If you live in America, Canada, the UK, Australia or other relatively rich country, it’s unlikely that you suffer from any severe nutrient deficiencies that could negatively affect your health.

However, studies have shown that boosting your intake of certain vitamins, minerals, amino acids and herbs can increase the rate of hair growth and even reduce hair loss.

The important thing is to understand which vitamins will have a hair growth boosting effect for you. The simplest solution is to take a supplement that’s designed to increase hair growth. All of the below supplements have been designed for that purpose.

Key nutrients for hair growth:

Top 10 best supplements for hair growth

  • Solgar Skin Hair and Nails Supplement

    Solgar Skin, Nails and Hair Tablets

    Around $20 for 120 tablets

    • Provides all necessary nutrients for healthy hair and skin
    • Sugar free, salt free and suitable for vegetarians

    Ingredients

    Buy online (USA)

    Buy online (UK)

  • Natrol Biotin Maximum Strength hair vitamins

    Natrol Biotin

    Around $10 for 100 tablets

    • Contains biotin, which is extremely important for hair health and also a great energy booster
    • Promotes cell growth and speeds up metabolism

    Ingredients

    Buy online (USA)

    Buy online (UK)

  • Hair Vit Hair Vitamins for strong hair

    HealthAid Hair-vit

    Around $45 for 90 capsules

    • Healthy, strong hair and nails
    • Thick, healthy looking hair for both men and women
    • Cysteine has been shown in several studies to increase hair growth

    Ingredients

    Buy online (USA)

    Buy online (UK)

  • Vitabiotics Wellman HAIRFOLLIC MAN Hair Growth Tablets

    Vitabiotics Wellman HAIRFOLLIC MAN Hair Growth Tablets

    Around £35 for 60 tablets

    • Maintains hair thickness
    • Effective hair and scalp conditioning
    • Suitable for vegetarians

    Ingredients

    Buy online (UK)

  • Nordic Hair Volume vitamins

    New Nordic Hair Volume

    Around $35 for 30 tablets

    • Natural apple hair growth factor (procyanidin B2)
    • Boosts hair growth and volume

    Ingredients

    Buy online (USA)

    Buy online (UK)

  • Neocell Collagen and Vitamin C for hair growth

    NeoCell Super Collagen and Vitamin C Tablets

    Around $25 for 250 tablets

    • Colagen builds bone matrix
    • Firm, hydrated skin
    • Thickens hair

    Ingredients

    Buy online (USA)

    Buy online (UK)

  • Vitamins for long hair growth

    Long Hair Growth Vitamins – Intense Grow (3 pack)

    Around $45 for 180 capsules

    • Longer, thicker hair
    • Hair volume and softness

    Ingredients

    Buy online (USA)

  • Hair Formula 37 best hair growth vitamins

    Hair Formula 37

    Around $25 for 60 capsules

    • Longer, healthy hair
    • Excellent for dry, brittle hair

    Ingredients

    Buy online (USA)

  • Fast Grow African American Hair Vitamins for black people

    Fast Grow African American Hair Vitamins

    Around $60 for 270 capsules

    • Fast hair growth
    • Long hair full of volume

    Ingredients

    Buy online (USA)

  • Vibrance Vitamins for Hair Growth

    Vibrance Healthy Hair Vitamins

    Around $45 for 60 capsules

    • Faster, healthier hair growth
    • Fights against thinning hairli>

    Ingredients

    Buy online (USA)

Top 10 foods containing hair growth vitamins

Supplements are a good way to increase your intake of vitamins that support hair growth but they are not a replacement for good diet. If you want healthy hair that grows fast and doesn’t fall out you try to include these foods in your diet regularly.

Please note: don’t consume any of these foods in excess. It won’t necessarily make your hair grow faster and consuming excessive amounts of foods containing high concentrations of certain nutrients can have negative effects on your health.

