Vitamins & Minerals that Promote Healthy Hair

I had a discussion with my boyfriend about my last post Introducing Shane’s Food Intake.  He mentioned my writing led readers to believe I was going to explain how the foods I eat promotes healthy hair.  I do apologize if any of you felt that way.  Because of our discussion, I decided to write a follow up post about how consumption of certain foods can help us on our hair journey.  The information explained below is useful for meat-eaters, pescatarian, vegetarians, vegans, and so on.  Below I’ll first explain which vitamins and minerals promote healthy hair, which extends to hair growth.  Second, I’ll provide charts of foods rich in the vitamins and minerals explained.

Vitamin A is necessary for growth and development including cell growth.  This vitamin supports sebum production in the scalp, which is what prevents our hair from drying out.  Deficiency in vitamin A causes dry, brittle hair and a flaky scalp, which can slow down growth.

Vitamin B(iotin) assists with producing glucose and breaking down proteins into amino acids.  Because hair contains keratin (protein), biotin naturally supports healthy hair.  Deficiency of biotin can result in hair loss.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) main job is to maintain the structure of blood cells and improve blood circulation.  Sufficiency in vitamin B3 increases blood flow to the scalp and increases oxygen and nutrients to hair follicles.  Niacin nourishes the scalp by promoting circulation and causes healthy hair growth.

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) is a water-soluble vitamin which helps with the formation of red blood cells.  Our bodies can’t hold a significant amount of most water-soluble vitamins; however, this vitamin is special because it can stay in our body for long periods of time.

Vitamin C helps build collagen which is a protein that gives tensile strength to blood vessels.  This vitamin assists with keeping our scalp healthy and infused with oxygen-rich blood.  Vitamin C is also an antioxidant.  Antioxidants helps mitigate free radical damage.  This damage includes not only internal cells but also with hair follicle cells.  Free radical damage appears more as we age.  Another awesome thing about vitamin C for vegetarians and vegans is the vitamin helps the body utilize iron from plant foods.

Vitamin D is useful for the hair follicle cycle.  Deficiency of vitamin D can cause hair loss or the inability to grow more hair.

Vitamin E helps with healthy hair the same way as vitamin C because vitamin E is an antioxidant. Another cool think about antioxidants is it supports the prevention of unnecessary and premature gray hairs and hair loss.

Iodine support thyroid hormone production.  Thyroid disruption can cause hair loss or cause hair follicles to stay in the rest phase of the hair cycle rather than the growing phase.

Iron helps build healthy red blood cells and helps carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body including the scalp.  Iron deficiency may reflect thin, dry, brittle hair.

Magnesium. Hair follicles need magnesium for strength.  Lack of magnesium leads to many health problems (diabetes, high-blood pressure, constipation, depression, etc).  Therefore, lack of this mineral affects hair.  Also, lack of this mineral can lead to abnormal hair loss and potential balding.

Zinc. If you exercise and/or sweat much then you may be losing a significant amount of zinc.  This mineral works to repair damage to cells and keeps the oil glands that surround follicles in good shape.  Zinc deficiency can lead to deterioration of the hair’s protein structure.  Weak hair follicles can lead to hair loss.  Also, zinc has a key role in DNA and RNA production which is necessary for the normal division of hair follicle cells leading to healthier hair growth.

Protein. A single hair strand consists of protein fiber, which means that it must receive an adequate dose of protein to grow. Lack of protein in diet results in the body not being able to feed the hair follicles.  This results in dry, brittle, weak hair.

I do not take hair vitamins because I believe my diet and lifestyle gives me enough of what I need to sustain healthy hair.  I think it’s better to eat food containing the vitamins you need.  However, I think it is okay to take supplements (or vitamins) because it can be almost impossible to consume every needed vitamin and mineral on a daily basis.  Overall, don’t get so excited over hair vitamins.  Hair vitamins are simply normal vitamins your body needs.  If the body is getting all of the necessary vitamins it needs the hair will automatically become healthier.   Thanks for reading!

