Hair Nutrition - The 5 Vitamins, Minerals & Nutrients You Need
A list of the best vitamins for hair growth, and why they're so vital!
In order to feel good about ourselves, for many of us having great hair is vital. They’ve even conducted studies on it! Research has shown that the condition and health of our hair is intrinsically linked to a positive psyche. A bad hair day can quite literally affect your mood and induce low levels of self-esteem and confidence.
So, how can we make sure our tresses are looking tip-top all the time?
Our diet can directly influence our hair health, so nutrition is key for hair. On average, you have 120,000 hairs on your scalp, all of which need the right vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to grow luscious and long.
Unfortunately though, the body does not recognise hair as a vital organ or tissue, so if your nutrition and diet are compromised, your hair will be one of the first things your body will neglect.
You know the phrase "You are what you eat"! Well, when you don't get the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that your body needs from your diet, it can even cause hair loss. Hair nutrition is of prime importance if you want to ensure the quality and vitality of your mane.
Below you’ll find the 5 essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body needs to prevent hair loss, encourage hair growth, and keep locks looking long and lush!
PROTEIN FOR HAIR GROWTH
Protein is the foundation of good hair, but surprisingly, many of us don’t consume enough of it (particularly vegetarians and vegans).
However, it’s worth prioritising because it plays an incredibly important part in many other areas of the body too: muscle growth, cell regeneration, healthy skin and nails, and a whole host of other important organ functions.
Because the body needs and uses so much, it sends all the protein we eat to the most important parts first, and little is left to nourish our hair. This is where supplementing protein can be considered. Look for protein supplements that contain amino acids (the smallest unit of protein) as these will be the easiest for your body to distribute.
Where to find Protein in food: eggs, almonds, fish, lean meat, cottage cheese, oats, greek yogurt, broccoli, quinoa, lentils, pumpkin seeds, and peanuts.
BIOTIN FOR HAIR GROWTH
Biotin (otherwise known as Vitamin B7) is probably the most important supplement when it comes to healthier hair.
Taking a supplement containing Biotin can really help to strengthen and improve the durability of growing hairs helping to prevent hair loss, and improving the overall health of existing strands.
Consuming enough Biotin helps your body utilise the proteins you ingest and directs them to all essential and non-essential tissue (ie. your hair).
Where to find Biotin in food: red meat, eggs, nuts, seeds, salmon, and eggs.
IRON FOR HAIR GROWTH
According to the World Health Organisation, Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the USA, affecting more than 25% of the population.
A lack of Iron can not only cause tiredness, pale skin, and hormone malfunctions, but also hair brittleness and hair loss! This is because Iron is needed for blood flow to the scalp - without it, you may experience dry and undernourished hair.
If your scalp is dry, it can also lead to issues like dandruff which further damages your locks. Invest in an iron supplement if you think you could be deficient, to aid your hair nutrition.
Where to find Iron in food: red meat, leafy greens like spinach and kale, nuts, and brown rice.
SELENIUM FOR HAIR GROWTH
Selenium is a mineral that’s hugely important in helping the body fight disease, maintain metabolic functions, and provide antioxidant benefits. It supports the function of several organs, and is also needed for healthy hair growth.
Selenium activates enzymes in the body, which regenerate antioxidants like Vitamin C. This then promotes healthy hair growth by killing off free radicals and bacteria. This is why selenium is often added to many anti-dandruff shampoos.
Similarly to Biotin, Selenium also helps utilise the proteins in our system to boost hair growth and regulate our hair growing hormones! Thankfully, we need very small amounts of it for our bodies to function properly. It is incredibly rare for anyone eating a normal diet to become Selenium deficient.
Where to find Selenium in food: meats, grains, and nuts
ZINC FOR HAIR GROWTH
Zinc is an essential mineral that our bodies need, but the body doesn’t have a place to store it, so it relies on you to consume the right amount daily.
We get most of our zinc intake from food, but supplementing it can help boost immune function, wound healing, cell regeneration, and most importantly helps with hair condition and growth rate.
Zinc also acts as a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor, blocking the creation of DHT (the hair-killing hormone). Low levels of Zinc have been linked to hair loss in both men and women, so increasing your intake of zinc-rich foods can help prevent this from happening.
Where to find Zinc in food: shellfish, legumes, and eggs
No matter which supplements you want to try, it’s always best to check with your doctor first, as you may be able to discover where any deficiencies might be without the expense of trial and error.