  • Salmon

    Salmon

    Key nutrients

    • Biotin
    • Phosphorus
    • Omega-3 fatty acids
    • Amino acids
    • Vitamins A, B, B6, D, E

    Key facts per 100g

    • Energy: 208 kcal
    • Sugar: 0g
    • Fat: 13g

  • Walnuts

    Walnuts

    Key nutrients

    • Biotin
    • Magnesium
    • Copper
    • Vitamin E
    • Omega-3 fatty acids

    Key facts per 100g

    • Energy:654 kcal
    • Sugar: 2.6g
    • Fat:65g

  • Mushroom

    Mushrooms

    Key nutrients

    • Selenium
    • Potassium
    • Riboflavin
    • Niacin
    • Vitamin D

    Key facts per 100g

    • Energy: 38 kcal
    • Sugar: 1.2g
    • Fat: 0.5g

  • Swiss chard

    Swiss Chard

    Key nutrients

    • Vitamins B6 and B12
    • Biotin
    • Vitamin C
    • Vitamin D
    • Calcium
    • Iron
    • Magnesium

    Key facts per 100g

    • Energy: 19 kcal
    • Sugar: 1.1 g
    • Fat: 0.2g

  • Carrots

    Carrots

    Key nutrients

    • Vitamin C
    • Biotin
    • Vitamins B6 and B12
    • Vitamin D
    • Vitamin A
    • Beta carotene
    • Calcium
    • Iron
    • Magnesium

    Key facts per 100g

    • Energy: 41 kcal
    • Sugar: 4.7g
    • Fat: 0.2g

  • Bananas

    Bananas

    Key nutrients

    • Vitamin A
    • Vitamin C
    • Vitamins B6 and B12
    • Calcium
    • Iron
    • Magnesium

    Key facts per 100g

    • Energy: 89 kcal
    • Sugar: 12g
    • Fat: 0.3g

  • Blueberries

    Blueberries

    Key nutrients

    • Biotin
    • Vitamin A
    • Vitamin C
    • Vitamin B6
    • Iron
    • Magnesium

    Key facts per 100g

    • Energy: 57 kcal
    • Sugar: 1.8g
    • Fat: 0.3g

  • Lentils

    Lentils

    Key nutrients

    • Biotin
    • Iron
    • Vitamin B6
    • Magnesium
    • Calcium

    Key facts per 100g

    • Energy: 116 kcal
    • Sugar: 1.8g
    • Fat: 0.4g

  • Greek yogurt

    Greek yogurt

    Key nutrients

    • Protein – 20%
    • Vitamin B12
    • Vitamin B6
    • Calcium
    • Magnesium

    Key facts per 100g

    • Energy: 59 kcal
    • Sugar: 3.2g
    • Fat: 0.4g

  • Organic stone ground bread

    Stone ground whole grains

    Key nutrients

    • Magnesium
    • Vitamin B7 (suppresses the formation of gray hair)
    • Vitamin B6
    • Iron
    • Calcium

    Key facts per 100g

    • Energy: 247 kcal
    • Sugar: 6g
    • Fat: 3.4g

  • Conclusion

    All of these vitamins work together as a team, which is why a balanced, varied diet is very important. Vitamin C improves blood circulation to the scalp, making it possible for the other vitamins to nourish the hair follicle. After all, we are what we eat and therefore the look and feel of your hair will improve significantly!

    Are you missing something?

    Its likely that diet is actually one of the less important factors in your fight for healthy hair. In fact, stress and hormonal balance may be more important factors to consider. All of these things are linked though and since healthy diet is probably one of the easiest things to control it’s a good place to start.

    A hair growth supplements strategy

    Start by avoiding processed foods, too much meat, white flour and refined sugar. Try to include healthy quantities of essential fatty acids and B vitamins in your diet.

    Once your diet is in good order try to improve your stress levels by taking time every day to relax in a quiet place without TV, radio or internet to distract you and cause stress.

    Next — Supplementation

    There are some products that actually work to prevent further hair loss, and some can even cause regrowth. There are other products available that are so far removed from real science (and even common sense) that you will want to steer clear of them. They will do nothing but line the pockets of their purveyors with your cash, and give you a placebo effect.

    The placebo effect has a long, glorious history in human culture. The entire pseudoscience of homeopathy is based on the placebo effect. The good part about the placebo effect is that when you think something should work, your expectation triggers your body’s own repair mechanism. Years of research have shown that in test subjects given a placebo drug (sugar pill or capsule with corn starch) that their reaction can sometimes be greater than if provided with a “real” drug, provided the doctor is friendly and supportive and tells them it will work.

