Which Vitamin Deficiency Could Lead to Hair Loss – In Detail

Which Vitamin Deficiency Could Lead to Hair Loss – In Detail

We all know that vitamins are important in order to nourish our body and live a healthy life. Vitamins also affect the health of the hair, but have you ever wondered which specific vitamin could lead to hair loss? 

Most of us tend to ignore the importance of including vitamins in our diets. They help to nourish our body in many ways. 

So which vitamin deficiency can lead to hair loss? Vitamin D and biotin are crucial for healthy hair growth. Other vitamins including vitamin A, B, C and E also helps to keep the hair and the skin healthy. 

In this article I will discuss in detail, the information that I have gathered regarding the vitamins which help against hair loss and how they help. Further, I will discuss the sources of food from which you could obtain such vitamins along with the daily recommended level of vitamin intake.

Vitamin D

I have selected vitamin D first since this is the most crucial vitamin which could affect hair loss, when compared to the other types of vitamins. 

Vitamin D is linked to our immune system and helps to improve our immunity. And lack of vitamin D could lead to autoimmune diseases [1].

The studies have shown that the participants in such research studies had alopecia areata and they were deficient in vitamin D [2] [3].

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease which occurs due to a malfunction (in simple terms) in our immune system. It’s a condition where our immune system attacks the hair follicles in our head. As a result hair loss could be seen in circular bald patches.

Therefore the experts opinion is that lack of vitamin D could cause a malfunction in our immune system which could lead to autoimmune diseases like alopecia areata.

Further, the scientists have found that there is a possibility that vitamin D could be used to alter the hair follicle cycle in order to regenerate the hair follicles. However they say that further experimentations must be conducted regarding this theory [4].

The scientists further predict that treatments with vitamin D could help to reduce the severity of alopecia areata and help to control the disease [5].

On the other hand vitamin D helps the absorption of calcium to our body. Calcium is crucial for strong bones, tissues and cells. This helps to strengthen the hair.

Check out the video below in which Dr. Eric Berg explains the importance of vitamin D for our body.

Dr. Eric Berg DC. Access Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lG57mNSDM1M

As you can see vitamin D is important for our immune system and to protect ourselves from autoimmune diseases.

Biotin

Biotin which is also known as Vitamin H or vitamin B7 is a type of vitamin B. Biotin is also important for healthy hair.

Biotin helps in the protein synthesis in our body and it promotes the production of keratin [6]. Keratin is a type of protein which is found in the cells forming the skin, nails and the hair.

Keratin provides strength and structure for such cells. As per the research studies, deficiency in biotin has made the hair weak and resulted in hair loss [7].

There are a wide variety of biotin supplements available in the market. However biotin is abundantly available in the foods that we eat.

A supplement is effective only when you have deficiency in such nutrients. Therefore if you take biotin supplements without having a deficiency, then it will not be effective. 

Vitamin A

We all have heard that vitamin A is important for a good eye sight, especially at night. However, did you know that vitamin A also helps to keep the hair healthy.

Our skin has a gland called sebaceous gland [8]. It produces a fatty oil called sebum. Sebum helps to keep the hair moisturized and healthy. Therefore in propers amounts, sebum will help to get rid of dry hair.

Vitamin A will help and regulate the production of sebum in our body [9]. Do not misunderstand. Sebum is not made out of vitamin A, it is made out of fats in our body. What vitamin A does is the stimulation of the sebaceous gland to produce sebum.

Vitamin A also plays a small role in collagen synthesis [10]. Collagen is a type of protein that you find in your hair, nails and skin. Lack of collagen could lead to brittles, and damages in hair and nails.

However, as per the research studies getting too much of vitamin A would also lead to hair loss [11]

Over consuming vitamin A would increase the vitamin A toxicity in our blood and could lead to various health implications such as liver damage and even hair loss [12].

Therefore moderate amounts of vitamin A can be helpful for the hair while high amounts of vitamin A could be harmful for your body. 

Vitamin A

Do not worry I will mention the recommended amounts of intake for each vitamin at the latter part of this article.

Vitamin B

Vitamin B is a complex vitamin with different sub vitamins. They are Thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Pantothenic acid (B5), Pyridoxine (B6), Biotin (B7), and Cobalamin (B12).

We have discussed how biotin helps against hair loss. So what about the other categories? Most of the vitamin B complexes help in producing red blood cells in our body. 

This promotes a healthy supply of blood throughout the body. Blood also carries oxygen with it all throughout the body. 

A healthy supply of blood and oxygen is crucial for the functions of the cells. Therefore a healthy supply of blood is important for a healthy hair growth.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is best known for having antioxidant properties. These antioxidants in vitamin C will increase the chance of our ability to fight against the oxidative stress [13]

What is oxidative stress? Let me get it to you this way. The molecules in our body are affected by the pollution, industrial chemicals, harmful rays etc. Due to such reasons free radicals are formed. Free radicals are the molecules with uneven electrons [14].

These uneven molecules or the free radicals could damage the tissues, DNA and cells in our body. Thereby damaging the hair.

The purpose of antioxidants is that they have the ability to even these uneven molecules and restore the balance once again.

The difference between the free radicals and the antioxidants is what you call oxidative stress [15].

