Vitamin E is an essential hair health nutrient. That’s why it’s important to consume 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. However, 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 of this fat-soluble vitamin to keep your hair in great condition? Find out:
Yes! Vitamin E is vital for maintaining hair growth. Its main function is as an antioxidant. Vitamins with antioxidant properties such as vitamin E, vitamin C, and selenium can prevent oxidative stress, which has been linked to alopecia areata .
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. However, evidence also suggests that low levels of vitamin E are a potential trigger for this type of hair loss [3-4].
Conditions like cystic fibrosis, pancreatitis, and liver disease can 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 .
As an antioxidant, vitamin E neutralises free radicals that damage hair follicle cells. Free radicals are a type of atom or molecule containing an odd number of electrons. This makes them highly reactive and unstable, leading to destructive reactions in your body known as oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can cause cellular damage that 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 loose electrons from free radicals, breaking the chains that can cause cell damage and preventing oxidative stress . This protects your hair follicles, potentially preventing or reversing some hair loss conditions.
The only type of hair loss that has been conclusively linked with successful vitamin E treatment is alopecia areata . There’s no evidence to suggest that vitamin E can treat other types of non-scarring hair loss like androgenetic alopecia or telogen effluvium .
That’s why it’s important to establish the reason why your hair is falling out before starting any course of treatment.
One study has found that taking a vitamin E supplement can improve hair growth in patients with alopecia areata . Since alopecia areata is linked with oxidative stress, it’s unsurprising that vitamin E helps treat this condition.
That said, it is unusual for a supplement to stimulate hair growth in people without a deficiency. Our vitamins for hair growth research found that vitamin E is the only supplement that has shown significant associated hair growth. Furthermore, these results were only shown in one study, so this treatment may not work for everyone.
In the study, 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.
The NHS recommends a daily vitamin E intake of 4mg a day for men, and 3mg a day for women . Most people can store vitamin E in their bodies 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 (100mg). Unfortunately, there are risks involved with taking too much vitamin E. High doses of vitamin E supplementation may lead to vitamin E toxicity, which can cause serious conditions like blood clots and stroke [11-12].
Not only that, but vitamin E toxicity can actually increase hair loss . This is similar to the effect of taking too much vitamin A for 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.
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 .
See more hair growth foods to promote strong, healthy hair, and the foods that can contribute to hair loss.
Vitamin E is the only supplement that’s proven to have a positive effect on hair growth in patients without a nutrient deficiency. Many other nutrients can also help or hinder hair growth, depending on how you take them.
Unless you have alopecia areata, you probably have enough vitamin E for healthy hair. Even if you do have alopecia areata, lack of vitamin E is just one potential cause of the condition — so it’s not necessarily the right treatment path.
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.
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