Are There Vitamins That Can Help You Thicken Your Hair?
Having fine hair has been something I’ve truly hated my whole life. I come from a family of five fabulous people but we unfortunately all have very fine, thin hair. My dad even went bald at the young age of twenty-one.
I’m not proud of this, but whenever I saw other women with thick, smooth hair, I hated them just a little bit. No matter what I did, I just couldn’t get the volume I wanted (minus that stint in the 80s where I used enough hairspray to fully style Chewbacca!).
Fortunately for us, the 80s hairstyles are long gone. However, many of us were left with our thin hair exposed. Do you struggle with fine hair like me? Do you get embarrassed when you go to a salon and the stylist gets up close and personal with your lacklustre strands?
You’re not alone. According to the American Hair Loss Association, forty percent of women struggle with visible hair loss. The great news is that there are plenty of ways to deal with hair thinning. My favourite solution is hair thickening vitamins, but I’ll get to that in a minute. Let’s cover the basics first.
What Causes Hair Thinning?
While almost all men and women will experience hair loss or hair thinning as they age, early hair loss can occur for a variety of reasons (source).
When it comes to losing hair you probably think of male pattern baldness. It’s always been thought of as a male disease. Women are often embarrassed to talk about their struggles.
Women deal with hair loss too. A major cause is hormonal changes. When and why do your hormones get out of whack? According to WebMD, hormone fluctuations happen during pregnancy, as part of thyroid conditions and during menopause.
There are also other factors like disease, genetics, testosterone levels and certain medications that can cause hair loss.
How to Treat Hair Loss & Thinning
To thicken your hair, there are three main tactics:
- Daily maintenance
- Lifestyle changes
Treating your hair with tender loving care on a daily basis will do wonders for its long term health. Simple things like avoiding harsh soaps and resisting the urge to wash your hair daily will go a long way in fine hair care.
If you currently use harsh treatments like hair dye or regularly blow dry your hair, you might want to take a break for a little while - give your hair some R&R.
Certain lifestyle changes can really improve the quality of your hair too. As you’ll see shortly, cleaning up your diet can be a huge help. Incorporating essential vitamins and nutrients into your daily meals will really boost your hair’s condition.
There are loads of treatment options for thin hair. One plan in particular that comes up most often is hair thickening vitamins. I’m going to go into further detail about vitamins and minerals for your hair below but before I do that I do want to suggest a video which demonstrates how to make a homemade hair growth mask for thinning hair.
One of my favourite all-natural products for thin hair is this argan oil shampoo. Let me know what you think if you try it out!
What Vitamins and Minerals Can Help Thicken My Hair?
We all know that vitamins and minerals are integral to a healthy body but we often don’t consider them when it comes to hair care. According to Dr George Obikoya from the Vitamin and Nutrition Centre, the cells of your hair have certain metabolic requirements that must be fulfilled for superb hair growth (source). If you don’t feed your hair the right kind of vitamins and minerals, the growth, thickness, and quality of your hair can be affected.
While a variety of vitamins can help the health of your hair, the main ones to look out for are:
Why is iron important for hair? According to Huffington Post, iron “carries oxygen to hair and promotes hair growth.” Your body can absorb more iron through meats than is possible from other sources, so if your diet is lacking in this area, you can become iron-deficient. Women of childbearing age or pregnant women can also experience iron-deficiencies (source).
Speak with your physician to understand your recommended intake of iron. Iron overdoses can be severe or even fatal (source), but it is a beneficial nutrient for your hair and body when used properly.
Cairo University conducted a study in 2015 that found a link between hair loss and vitamin D deficiency. More specifically, the study found that deficient levels of vitamin D2 were associated with hair loss in females with chronic telogen effluvium (TE) or female pattern hair loss (FPHL).
According to Dermatologist Rania Mounir Abdel Hay, “This is the first time vitamin D’s possible role in hair loss has been highlighted.” She also mentions its potential role in normal hair follicle growth. This sounds like great news for those of us looking for hair thickening vitamins.
Depending on your age, there are recommended values for intake of vitamin D. WebMD states that people ages 9 through 70 should aim for at least 600 IU/day with the maximum safe upper level of intake being 4,000 IU/day. If you are over 71, you may need up to 800 IU/day, with a max of 4000 IU/day. However, always speak with your physician no matter what your age. For a full list of adequate intake for every age, especially for young children, you can reference this page.
Zinc is an important mineral when it comes to hair health. According to Men’s Fitness, “dandruff and hair loss are both conditions associated with a zinc deficiency.” This article goes on to explain that zinc positively affects our cells and tissues. Zinc promotes reproduction of your cells along with helping your tissues grow and repair.
An interesting benefit of zinc is that it’s involved in the function of the oil-secreting glands attached to our hair follicles. A study was done in fifteen individuals with alopecia. Participants were given 50 mg of zinc per day for twelve weeks.
At the end of the study, nine out of fifteen individuals had experienced hair growth. Interestingly, zinc levels had increased more in those who had hair growth than in those who did not respond well to treatment.
People who exercise often or sweat excessively lose significantly more zinc from their body (source). Keep this in mind when considering your intake and while discussing zinc supplementation with your doctor.
When it comes to hair thickening vitamins, B-complex vitamins are bee’s knees… or the B’s knees! B-complex vitamins include the eight B vitamins - B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12. Perhaps the most popular B vitamin when it comes to hair health is vitamin B7, sometimes called vitamin H and more popularly known as biotin.
Biotin is a super awesome vitamin. Not only does it help regulate carbohydrate metabolism, there are also claims that it helps improve the infrastructure of your hair (source). In this Huffington Post article, dermatologist, Dr. Richard Scher explains that while biotin’s role in nail and hair health isn’t clear, he does believe that taking biotin may improve the keratin infrastructure. Keratin is a “basic protein that makes up hair, skin, and nails.”
Dr. Scher goes on to explain that while biotin deficiency is rare, low levels of this vitamin might result in hair loss or brittle nails. There might be other reasons for these issues, but taking biotin supplements could help stall the hair loss process and maybe even reverse it.
The Best Hair Thickening Vitamins
Imagine my surprise after all these years of dreaming about thick, bouncy locks, to find there are actually a number of vitamin supplements available specifically targeting hair health and growth! I have taken a look at the products available and collected my favorites to share with you today.
When it comes to choosing a product I intend putting into my body long term, quality is the most important thing. Therefore, a supplement that is not only made in the USA but manufactured at a GMP facility, is NSF certified and third party tested for quality control gives me confidence. My overall winner is the Sports Research biotin supplement. With so many people experiencing positive results, I am itching to try them myself!