Having a luxurious head of hair is associated with attractiveness, as evidenced by countless shampoo advertisements with women swinging their thick, shiny head of hair around while groaning ecstatically! That’s not to mention scores of advertisements for prescription medications, over-the-counter creams and hair transplant surgeries. Many would be willing to stand on their heads in a bowl full of green Jell-O for 15 minutes a day if they were told it would regrow their hair!
Most of us lose around 100 hairs a day – this is perfectly normal, as evidenced by your hairbrush! However, at least 50 percent of all adults will experience hair loss or thinning hair by age 60, and this affects approximately 40 million men and 20 million women. There are many types of hair loss:
Androgenetic alopecia, or pattern baldness. This is the most common type of hair loss. Male pattern baldness usually occurs in the front, crown and sides of the hairline. It’s not uncommon for male hair loss to begin in the 20’s. An androgen receptor gene on the X chromosome explains why a man’s baldness resembles that of his maternal grandfather more than his father. However, baldness can be inherited from the mother’s or father’s side of the family with equal frequency. Female thinning is most likely to occur on the crown and in the front. In both men and women, this type of hair loss is heredity and permanent.
The hormone dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, is also related to male pattern baldness. DHT binds with receptor sites on hair follicle cells to cause balding and decreases the length of the hair growing cycle so that each new regeneration of hair becomes smaller and thinner. That’s why you see so many advertisements for hair loss products extolling their virtues as DHT blockers, such as Propecia. DHT blockers also include natural supplements for thinning hair such as saw palmetto, nettles, pumpkin seed oil, green tea, emu oil, and soy isoflavones.
Telogen effluvium occurs in response to stress. This can be triggered by childbirth, major surgery, serious psychological stress, or serious illness such as high fever or severe flu. However, hair loss may not occur until three to six months following the stressful incident, so it’s difficult to connect the stress with the loss. Hair usually regrows within six to nine months.
Alopecia areata is temporary hair loss characterized by round patches of hair falling out of the scalp. This hereditary disease of the immune system can affect children or adults and is caused by white blood cells attacking the hair follicle.
Hair loss can also be affected by these other factors:
· Side effects of medications or treatments, including medications to treat arthritis, depression, heart problems, high blood pressure and gout – plus chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
· Symptoms of illness, such as diabetes, lupus or thyroid disorders.
· Overuse of hair treatments and products such as hair dye, permanents, straighteners, hot rollers, curling irons and blow dryers. This is called traumatic alopecia.
· Poor nutrition. This is especially true if you don’t get enough protein or iron in your diet.
Given all this, is vitamin E good for hair? Despite what all those exciting commercials say, current research shows that there is no absolute direct correlation between taking vitamin supplements and permanent hair regrowth. There’s a popular misconception that Vitamin E regrows hair. You can take all the Vitamin E supplements you want to, and even rub it on your head, but it won’t magically transform you into a Muppet in dire need of a haircut!
However, non-hereditary hair loss is an indicator of poor health. As a result, you should ensure that you’re eating a healthy diet and taking the right vitamins and minerals that help to prevent hair loss. Unexplained hair loss should be evaluated as a symptom of other health problems – if you experience this, check with your physician.
Although no particular vitamin or product will give you a head of hair like Cher’s in the 70’s, you should take minerals and vitamins that help prevent hair loss to complement your nutritious diet. Good nutrition is important to overall health and healthy hair growth. The following vitamins and minerals have been shown to help to prevent hair loss:
Vitamin A: This antioxidant produces healthy scalp sebum. Daily dose is 5,000 IU. Caution: Ingesting more than 25,000 IU of vitamin A daily is toxic – it can cause hair loss and other serious health problems. Food sources include fish liver oil, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, apricots and peaches.
Vitamin B 3, or Niacin: Promotes scalp circulation. Daily dose is 15 mg. Food sources include brewer’s yeast, wheat germ and fish.
Vitamin B 5, or Pantothenic acid: Helps prevent graying and hair loss. Daily dose is 4 to 7 mg. Food sources include whole grain cereals, brewer’s yeast and egg yolks.
Vitamin B 6: Helps prevents hair loss and assists in the production of melanin, which gives hair its color. Daily dose is 1.6 mg. Food sources include brewer’s yeast, whole grain cereals, vegetables and egg yolks.
