The Secret To Sustained Hair Growth Is In Your Diet

If your hairbrush is busy sweeping fists load of fallen strands on a daily basis, then its time to put the “I Need To Know” cap on and dig for the reasons behind your hair fall cause prevention is always easier than a transplant. 😀 The first suggestion I’d make, as a dermatologist, is to take a closer look at your diet because for a majority of women, having low vitamin and iron levels play a triggering role in thinning locks.

Simple Fact For Sustained Hair Growth:

If your levels of vitamins are deficient for a sustained period, your hair follicles are not supplied with the crucial nutrients they need to maintain a normal hair growth cycle. Lacking in these nutrients, your hair can become brittle and susceptible to breakage as your body will become less efficient in the maintaining healthy hair growth.

According to clinical evidence the most common cause of hair loss in pre-menopausal women is not hormones, but a nutritional deficiency, with depleted iron stores (serum ferritin), vitamin D and B being the most crucial factors.

Vitamin D:

Many clinical studies have shown that majority of women experiencing hair loss also revealed lower levels of vitamin D2 and iron — and hair loss only gets worse as the levels drop.

Lets look closely at the direct role of vitamin D in hair fall/growth — Published research has highlighted the fact that vitamin D3 increases the transforming growth factor TGF-ß2 and alkali-phosphatase activity — two essential features of hair-inducing dermal papilla cells. Vitamin D presumably also has a role in regulating the expression of genes that promote normal hair follicle growth. Scientific evidence pin pointing the fact that vitamin D can help dermal papilla stem cells to enhance and maintain their ability to produce hair has changed the way we manage hair fall these days.

All this research might not signify the creation of new hair follicles, but it does have implications for the reactivation of existing follicles in the production of healthy hair. In simple words the presence of vitamin D3 makes the hair grow thicker and helps it to last longer.

To get healthy hair going, aim for a minimum of 600 IU or 15 micrograms of vitamin D per day. While it can be difficult to get enough vitamin D in your diet, salmon packs 450 IU per 3-ounce serving, and fortified milk and orange juice has 115 to 135 IU. Spending time outdoors also helps, as the body produces vitamin D through direct contact with the sun.


The function of Iron in the human body is helping in the production of both hemoglobin (the substance that carries oxygen within red blood cells) and myoglobin. Iron is also involved in the oxygenation of red blood cells. Low levels mean less oxygenation of the hair follicles.

Women with hair loss in a majority of studies were discovered to have significantly lower iron stores than women without hair loss. In a recently published study in the Journal of Clinical Diagnosis the researchers have reported that 30% cases evaluated for hair loss had low hemoglobin and 82.35% cases had low serum ferritin levels.

Ferritin levels directly affecting hair loss have been highlighted in another phase I study where low levels of Iron lead to inhibition of an essential enzyme associated with hair loss in mice.

Have your doctor check your iron levels and ask how much of the mineral is recommended for you. Ferritin levels of 10-15 ng/mL are the “normal” range. But a ferritin level of at least 50 ng/mL is needed to help replenish hair. To promote hair growth doctors shoot for 70 ng/mL.

Clams, oysters, spinach, prunes, and raisins are among the highest food sources of the mineral, but beans are probably a more realistic everyday option. One cup of white beans packs nearly 8 mg of iron. I recommend these foods, plus supplementation with ferrous sulfate, 325 milligrams per day. There is some anecdotal evidence that orange juice, vitamin C, or lysine, if taken together with the iron, helps the absorption.

Vitamin B Complex:

Popular forms of vitamin B complex, such as B-12 (also called cobalamin), biotin, and niacin can help strengthen and condition hair. A 2013 study published in the Archives of Dermatological Research found that high-doses of vitamin B-6 along with L-cysteine helped prevent hair loss during chemotherapy treatment in mice. A Polish study published in 2001 in Wiadomosci Lekarskie found that intravenous vitamin B-6 helped improve hair condition and prevented hair loss in a group of women dealing with diffuse alopecia, or hair loss.

Looking at the individual members of Vitamin B complex family, we know that vitamin B1 (Thiamin), B2 (Riboflavin), and B3 (Niacin) contribute to the proper nourishment of hair follicle cells. Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) gives the hair flexibility, shine and helps to prevent hair loss. Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) helps to prevent dandruff. Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) helps in the prevention of hair loss.

Food sources of vitamin B-6 include poultry, fish, shrimp, milk, cheese, lentils, beans, sunflower seeds, whole-wheat products, wheat germ, spinach, carrots and bananas. Adults need 1.3 milligrams to 1.7 milligrams of vitamin B-6 a day for good health. While treating hair loss, the B vitamins deliver great results when they are paired with Zinc. Together, zinc and the B vitamins may inhibit the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

Take Home Message:

The secret to thick, strong, shiny strands isn’t an expensive shampoo or a fancy salon treatment — it’s all about your diet.

Experts agree that a healthy diet with the right mix of protein, iron, and other nutrients can help improve the health, look, and feel of your hair. Eating a variety of healthy foods will give you the mane you’ve always dreamed of. Fill up on these nutrients to begin growing your healthiest hair ever.

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Shazia Ali
A certified dermatologist, Skincare guru to the who's who of the Middle East, Dr. Shazia knows the secrets of anti-aging, the insider tips and tricks on how to achieve healthy, beautiful radiant skin and everything in between. Currently the brand Ambasador for University of Westminster, and the head Dermatologist at Tababa Clinics.

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