Nutrition and Hair Growth


Hair is the fastest growing organ in the human body: the average rate of growth is about a half of inch per month. The living part of hair is under the scalp skin where its root is housed within its follicle. It is important that many of the nutrition requirements of follicle cells (minerals and vitamins) must be satisfied for optimal hair growth. Health concerns e.g. stress, trauma, medications, medical conditions, smoking etc. can affect hair growth.

Nutritionists confirm that people with certain nutritional deficiencies tend to have dry, stringy and dull hair, and sometimes experience hair loss. Nutrition deficiency will typically show in the hair.  When the body is under threat it reprioritizes its processes – the vital organs will be taken care of first – hair follicles may not be considered a priority. As the consequence, people will see more hair shedding. While not all hair growth issues originate from malnutrition, it is a valuable symptom in diagnosis.

Diets should be balanced with protein, fruits, vegetables, grains, and an appropriate amount of fat with adequate amount of micronutrients such as vitamins, trace minerals and healthy fatty acids.


Beta-carotene is important to hair growth because beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A as the body needs to maintain normal growth, bone development, and protective sheathing around nerve fibers, as well as to promote healthy skin, hair and nails. Vitamin A also helps skin glands make an oily substance called sebum. Sebum moisturizes the scalp and helps keep hair healthy.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps produce and maintain healthy collagen, the connective tissue type found within hair follicles. Vitamin C is also a strong antioxidant and protects both the cells in follicles and cells in nearby blood vessels

Vitamin D

Low vitamin D can affect the severity of patients with Alopecia Areata a non-scarring alopecia. Research also shows that vitamin D may help create new follicles — the tiny pores in the scalp where new hair can grow.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E helps to maintain the integrity of cell membranes of hair follicles. The vitamin provides physical stability to cell membranes and acts as an antioxidant while promoting healthy skin and hair. In one study, people with hair loss experienced a 34.5% increase in hair growth after supplementing with vitamin E for 8 months. The placebo group had only a 0.1% increase

Vitamins B1, B2 and Niacin

Reduced levels of thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2) and niacin can contribute to the undernourishment of hair-follicle cells.

B5 (pantothenic acid)

Pantothenic acid gives hair flexibility, strength and shine and helps prevent hair loss and greying. 

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 helps nourish scalp and prevent dandruff. 

Folic acid

A decrease in folic acid may contribute to decreased hair-follicle cell division and growth. Folic acid is also essential for the maintenance of healthy methionine levels in the body. Signs of folic-acid deficiency include anemia, apathy, fatigue, and graying hair.


Biotin is another nutrient associated with hair loss. Biotin is required for a number of enzymatic reactions within the body, and is necessary for the proper metabolism of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. A study conducted at Harvard University suggests that biotin is one of the most important nutrients for preserving hair strength, texture, and function.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 helps activate the Wnt signaling pathway and is crucial in cell replication and DNA synthesis. B12 deficiency can cause hair loss as well as heart and never problems.


Selenium is necessary for iodine metabolism. Case studies have indicated that selenium deficiency can lead to cancer, heart disease, and poor hair growth.


Suboptimal thyroid functioning can lead to abnormal hair growth. Iodine supports proper thyroid functioning


Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen to your cells. This makes it an important mineral for many bodily functions, including hair growth. Iron deficiency, which causes anemia, is a major cause of hair loss. It’s especially common in women.


Zinc is essential for DNA and RNA production, which, in turn, leads to normal follicle-cell division. Zinc is also responsible for helping to stabilize cell-membrane structures and assists in the breakdown and removal of superoxide radicals. Topical applications of zinc have been shown to reduce the hair loss activity of 5-AR type II

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