Therefore the antioxidant properties of vitamin C is important to fight against the oxidative stress which could damage the cells in our body

Further, just like vitamin A, vitamin C will help in the production of collagen [16]. As mentioned before, collagen will help to keep the scalp, the skin and the hair fresh and healthy.

On the other hand vitamin C increases the ability to absorb iron from the food that we eat. After eating an iron rich diet, consuming a citrus fruit or juice which is rich in vitamin C, could help to absorb more iron into the body.

Iron is crucial for the production of red blood cells and improve the blood flow, which will help to keep the hair healthy and strong. Therefore vitamin c is also important for healthy hair

Vitamin E

Same as vitamin C, vitamin E also has antioxidant properties which allows our body to fight against free radicals and its damage [17].

The research studies also have found that lack of antioxidants in our body which leads to oxidative stress could cause autoimmune diseases like alopecia areata. Do not take it lightly, alopecia areata could be nasty looking and difficult to treat.

Therefore if you have been ignoring these vitamins with antioxidants, then you better include them in your diet.

What is the required amount of vitamin intake

Human body requires various amounts of vitamins to function. Having too much of vitamins in the system and as well as having too little vitamins in the system can affect the body negatively.

Therefore it is important to identify the recommended daily intake of such vitamins. 

Checkout the following images of the table that I have obtained from Harvard Health Publishing which includes the daily dietary recommendations and their comments on the specific vitamin.

The above images were was obtained from Harvard Medical School (Health Publishing), Listing of Vitamins. Accessed from: (Link)

Sources of food rich in vitamins

VitaminFood Sources
Vitamin AEggs, Cod liver oil, Shrimp, Butter, Cheddar, Fortified skim milk
Sweet potatoes, Spinach, Pumpkin, Carrot, Dark green leafy vegetables and more
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)Whole grains, Porn chops, Black Beans, Tuna, Brown Rice and more
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)Eggs, Organ meats, Lean meats, Broccoli, Spinach and more
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)Beef liver, Chicken breast, Tuna, Turkey breast, Pumpkin seeds, Sunflower seeds, Potato Lentils and more
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)Beef, Sea food, Poultry, Eggs, Avocados, Potatoes, Broccoli and more
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)Turkey, Beef liver, Chicken breast, Tuna, Banana, Potato, Cottage cheese and more
Vitamin B7 (Biotin)Beef liver, Tuna, Eggs, Pork chops, Salmon, Broccoli, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Cheddar and more
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)Clams, Beef liver, Tuna, Salmon, Ham, Eggs, Chicken breast, Nutritional yeast, Cheddar, Low fat yogurt and more
Vitamin COrange, Grapefruit, Kiwi fruit, Cauliflower, Potato, Tomato and more
Vitamin DCod liver oil, Salmon, Sardines, Tuna, Eggs, Broccoli, Carrots, Almonds and more
Vitamin ESunflower seeds, Peanut butter, Spinach, Broccoli, Mango, Tomato and more

In the table above I have mentioned a few of the food sources from which you could take the respective vitamin. However feel free to access the corresponding links which I have included as “more” which links to NIH of the US for more details of the food sources.

Symptoms of vitamin deficiency

Finding out whether you are suffering from a vitamin deficiency is a bit more complex. There are common symptoms which indicate that you are vitamin deficient.  

Vitamin A – Could cause night vision issues

Vitamin B1 – May lead to anxiety and feeling tired

Vitamin B2 – Can cause cracked corners of the mouth

Biotin – Hair loss

Vitamin D – Low back pain

Vitamin E – Muscle soreness, slow recovery

These symptoms might even occur due to various other reasons. Therefore it is difficult to judge whether you are vitamin deficient just by looking at these symptoms.

If you doubt that you are lacking some of the vitamins then it is better to consult your doctor and get the professional advice. He/she may suggest some blood tests which will help to identify the deficiencies in micronutrients.

The listed below is a video by Dr. Eric Berg explaining about the methods which you could follow to find out whether you are actually vitamin deficient.

Dr. Eric Berg DC. Access Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T99bxA2XQVk

Is hair loss from vitamin deficiency temporary?

The best person to determine whether the hair loss is permanent or not is a Board certified Dermatologist. 

However as I mentioned earlier in the article, deficiency in vitamin D could lead to autoimmune diseases like alopecia areata. In this disease, our immune system attacks the hair follicles in our scalp and makes them shrink.

New hair grows within such follicles. Therefore when the follicles are damaged and shrunk then there is no space for new hair to grow. This is why in alopecia areata, a person would lose hair in circular bald patches.

So now in order to decide whether these autoimmune diseases are permanent or not, the expert opinion of a dermatologist is the best. Because proper treatments must be followed in order to treat the hair follicles.

If you are not losing hair due to an autoimmune disease like alopecia areata, then most likely the hair loss will be temporary. Once you take the required level of vitamins, the hair will come back to normal. However, the time taken could vary depending on the underlying condition.

Conclusion

Most of the vitamins that we take are important for healthy hair. Among such vitamins, vitamin D is crucial for our body.

Vitamin D is linked with the immune system and could lead to autoimmune diseases, which could be difficult to treat. 

Although we receive vitamin D from the sunlight, most people do not get enough of it. Especially the people in the northern climates. Therefore pay more attention to your vitamin D intake.

Make sure to check the recommended level of vitamin intake and take your vitamins accordingly in order to have healthy hair and also to lead a healthy life.

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