With vitamin supplement sales on the rise, we look at a timely published study on their benefits to hair loss.
As we learned about vitamins and their role on our health the race was on to balance our diet in such a way as to make sure we were getting enough. It turns out that is more of a challenge than we might like. Few of us manage to get the appropriate levels of fruit and vegetables on a daily basis. Beyond that there are vitamins which are fairly inaccessible, vitamin D for example only appears in its natural form in a limited range of foods that not many of us will get enough of without serious planning.
Little wonder then that the sales of supplements are popular. Popping back to vitamin D for a moment, a vitamin that during the summer months we get plenty of from sunlight on our skin. The further north you live the greater the need for an alternative source during those long winter nights. Tablets can make all the difference at that time of year.
Received wisdom on taking vitamin supplements can be confusing. They are either the best thing since sliced bread or a complete waste of time, depending on who you are listening to. That confusion has nothing to do with a lack of research, of which there have been plenty. It might indicate that results were less than emphatically clear, leaving room for debate, which filters down as confusion.
The good news is that teams of researchers, based in the USA and Saudi Arabia, have got together to gather the clinical results from 125 separate studies and make meaningful assertions about what has been learned.
So here it is, the boiled down results of all that work. An essential guide to each vitamin, and some of the minerals that support them, and its effect, or otherwise, on hair loss.
This vitamin controls a number of vital functions in the body, including the immune function and the growth and development of cells.
The study found that excessive consumption, three times the recommended daily dose, can cause hair loss.
This complex vitamin group has related compounds that support metabolism. Of all those compounds, riboflavin (B2), biotin, folate, and B12 have been linked to hair loss. Deficiency of these compounds is rare in the West though supplements, especially of biotin, are popular.
Low biotin levels, in particular, have been linked to hair loss, but supplementing intake has not been shown to be of benefit in clinical trials.
In regards to hair loss vitamin C does the important job of improving iron absorption… and loads more besides. While there is no evidence to link vitamin C to hair loss that ability to help us absorb iron can improve the condition of some iron-deficient patients.
There have been numerous articles over the last year featuring the benefits of vitamin D for hair growth. It is important for growth and development as well as for regulating the immune system and maintaining calcium levels in the blood… it plays a key role in the absorption of calcium in the gut.
Several studies have pointed to vitamin D playing a role in hair loss, showing that supplementing supply can limit hair loss for patients with vitamin D deficiency.
A likely sounding candidate for treating hair loss, given its role as an antioxidant and involvement in the immune function. Despite this, there is no clear evidence linking it to hair loss or to a recovery from hair loss.
Minerals are an essential part of a healthy diet. Iron, in particular, is vital for blood production. While a few studies returned some conflicting results the majority support the use of iron supplements for women suffering from hair loss.
Important for key systems including the thyroid there have been no studies linking selenium to hair loss. However, there are indications that taking too much can lead to hair loss and brittle nails as well as nausea and irritability… all of which undermine its value as a natural medicine for depression and serve to underline the importance of sticking to recommended daily intake levels. 55 micrograms for people aged above 14.
A number of studies have noted a link between hair loss and low zinc levels. Unfortunately, we do not have clinical studies on zinc supplementation to show any positive impact on hair growth.
HIS Hair Clinic
We would all do well to consider our diet and make adjustments that take into account the need to get a balanced and complete set of vitamins and minerals. Hair, as a barometer for our wider health, is unforgiving when it comes to deficiencies.
If you would like to discuss your hair loss situation with one of our team of friendly experts, simply complete our contact form on this page or click here to find your nearest clinic.