Vitamin/Mineral Charts Below:

MEAT

Vitamin/Mineral

Food
Vitamin A (A1) Beef liver, lamb liver, liver sausage, goose liver, king mackerel, salmon, bluefin tuna, trout, caviar, hard-boiled egg
Vitamin Biotin Eggs
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Turkey, chicken breast, peanuts, mushrooms, liver, tuna, green peas, grass-fed beef
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) Beef liver, sardines, mackerel, lamb, wild-caught salmon, grass-fed beef, and eggs
Vitamin D Sardines, salmon, mackerel, tuna, caviar, eggs, oysters, shrimp
Vitamin E Goose meat, atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, snails, crayfish, octopus, lobster, dried cod
Iron Liver, grass-fed beef, sardines
Magnesium Fatty fish like mackerel, salmon, and halibut
Zinc Lamb, grass-fed beef, chicken

LEGUMES

Vitamin/Mineral Food
Vitamin Biotin Lentils, fresh green peas
Iodine Navy beans
Iron Tofu, tempeh, soybeans, lentils, other beans & peas
Magnesium Tofu, black beans, and other legumes
Zinc Chickpeas

VEGETABLES

Vitamin/Mineral Food
Vitamin A Carrots, sweet potato, cooked kale, raw spinach, broccoli, winter squash, cooked collards, cooked turnips, raw sweet red peppers, raw swiss chard, raw romaine
Vitamin Biotin Cauliflower, mushrooms, sweet potato, spinach, carrots
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Mushrooms
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) Nori, shitake mushrooms
Vitamin C Red pepper, green pepper, raw broccoli, raw kale, parsley, bussel sprouts, cauliflower, cilantro, chives, thyme, basil
Vitamin D Maitake mushroom, portabella mushrooms
Vitamin E Spinach, sweet potato, butternut squash, red sweet pepper, turnip greens, cooked beet greens, cooed broccoli, cooked mustard greens, cooked asparagus, raw swiss chard, raw collards, raw spinach
Iodine Sea vegetables (kelp or kombu)
Iron Spirulina, leafy greens, tomato paste, potatoes with the skin, mushrooms, and palm hearts
Magnesium Spinach, chard, kale, collards greens, turnip greens, mustard greens
Zinc Mushrooms, spinach

FRUIT

Vitamin/Mineral Food
Vitamin A Apricots, mango, cantaloupe, pink or red grapefruit, watermelon, papaya, tangerine, nectarine, guava, passion fruit
Vitamin Biotin Avocado
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Avocado
Vitamin C Guava, black currant, kiwi, oranges, strawberries, papaya, pineapple, grapefruit, mango, acerola cherry, melon, other citrus fruits
Vitamin E Blackberries, black currants, dried cranberries, raspberries
Iodine Strawberries, cranberries
Iron Olives, mulberries, prune juice
Magnesium Avocado, figs, banana
Zinc Watermelon seeds

NUTS, SEEDS, WHOLE GRAINS

Vitamin/Mineral Food
Vitamin Biotin Almonds, sunflower seeds, rice bran, peanuts, walnuts, barley, oatmeal, pecans
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) sunflower seeds, peanuts
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) Nutritional yeast
Vitamin D Certain cereals and instant oatmeal
Vitamin E Almonds, wheat germ, sunflower seeds
Iron Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, cashews, pine nuts, pistaschios
Magnesium Pumpkin seeds, almonds, other nuts and seeds
Zinc Pumpkin seeds, cocoa powder, sesame seeds, squash seeds

DAIRY & DAIRY ALTERNATIVE

Vitamin/Mineral Food
Vitamin A Butter, goat cheese, cheddar cheese, blue cheese, cream cheese, feta cheese
Vitamin Biotin Dairy cheese
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) Feta cheese, cottage cheese
Vitamin D Dairy Milk, Soy milk, almond milk, dairy yogurt, dairy alternative yogurt, swiss cheese
Iodine Yogurt, raw cheese
Iron Coconut milk
Magnesium Yogurt or kefir
Zinc Yogurt or kefir

COOKING OILS

Vitamin/Mineral Food
Vitamin A Cod liver oil
Vitamin D Cod liver oil
Vitamin E Palm oil, olive oil, wheat germ oil, hazelnut oil, sunflower oil, almond oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, rice bran oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil palm oil

I was able to get the above information from the sites listed below.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/18/vitamins-minerals-for-hair-health_n_3451747.html

https://www.livestrong.com/article/395065-what-vitamins-minerals-promote-hair-regrowth/

https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/vitamins-and-minerals-for-hair-growth/

http://www.naturallivingideas.com/vitamins-for-hair-growth/