptoms such as tiredness, shortness of breath, and poor wound healing, might be caused by anemia.
Foods Rich in Vitamin C
Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, leafy greens such as kale, and other veggies such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Vitamin C is also present in many hair vitamins and multivitamin capsules intended to promote hair, skin, and nails.
Collagen - Hair Growth Benefits
Collagen is a protein that is abundant in the skin, hair, and nails. Collagen aids in the maintenance of skin suppleness and inhibits wrinkles. Dietary collagen may also improve hair strength.
Collagen contains 18 essential amino acids, and a diet that is rich in collagen can help to improve the appearance of the hair, skin, and nails. These amino acids also have a variety of other important roles in our bodies beyond just stronger hair. Collagen and its essential amino acids are generally found in animal food products like meat and eggs.
If you don’t consume enough collagen, it can cause nutritional deficiencies, especially in vegetarians and vegans who don’t supplement their diets. The most common form of collagen supplements is hydrolyzed collagen, which doesn’t produce gelatin when mixed with water.
Essential Fatty Acids for Healthy Looking Hair
Our bodies cannot produce essential fatty acids on our own, which is why we need to include omega fatty acids in our diet if we want healthy hair. Omega fatty acids are critical nutrients that have a direct impact on hair follicles.
A 2015 study revealed that omega-3 and omega-6 vitamins can have a direct impact on women’s health. It was demonstrated in the study that including these omega fatty acid supplements in the diets of female patients resulted in thicker hair and reduced hair miniaturization.
Omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids are the three types of essential fatty acids. Fatty fish, flaxseed oil, and chia seed oil are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Safflower oil, sunflower seeds, and corn oil are good sources of omega-6 fatty acids. Avocado oil, Olive oil, and macadamia nut oil all contain large amounts of omega-9 fatty acids.
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