So in this article I have tried to explain the role that vitamins play in healthy and lush hair . As you will have understood, they can be useful in a general way because a healthy organism with a healthy scalp will consequently produce strong and shiny hair .
This is true, however, if we are not already in the presence of specific hair pathologies.
In these cases, suboptimal levels of vitamins can accentuate cases of androgenetic alopecia already present but will never be the triggering cause that we now know to be of hormonal and hereditary origin .
It must be said that, in order to have obvious hair problems , one must face serious cases of hypovitaminosis and, in such situations, one generally has much more to think about than the mere aesthetic side.
Finally, I renew the advice to always contact the doctor and not to be tempted by do-it-yourself . You will thus avoid taking wrong or unnecessary products and achieve better results.
Very often you will have noticed how, at certain times of the year, there are many advertisements for supplements and vitamins for hair . These periods coincide with the seasonal changes in which generally, for physiological reasons, there is a greater turnover and therefore a more abundant hair loss compared to the standards. In fact, I remember that everyone’s hair falls out during the whole year and a fall of up to 100 hairs a day is to be considered normal.
In these periods of seasonal change, I found an increase in requests such as “which are the best hair supplements?” , “What vitamins for falling hair can you recommend?” or the more generic “how to strengthen the hair?” .
I therefore thought of writing this article to answer, I hope clearly, to those who have asked me for information and in general to anyone interested in the subject.
Vitamins for hair: are they really needed?
First of all, it must be pointed out that, although in this site we are essentially talking about androgenetic alopecia, there are various types of hair problems that involve falling and thinning that can range from the normal seasonal scent we have mentioned, to move on to the more serious chronic effluvium , or to real pathologies. and just like stress or psychogenic alopecia and alopecia areata to name just the main ones.
In short, there are really an infinity of types of alopecia but, if you suffer from baldness or are genetically predisposed to this pathology, it will certainly not be supplementation of vitamins and minerals to prevent the disease from taking its course as the causes they do not depend on deficiencies but are to be sought elsewhere.
In these cases it is always good to contact dermatologists specialized in trichology as soon as possible to try to block it with effective treatments approved by official medicine (Minoxidil and Propecia are the only ones to give interesting results).
However, vitamins can be useful for maintaining an optimal state of health and giving a better appearance to the hair and scalp, provided of course that there is a real deficiency to be ascertained with specific analyzes . I specify this because integrating haphazardly and in the absence of real hypovitaminosis can, in the best of cases, be totally useless while in the worst case you can risk intoxication from excess vitamins.
However, here is a list of what I consider to be the most important vitamins for healthy hair and a healthy scalp. It is well known that these elements perform important functions for the whole organism, but in this article, given the theme of our site, I will limit myself to treating the subject essentially from the trichological aspect with a brief reference to generalities.
I also allow myself to recommend, for each substance explained, vitamin supplements that I believe are valid and well made.
And now here is the overview you were waiting for, the indications are not based on importance but simply in alphabetical order 😊
Vitamin A (Retinol)
- Functions: it performs important tasks for the health of the immune system and the skin being an important antioxidant, however it allows the scalp to be healthy and to produce strong and healthy hair
- Deficiency: causes skin peeling, dandruff and dry-looking hair
- Present in: carrots, pumpkins and in general all orange-colored fruit and vegetables, but also in vegetables belonging to the brassicaceae family such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli.
Should you find yourself in the need to supplement vitamin A you can find many valid products on the net
Group B includes multiple variants of vitamins that enter most of the energy processes in our body. It is generally recommended to use it in the case of seasonal or chronic scents . The most important for hair are:
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- Functions: it is at the base of the formation of enzymes that regulate the production of ATP substance at the base of the energy metabolism of the whole organism. For this reason, riboflavin is an important element for the correct nourishment of the skin, eyes and nervous system . It also allows the correct absorption of other vitamins of the group such as B9, B6 and B3
- Deficiency: causes skin problems such as dermatitis , redness, cracks in the corners of the mouth to get to irritability and depression in cases of severe hypovitaminosis.
