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Which vitamins for hair growth

Woman browsing pharmacy products for hair care

After genetic hair loss (androgenetic alopecia), one of the most common causes of hair loss in women is due to vitamin deficiencies. The typical minerals which women can lack can include iron, vitamin D, and zinc, particularly in menstruating women. Without sufficient levels of these elements in our body, as well as other key vitamins, we can experience hair loss. 

To understand what hair loss means, it is normal to see hair shed around 50-150 strands a day. It’s part of the hair’s natural life cycle. If you notice higher levels of hair falling out compared to what you usually experience, this may indicate hair loss. There can be a number of reasons for hair loss. These can range from post-partum, to stress, changes in hormones, and vitamin deficiencies. It’s important to find the root cause of your hair loss in order to find the best solution – different causes require different methods of solving hair loss. If you suspect a vitamin deficiency based on a range of other symptoms and patterns, such as changes in your skin, nails, energy levels, and irregular or poor diets, as a few to name, you can take a blood test to confirm this.

As part of a healthy diet, you can boost your hair growth with over-the-counter multi-vitamin supplements. This will help the hair follicles to grow at their optimum. Vitamins can be packaged to focus just on boosting hair growth. They usually contain known vitamins and minerals which benefit the hair and blood stimulation in the scalp. Supplements can come in different forms to suit you – from chewable gummies, to powders and pills.

It’s important you consult with a health professional before taking new supplements, including multi-vitamins. Iron supplements and singular high dosage vitamins shouldn’t be purchased over-the-counter without a doctor’s recommendation. Always follow the instructions on the packaging too. Take a look at our vitamin deficiency page for more information on how to get tested for vitamin deficiencies. 

Introduction to vitamins deficiency linked to hair loss 

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A commonly question asked is whether vitamin or mineral deficiency can cause hair loss. There is no doubt that having a deficiency can wreak havoc on the body, with a range of often non-specific symptoms. Although the science community has yet to conclusively prove whether a vitamin or mineral deficiency can cause hair loss, you can likely reduce your hair loss by supplementing the appropriate vitamin or mineral. There are key vitamins and minerals which are required for healthy hair growth, and a reduction of these levels can mean key nutrients are diverted to support vital organs, of which hair is not one.

Here’s a quick introduction to key vitamins and minerals associated with healthy hair growth. For more information on how to get tested for vitamin and mineral deficiencies, follow this link

Key vitamins for hair growth

Iron

Vitamin D

Zinc

Iron is a common deficiency found in women and often due to blood loss, pregnancy, and poor diet. Iron is a mineral required by the body to make haemoglobin, which carries oxygen around the body. If iron is low, the body will naturally divert its iron reserves to support vital organs, leaving fewer oxygen molecules reaching the hair follicles. 

Vitamin D is naturally produced when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Sunlight is the main source of production for vitamin D but can also come from foods such as oily fish and egg yolks. Vitamin D plays a role in stimulating new and old hair follicles. It can therefore be expected that vitamin D deficiency may reduce or prevent new hair growth.  

Zinc is a trace element, which means that your body cannot make it on its own. Your body cannot store zinc, so you need to take it in every day to ensure you have optimum levels of zinc. The best food sources for zinc include red meat, fish, legumes, seeds, nuts, cheese, and eggs. Zinc is so important because it plays a key role in fighting infections and producing new cells.

Other vitamins to boost hair growth

  • Vitamin B12 – Supports the production of healthy blood cells to carry oxygen around the body, including to the scalp tissues 

  • Biotin (Vitamin B7) – Breaks down proteins to keratin. Keratin is used for the structure of hair strands 

  • Protein – Naturally derived in eggs, meats, nuts and vegetables, these are the building blocks for hair growth 

  • Collagen – Important for cell repair and regeneration 

  • Vitamin A – Supports the production of oils on the scalp (sebum) 

  • Magnesium – Manages calcium build up and protein synthesis, for a stable hair lifecycle 

  • Selenium – Protects hair from free radicals and damage 

  • Omega-3 fatty acids – Provides nutrients to the hair follicles, stops inflammation and protects the scalp 

Popular multi-vitamins for hair growth 

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The most talked about hair supplement in recent years, this product has had amazing reviews from celebrities and dermatologists alike. Focused on giving women thicker and longer hair through natural ingredients, it is packed with biotin – a vitamin used to help enzyme to breakdown protein for hair – as well as vitamins A, C, and D. It has had a number of clinical studies supporting its claims of boosting hair growth. In one trial, 86% of women reported seeing improved hair growth from taking the product, as well as 84% of participants seeing new hair growth after six months. It also claims to be 100% drug and hormone-free. It is advised to take 4 capsules per day, with each bottle providing a month’s supply.

Available on Amazon (paid link):

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An add-on to their hair care range, OUAI thin hair supplement is a one-a-day pill packed with biotin, silica, ashwagandha, and amino acids. It also contains vitamin B, C, D, E, zinc, and the infamous horsetail herb extract, found to improve stimulation at the scalp. OUAI recommends that you give the supplement 90 days before you can see visible improvements to the hair. This also comes at a more reasonable price point compared to its competitors, a helpful factor when considering longer term solutions.

Available on Amazon (paid link):

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Viviscal's maximum strength supplement is backed by the long history of the brand in hair care and hair loss prevention. It focuses on the important ingredients for thick, luscious hair including biotin, zinc, iron, niacin, and proprietary Aminomar Collagen Complex. Their research suggests this marine-based element promotes hair growth. Whilst the formula isn't vegetarian, they are backed by lots of research. This makes it a reliable brand if you're starting out on your vitamin supplement journey.

Available on Amazon (paid link):

4

Created by US celebrity influencers Leyla Milani and Lilly Ghalichi, HAIRtamin promises to strengthen hair follicles and reduce hair loss. This formula comes in a tasty gummy chewable tablet, which makes taking the daily vitamins a lot easier. Their key ingredients are biotin, vitamin C and D3, zinc, and turmeric. Turmeric contains natural anti-inflammatory properties to protect the scalp from irritation. Although it has only been released in the market in recent years, it has good user feedback of adding length and strength to hair.

Available on Amazon (paid link):

5

Hair Burst Chewable is another gummy formula capsule packed with biotin, zinc, and selenium. The brand recommends taking two a day and just after breakfast for the best digestion. One bottle will give a month’s supply of vitamins; though for the best results, you will need to give it around 90 days before seeing visible improvements. Hair Burst believe by taking vitamin supplements you can protect your hair from daily disruptive factors which can affect the hair’s lifecycle and growth phase within it.

Available on Amazon (paid link):

6

Movita is a unique brand which focuses on sourcing premium and individually grown vitamins. Their ingredients are grown with the purpose of being a vitamin supplement first and not sourced as a bi-product from foods. It binds its minerals and vitamins to a glycoprotein mix, which supports nutrients to be in their most effective form. Movita is also focused around supporting women’s health more holistically to be at its best, including for hair. It prides on being gluten-free and vegan friendly and does not contain any artificial preservatives. They claim customers will be able to see positive results after 30 days of continuous use. 

Available on Amazon (paid link):

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Mentioned in many big publications such as Forbes, Olly Ultra Hair supports hair strength, boosts hair growth, and supports hair to retain its pigment. Its formula is packed with biotin, keratin, silicon, copper, vitamin B12, and folic acid. The soft gel pills make it easier to swallow if you find it difficult to take larger pills, and is gentle on the stomach. One pill a day will help you support your hair from within. You can also mix and match with its other multi-vitamin range. 

Available on Amazon (paid link):

Please click below if you want to read the science behind this article.

References

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