There have been numerous studies into the effects vitamin D has on our general health. It plays a vital role in bone health and the prevention of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. However, a recent study also found a link between vitamin D and hair loss, with 81.8% of those experiencing hair loss also having low levels of vitamin D. According to their findings, a vitamin D deficiency may result in your hair falling out.
Here’s everything you need to know about this vital vitamin to help keep your hair healthy and intact.
What is vitamin D?
To understand the link between vitamin D and hair loss, it’s also important to understand what vitamin D is and what it does in the body.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin generated by exposure to UV-B light. It can also be obtained by eating certain foods and through supplements if necessary.
Its main function is to help the body absorb calcium and phosphorus to keep bones strong. However, it also has a key function in cell modulation and the immune system. The immune system is closely connected with hair loss, so this could be where the link lies.
The link between vitamin D and hair loss
It’s been suggested that a lack of vitamin D prevents keratinocytes in the follicles from producing healthy hair growth. This can disrupt the hair growth cycle, leading to the appearance of lost or thinning hair.
The most recent study into the effect of vitamin D on hair loss focused on women. The results indicated that the women experiencing hair loss had much lower vitamin D levels than they ideally should have. To exacerbate the effect, increasing hair loss actually caused the vitamin D levels to drop further.
Research into the link between vitamin D and hair loss is still in its early stages. Although there are apparently strong links between them, it doesn’t look like an increase in vitamin D is a magic cure for hair loss.
Vitamin D works alongside a number of different vitamins and minerals, including iron, vitamin C and biotin. These are all vital in the hair growth cycle, so gaining a better understanding of all these elements will shed more light into the between vitamins and hair loss.
How much vitamin D do you need?
According to the NHS, most adults and children need 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day. Babies need 8.5-10 micrograms per day. Babies and young children are particularly at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Remember, vitamin D isn’t just needed for hair growth. It keeps your bones and teeth healthy and strong, preventing disease like rickets. So you should ensure you’re getting enough vitamin D to promote good overall health as well as hair growth.
How to increase your vitamin D intake
There are 3 main sources of vitamin D:
- Vitamin-rich foods
Sunlight exposure is the most effective way to increase your vitamin D intake. Throughout the UK summer, people spend more time outdoors, so most of the population can generate enough vitamin D through sunlight exposure alone. However, in winter, few people get enough sunlight to generate sufficient vitamin D.
Foods like oily fish, red meat and egg yolks contain a lot of vitamin D — so if you’re a meat-eater, you may be covered. However, people following vegan or vegetarian diets rarely get enough vitamin D, so a supplement may be the best option for them.
Increasing vitamin D intake for vegans and vegetarians
If you’re vegan or vegetarian and you’re worried about a vitamin D deficiency, try to increase your intake by:
- Taking supplements with a meal that contains plenty of healthy fats — these help the body better absorb vitamin D
- Choose foodstuffs that are fortified with vitamin D — this can include soy milk and cereals
- Learn to love mushrooms — mushrooms are one of the only plant-based sources of vitamin D, so make lots of room for them in your diet
Should I stock up on vitamin D to prevent hair loss?
Ensuring you have enough vitamin D and other key nutrients in your diet is always advisable to promote overall good health.
However, the role vitamin D plays in hair loss is still unclear. That means you shouldn’t rely solely on vitamin D increase to boost your hair loss — and you shouldn’t aim to have more than your recommended daily allowance. Some other vitamins such as vitamin A can actually make hair loss worse, so it’s important to abide by the suggested NHS intake guidelines.
Is hair loss caused by vitamin D deficiency reversible?
If your hair loss is caused by a nutritional deficiency, the good news is that it’s usually reversible. That means by bolstering your diet with the right nutrients, you can usually reverse the effects.
However, it’s important to note that vitamin D deficiency accounts for a tiny percentage of hair loss cases. The vast majority of hair loss is caused by genetics, as well as temporary conditions like stress and illness.
How can you tell if your hair loss is caused by vitamin D deficiency?
Without the help of a hair loss specialist, it’s difficult to diagnose the cause of your hair loss. However, you can try adjusting your diet to ensure you get enough vitamin D over the course of a full hair growth cycle. This is usually 3-4 months in length. If you don’t see improvements over this time, it may be worth speaking to a hair loss specialist to find out why you’re experiencing hair loss.
You can also look out for other vitamin D deficiency symptoms, such as:
- Mood changes
- Bone fractures
- Wounds that are slow to heal
- Feeling weak and fatigued
- High blood pressure
What to do if you’re worried about hair loss
If your hair loss is getting worse, or you’re worried about what’s causing it, the best thing to do is to seek professional advice.
Our hair loss specialists can talk through your diet with you to determine whether you’re getting the right nutrients to stimulate hair growth. They can also advise you on other lifestyle factors and genetic causes of hair loss.
Book a free consultation with our team to discover the reason for your hair loss — and begin your journey to a healthy new head of hair.
Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.
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