    Herbal Supplements & Nutraceuticals

    None of these things are regulated by any medical authority other than to say they cannot make medical claims about them. They’re treated as food/dietary supplements. Consequently, people selling them often imply incredible properties, referring to customer testimony as evidence. Note that they are all followed by statements such as “This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any medical conditions. Always consult with your physician” or something to that effect.

    Sadly, sellers often “buy” custom-tailored reviews of their products via the many online work sites. They will usually say precisely what you are hoping to read. It is impossible to know if the statements were written by real customers, or an employee. That is why you need to know the real science behind a product.

    Poor nutrition, radiation, or massive assaults to the body’s natural chemistry (such as chemotherapy, even when essential), can most certainly cause hair loss. Biotin, polysaccharides, and even certain marine-derived proteins have been shown to have supportive effects for hair quality and maintenance. Beyond that, herbal supplements are mostly wishful thinking unless you have a true deficiency.

    Saw palmetto

    Saw Palmetto, for example, was once touted as a cure for BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) and prostate cancer, and was supported by meta-analysis. Actual follow-up studies found it no more effective than a placebo. People who had already invested in harvesting the plant looked for other uses and may have found a mild potential to interfere with 5-AR (5-alpha-reductase).

    5-AR is an enzyme that converts normal testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a more powerful form, which is responsible for hair growth on the body from the beard downwards.

    It is unnecessary for scalp hair growth, and actually shuts down the hair follicles if it gets there, causing hair loss. If you are particularly hairy over your body, your chances of scalp hair loss may be significantly higher because of the presence of DHT in above average amounts.

    As an oil-based extract applied topically (on the skin), saw palmetto cannot harm you, and may provide a benefit. Do not take this orally, as it can lead to stomach ulcers, cramps, and bleeding; bloody stools and pain are common symptoms.

    Curcumin

    Curcumin has potential drawbacks because in inflammation studies on arthritis with doses of 1200mg or more per day, it caused slight hair loss, as shown in these six studies. (NIH.1) (NIH.2) (NIH.3) (NIH.4) (NIH.5) (NIH.6) In lower doses it may be beneficial, as an anti-inflammatory, but there is no clinical evidence of benefits for your hair.

    Black pepper oil

    Black Pepper Oil is said to activate the Curcumin mentioned above. If you’re going to take one, you should take the other, since they are said to be interdependent, despite the lack of evidence for either one being useful.

    Capsaicin

    Capsaicin is the “heat” of most hot peppers, and seems to be related to the up-regulation of Insulin-like Growth Factor I (IGF-I). This factor is responsible for stimulating hair follicles to grow as well as prolonging the period of time that they grow, and shortening the “rest period” in between. This study (NIH.7) shows the importance of IGF-I. Another study showed that while the hair length increased significantly during the sustained growth period, 20 × 1cm strands, from both before and after, did not vary in mass, so the hair was growing faster but not thicker.

    Biotin

    Vitamin B7 (biotin) supports all sorts of bodily functions, and a lack of it, either through poor diet or a genetic problem that interferes with the biotin mechanism, can cause a number of problems. One of the main ones is thinning hair. We have bacteria in our guts that make biotin for us, and it is readily available in a normal diet so adding it to a product seems more for show than actual function.

    Vitamin D3

    Vitamin D3 is also important to hair follicle health. (NIH.8) Vitamin D was found to be so important that most dairy farmers or milk producers add vitamin D (and vitamin A) to most milk products. People who don’t consume much milk (or dairy products) in their diet might be deficient in both vitamin A and vitamin D.

    Vitamin E

    Vitamin E, or any vitamin for that matter, is not going to stop genetic/inherited hair loss, or suddenly cause hair to grow where the follicles are long dead and gone. Some vitamins are toxic in large doses, and most just give you really expensive urine.

    Vitamin E can, however, reduce oxidative stress as shown is this study. (NIH.9) It can “save” hair that is on the verge of failing, but a deficiency is nearly impossible to achieve because it is so plentiful in a normal diet. Examples of good sources: Oils of corn, soybean, wheat germ, sunflower and safflower, and readily in foods such as margarine and salad dressings.

