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:
|Vitamin A (A1)||Beef liver, lamb liver, liver sausage, goose liver, king mackerel, salmon, bluefin tuna, trout, caviar, hard-boiled egg|
|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|
|Vitamin Biotin||Lentils, fresh green peas|
|Iron||Tofu, tempeh, soybeans, lentils, other beans & peas|
|Magnesium||Tofu, black beans, and other legumes|
|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|
|Vitamin A||Apricots, mango, cantaloupe, pink or red grapefruit, watermelon, papaya, tangerine, nectarine, guava, passion fruit|
|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|
|Iron||Olives, mulberries, prune juice|
|Magnesium||Avocado, figs, banana|
NUTS, SEEDS, WHOLE GRAINS
|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 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|
|Magnesium||Yogurt or kefir|
|Zinc||Yogurt or kefir|
|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.