Our manes are truly our crowning glory. Whether it is to flaunt them loose, scrunch them up or do an impromptu hair sway, healthy, voluminous hair can just pull your whole look together better and also make you feel more confident. But how do you get those strong, thick, lustrous locks? The answer is vitamins. Vitamins C, A, E and biotins are the most essential nutrients for hair growth and scalp health. While these hair vitamins can be found in our daily foods, supplementing them with vitamin capsules may accelerate the process. Read on to know why vitamins are so important for hair growth, what constitutes a diet for healthy hair and how to get your dose of hair vitamins.
Vitamins for hair growth and scalp health
1. Load up on vitamin C to tackle hair loss
Vitamin C is the hair soldier that promotes hair growth, and reverses hair loss. We lose hair daily while combing, brushing or washing our hair. This is fine as long as there is new hair growth happening simultaneously. Vitamin C ensures this happens and stimulates hair regrowth.
Vitamin C aids production of collagen in the body which strengthens the capillaries that supply nutrients to the hair shafts. Iron is another essential nutrient that boosts hair growth and strength. Vitamin C helps in the absorption of iron in foods thus working doubly hard to protect and nourish your hair and scalp.
Sources of vitamin C1. Consume at least one lemon per day to get your dosage of vitamin C.
2. Besides lemon, oranges, blueberries, strawberries, green leafy vegetables, blackcurrants, broccoli, kiwi, guava, sweet potatoes and papayas are rich sources of vitamin C that you should consume daily.
2. Vitamin E is a must for healthy hair
Vitamin E can help eliminate most of your hair problems. It is a rich source of antioxidants that improves blood circulation to the scalp and stimulates the hair follicles to promote hair growth. It also works to maintain the oil and PH balance of the scalp to prevent hair brittleness and breakage. Further, vitamin E protects our hair from sun damage.
Sources of vitamin E:Include avocados, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, garlic and olives to get your mane’s required dosage of vitamin E.
3. Make brittle hair stronger with Biotins
Biotin or vitamin B7 is a water soluble vitamin that is necessary to maintain the overall health of the scalp. Biotin also helps to tame frizz and promote hair growth thus helping to add volume and thickness to your strands.
Sources of biotin:Biotin is abundantly available in poultry products like eggs, cheese, meat and milk. For vegetarians, beans and lentils are the richest source of biotin. Soybean, black beans kidney beans and mushrooms come loaded with biotin which helps to keep your mane strong. Biotin capsules are also available in the market.
4. Get lustrous hair and healthy scalp with vitamin A
Hair that shines immediately makes an impression. Taking appropriate amounts of vitamin A can give you that lustrous hair you always wanted. The sebaceous glands in our body secrete an oily substance called sebum. Sebum is the natural conditioner our hair and scalp needs, without which we will have a flaky and itchy scalp and rough, coarse, dry hair. Sebum is also responsible for lending the lustrous texture to our hair. What vitamin A does is help the body to make sebum which is turn gives a natural shine to the hair, rejuvenates scalp and prevents occurrence of split ends.
Sources of vitamin A:Milk, meat and vegetables high in beat-carotene help to maintain body’s requirement of vitamin A. Yellow and red bell-peppers, carrots, pumpkins and seeds like sunflower seeds and flax seeds are other important sources.
5. Don’t underestimate your Omega-3
If vitamins are the first, Omega-3 comes a close second when it comes to hair health. Omega 3 works to keep your hair hydrated and scalp nourished. Our body is not equipped to make Omega-3 fatty acids, as a result of which we need to obtain it through our diet.
Sources of Omega 3:Oily fishes such as salmon, herring, trout are the richest sources of Omega-3. Vegetarians need to consume lots of pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds and avocados to get their fix of Omega 3 fatty acids.
6. Use Vitamin E oil as your regular hair oil
While we have established that vitamins are absolutely necessary for hair growth, you can also use them in topical application form if you feel you need a little extra. Invest in a Vitamin E oil. These are easily available in the market in bottled or capsule form. Give yourself a hot oil massage every alternate day and then cover your head with a dry towel. Rinse it off after an hour. This hot oil massage ritual is most beneficial when you do it with vitamin E oil. It strengthens your roots, increases blood circulation and oxygen supply to the scalp and makes your hair healthy and strong. To make the concoction even more beneficial, you can add castor, coconut or almond oil.
