Vitamin B12 deficiency: Having low levels could affect your hair in two ways – what to spo
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Vitamin B12 is a crucial ingredient for the healthy running of the body, as it’s needed to make red blood cells. Signs of a deficiency can develop very slowly, so it may be difficult to diagnose the condition, however noticing these changes to your hair could be a signal you’re lacking the essential vitamin.
Vitamin B12 is essential in making red blood cells that carry oxygen to the hair follicles, said Skin Kraft Labroraties.
The health site: “When vitamin B12 levels are low, your hair follicles may not be able to grow new hair as efficiently, resulting in hair loss.
“A vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause symptoms of anaemia, which is associated with low iron levels, hair thinning, and hair loss.
“If you’re young and have noticed your hair turning grey, it could be due to a vitamin B12 deficiency. According to research, vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to premature hair greying.”
The hair is made of a protein known as keratin.
The bulb, which is located at the bottom part of the hair follicle, is made up of the fastest growing cells in the human body, dividing every 23 to 72 hours.
At the base of the bulb is the papilla, which contains blood vessels.
The main job of papilla is to connect the follicles to the body’s blood supply to deliver the oxygen and nutrients necessary for hair growth.
Since vitamin B12 helps produce red blood cells, having enough of this vitamin is essential to hair growth and being deficient will lead to hair loss.
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Deoxyribonucleic acid, commonly known as DNA, is the information within each cell which carries the instructions for growth, development and functioning of all body cells, tissues and organs.
When the cell reproduces, it must first make a copy of its DNA.
Hair growth is dependent on synthesis of DNA and adequate vitamin B12, among other nutrients.
Therefore, a potential sign of a vitamin B12 deficiency is hair loss.
To avoid complications of vitamin B12 deficiency, spotting symptoms of the condition is important. And some signs of the condition have been linked to a person’s hair.
According to studies, if you’ve noticed your hair turning greyer, it could be a sign you’re deficient in B12.
A 2016 study reported in the International Journal of Trichology looked to factors related to premature praying in young Indians under the age of 25.
It found low levels of vitamin B12 were common in participants with premature hair greying, alongside low levels of serum ferritin, which stores iron in the body, and good cholesterol.
Adults need approximately 0.0015mg a day of vitamin B12.
If you eat meat, fish or dairy foods, you should be able to get enough vitamin B12 from your diet.
However, because vitamin B12 is not found in foods such as fruit, vegetables and grains, vegans may not get enough of this vitamin.
Food sources include:
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