Hair loss: The micronutrients needed to help prevent hair loss

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Researchers from the department of dermatology and dermatologic surgery, at Prince Sultan Military Medical City in Saudi Arabia, said micronutrients are “major elements in the normal hair follicle cycle”. What else did the scientists say? In their research paper, they said micronutrients have a role in “cellular turnover – a frequent occurrence in the matrix cells in the follicle bulb that are rapidly dividing”.

What are micronutrients?

Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, iron, selenium, and zinc.

The research noted that a deficiency in micronutrients “may represent a modifiable risk factor associated with the development, prevention, and treatment of alopecia”.

What’s alopecia?

The NHS explained alopecia is the general medical term used to describe hair loss.

At any one time, 90 percent of the hair follicles on the human scalp are in the anagen (growth) phase.

There are around 100,000 hair follicles on the scalp, which require “essential elements, such as proteins, vitamins, and minerals, to efficiently produce healthy hair”, noted the research paper.

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Conducting a broad literature review on the subject, the scientists discovered studies that demonstrated that vitamin D supplementation (when deficient) helped hair growth.

Vitamin A

Interestingly, too much of the micronutrient vitamin A has been linked to hair loss.

The current dietary allowance of vitamin A for adults is 1300mcg/day (4,300 IU).

Vitamin B

B vitamins, such as: thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 come from the diet.

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However, biotin (B7) can be produced by the body, and in healthy individuals “biotin doesn’t need to be supplemented”.

“Only riboflavin, biotin, folate, and vitamin B12 deficiencies have been associated with hair loss,” said the researchers.

“Many supplements for hair, skin, and nails far exceed the recommended daily intake of biotin,” added the research team.

Acquired biotin deficiency could be due to one or more of the following reasons:

  • Increased raw egg consumption
  • Malabsorption
  • Alcoholism
  • Prolonged use of antibiotics that interrupt normal flora
  • Medications, such as valproic acid

Therefore, vitamin D supplementation “should be considered” for those with alopecia.

Vitamin E, iron, zinc, selenium and folic acid

There is conflicting data regarding vitamin E and hair loss, whereas iron deficiency has been linked to hair loss in women.

Furthermore, low levels of zinc has been associated with hair loss; however, there’s not enough evidence to demonstrate that zinc supplement could help hair grow.

In regards to selenium, “toxicity can cause hair loss”, and there is limited evidence for folic acid.

To conclude, this research paper suggest vitamin D and vitamin C are important micronutrients to help hair growth.

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