- Kelly Sundstrom For the AJC
Having thick, luxurious hair might seem like a distant dream when you continually see hair building up in your hairbrush or falling out in the shower.
Although it's natural lose a little hair throughout your lifetime, long-term hair loss can have a major impact on self-esteem and self-perception. You can find over-the-counter products to help combat thinning hair, but these products usually work topically and don't target the root cause of your hair loss.
Take steps to prevent hair loss and improve hair growth from the inside out by adding certain vitamins and minerals to your diet.
Vitamin C is well-known for helping improve the immune system and for fighting colds and the flu, but it can also help keep your hair strong and supple, health blog Bembu reports. High in antioxidants, vitamin C fights off the free radicals that create brittle hair and cause damage to hair follicles. Even better, vitamin C increases collagen production in the body, which improves hair health. Add more vitamin C to your hair-loss prevention plan by eating foods like strawberries, oranges, kiwi, broccoli, kale and bell peppers.
Vitamin B5, otherwise known as pantothenic acid, works in combination with other nutrients to rebuild the individual hair shafts, which are often damaged by blow-driers or heated hair tools, by shampooing too often or by sun exposure. Vitamin B5 can also help increase hair growth by supporting and protecting the adrenal glands. Increase vitamin B5 in your diet by adding more eggs, avocados, potatoes, beef, chicken, nuts and legumes.
Having the right amount of vitamin A is vital for a healthy body and can help your hair follicles function at their optimal level by regulating retinoic acid, keeping your scalp moisturized and warding off dandruff. When you're low in vitamin A, you might notice that your scalp feels itchy and looks more flaky than usual. To help keep hair loss at bay, according to Fitness Magazine, try increasing your consumption of fortified cereals, spinach, carrots, mangoes, kidney beans and eggs.
Vitamin H, also called biotin, helps your body utilize the proteins and fats you eat, per a report by University of Maryland Medical Center. Working together with other nutrients and B vitamins, vitamin H can improve hair quality at the follicle level and can help strengthen individual hair shafts. Bump up the vitamin H in your diet by eating more eggs, sardines, nuts, legumes, bananas, cauliflower, mushrooms and brewer's yeast.
Who knew that getting a little sunshine could help improve hair loss? According to health blog Bembu, as little as 15 minutes of sunshine per day can help your body synthesize vitamin D, which helps support your hair follicles and promotes hair growth. If you're trying to avoid sun exposure, try adding eggs, mushrooms, salmon and milk to your diet.
Research conducted by Tehran University of Medical Sciences shows a strong connection between iron deficiency and hair loss. In the study, eight out of the nine women who exhibited iron deficiency anemia also had a certain type of hair loss. Although not everyone has a deficiency, you can make sure to get enough iron in your diet by eating more spinach, egg yolks, beef and black beans.
Looking for even more ways to prevent hair loss? This new hair loss treatment could mean the end of baldness.