Vitamin B 12: Helps prevents hair loss. Daily dose is 2 mg. Food sources include fish and eggs.
Vitamin C: This antioxidant maintains healthy skin and hair. Daily dose is 60 mg. Food sources include citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi, cantaloupe, pineapple, tomatoes, green peppers, potatoes and dark green veggies.
Vitamin E: Does vitamin E promote hair growth? Well, this antioxidant does encourage scalp circulation. Daily dose is up to 400 IU. Food sources include cold-pressed vegetable oils, wheat germ oil, soybeans, raw seeds and nuts, dried beans, and leafy green veggies.
Biotin: Helps produce keratin, which may prevent graying and hair loss. Daily dose is 150 to 300 mcg. Food sources include brewer’s yeast, whole grains, egg yolks and rice.
Inositol: Keeps hair follicles healthy at the cellular level. Daily dose is up to 600 mg. Food sources include whole grains, brewer’s yeast and citrus fruits.
Calcium: An essential mineral that boosts hair growth. Daily dose is up to 1,500 mg. Food sources include tofu, fish, nuts, brewer’s yeast, beans, lentils and sesame seeds.
Chromium: Helps prevent hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, which can cause hair loss. Daily dose: Up to 120 mg. Food sources include brewer’s yeast and whole wheat bread.
Copper: Helps prevent hair loss and defects in color or structure. Daily dose is up to 3 mg; but more than that can lead to dry hair, hair loss and severe health problems. Food sources include shellfish, green vegetables, whole grains, eggs and beans.
Iodine: Prevents dry hair and hair loss. Daily dose is 150 mcg. Food sources include fish, seaweed, kelp, iodized salt and garlic.
Iron: Prevents hair loss. Daily dose is 15 mg. Food sources include eggs, fish, whole grains, green vegetables and dried fruits.
Magnesium: This is one of the vitamins to regrow hair; it works in tandem with calcium to promote healthy hair growth. Daily dose is 280 mg. Food sources include green vegetables, wheat germ, whole grains, nuts, soy beans, chickpeas and fish.
Potassium: This is another one of the vitamins that make hair regrow; potassium promotes healthy hair growth. Daily dose is 3,500 mg. Food sources include avocados, bananas, lima beans, brown rice, dates, figs, dried fruit, garlic, nuts, potatoes, raisins, yams and yogurt.
Selenium: Keeps scalp supple and elastic. Daily dose is 55 mcg, but more than that can cause hair loss. Food sources include brewer’s yeast, grains, tuna and broccoli.
Silica: This natural supplement for thinning hair strengthens hair and prevents hair loss. Daily dose is 55 mcg, but excessive amounts can lead to hair loss. Food sources include seafood, rice, soybeans and green vegetables.
Sulfur: Sulfur is a main component in hair structure. Daily dose is 1 to 3 g. Food sources include onions, garlic, eggs, asparagus, fish and dairy products.
Zinc: Zinc works in tandem with vitamin A; a deficiency in either can cause dry hair. Daily dose is 12 mg. Food sources include spinach, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, whole grains and brewer’s yeast.
In addition to vitamins and minerals that boost hair growth, you should also include omega-3 fatty acids in your diet to prevent hair loss. Good sources include wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, flax seeds and walnuts.
Instead of trying to take each one of these vitamins and minerals separately each day, consider a complete multivitamin. A good one will provide all these nutrients in the sufficient, yet safe dosages. In addition, here are some helpful hair care tips:
· Use all-natural biotin-based shampoo and conditioner to help your hair appear thicker.
· Be easy with your hair; brush it gently, starting from the bottom and working your way up. Don’t ever harshly tug downward on tangles.
· Don’t blow dry your hair, use curling irons or hot rollers. Try some firm hair gel and a round styling brush instead; style your hair, then let it air dry.
· Don’t frequently put your hair in ponytail holders or barrettes, and never use rubber bands on your hair!
· Shorter hairstyles make hair look thicker.
· Avoid the Donald Trump comb over style at all costs!
To improve your hair’s health and the overall physical condition of your body, take the next step and improve dietary nutrition, take the right vitamin and mineral supplements, and minimize the stress in your life.
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