The answer to this question is not as simple as one might have thought. In almost every encyclopedia, book or article the importance of proper nutrition for healthy hair is emphasized. In fact, all the other requirements for good health in general are also made applicable to the maintenance of strong and healthy hair. In effect this may create the impression that few people will suffer from hair loss if only a balanced diet (or dietary supplements) plus a healthy life style (sufficient sleep, regular excercise, no smoking etc.) was followed.
Unfortunately the reality is not as simple as that. We all know about people enjoying excellent health, but facing the world with bald heads (particularly men). And the other way round, there are terminally ill people with a shock of hair (if they are not receiving chemotherapy). Probably the most famous argument raised by those who completely reject the power of nutrition view, is that people loose hair on top and not at the sides or the back of their heads no matter whether they eat healthy food or not. In addition, how can one explain why people who are deprived of healthy and fresh food on a regular basis, such as tramps and beggars, are often the proud owners of thick, strong hair.
This proves at least one point: that the hormonal factor, in which the destructive role of DHT is emphatic, is the major culprit in causing permanent hair loss.
However, that does not mean that the pursuit of healthy food, supplements and a healthy lifestyle will be useless in combating hair loss. Far from that. The inadequate intake of vitamins, minerals and other nutritious substances may not be the primary cause of hair loss, but can definitely contribute to hair loss and may also aggravate the situation. Apart from nutrients, people all over the world claim that other topical home products have done wonders for their hair. Messaging the scalp, brushing the hair and other techniques usually accompany the use of home remedies.
The discussion that follows provides an overview of some of the most-used food supplementaries and natural products used by many people. Keep in mind, however, that the degree of success in making hair regrow of each of these products has not been established by scientific, independent studies.
Since your food plays a vital role in making up your body and performing different bodily tasks, it would be wise to analyze your food for its protein and vitamin contents. And because your hair is part of your body, you will include it in the process. The following food substances may have an influence when addressing hair problems.
Vitamin A: This vitamin works with silica and zinc to avert clogging and drying of the sebaceous gland. Sebaceous gland produces a fluid named sebum which is very important in producing lubricants for the hair follicles. Due to deficiency of Vitamin A your scalp can become thick and dry which causes dandruff-filled hair and ultimately hair loss. Good sources of Vitamin A include fortified milk, liver, red or yellow spinach, carrots and other dark green and red vegetables.
Vitamin B6, B12, Folic Acid: All of these three vitamins are very important in maintaining the levels of hemoglobin in blood. Hemoglobin ensures the supply of oxygen from lungs to tissues in the body. So, if your body is deficient in these three vitamins, your hair and skin may suffer as a result. Foods like liver, fish, chicken, pork, soybeans and kidney are good sources of Vitamin B.
Biotin: Biotin is one of the vitamins that has been clinically proven as beneficial to the hair. It is a member of Vitamin B complex family also sometime known as Vitamin H or Vitamin B7. Biotin not only strenghthen you hair; it is also a source of health for your whole body, for example to regulate your blood sugar through the processing of glucose. Growth and replication of cells depends on Biotin. Biotin also helps in making of DNA, RNA and the production of fatty acids. Thus on one hand Biotin helps in maintaining good hair health and on the other hand it is important for several bodily functions. Quite a number of foods contain Biotin, such as egg yolk, liver, brewer’s yeast, green peas, oats, soyabeans, walnuts, sunflower seeds, green peas, bulgur, kidneys, milk, cheese, butter and other dairy products, oysters, lobsters, poultry, cauliflower, avocados, bananas, strawberries, watermelon, grapefruits, raisins, mushrooms, green peas, blackcurrants, brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, nuts, beans, lentils, oats bran, whole grains, peanut butter, molasses, and foods like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and herrings (foods rich in Omega – 3 fatty acids). A healthy person and pregnant woman must take 300 grams of Biotin in daily dietand brown rice are rich in Biotin. Using a Biotin enriched shampoo may also help in improving your hair health.
Vitamin C: This vitamin acts as an anti-oxygen. The deficiency of vitamin C in your body can cause split ends and hair breakages. To ensure the enough supply of vitamin C in your body, consume foods, like fresh peppers, citrus fruits, melons berries, potatoes, tomatoes and leafy green vegetables and citrus fruit. As a food supplement the dose per day is 500-1000 mg.
Vitamin E: This one is responsible for healthy blood circulation and supply of oxygen to the scalp. The increased circulation improves the body’s ability to produce new hair. The recommended daily dose of vitamin E is 400 IU. Foods such as leafy green vegetables, nuts, grains, vegetable oils, and ready to eat cereals, etc. are good Vitamin E sources. Topical application may stimulate the capillaries on the scalp and may help preventing hair loss.
