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healthy hair supplements

Which vitamins are good for hair?

23 Nov 2022 • 2 min read

Dreaming of silkier locks?

Beyond choosing the right products for your hair and eating a nutrient-packed diet, you might want to think about treating it with a few extra vitamins and minerals.

Why might I need extra vitamins for my hair?

There are many reasons why you might want to consider supporting your hair’s health with a few extra vitamins.1 Most importantly, vitamins and minerals are absolutely essential for numerous bodily functions – including growing new cells such as your hair follicles.

If you have a deficiency of those vitamins which typically nourish and support healthy hair growth, you might notice that your mane starts to look dry and lacklustre. While things like deep conditioner and hair masks can have great short-term benefits, you’ll need to adapt your diet or take extra supplements to see any effects in the long run.

Cutting your hair regularly is also a fantastic way of supporting the health of your hair. Even if you’re trying to grow it, a trim every two to three months will noticeably improve the condition of your locks.

Do hair vitamins really work?

There is very little scientific evidence to prove that vitamins for hair growth actually work. However, severe shortage of biotin, zinc, niacin and iron may lead to hair loss in rare circumstances.2

Vitamins for hair growth & thickness

There is no specific evidence that suggests certain vitamins can improve hair growth. Eating a healthy balanced diet and ensuring you get a mixture of the right vitamins and minerals is the most likely way you can improve hair growth.

However, vitamin D, E and B complex vitamins are thought to support hair growth, although there is no evidence which directly supports this.

Vitamins for shiny hair

Biotin is a natural vitamin found in the body which converts food into energy. For this reason, biotin has been thought to help improve hair health, because the lack of it in your body can lead to hair loss.

However, excess biotin in the system can have some serious side effects including skin rashes, problems with digestion or even damage to the kidneys. So, its probably best to take any biotin supplements in moderation and to consult your GP if you have any concerns.3  

Summary

  • While there might not be any specific mixture of vitamins that will make your hair thicker, stronger or shinier there are vitamins you can take that may improve your locks, but keeping on top of a balanced diet will see improvements

How to choose which vitamins are good for your hair

While it may be that genetics, age and hormones will always play their part when it comes to your hair - If you are considering buying hair growth supplements, it may be worth looking at those that contain the following vitamins and nutrients to give your mop the best chance of survival.

7 best vitamins for your hair

  1. Vitamin A

Vitamin A can potentially do two things for dull hair. Firstly, studies show that it helps stimulate the cells to grow new hair. What’s more, vitamin A is thought to prompt the pores in your scalp to produce more oil which can then moisturise it and give it shine. This works by producing sebum, an oily substance which helps keep your hair and scalp healthy.4

You can get sources of vitamin A naturally by eating eggs, cod liver oil, sweet potatoes, carrots and leafy green vegetables

  1. B Vitamins

Some types of vitamin B are thought to be directly linked to hair growth as they help carry oxygen to the cells in your scalp which then stimulate the follicles.

Biotin (vitamin B7) is a particularly good form of vitamin B when it comes to hair. You’ll find it’s a common ingredient in a lot of hair growth products, although most people should be able to get enough biotin through their diet alone.5

To ensure you are getting enough biotin in your diet, you can look to eat more nuts, eggs, legumes, meat and leafy green vegetables.

  1. Vitamin C

You might associate vitamin C with your immune system, but did you know that it can also help boost hair growth?

This is because it assists our bodies in making collagen, a substance which is rich in amino acids that aid in strengthening hair follicles. Vitamin C can also help combat free radicals, molecules which damage your cells and may lead to slower hair growth.6

The best sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, peppers, broccoli and strawberries.

It is also thought that eating food that contains iron at the same time as eating foods that are high in vitamin C will help your body absorb the iron better.7

  1. Vitamin E

Another vitamin which is known to promote cell regeneration is vitamin E. It does this by aiding in repairing cell tissue, including on your scalp. Vitamin E may also help soothe your scalp if you suffer from conditions like dandruff.8

You can look to get more vitamin E in your diet by adding more almonds, avocado and sunflower seeds into your diet.

  1. Zinc

Zinc has many uses around the body, including assisting with cell tissue growth. It also plays an important role in the oil glands in your scalp and makes sure they produce enough sebum to keep your hair moisturised and your scalp hydrated.

You can get more zinc into your diet by adding spinach, lentils and pumpkin seeds to meals.

  1. Iron

Iron is an important mineral for many bodily functions. It helps red blood cells carry oxygen to your cells, and more specifically in this instance, to the roots of your hair.  

It’s important that you eat foods that are high in iron as its not absorbed into your body very easily. A lack of iron in your diet can lead to fatigue and tiredness, or in serious cases anemia.

In order to do this, you should eat more eggs, chickpeas, nuts, seeds, brown rice, baked beans, lentils, spinach, broccoli, tofu and dried fruit.

  1. Protein

Hair is made entirely of protein. So, it stands to reason that adding more protein to your diet will contribute to hair growth.

You can add more protein to your diet by including eggs, oats, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt and broccoli, to name just a few.

Summary of vitamins for hair

There are no scientifically proven follicle miracles that will make your hair grow. However, by eating a balanced diet and ensuring that you eat the right foods you may see an improvement.

If you’re deficient in any of the above vitamins and unable to get the correct amounts through your diet alone, consult your GP, as it might be worth taking a supplement.

Have a browse of our full range of hair support vitamins, oils and sprays which may help improve the health and overall appearance of your mane.

Hair detox: 15 ways to do scalp cleansing & look after your hair

Treating your hair to a detox and your scalp to a good old cleanse is one of the best things you can do.

 Check out these 15 ways to get your hair back to good health.

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Last updated: 04 May 2021

bhupesh-panchal

Bhupesh Panchal

Author

Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate

Joined Holland & Barrett: April 2019

Masters Degree in Toxicology and BSc Hons in Medical Biochemistry

Bhupesh started his career as a Clinical Toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products.

After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.
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