We all know that vitamins and minerals are essential to our overall health. Vitamins are substances that are produced by animals or plants. While minerals are formed naturally from Mother Earth’s soil and water.
The best way to get the necessary nutrients to our bodies is obviously through our food source; however, this is not always possible. Many of us take multi-vitamin supplements due to our hectic schedules and lack of quality within our nation’s food supply.
My experience with some store-bought supplements was not favorable. The solid form of the pills caused digestive issues and were hard on my sensitive stomach. Several years ago, I started taking multi-vitamin and calcium supplements from an online vendor – ProCaps Labs. The supplements are in powder form and enclosed in an easy-to-swallow capsule. This form works better for me and does not irritate my stomach.
But Dionne, which specific vitamins and minerals provide the best benefit to healthy hair?
Glad you asked.
In her book, The Science of Black Hair, Andrey Davis-Sivasothy discusses 4 vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to healthy hair.
Let’s review them together:
1. Iron – Iron is essential to healthy hair. It carries oxygen from our lungs to other areas throughout the body. It also helps manage muscle tissue and stores oxygen. A lack of this key mineral can lead to dry, brittle and dull hair. Shedding can increase and thinning of the hair can occur.
Did you know: Iron needs are higher for women but is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world?*
The best natural sources of Iron: Dark green leafy veggies *yay spinach!!*, kidney beans, egg yolks, soybeans *love my soy milk*, raisins and bran. Additionally, red meats, poultry and fish are also sources of iron.
2. Vitamin A – Supports healthy cell division (where hair is formed and exits the follicle). Supports a healthy scalp environment for hair growth by keeping the dandruff forming process under control. Not enough Vitamin A can lead to dry hair and scalp and to an overproduction of keratin in the hair follicles. Conversely, too much Vitamin A in our bodies is toxic and can lead to thin, coarse and brittle hair, as described by Sivasothy.
Did you know: An overproduction of keratin creates plugs that block hair follicles which ultimately stunts hair growth?*
The best natural sources of Vitamin A: Meats, carrots, milk, cheese, eggs, dark leafy veggies, apricots, papaya, watermelons and mangoes.
Check out this awesome post for the recipe on making a refreshing watermelon and mango salad! Or this one: Foods for Healthy Hair
3. Vitamin B-Complex – Consists of eight inter-dependent vitamins – each one working together to improve the look and feel of our hair.
- B1 (thiamine)
- B2 (riboflavin)
- B3 (niacin)
- B5 (pantothenic acid)
- B6 (pyridoxinc)
- B7 (biotin)
- B9 (folic acid)
- B12 (cyanocobalamin)
These super vitamins get rave reviews in the natural hair community due to their extraordinary hair and scalp benefits. They all play a major role in protein metabolism, cell growth and repair – all essential factors for healthy hair growth. They also help to prevent hair loss, hair thinning and loss of hair color (graying). *Now that’s good news!*
A deficiency with vitamin B can lead to dry scalp and excessive dandruff. Specifically, “a deficiency in biotin (B7) has been linked to severe cases of dermatitis and hair loss”, states Sivasothy. She continues by stating that “vitamins B6 and B12 are important for healthy hair as they support the iron-carrying capability of blood.”
Did you know: These complex vitamins are all found in the same foods? Sufficient amounts of each one are needed for the other to work properly.*
The best natural sources of Vitamin B-Complex: Eggs, rice, milk, whole grains, poultry and organ meats.
4. Vitamin C – Important for maintaining strong, healthy hair and follicles. This vitamin is a collagen builder which helps our bodies absorb iron. It’s also an antioxidant which helps protect our body’s cells from damaging stressors. A deficiency in this vitamin causes our hair shaft to grow in weak, brittle and dry – this leads to a dry, flaky scalp.
Did you know: A lack of this important vitamin can cause bleeding under the skin, especially around the hair follicles?* Who knew?!
The best natural sources of Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, broccoli (not a fan – but ok), cauliflower, bell peppers and tomatoes.
Some of the common concerns with our hair (i.e. dry, dull, thin, weak, dandruff, etc) can be addressed by making minor adjustments to our vitamin and mineral intake – either through our diet or as a multi-vitamin supplement. However, it is suggested that we consult and seek the advice of a licensed medical professional before starting a vitamin supplement routine.
It’s also important to know that we should not take vitamins in an attempt to only increase our hair growth. If our bodies are already deficient of key nutrients, our vital organs will receive the majority of any vitamins and minerals ingested – hair, nails and skin receive the left-overs or nothing at all. Keep this factor in mind when choosing to introduce vitamin supplements into your routine.
Until next time,
Always aim 4 natural
What has been your experience with multi-vitamins and minerals? How have they affected the condition of your hair?
The post, What Are The Top 4 Vitamins and Minerals For Healthy Hair?, first appeared on aim4natural.com
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*Source: The Science of Black Hair