Vitamin B3 (niacin)
it is also known as vitamin PP for its ability to prevent pellagra (PP stands for Pellagra Preventive)
- Functions: it intervenes in the metabolism of amino acids and lipids and is the basis of the health of the epidermis
- Deficiency: besides causing pellagra, low levels of vitamin B3 cause dry skin , redness and flaking
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
- Functions: its main task is to form coenzyme A, which is essential for cellular respiration and for the production of fatty acids. It allows you to maintain optimal hydration and shine of the hair and for this reason it is also used in many shampoos and cosmetics.
- Deficiency: substantially causes a dry appearance of the hair. It also appears that low levels of vitamin B5 are involved in the appearance of white hair .
Vitamin B9 (folic acid) and B12
- Functions: I group them since they both participate in the formation of red blood cells and therefore are important for a correct transport of oxygen also for the skin and its annexes (hair and hair) and regulate their growth
- Deficiency: As far as hair health is concerned, low levels of these vitamins cause less oxygenation of the scalp and consequent slowed growth and increased hair loss. For B9 it appears that it is also involved in premature graying.
General information on B vitamins
Generally speaking, in the case of severe hypovitaminosis B we can see a greater secretion of sebum, therefore oily hair , since the sebaceous glands try to counteract skin dryness which, as we have seen, generally accompanies the deficiency of B vitamins. accentuate existing baldness by worsening the quality of the scalp and hair
Mainly contained in foods of animal origin such as eggs, meat, fish and dairy products. We find it, albeit in smaller quantities, in vegetables such as soy, legumes, wheat germ, whole grains, nuts and in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, rocket and chard.
If, on the other hand, you are looking for a supplement, it is difficult to find products with the individual vitamins of the group on the market. However, you can opt for a valid complete vitamin B complex such as that of the very Italian Vitaminity which also contains minerals and synergistic trace elements such as magnesium, zinc and biotin.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
- Functions: known to all are its positive effect on the immune system and its capacity as a powerful antioxidant able to counteract the formation of free radicals. It then intervenes in the absorption of iron which is essential for optimal hair health (in fact it is one of the first values monitored during the checks by trichologists)
- Present in a large variety of vegetables and fruits especially citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, tangerines) kiwi.
If necessary, there are really many supplements on the market and, moreover, ascorbic acid is a rather cheap substance.
It is a vitamin with extremely important functions for the whole organism with significant implications also as regards the health of the hair .
In fact, it contributes to the regulation of the life cycle of the hair and its deficiency can be the basis of strong scents and thinning.
Since this is a topic that deserves to be explored, so as not to burden the reading of this general article too much, I refer those interested to reading the specific page on Vitamin D written some time ago.
- Functions: it has a powerful antioxidant action for the whole organism as it manages to combine with free radicals before they can cause damage. It also appears to be involved in hair pigmentation .
- Deficiency: if not present in adequate quantities, we can witness a premature aging caused by the action of free radicals. Hair may appear dull and dull.
- Present in: dried fruit such as almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts and walnuts, as well as in various oils of vegetable origin and in particular wheat germ oil.
Vitamin H (Biotin)
in the past it was also known as vitamin B8 but nowadays this classification is preferred.
- Functions: contributes to the production of glycogen and therefore promotes the trophism of hair and skin as well as of the sweat glands and the nervous system. It acts as a regulator of the sebaceous glands and therefore is very useful in the presence of oily hair and seborrheic dermatitis .
- Deficiency: it is extremely rare as it is easily available and the human requirement is very low (10 mg per day). If it occurs with regard to the hair we could see problems of severe dermatitis and irritation of the scalp with the formation of scales , thinning of the hair with thinning similar to that of alopecia.
- Present in: many foods of both animal origin (meat, milk, cheeses and eggs) and vegetables (dried fruit, legumes, cabbage, mushrooms are rich in them).
Since, as mentioned, deficiency is not common, it is easier to find it mixed with other substances in supplements for skin, hair and nails. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a pure biotin supplement , you need to look for more specific products.
Very valid, in my view, is the one marketed by Now Foods.