Vitamin E is an essential hair health nutrient. That’s why eating vitamin E-rich foods like mango, avocado, and almonds is often recommended to improve the strength and shine of your hair.
Vitamin E deficiencies are rare in the Western world. But they still affect many people who have health conditions like cystic fibrosis. Plus, it’s estimated that almost 90% of people over the age of 4 have low levels of vitamin E .
So how can you get enough vitamin E to keep your hair in great condition? Find out:
- the effects of vitamin E for hair
- what types of hair loss it works for
- how quickly vitamin E for hair works
- how much you need for healthy hair.
Is vitamin E good for your hair?
Yes! Vitamin E is vital for hair growth. Its main function is as an antioxidant. Antioxidants like vitamin E, vitamin C, and selenium can prevent oxidative stress, which has been linked to alopecia areata, androgenetic alopecia, and age-related hair loss [2-3].
The causes of alopecia areata aren’t yet fully understood. It’s often considered to be an autoimmune condition in which white blood cells attack the hair follicles. But evidence also suggests that low levels of vitamin E are a potential trigger for this type of hair loss [4-5].
Androgenetic alopecia, also known as male pattern baldness or female pattern hair loss, is usually caused by a combination of genetic factors and hormones. But it can also be aggravated by oxidative stress .
Conditions like cystic fibrosis, pancreatitis, and liver disease can also lead to a vitamin E deficiency. These conditions make it more difficult for the body to absorb vitamin E, causing patients to experience hair loss .
What does vitamin E do for your hair?
As an antioxidant, vitamin E neutralises free radicals that damage hair follicle cells. Free radicals are reactive chemical compounds that can damage DNA, proteins, and cell membranes. This oxidative damage results in oxidative stress, which manifests as alopecia .
Not all free radicals are harmful. Some help your immune system fight disease. So for your health, your body must have a good balance of free radicals and antioxidants. That’s where vitamin E comes in.
Vitamin E scavenges free radicals, breaking the chain of reactions that lead to cell damage and preventing oxidative stress . This protects your hair follicles, potentially preventing or reversing some hair loss conditions.
Which types of hair loss can vitamin E treat?
Vitamin E can help treat people with several different types of hair loss [3, 8]. But studies show mixed results of using vitamin E for telogen effluvium, so more research is needed to establish its efficacy for anxiety-related hair loss .
Can taking vitamin E supplements reduce hair loss?
It is unusual for a supplement to stimulate hair growth in people without a deficiency. But research shows that taking a vitamin E supplement can improve hair growth in patients experiencing hair loss related to oxidative stress .
Our vitamins for hair growth research review found that vitamin E is the only supplement that has any significant association with hair regrowth. So if you’re looking for a proven hair loss supplement that’s available over-the-counter, vitamin E is the best option to try.
How fast does vitamin E work for hair growth?
Researchers analysed hair growth at two intervals: 4 months and 8 months after the initial treatment. They found that hair numbers were significantly greater at 8 months than at 4 months . This suggests vitamin E supplements should be taken daily for longer than 4 months to see results.
How much vitamin E should you take for hair growth?
The NHS recommends a daily vitamin E intake of 4 mg a day for men, and 3 mg a day for women . Most people can store vitamin E in their body for future use, so there’s usually no need to exceed this recommended amount.
In the study, participants took a much higher daily dose of vitamin E (100 mg). But there are risks involved in taking too many vitamin supplements. High doses of vitamin E supplementation may lead to vitamin E toxicity, which can cause internal bleeding, as well as thyroid and gastrointestinal problems. In extreme cases, it can even lead to serious conditions like brain haemorrhages and stroke [11-12].
Not only that, but taking excessively large doses of vitamin E (around 30 times the recommended daily dose) can actually increase hair loss . This is similar to the effect of vitamin A supplements on hair loss. So it’s important to discuss any course of treatment with a doctor before you take more than the recommended amount of vitamin E — especially if you have an underlying health condition.
Vitamin E-rich foods
There’s no evidence that you can overdose on the vitamin E found naturally in foods . So this is the best place to start if you want to increase your vitamin E intake.
Here are a variety of foods that are rich in vitamin E, so they’ll help you naturally boost your nutrient levels :
- Sunflower oil
- Sunflower seeds
- Peanut butter
- Collard greens
- Red bell pepper
Other vitamins for hair growth
Vitamin E is the only supplement that’s proven to have a positive effect on hair growth in patients without a nutrient deficiency. But many other nutrients can also help or hinder hair growth, depending on how they’re taken.
Take a look at our resources for more information:
- Vitamin D and hair loss: everything you need to know
- Vitamin C for hair: all the benefits for hair health
- Biotin for hair loss: what you need to know
- Improving hair texture damaged by iron deficiency
Are you getting enough vitamin E for your hair?
Vitamin E is one of the most successful supplements for improving hair growth in people experiencing hair loss related to oxidative stress. So is it the right treatment for you?
The best way to find the right course of action is to speak to a professional trichologist. They can diagnose the cause of your hair loss and create a tailored treatment plan for you.
Book a free consultation with the Wimpole Clinic to learn more.
- Micronutrient Inadequacies in the US Population: an Overview
- Oxidative stress in alopecia areata: a systematic review and meta-analysis
- Oxidative Stress in Ageing of Hair
- The antioxidant role of paraoxonase 1 and vitamin E in three autoimmune diseases
- Antioxidants and lipid peroxidation status in the blood of patients with alopecia
- Hair Loss and Cystic Fibrosis
- The Relationship Between Dose of Vitamin E and Suppression of Oxidative Stress in Humans
- Effects of Tocotrienol Supplementation on Hair Growth in Human Volunteers
- The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Hair Loss: A Review
- Vitamin E | NHS
- Vitamins E and C in the prevention of cardiovascular disease in men: the Physicians’ Health Study II randomized controlled trial
- Effects of random allocation to vitamin E supplementation on the occurrence of venous thromboembolism: report from the Women’s Health Study
- Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use
- Vitamin E | Harvard School Of Public Health
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