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8 Vitamins and Minerals For Hair Growth & Thickness

By Sharon Thomas 

Good hair is a sign of a healthy body. How is that possible? This is because the right amount of nutrients in a balanced form can give you voluminous and strong hair. So, the state of health of a person can be judged by just looking at the hair. There are numerous nutrients out there and the ones most needed for the hair are discussed further down.

And what do you think is the best way to get all nutrients to the hair? Salon visits can be done once or twice in a month to nourish the hair but the effects will not last for a lifetime. People tend to forget the fact that the foods that we have regularly are more than enough to maintain a healthy hair. It is only that the right foods must be taken in right quantities. Now, the effects of this is forever and the money spent in the salon can be saved. Foods nourish the hair follicles from within, that is, the root and not externally which ultimately gives better growth and sheen. Read on to know the details.

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Zinc

Zinc is absolutely essential for hair follicle health. It inhibits hair follicle regression and accelerates the recovery. Production of cells in the body is not possible without zinc. It also balances hormones to a great extent. When this is affected, it leads to hair loss. It does not mean that a huge amount of zinc can give a better-looking hair. It has to be ingested in moderate quantities, 15 mg per day. Too much of zinc can have adverse effects.

Food sources rich in zinc are:

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cashew
  • Spinach
  • Yogurt
  • Chicken
  • Mushroom
  • Chickpea

Fish oil

Omega-3 fats are found in abundance in fishes. They provide nourishment for the hair and helps in thickening. In addition, these healthy fats also keep depression at bay and fight scalp inflammation. Fish oil supplements can be had every day to maintain the level of omega-3 fats in the body but there is no better source than getting them directly from the fishes like salmon, mackerel, tuna, white fish, and sardines.

Foods other than fishes rich in omega-3:

  • Egg yolk
  • Walnut
  • Hemp seeds
  • Soybeans
  • Flax seeds
  • Chia seeds

B-complex vitamins

No direct connection is found between B-complex vitamins and hair growth but it has been studied that when there is no needed amount of it in the body, it can lead to hair loss. B-complex vitamins are a group of 8 water-soluble vitamins that include B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12. Out of them, the importance of biotin (B7), is so high which is discussed later on in this article. B5 which is also called as pantothenic acid supports the adrenal glands which stimulate hair growth. B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), and B3 (niacin) nourish the hair follicle cells.

Foods high in B-complex vitamins are:

  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Potatoes
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Soymilk

Iron

Deficiency in iron can lead to hair problems like alopecia, telogen effluvium, and diffuse hair loss. With the necessary amount of iron in the body, the hair will be strong, thick, and will look glossy. Iron helps hair growth by increasing the tensile strength of the hair shaft. With iron, the underlying cells in the scalp receive so much of oxygen to support hair growth. On an average, an adult needs 18 mg of iron per day. Excess of iron can also spell trouble so that must be looked into.

Foods rich in iron:

  • Spinach
  • Raisins
  • Apricots
  • Black beans
  • Egg yolk
  • Red meat
  • Poultry

Vitamin C

Vitamin C provides the necessary collagen - a protein to maintain the strength and elasticity of the hair. Collagen increases the supply of amino acids which are the base for the keratin in hair structure. Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant. But how, you may wonder. Oxidative stress paves way for aging and free radical damage in the hair. Proper consumption of Vitamin C prevents this effectively and the permissible quantity is 75 mg per day for women and 90 mg per day for men.

Foods rich in Vitamin C include:

  • Orange
  • Raw Green Bell pepper
  • Broccoli
  • Strawberry
  • Kale
  • Guava
  • Kiwi
  • Grapefruit

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, a hormone, is beneficial for hair as it helps to create new hair follicles, thereby stimulating the growth. Research says that people suffering from alopecia - extreme hair loss condition, are deficient in Vitamin D. Though not many know about it, vitamin D is also equally important just like other nutrients for strong locks. Direct exposure to the sun is the best way to get vitamin D.

Some food sources include:

  • Salmon
  • Cod liver oil
  • Mushroom
  • Egg
  • Raw milk

Biotin (Vitamin B7)

Biotin is otherwise termed as "the hair growth vitamin". A person suffering from hair loss is for sure deficient in biotin. With the presence of sufficient biotin in the hair, amino acids are produced when biotin reacts with cell enzymes. The amino acids in turn are important to build the hair protein called keratin. It is suggested that there must be a minimum intake of 30 mcg of biotin every single day to flaunt a healthy-looking hair. In addition, biotin also rebuilds damaged hair and adds up the volume.

Foods rich in biotin include:

  • Avocado
  • Egg
  • Raspberry
  • Raw Cauliflower
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Nuts
  • Yeast
  • Cheddar Cheese

Vitamin A

The scalp produces a natural oil called sebum which is important to keep it healthy. Too much or too little of the sebum can create issues. Vitamin A is responsible for the production of sebum. Less sebum can dry out the scalp and eventually the hair will lose its shine. Vitamin A also aids in cell growth which gives thicker hair. The maximum amount to be consumed in a day is 7.5 mg.

Foods rich in Vitamin A include:

  • Carrot
  • Spinach
  • Mango
  • Dried Apricot
  • Peach
  • Sweet Potato
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    Read more about: hair care hair growth
    Story first published: Saturday, December 9, 2017, 16:55 [IST]
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