There are lots of hair vitamins out there - so how do you know which one to choose?
There are a few validated vitamins and supplements that have shown improved hair quality or quantity if you were not getting enough.
I this article, we will cover 10 vitamins and supplements to look for in your hair vitamins, including what they do for your hair, what amounts you should be taking, and where to find it in foods if supplements aren’t your thing.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, and it is in the same class as retinoids - the common ingredient in your favorite topical beauty cream.
Vitamin A is necessary for cell growth and differentiation, and since your hair has some of the most quickly replicating cells on your body - hair needs adequate vitamin A to look great.
Supplementing with Vitamin A is good for hair, but going overboard may actually be dangerous or cause hair loss.
The National Institutes of Health recommend that you keep Vitamin A consumption to around 700-900mcg per day and set 3,000mcg daily as the upper intake level.
Side Note: Depending on the kind of Vitamin A used in supplements, this may be listed as “IU” or International Units instead of mcg. If you are a math whiz you can convert between these by a simple calculation, or just ask your friendly local pharmacist.
Foods with Vitamin A: Liver, Sweet Potato, Carrots, Black-eyed Peas, Spinach, Broccoli, Sweet Red Peppers, Mango, Cantaloupe, Apricots, Pumpkin, Tomato Juice, Herring.
Or, you can get your Vitamin A daily in supplement form.
Biotin is a common B-Vitamin and probably one of the most popular supplements for healthy hair.
And it has been found that not getting enough Biotin can cause hair loss.
The recommended daily intake of Biotin through food for adults is 30-100mcg.
However, if you are supplementing Biotin, we normally see daily dosages of between 2,500mcg-5,000mcg.
Foods with Biotin: Liver, Eggs, Brewers Yeast, Nuts, Seeds, Salmon, Dairy, Avocado, Sweet Potato, Cauliflower.
Biotin can also be taken in supplement form daily.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble essential vitamin, it plays a role in the metabolism and energy production of every cell in the body, and ensures a healthy brain and nerve function.
B12 deficiency has been linked to hair loss and may be involved in the premature greying of hair.
The Recommended Daily Allowance of B12 is 2.4mcg.
However, B12 is notoriously difficult to get into your system, so supplements normally try to way overshoot that value.
You will normally see values at around 1,000-2,000mcg for everyday B12 supplementation.
This should not cause problems since B12 is water-soluble and if the excess is not fully absorbed, it will be flushed out.
Pro tip: If you are vegetarian or vegan, a B12 supplement is non-negotiable as you are likely not getting enough from food.
B12 in foods: Meat, Eggs, Dairy, B12 Fortified Foods.
B12 is easy to find in tablet, lozenge, or liquid supplement form.
Vitamin C helps your hair by increasing collagen production and making sure the body is properly absorbing iron.
And Vitamin C deficient states including Scurvy often cause increased hair loss.
So, if you are currently only popping Cs when you feel a cold coming on, you may want to switch to an everyday supplementation.
The recommended daily intake of Vitamin C is 90mg/day for men, and 75mg/day for women.
A lot of supplements overshoot this since it is a water-soluble vitamin, so daily dosages of 500mg-1000mg are normal and should not cause any problems.
After around 2,000mg, however, some may experience mild gastrointestinal upset, so levels higher than this should be avoided.
Foods high in vitamin C: Citrus, Cantaloupe, Kiwi, Mango, Papaya, Berries, Pineapple, Watermelon, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Sweet Peppers, Leafy Greens, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes.
Vitamin C is also commonly found alone or in many combination supplements.
Vitamin D has been linked to healthy hair growth, and may even help with the creation of new hair follicles.
Everyone knows that you can make Vitamin D from exposing your skin to sunlight, but adequate exposure tends to be more difficult than many think, leaving a lot of people deficient.
And, with the sun being the number one culprit of skin photoaging, we prefer the food or supplement form.
The Estimated Average Requirement for Vitamin D in adults is 400iu daily, and the Recommended Daily Intake is 600iu daily.
And the Daily Upper Intake Levels are set at 4,000iu for adults.
Since Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin - you can get too much.
Keep your daily amount way under 4,000iu and closer to 400-600iu for best supplementation practices.
Foods high in Vitamin D: Salmon, Herring, Sardines, Tuna, Oysters, Shrimp, Eggs, Mushrooms, Vitamin D Fortified Foods.
Pro tip: As you can see from the list above, these sources are mostly animal products. So if you are a vegetarian or vegan - supplement your Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is easily found as a separate capsule or mixed in with combination supplement products.
Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant, so scavenging those free radicals at the hair follicle level may help maintain healthy locks long term.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance of Vitamin E for adults is 15mg daily, and the absolute Upper Limit is 1,000mg daily.
This is also a fat-soluble vitamin that can accumulate and cause problems, so be sure to stick around the RDA for the best supplementation results.
Foods high in Vitamin E: Sunflower seeds, Almonds, Peanuts, Avocados, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Butternut Squash, Beet Greens, Trout.
If you find you aren’t a “seeds and greens” fan, Vitamin E is easily found in most multivitamins or hair, skin, & nails supplements.
Adequate iron levels are necessary for hemoglobin production. And since hemoglobin is needed to deliver oxygen to cells - including your hair follicle cells, low iron levels can cause hair loss.
The Recommended Daily Allowance for Iron in adults is about 8mg, unless you are a woman who is still cycling (15-18mg), or you are currently pregnant (27mg).
Taking too much iron can be damaging to your organs and even cause Iron toxicity, so stick as close to the recommended values as you can and have your doctor check your levels regularly.
Foods high in Iron: Shellfish, Spinach, Organ Meats, Legumes, Red Meat, Pumpkin Seeds, Quinoa, Turkey, Broccoli, Tofu, Dark Chocolate.
If these foods aren’t on your regular rotation, you may want to supplement Iron in supplement form.
It is thought that Zinc helps hair growth by playing a role in protein synthesis and cell division.
Very high doses can result in Zinc toxicity which may present with pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
So, stick close to the daily recommended values to play it safe.
Foods with lots of Zinc: Meat, Shellfish, Legumes, Seeds, Nuts, Dairy, Eggs, Whole Grains, Dark Chocolate.
Hair, skin, and nail supplements or multivitamins also normally contain some amount of Zinc.
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