Hair loss and alopecia are more common in men; however, women can also suffer from these conditions for a number of reasons. PCOS (polycystic ovaries syndrome) is one of the most common causes of hair loss in women, as the ovaries produce more testosterone than normal, which leads to elevated DHT (dihydrotestosterone).
Stress and hormonal changes are frequent causes of hair loss/thinning in women, although they almost never lead to alopecia. There are a number of vitamins that may help with hair growth. As women benefit more from certain nutrients in particular, if you are a woman suffering hair loss, examining these nutrients might be a good first step in improving your hair health.
Zinc is very important to growth in general, and an essential mineral to include in one’s diet. It is involved in rapid cell division, which in turn leads to tissue repair and regeneration.
Iron deficiency is one of the most common types of anemia. Since iron is directly involved in the hair growth cycle, anemia (and even blood loss during a woman’s menstrual cycle) may cause unusual hair shedding. Fortunately, this is entirely reversible.
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Just like iron and zinc, calcium is one of the main nutrients involved in the hair growth cycle. You may find that taking calcium supplements has faster results than incorporating calcium-rich foods in your diet.
Biotin is part of the vitamin B complex – contrary to popular belief, “vitamin B” does NOT refer to only one vitamin. Biotin (also known as vitamin B7) isn’t directly involved in hair growth, but may help improve hair health by producing the fatty acids, collagen and amino acids essential to cell division and tissue repair.
Vitamin B12 is vital to your body’s metabolic functions, which often affect the look and feel of your hair. Vitamin B6 has no connection to hair growth, but is essential to the health of your skin and scalp – vitamin B6 deficiencies might even trigger dermatitis!
Folic acid is involved in tissue growth and cell division. It is the synthetic form of folate, which is also a B vitamin. It helps your body break down and use proteins, produces DNA, and works with vitamin C and B12 to sustain vital functions, including metabolism. Faster cell division leads to faster tissue regeneration, which is highly beneficial to hair and skin health.
These supplements must be part of a varied and healthy lifestyle, and shouldn’t be expected to work entirely on their own. They cannot replace a healthy diet but help supplement a healthy diet in order to help counteract the harmful effects of a stressful, hectic way of life. Always see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis if you suspect there is something wrong with your body, or before taking any of these supplements.