Diet & Nutrition Healthy, strong, beautiful hair is something a lot of us desire. A number of internal and external factors can affect our bodies ability to promote hair growth and with a number of remedies and hair growth treatments readily available, we take a closer look at what really works to get their hair you want. What Causes Hair Loss? Hair loss affects men and women of all ages and can be related to a number of factors. A vitamin deficiency, medication side effects, stress, changes in hormone levels, a result of genetics or simply the ageing process can all contribute to thinning hair. If you think your hair loss is being caused by a health-related issue, we recommend you see your GP for a proper diagnosis. Otherwise, including the right vitamins and supplements in your diet can help promote hair growth. Firstly, you can find out what vitamin or vitamins your body is deficient in by taking a blood test. Your GP will be able to let you know which vitamins are outside the normal range and by getting them back into a normal range, may stimulate hair growth. For example, your blood test can indicate your levels of Vitamin D, Zinc and Iron; which are known to influence hair thinning. You will find many different resources offering a range of ‘hair growth tips’ or ‘hair growth remedies’. Ultimately, everyone is different and responds differently to different pills and supplements. Do your research and consult with a medical professional to find the best solution for you. Hair Growth Vitamins vs Hair Growth Supplements Supplements and dietary supplements are both the same, and can contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, or amino acids, among other substances. A vitamin is an organic compound that is a required nutrient for an organism. When you see the term ‘vitamin’, it is referring to a supplement that contains vitamins. Taking a vitamin to promote healthier, stronger and fast growing hair, is a dietary supplement, but a supplement for hair growth may not always be a vitamin. Some of the best supplements for hair growth include minerals like Magnesium and Iron which are both contributing factors to stimulate hair growth. The first step is to consult with your GP and find out which nutrients your body may be lacking in before choosing any supplements or vitamins for hair growth. What Vitamins are Good for Hair Growth? 1. Vitamin D There has been a recent influx of research studies on vitamin D. The sunshine vitamin plays a vital role in a number of bodily functions and also “helps regulate your hair cycle,” says Paradi Mirmirani, M.D., a dermatologist at the Permanente Medical Group in Vallejo, California. Thinning hair is not a characteristic of vitamin D deficiency, however Zinc is one of the minerals controlled by vitamin D, and a deficiency in zinc deficiency can lead to hair loss. Your body is capable of synthesizing its own Vitamin D from direct exposure to the sun however if you apply sunscreen daily (which we all should be!), then it’s a bit harder to get enough so taking a Vitamin D daily can ensure your body has what it needs to promote stronger and healthy hair. 2. Zinc Zinc is essential to help promote hair growth as well as healthy nails and skin. Fortunately, most standard diets include a sufficient level of Zinc but your body may not be absorbing the Zinc it needs. Therefore, taking extra Zinc vitamins can help restore Zinc levels, and promote healthy growing hair. It is important to note that Zinc levels can take several months to build once you start taking Zinc vitamins or supplements containing Zinc. It is recommended you get a Zinc test every few months to monitor your levels. Zinc tests are can be done at home and most health food stores can do them for free or at a small price. All you do is take 10ml of a special liquid and hold it in your mouth for 30 seconds. Those who are not Zinc deficient will find that taste quite unpleasant however if you are deficient in Zinc, you will find that there is no taste at all. 3. Vitamin C We already know the important role Vitamin C plays in boosting our immune system but it also plays a role in promoting hair growth. It is an important vitamin for hair growth and is loaded with anti-oxidants just like Zinc. These anti-oxidants help fight against free redicals which can damage your hair and affect faster hair growth. According to the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it is recommended that the average adult should be eating five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day to get enough Vitamin C. Although whole foods with Vitamin C are recommended, you can also take a Vitamin C if you are not getting sufficient levels from your diet. If you have dry, brittle or splitting hair, this could be a sign that you are not getting enough Vitamin C. 4. Biotin One of the most popular vitamins for hair growth is Biotin. Although it is a B Vitamin, it is well deserving of its own spot in this list. Biotin works by renewing existing hair follicles however it is water-soluble, which means your body eliminates what it doesn’t need every day. So unless you get enough of this super vitamin for hair growth daily, you will run a deficit. Taking a hair growth supplement containing Biotin will help your body retain an optimum level, and although many products for hair growth also contain Biotin in them, a combination of both an internal and external supply will give the best results. 5. Silica While not a vitamin, Silica (which is a mineral) has a known ability to support healthy and fast growing hair. It works by strengthening your blood vessels, improve circulation and promoting blood flow to your scalp to stimulate hair growth. Your body only needs a small amount of Silica, which plays a vital role for not only hair growth, but also healthy skin. Additionally, Silica helps promote hormonal balance. One of the biggest factors leading to hair loss is an imbalance in the female sex hormones. Ensuring your body has a sufficient amount of Silica will most definitely help to promote hair growth. As an added bonus, this super mineral also promotes collagen and can help with firmer and younger looking skin. What are the Best Supplements for Hair Growth? 1. Viviscal Viviscal hair growth supplements contain Biotin, Vitamin C and Zinc which are discussed above, along with a host of other vitamins and supplements for healthy hair growth. Viviscal hair growth supplements for faster hair growth, or for longer or thicker hair.(depending on the individual), Viviscal hair growth pills work to nourish your hair follicles and lengthen the lifecyle of each and every hair strand. With a customer base including celebrities and medical professionals, Viviscal is a top selling hair growth pill. Read more about Viviscal 2. HairAnew (Unique Hair Growth Vitamins with Biotin) HairAnew contains a potent combination of 11 uniquely formulated ingredients, a combination of herbs, vitamins, amino acids, minerals and trace elements, all working together to stimulate hair growth. The key ingredient is Biotin, along with several of our best vitamins for hair growth mentioned above: Vitamin C, Zinc and Silica. HairAnew is a powerful hair growth supplement and suitable for both men and women. This hair growth supplement is also vegetarian/vegan friendly and gluten-free with a legion of fans and a host of positive reviews as an effective supplement for hair growth. Read more about HairAnew 3. Hairsentials Hairsentials ensures your hair is getting the exact nutrients it needs to stimulate hair growth. It has 22 active ingredients making it a very powerful supplement for hair growth. Some of the hair growth promoting ingredients are Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, Copper, Silica (Bamboo Extract), Ginkgo Biloba Extract, Saw Palmetto, Pygeum Africanum, Green Tea Extract, Grape Seed Extract and mosre. Hairsentials also supports hormonal imbalances that can affect faster hair growth. Read more about Hairsentials Conclusion Supplements are not a substitute for a healthy and balanced diet. Before taking any additional vitamins and supplements, consult a medical professional to ensure you are only taking what’s required by your body. For some healthy eating inspiration, take a look at these 10 Deliciously Healthy Lunches for Work.