Best Vitamins and Supplements for Hair Growth – Cleveland Clinic

You want hair so healthy that it shines. But can anything but good genes turn you into a walking shampoo ad?

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Yes, says dermatologist Shilpi Khetarpal, MD, using some vitamins for hair growth, such as vitamin A and biotin and omega-3 fatty acids.

From color and heat damage to aging and health problems, there are plenty of reasons why you might want to boost your hair growth.

dr. Khetarpal explains which vitamins to focus on and what results you can expect.

Vitamins and Supplements to Help with Hair Growth

A well-balanced diet is the first key to top-notch locks. But you may still need extra help to get your hair restoration going.

“Your primary care physician or dermatologist can help you safely determine which hair growth shampoos and supplements are best,” says Dr. khetarpal.

Here are six to consider for a full head of luxury locks.

1. Multivitamins

A multivitamin can help bridge your nutritional gap. dr. Khetarpal recommends one with B vitamins, zinc, and at least 2,000 international units of vitamin D.

Both B vitamins and zinc play a role in hair follicle health, with B vitamins aiding in the production of red blood cells. And vitamin D can help make new ones.

You can find B vitamins in foods such as seafood, whole grains and dark leafy vegetables. As for zinc, the mineral is found in foods such as beef, lentils, oysters and spinach.

And if you eat oily fish, mushrooms and fortified juices, milk and grains, you get a natural dose of vitamin D.

2. Vitamin A

What is the fastest growing tissue in your body? You guessed it: your hair. And vitamin A is essential for the growth of your cells, which in turn helps your hair grow.

Your skin glands also benefit from vitamin A, which it uses to produce sebum. The sebum (oil) keeps your scalp hydrated and hair healthy.

But don’t overdo it with vitamin A, as too much can cause hair loss.

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin A is 700 micrograms for women and 900 micrograms for men.

You can also find vitamin A naturally in foods such as milk, eggs, yogurt, sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, pumpkin and kale.

3. Vitamin C

You may already know that vitamin C is a powerhouse when it comes to your skin.

But when it comes to your hair, it helps fight free radicals, which can age your hair and block any growth.

And vitamin C is vital in making collagen. The protein is used to make keratin – the protein that hair is usually made of.

And when you eat strawberries, peppers or citrus fruits, you get a natural dose of vitamin C.

4. Iron

Iron is used by red blood cells to carry oxygen. But iron is also important for hair growth and health.

Lack of iron also leads to anemia, which can cause hair loss.

“If you eat red meat less than two or three times a week, consider an iron supplement,” advises Dr. khetarpal.

Foods that contain iron include red meat, dark leafy vegetables and legumes such as lentils, tofu and beans.

5. Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 occurs naturally in foods such as shellfish and flaxseed, but you can also find it in supplements such as fish oil.

It is critical for cell health and is believed to make your scalp and hair healthier.

6. Biotin

Taking biotin for hair growth might be just what the stylist ordered. And since it’s a water-soluble B vitamin, any excess leaves your body through urine.

dr. Khetarpal recommends taking 3 to 5 milligrams daily.

You can also get biotin from your diet by eating foods such as egg yolks, whole grains, fish, seeds, nuts, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and meat.

Other Hair Growth Remedies

dr. Khetarpal also suggests considering the following to help you with your hair growth goals.

Zinc pyrithione

Zinc pyrithione is the active ingredient in some over-the-counter anti-dandruff shampoos. And these shampoos have a hidden benefit.

“They’ve been shown to grow hair too,” says Dr. khetarpal. “This is because we all have some yeast that lives on the scalp. When that yeast grows too much, microscopic inflammation causes our hair to fall out. You can use these hair growth shampoos to improve the scalp and hair health, even if you have no dandruff or flaking.”


Minoxidil (Rogaine®) is a foam or solution that you apply directly to your scalp. While it can be an effective way to regrow hair on your head, it can work a little too well.

“It has a field effect — if you put it in one area, you may notice hair growth on your face,” warns Dr. khetarpal. “It should also not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.”

What to expect

First, let’s start with why your hair might be damaged. Coloring, blow drying and too much washing can damage your hair, but there are other landmines to watch out for:

  • Insufficient nutrition. Hair – like anything that grows – needs the right nutrients and conditions to thrive. And it starts with what you eat (as mentioned above).
  • Health issues. Certain medical conditions, such as thyroid problems and anemia, can negatively affect hair health and growth.
  • Genetics. Between 60% and 70% of the population carries the gene for hair loss in men and women.
  • Age. “At any point, we have hairs that are growing, resting, and shedding,” explains Dr. Khetarpal out. “But as we go into our thirties, the percentage of hairs that are actively growing drops.”
  • Important life events. All hair (healthy or not) has a relatively short life cycle. “It’s normal to shed anywhere from 100 to 200 strands a day,” notes Dr. Khetarpal on. “But some life events cause periods of increased shedding, including major surgery and having a baby. In fact, up to half of your hair can shift from a growing to a shedding phase after delivery.”

dr. Khetarpal says the success of using any supplement or product depends more on the duration of hair loss than anything else. People who lose hair for only two or three years are more likely to see noticeable results than those who have lost it for 10 or 20 years.

“You may be able to restore your hair to how it was five years ago, but not much more than that. Those are the hair follicles that can be awakened with nutritional supplementation and medical treatments,” she says. “Hair that has become too thin and fine , can no longer penetrate the surface of the scalp and go out. You have to be reasonable with your expectations.”

Best Vitamins and Supplements for Hair Growth – Cleveland Clinic

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