Researchers from the department of dermatology and dermatologic surgery, at Prince Sultan Military Medical City in Saudi Arabia, said micronutrients are “major elements in the normal hair follicle cycle”. What else did the scientists say? In their research paper, they said micronutrients have a role in “cellular turnover – a frequent occurrence in the matrix cells in the follicle bulb that are rapidly dividing”.
What are micronutrients?
Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, iron, selenium, and zinc.
The research noted that a deficiency in micronutrients “may represent a modifiable risk factor associated with the development, prevention, and treatment of alopecia”.
The NHS explained alopecia is the general medical term used to describe hair loss.
At any one time, 90 percent of the hair follicles on the human scalp are in the anagen (growth) phase.
There are around 100,000 hair follicles on the scalp, which require “essential elements, such as proteins, vitamins, and minerals, to efficiently produce healthy hair”, noted the research paper.
However, biotin (B7) can be produced by the body, and in healthy individuals “biotin doesn’t need to be supplemented”.
“Only riboflavin, biotin, folate, and vitamin B12 deficiencies have been associated with hair loss,” said the researchers.
“Many supplements for hair, skin, and nails far exceed the recommended daily intake of biotin,” added the research team.
Acquired biotin deficiency could be due to one or more of the following reasons:
- Increased raw egg consumption
- Prolonged use of antibiotics that interrupt normal flora
- Medications, such as valproic acid
Signs of biotin deficiency include: hair loss, skin rashes, and brittle nails.
“Vitamin C plays an essential role in the intestinal absorption of iron,” said the researchers.
People who are suffering from hair loss due to iron deficiency would benefit from eating more foods rich in vitamin C, such as strawberries, oranges and green peppers.
Studies suggest that a vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in those suffering from hair loss.
Therefore, vitamin D supplementation “should be considered” for those with alopecia.
Vitamin E, iron, zinc, selenium and folic acid
There is conflicting data regarding vitamin E and hair loss, whereas iron deficiency has been linked to hair loss in women.
Furthermore, low levels of zinc has been associated with hair loss; however, there’s not enough evidence to demonstrate that zinc supplement could help hair grow.
In regards to selenium, “toxicity can cause hair loss”, and there is limited evidence for folic acid.
To conclude, this research paper suggest vitamin D and vitamin C are important micronutrients to help hair growth.