Hair supplements that will give your locks a boost
From protein powders to probiotics, supplements are as commonplace in our supermarkets as fruit and veg. But there’s one type that seems to be occupying more and more shelf space by the month, hair vitamins.
They claim to help with everything from hair loss to dandruff and brittleness, but with so many to choose from, how do you go about deciding which one’s right for you?
Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common health-boosting nutrients found in hair supplements highlighting what they do and the foods they’re commonly found in to help you decide if your diet needs a helping hand.
A deficiency in iron can cause brittleness and hair loss, as low iron can affect blood flow to the scalp, resulting in dry and undernourished hair. It’s found in foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, brown rice, nuts, seeds and red meat, however, it’s very important to have your levels of iron checked before supplementing, as it’s possible to take too much.
Found in wholegrains, almonds, meat, eggs, fish, pulses, seeds and dark leafy greens, B Vitamins create red blood cells which are essential for carrying oxygen and nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles. Those with dull hair and the dandruff-prone can benefit from upping their intake.
Otherwise known as vitamin B7, biotin is a particularly important nutrient. While biotin deficiency is relatively uncommon, taking a supplement containing biotin can really help to strengthen and improve the integrity of growing hairs, because it aids in the breakdown and use of amino acids (proteins), which form the bulk of your strands. Taking biotin can be especially helpful if you have a low-protein diet as it helps your body to utilise the proteins you ingest.
Found in foods like walnuts, seeds, fish and seafood, omega-3 fats are great for a dry, itchy scalp and surprisingly, if you have greasy hair too. It may seem counterintuitive, but it might be a sign that you’re not getting enough essential fats, and they help to balance sebum production in the body.
While zinc is a trace element, it’s essential to many biological processes, such as carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism, as well as the breakdown of other micronutrients. The breakdown and utilisation of these nutrients is essential to hair growth – especially protein as it is what our hair is made of.
This vitamin helps to create new hair follicles, and good sources include oily fish, red meat, egg yolks and of course, sunshine.
Vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen, which helps to give hair gloss and glow. Good sources of the vitamin are oranges, red and green peppers, strawberries and broccoli.