September 20, 2009 by The Lupie Chick
Supplements such as biotin, silica and iron can help grow healthy hair, prevent thinning hair and may even reverse greying.
Topical hair treatments are often less effective than building strong hair from the inside by dietary means. Ideally hair growth vitamins and minerals should be obtained through diet via whole foods: but if this is not possible or the severity of the problem merits supplements, capsules or liquid supplements can be obtained. Always check with a healthcare provider before taking supplements, as some are unsuitable in the case of pregnancy or various medical conditions, or in conjunction with other drugs.
Biotin (Vitamin H) for Hair Growth
Few people are actually deficient in biotin, which occurs naturally in bacteria in the gut. Nevertheless, therapeutic doses of biotin – also called Vitamin H or B7 – are necessary to achieve benefits in hair health and rapid growth. It is difficult to overdose on biotin – many supplements come in 500 microgram capsules.
Biotin is useful for those who want their hair to grow faster: some claim it can even reverse premature greying if the greying is caused by marginal biotin levels. Biotin can be taken alone or in conjunction with other B-vitamins. The latter may be a good idea if you lead a stressful lifestyle – B vitamins help to prevent stress, which is a cause of hair loss!
Silica to Strengthen Hair
Silica is a trace mineral which Westerners often lack due to a denatured diet. Organic produce such as rice, oats, sunflower seeds and potatoes provide dietary silica: capsules are also available. Silica is a large component of the many “Hair, Skin and Nails” vitamins available.
Iron to Prevent Hair Loss Due to Anaemia
Anaemia-related hair loss is the most common form of hair loss. Iron supplements may help the condition, but some find they produce constipation or nausea. Some iron supplements are also more bioavailable than others. Ideally, anaemia should be prevented by eating haem iron from red meats and organ meats. Non-haem iron is less easily absorbed by the body, but can be obtained from dried fruit, tofu, beans and lentils, and of course iron-fortified breads and cereals. Cooking in a cast-iron pot is another way to ensure iron levels stay high: trace amounts of iron enter the food as you cook.
To maximise the iron you ingest, eat iron-rich foods with foods containing vitamin C and avoid calcium-rich foods for a few hours around your iron-rich meal.
Protein-Rich Foods for Hair Growth
Hair is made of keratin, a form of protein. Eating a protein-rich diet helps provide the building blocks to make hair, resulting in thicker and stronger locks. Protein in the form of red meat also helps prevent anaemia, providing your hair with a two-for-one dose of goodness.
Nettles to Prevent Hair Loss
According to Nettles Online, “Nettle Root Extract has been used successfully in Europe as an inhibitor of 5-alpha reductase in treating [hair loss] …5-alpha reductase is a key component in turning testosterone into DHT, the substance that causes the atrophy of hair follicles” (Hair Loss Causes, sourced 9 September 2009). Hence, capsulised neetle root is sold as a treatment for thinning hair. Nettle products are also used as a topical treatment to produce strong, shiny hair.
As hair reflects a person’s general state of health, people with a healthy diet will naturally tend to have stronger and shinier hair. Smoking, stress and genetics also play a part in hair quality. How Fast Does Human Hair Grow? addresses a few of the issues which can affect human hair growth. Gentle Hair Care Techniques discusses ways to minimise physical and chemical damage to hair in your haircare routine.