It’s easy to worry about thinning hair, especially when there doesn’t seem to be a cause that you can reason with. But after you understand why it’s happening, these vitamins for thinning hair added to a healthy diet will help you keep your hair strong.
Hair is of great importance for our appearance, and finding too many strands in your pillow or your brush can be very frustrating.
However, this doesn’t automatically mean you’re on your way to baldness. In normal conditions, we tend to shed between 50 and 100 hairs every day.
If you’re losing a noticeably higher amount, then you could be suffering telogen effluvium, which is the medical term for hair shedding or hair thinning.
The difference between hair thinning and hair loss is that hair thinning tends to be temporary, while in hair loss –its medical term is anagen effluvium— the hair stops growing.
It might help you to know that by no means you’re an isolated case: thinning hair is very common, even in younger ages.
While it is true that hair loss and hair thinning tends to get worse as we get older, younger men and women will likely experience it to some degree.
40% of women will experience female pattern hair loss before they’re 40 years old, and the same goes for male pattern baldness for men under 35.
As you might know, men are more affected by hair loss: 50% of men have it to some degree, and 1 in 4 men under 21 experience it too.
Women, on the other hand, are more likely to go through hair loss after menopause.
However, shedding hair doesn’t necessarily mean that you have pattern baldness. In some cases, hair thinning will stop on its own, like you’ll see in the section below.
Still, whatever is your case, vitamins will help you recover more quickly and prevent further hair loss.
Common Causes of Thinning Hair
Hair thinning works like a lesser to moderate hair loss, and there are normal situations that can be the cause.
- Experiencing uncontrolled stress. Stress releases hormones that can kill hair cells.
- Poor nutrition.
- Hormonal changes. This includes menopause and pregnancy. In the latter, hair shedding effects tend to start 2 months after giving birthand have its peak after 4 months. This shedding is normal and will go away on its own.
- Dramatic weight loss. Some nutrient deficiencies during dieting might have an effect on shedding hair.
- Stop taking birth control pills.
- Recovering from high fever.
Medical situations like skin illnesses, recovering from autoimmune diseases or undergoing an operation can also cause hair shedding.
If you can’t locate the cause of your hair loss or it seems to be excessive, like bald spots, directly contact your doctor. It could be the effect of some other illness happening in your body that should be checked out soon.
The Best Vitamins for Hair Thinning
Biotin, also known as B7, helps using proteins, carbohydrates, and fats to synthesize proteins that the body uses for growth.
This is related to the creation of keratin, an essential component for hair and nail growth, so ingesting extra biotin might also help you fix brittle nails.
A study showed that a treatment containing biotin strengthened the hair by thickening hair fibers.
You can find Biotin in foods like cauliflower, dairy products, salmon, and mushrooms.
Although eggs are often mentioned as a good source of biotin, egg whites contain avidin and ingredient that difficult the absorption of biotin.
You can also take biotin in the form of supplements B-complex vitamins or individual biotin tablets.
It is recommended to use a higher biotin dose than the recommended when used as hair loss treatment, but taking too much of it can have side effects like unbalancing your other vitamins.
Hair loss is a major sign of biotin deficiency, along with brittle nails and smoking. A normal biotin deficiency occurs in some women during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Omega-3 (Fish Oil)
The omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil will thicken your hair and help the growth of hair follicles by nourishing them with its nutrients and proteins.
The omega-3 fatty acids are also great antioxidants that will protect the mitochondria and membranes of your cells from dangerous free radicals.
They even contribute to cell maintenance by helping to keep the permeability of cell membranes, which is what allows nutrients to pass in and out of cells.
A 2015 study observed the hair density in a group of women that were supplemented with omega vitamins during 6 months. Their hair growth increased compared to a control group, and 89.9% of the participants reported reduced hair loss.
Fish oil can’t be used topically (and it would leave an unpleasant smell if you were to do it). It’s best consumed in foods like salmon, mackerel, tuna, white fish, sardines, egg yolks and walnuts. It can also be consumed as a supplement in the form of capsules, although their amount of omega-3 varies.
Zinc deficiency is often related to hair loss, and a study has shown it can help in curing it.
Zinc is a crucial mineral for the health of our hair follicles since it regulates hormones and helps building proteins that you hair cells need to conserve their structural integrity.
It also works as an inhibitor of hair follicle regression.
However, be sure to keep a balance. It’s demonstrated that too much zinc will disrupt the absorption of important minerals for hair growth.
An excess of zinc can also produce high levels of testosterone, which is related to hair loss and hair thinning. As you can see, zinc is very important for hair health.
The recommended daily intake of Zinc is of 15mg. You can find zinc supplements, but if you prefer, you can find it in zinc-rich foods like Red meats poultry, liver, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, shrimp, egg yolks and soy products.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which means it protects you hair cells from damage by free radicals. These free radicals are formed when your body turns food into energy, and they can turn your hair brittle or weak.
With age, the production of free radicals increases and the enzymes that combat them decrease, which means vitamin C can help against the effects of aging on hair.
The daily intake of vitamin C is of 90mg for men and 75mg for women. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding might have to increase it by around 35mg. Some vitamin C-rich include spinach, blueberries, citrus fruits, red peppers, kiwi, and pineapples.
Tips to reduce hair thinning
There are small changes that we can do in our lifestyles that will immensely help reducing hair thinning. Here are some that you might want to keep in mind:
- A healthy diet. This is probably the most important part: getting the right nutrients with which hair can thrive. Protein, iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and vitamin B7 are especially important.
- Massaging. While you’re shampooing your hair in the shower, make sure to massage your scalp. This will improve blood flow, which contributes making a good environment for hair growth and helps to absorb any treatment you might be using. We will also take the chance to disprove a common myth: shampooing too often doesn’t cause hair shedding. The hair you see fall to the floor of the shower is most likely the normal 50-100 hairs we lose every day. Still, try to use a gentle shampoo if you’re going to wash your hair every day to avoid hair breakage.
- Avoid styling too often. Frequent use of hair dryers and irons can cause breaking and thinning, so if you have a hair thinning problem consider not using them for a while or reducing its use as much as you can.
- Essential oils. Commonly used in aromatherapy, essential oils can help thicken hair. They’re applied by applying them to your scalp with a massage. The most common ones are rosemary, lavender, thyme, and cedarwood. Always dilute them in carrier oils when applying them to your skin. Before using essential oils on your scalp, contact your doctor to make sure you don’t have any skin allergy that would prevent you from using them.