For thinning and sparse hair, take vitamin E supplements after consulting a doctor
If you are seeking quick hair growth, you can opt for vitamin E supplements. These are easily available in most medical stores. Most of these come without any side effects and deliver results quickly. If taken regularly, you will notice the difference in a month or two. However, we suggest you consult a trichologist before you pop a pill. Our bodies react differently to external substances and it is always better and safer to take a drug or supplement after consulting a qualified doctor.
Easy homemade hair masks can provide vitamins for hair growth
Just like all other nutrients, our kitchens are a storehouse of all the essential vitamins we need for hair growth. Here are a few easy to make at home hair masks that will boost hair growth and reverse hair loss.
1. Avocado hair mask
Avocado hair masks increase availability of vitamin E which has anti-inflammatory properties and as discussed earlier reverses hair loss. This hair mask leaves you with softer hair and a nourished scalp.
• Take 1 small ripe avocado, ½ cup of milk, 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of almond oil.
• Mix the ingredients and make a smooth paste.
• Apply from the roots to the tips of the hair.
• Let the mask sit for 20 minutes and then rinse it off in lukewarm water with a mild shampoo. Follow it up with a conditioner.
2. Banana hair mask
Bananas are power packed with vitamins, antioxidants and potassium making them a complete treatment for your locks. A banana hair mask almost does the work of a hair spa at home by treating dandruff and hair loss, reducing frizz and moisturizing your hair.
• Take 2 bananas, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon coconut oil and 1 teaspoon honey.
• Make a hair mask by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl
• Apply the mixture to your hair from the scalp to the length of the strands
• Keep the mixture on for five minutes
• Wash off with a mild shampoo.
FAQs on Vitamins for hair growthQ
What supplements should be taken for hair growth?
A There are quite a few vitamin supplements available in the market that promise miraculous results. However, we suggest you consult a doctor and then start taking the supplements. Opt for B complex, B12, vitamin B3 and biotin supplements for hair growth.
Which vitamin deficiency causes hair loss?
A Low levels of vitamin D is the primary cause of hair loss and thinning hair. You need to take plenty of vitamin D coupled with minerals like Zinc and Iron to prevent hair loss. Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D. Spend some time outdoors daily to get your fix of sunlight. Raw milk and fresh water fish are other sources of vitamin D.
Further vitamins like Biotin, Niacin (vitamin B3) and vitamin C can help prevent hair loss. Consuming and getting ample amount of these vitamins is the key to long and strong locks.
What are the side effects of taking hair, skin and nails vitamins?
A Standardized vitamin supplements do not have any known side effects. However, everyone’s body is different and reacts differently to external products. In some cases, some individuals may experience some kind of allergy, irritation in the eyes, or breakouts.
What happens if I overdose on vitamins?
A Overdosing on vitamins is a dangerous phenomenon. Don’t pop multiple pills to achieve immediate results. Instead focus on having a nutritious and balanced diet that gives you the necessary vitamins, and supplement it with a vitamin capsule. However, it’s always advisable to consult a doctor on the dosage and type of supplement. Overdosing on a vitamin supplement can lead to indigestion, gut health problems and can also spike your blood sugar levels.
Can I take supplements if there are health issues?
A Pregnant women and those who are trying to conceive should not take any supplements unless prescribed and supervised by a doctor. People with heart and respiratory disorders and diabetes should avoid taking vitamin supplements unless prescribed by a doctor. Though there are no notable side effects, some vitamin supplements contain an ingredient called maltodextrin which may affect your gut health. If you are prone to food poisoning, jaundice and other liver disorders, avoid these supplements. Another ingredient you need to watch out for in your supplements is polysorbate 80. Polysorbate 80 may cause adverse reproductive effects, affect genetic material and cause problems in inhalation.
Vitamins are the building blocks of healthy hair and with a few dietary changes, supplements and topical application of cosmetics you can get your fix of hair vitamins too.