Inositol: This vitamin is also important for hair growth. It also has many other benefits, such as lowering cholesterol levels, preventing hardening of the arteries, facilitating the formation of lecithin and removing fats from the liver.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids: This is an extremely healthy form of oil found in fish, particularly salmon and sardines. Recommended daily dose: one tablespoon of fish oil a day to prevent hair loss.
Lysine: As an amino acid Lysine is a building block of protein. Because hair is made of protein, adding lysine to the diet helps prevent hair loss. The suggested dosage is 500 to 1000 mg daily. Lysine is found in meat and eggs.
Zinc: It produces cells and imparts to tissue growth and repair. Zinc also provides natural oil to the scalp and hair follicles. To ensure sufficient supply of zinc in your body, you have to consume sea foods like oysters, etc.
Iodine: Iodine is very vital to your body health as well as hair health. To maintain enough of iodine level in your body, you have to consume foods like seaweed, salmon, seafood, lima beans, molasses, eggs and potatoes (skinless), watercress and garlic.
Proteins: Proteins are very important for body and hair health. Meats, fish, milk, cheese, eggs and yogurt should maintain sufficient supplies of proteins to the body.
Silica: Silica is known as a trace mineral. Some rich food sources of silica are rice, oats, lettuce, parsnips, asparagus, onion, strawberry, cabbage, cucumber, leek, sunflower seeds, celery, rhubarb, cauliflower and Swiss chard.
Hair analysts also mention some other practices and habits that are associated with hair loss resulting from deficient diets. These are:
1. The refining of whole grains that reduces the B vitamin content.
2. Over cooking of vegetables that destroys B vitamins.
3. Raw leafy greens that are absent in most diets.
4. The absorbtion of nutritionally inferior carbohydrates like sugar and white flour.
5. The over-use of stimulants like caffeine, nicotene and alcohol that rob the body of vital nutrients.
6. Excessive salt intake can induce hair loss because of its tendency to accumulate in tissue.
7. Low fiber intake inhibits digestion thus reducing the body’s ability to deliver nutrients to the blood stream.
As mentioned earlier: it is unlikely that improved nutrition alone will result in new hair growth. However, it makes perfect sense to accept that good food will minimize shedding of hair and support other treatments that encourage regrowth.
The success of this kind of treatment depends on various circumstances. Its best chance of success will probably be to apply it in conjunction with a nutritional program, especially where it is aimed at curbing the activities of DHT. Also, people who are experiencing temporary hair loss may benefit best from this kind of treatment.
1. The advantages of massaging your scalp.
In order to strenghthen the hair follicles and improve blood circulation, massage has been used for ages. Care should be taken not to break hair, especially when it is wet. Brushing is also beneficial, especial if you use a brush made from natural hair (e.g. pig hair).
2. Hot oil treatments.
The oil softens the hair follicles, helping to avoid breakage of new hair. To get effective results, at least three treatments weekly are advised. You can do this at home with the use of a shower cap. You can buy ready-to-use hot oil treatments that contain oils of several herbs such as sesame, olive, and coconut. For more relaxing hot oil treatment at home, opt for those that contain essential oils such as thyme, lavender, and others.
3. Aloe vera extracts.
Considered as a “wonder plant” aloe vera is popular to many people – especially those living in tropical countries -as a remedy for hair loss. Depending on the degree, aloe vera can be used as a shampoo by using fresh pulp that is directly applied on the hair and scalp, as a hair tonic along with other herbs, and a drink or oral aloe juice for the body to absorb its ingredients faster.
4. Mixture of cinnamon and honey.
Many people say that one of the effective home remedies for hair loss is the combination of cinnamon powder and honey with olive oil because these contain properties that make the scalp as well as the hair stronger. By coming up with a paste that can be applied directly to the hair’s roots down to the scalp, it can be used before shampooing.
5. Extracts of ginger.
A piece of ginger, once chopped and directly applied to the area of the head that has bald spots, can be an effective hair remedy for hair loss, because it promotes the healthy growth of hair follicles.
6. Cayenne pepper and vodka.
Massaging this mixture into the scalp, will add to the stimulation of hair growth.
A new discovery has been made in finding out what actually causes hair loss, namely: the hardening of collagen. Collagen is a connective tissue that represents almost one-third of animal protein. Collagen provides the cohesion, elasticity and regeneration of skin, cartilage and bone. There are different types of Collagen, depending on the tissues from which it is derived. People who do not suffer from hair loss have supple collagen and persons who begin showing signs of hair loss have hardened collagen. Collagen hardening interferes with the healthy functioning of the hair roots. The vital exchange process of the hair follicle cycle is disrupted and the hair becomes suffocated.
A substance called Peptan has been used with success for hardened Collagens. Peptan is a natural bioactive product containing more than 97 % protein (on a dry weight basis), supplied in a form that can be easily used and digested by the human body. Peptan contains 20 amino-acids. Glycine and proline concentration is 10 to 20 times higher than in other proteins. This very specific composition of amino acids provides Peptan with nutri-functional properties.