We get it, everyone wants to have long luscious locks. But there’s long and luscious, and there’s long and straggly. Obviously, we’re going to try for the first one. The best way to get there is to regularly trim our ends, so we don’t end up with an unkempt mess on our hands.
Aside from trimming to avoid split ends, there are lots of vitamins and nutrients that can ensure long healthy hair. So, which ones should we stock up on?
In the case of hair, vitamin A helps by regulating sebum production in the scalp, therefore ensuring that the scalp isn’t dry. It’s a bit tricky, as it can cause hair loss if taken in large doses. So, be sure to avoid taking more than 700 mg per day. But if we know how to use it and what it’s for, we’ll end up with stronger hair follicles and a moisturized scalp.
Vitamin A can be found in carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and leafy greens like spinach and kale. These are all high in carotene, which our bodies will turn into vitamin A. We also get vitamin A from dairy products and eggs, and even cod liver oil.
- Regulates sebum, keeping the scalp healthy
- Take up to 700 mg per day
- Found in dairy, eggs, carrots, potatoes, etc.
Vitamin B Complex
There are several types of vitamin B that help our hair stay healthy and grow long. B vitamins help in red blood cell production, and those carry nutrients up to the scalp. This will ensure that our hair is getting all the other nutrients it needs, which will make it less dry and prone to breakage. Also, biotin deficiency is linked to hair loss, which we’re obviously trying to avoid on the journey to having the long hair of our dreams.
Another type of vitamin B is folic acid, which is an artificial B9 supplement. Folic acid plays a role in preventing breakage and will allow us to wait longer in between trims. It will also keep our hair nice and moisturized, which will make it look shinier and thicker.
We get vitamin B from seafood, whole grains, almonds, meat, and leafy greens. Vegans or vegetarians should get their blood work done to see if they need vitamin B12 supplements, since most of us get a lot of vitamin B from meat.
- Keeps hair strong and shiny
- Look up all types of vitamin B for daily recommended dosages
- Found in seafood, whole grains, almonds, meat and leafy greens
Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant responsible for dealing with free radicals that can cause premature aging. Aging hair will be more dry and brittle than youthful hair, and vitamin C will make our hair look nice and bouncy again. Another thing our bodies can make from vitamin C is collagen, which makes our hair stronger from within the hair shaft.
In recent years, online influencers have even taken to promoting chewable hair vitamins that give customers their daily dose of C and B vitamins. This is mostly unnecessary, as we can get those vitamins through a varied diet. As we know, vitamin C is available in citrus fruits, peppers, strawberries and a lot of other fresh produce.
- Keeps hair youthful and strong, helps make collagen
- 75 mg per day, up to 2000 mg
- Found in citrus, peppers, strawberries, etc.
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to hair loss. That goes for most of these nutrients – which should tell us exactly how important they are. Vitamin D is linked to follicle production, so it should help make our hair thicker, at least. Scientists aren’t completely sure what it is about vitamin D that actually helps hair, though. Remember that our skin already produces vitamin D through exposure to sunlight, but it wouldn’t hurt to supplement our intake. We can find vitamin D in fish oils, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, fatty fish, and some mushrooms.
- Possibly helps hair production
- 10-20 mg daily
- Found in fatty fish, beef liver, egg yolks, etc.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant, so it has similar properties to vitamin C. It helps with cell regeneration, and our bodies don’t produce it, so it needs to come in from outside sources. These are olives, nuts, seeds and leafy greens like spinach. Some studies have shown that vitamin E boosts hair growth.
- Boosts growth
- 15-1000 mg per day
- Found in olives, leafy greens, nuts and seeds
Iron is good for our hair for the same reason it’s good for our body. It helps red blood cells bring oxygen to our cells, carrying other nutritious benefits. Iron deficiency causes anemia, which can cause hair loss. Since iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world, and since it’s very common in women, we should all check to see if we actually need a supplement. Iron is available in clams and oysters, eggs, red meat, lentils, and spinach.
- Helps red blood cells bring nutritious elements to skin cells
- 17-18 mg per day
- Found in eggs, red meat, lentils, spinach, clams, etc.
One of the common symptoms of zinc deficiency is hair loss, so we obviously need zinc to ensure a full head of hair. It works by encouraging tissue regeneration and keeping the hair follicle strong while keeping oil glands working properly. Zinc is available in all sorts of foods, including beef, spinach, wheat germ, lentils, nuts, chickpeas and pumpkin seeds. Adults shouldn’t take more than 8 mg daily, as taking more than the daily recommended amount is also linked to hair loss.
- Strengthens hair follicle, regulates sebum production
- 8 mg per day (more than 25 mg can cause anemia and copper deficiency)
- Found in beef, spinach, wheat germ, lentils, etc.
As hair consists entirely of a protein by the name of keratin, it makes sense to learn that we need to eat protein to keep our hair healthy and happy. Most of us already have a diet high in protein – think of all the dairy, eggs, beans, and white chicken meat we consume. However, in recent years there’s been a trend of putting protein directly on hair in the form of protein masks. They can be found at the local drugstore or made using egg yolk and some yogurt or maybe mayonnaise and avocado.
- Makes hair strong and shiny
- 46 grams per day
- Found in dairy, eggs, beans, white chicken meat; or hair masks
So What Did We Learn?
Missing any of these nutrients can cause hair loss – which is why we’re pretty certain we need them to get long and healthy hair. Many of these nutrients are actually used as ingredients in hair care, so we can even try to nourish our hair from the outside in, for a more focused attack.
We have to keep in mind, though, that having too much of most of these vitamins in our bodies can also cause mayhem. So, we should be mindful of the daily recommended limits. And hopefully, by next year, we’ll all have gorgeous long hair!