    Hyaluronic acid

    Hyaluronic Acid has a strong effect on the moisture content of skin. As we age, the skin of the scalp has less fatty tissue and becomes thinner and drier. This is made worse by exposure to the Sun, and by cigarette smoking. Consequently, it’s much less capable of supporting hair follicles. Hyaluronic Acid is used frequently as a dermal filler (to get rid of wrinkles), but in one notable case, when only 6.5ml was used on an accident victim to fix his scalp, the resultant hair loss required treatment with minoxidil to get the hair to regrow. It seems to be safe if ingested, or applied topically, but should never be injected in the scalp.

    Minoxidil has its own set of problems. Miracle discovery for many, the truth is that it is only effective in about 20-40% of patients in formulations between 2-5%.
    This is because it requires the presence of an enzyme called sulfotransferase that not everybody possesses in amounts sufficient to activate the minoxidil.
    Sixty percent or more will get disappointing results. When it does work, you must continue to use it to maintain the effect. Stubborn cases may work when it is fortified with 0.1% finasteride (which has been proven to interfere with 5-AR), but that can result in gynecomastia (growing breasts), decreased sexual desire, and even sexual dysfunction. That seems like a bad trade-off.

    Marine glycosaminoglycans

    Marine glycosaminoglycans have been demonstrated to be effective for women’s hair restoration when applied topically, especially with sun-damaged skin. Glycosaminoglycans include the rescue medication for strokes and blood clots called Heparin.

    Ginkgo Biloba

    Ginkgo Biloba, in a Japanese study (NIH.10) from 1993, concluded that GB extract promotes hair regrowth and could be used as a hair tonic.

    Other nutrients for hair growth

    Lysine, Zinc and Magnesium have clear effects on hair growth which are well-established. Tests include causing a deliberate deficiency in a lab animal to ascertain the effects. When these substances, individually or collectively, are in short supply there are numerous consequences, not the least of which is a lowered quality, strength, or even the loss of hair. But, as one study (NIH.11) points out, “Excessive intakes of nutritional supplements may actually cause hair loss and are not recommended in the absence of a proven deficiency”, so talk to your health care provider first and get tested or none of these will do much good.

    Transplantation

    Hair restoration surgery has advanced, however the original technique for harvesting small plugs of hair surgically often damages them so they are not viable. The current standard requires taking a strip of scalp and then surgically sectioning useable bits. This leaves a scar that will require a particular hair style to keep covered. It’s much worse with a bad, inexperienced, or cut-rate surgeon (see photo). It is tender for two to four weeks, when you lean your head forward.

    A new (often robotic) technique called FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction), grabs small units of hair, only 1mm in size, each consisting of about four strands. It only leaves a tiny white circle scar because a square inch of skin has about 2,000 hair follicles (44 × 44). It keeps the natural fat and tissue so it almost always survives when put in place. It’s taken from a much broader area, requires no sutures, heals very quickly, and leaves no scar.

    The Takeaway

    In our society, faced with losing our hair, it can be a pretty traumatic experience. This is notwithstanding the fact that Sir Patrick Stewart, Bryan Cranston, and numerous other high profile public figures have done a lot to destigmatize baldness. Many people have actually embraced it, shaving their heads clean despite having a full head of natural hair.

    Nevertheless, if you’re feeling uncomfortable about your hair status, talk to your doctor about all the real science answers. It’s possible that it could be a real pathology or disease that needs to be treated, like a thyroid condition; if not, the doctor can outline some options that we already know have a good chance of success.
    In the United States, in the 1800s, “medicine shows” moved from town to town selling elixirs and tonics to cure everything, from snake bites, to cancer, to gunshot wounds. Now we have the internet, and people there are perfectly happy to take your money if you offer it to them. We all want to be healthy and attractive, but the odds are that you don’t need “Snake Oil” or “Mother Lester’s World Famous Tonic” to make that happen. Try these “cures” if you have a few Euros or Pounds that you are not overly fond of—but don’t expect miracles.

    References

    1. NIH.1. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19678780
    2. NIH.2. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24853120
    3. NIH.3. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3964021/
    4. NIH.4. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4244558/
    5. NIH.5. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25308211
    6. NIH.6. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22407780
    7. NIH.7. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3283847/
    8. NIH.8. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1876678/
    9. NIH.9. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3283847/
    10. NIH.10. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8254481
    11. NIH.11. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12190640