How to Grow Hair Fast
If you want thicker, fuller, more beautiful hair, you're probably wondering what the best vitamins for hair growth are. Many people are looking for natural ways to restore their lost hair, or to make the hair they have grow healthier, thicker and faster. Whether you just want better looking hair, or you want to grow back the hair you've lost, there are vitamins and supplements that can help. This list of the top 10 vitamins and supplements for hair growth will break down the most common and effective natural ways to improve your hair.
Biotin (Vitamin B7)
Also known as Vitamin B7 or Vitamin H, biotin renews cells, helps bind fatty acids together and works to convert food into energy. Many of the B-vitamins are important for healthy hair, but biotin is especially helpful in making the hair, skin and nails stronger and more beautiful. Biotin is safe, even at very high levels, but a supplement of up to 1000 micrograms is generally recommended when using biotin for hair growth. Biotin is one of the most important vitamins for hair health, and it will help create thicker hair for those who suffer from low to moderate hair loss. Pregnant women should be careful when taking biotin as extremely low levels and extremely high levels have been known to cause problems with the fetus.
Saw palmetto (serenoa repens or sabal serrulata) is a plant that grows in the east coast of the United States. Saw palmetto extract was used for centuries by Native Americans to treat a number of ailments, including breast and prostate problems. More recently it has been found to inhibit DHT (dihydrotestosterone), a hormone that the body synthesizes from testosterone and one of the primary causes of pattern baldness (alopecia) in both males and females. Saw Palmetto works by blocking the 5-alpha-reductase enzyme from converting testosterone into DHT. Saw palmetto extract is usually made from the berries of the plant and supplements are usually suggested at a dosage of about 1000 mg per day. Saw palmetto is safe for adult men and women when used under the direction of a physician, but especially speak with your doctor before giving it to children and teenagers as it can effect hormonal balances.
The nettle plant, sometimes called "stinging nettle", is common to the warm climates of South & Central America. It works similarly to saw palmetto by blocking DHT, as well as estrogen-producing romatase, the two leading causes of alopecia. Nettle root is frequently found as an additive to shampoos and conditioners that are specifically formulated for thinning hair. These products have the added benefit of clearing the scalp of excess sebum deposits that block hair follicles. They also leave the hair shinier and thicker after just a few uses. Stinging nettle extract can also be found in supplement form. Dosage is approximately 500 mg per day.
Pumpkin Seeds (Cucurbita Maxima)
Yes, that's right -- the humble pumpkin seed is a powerhouse packed full of healthy benefits for skin, nails, hair and internal organ functioning. Pumpkin seeds contain oils that are essential for healthy hair and that help to block testosterone. They are full of iron, an important mineral for strong hair and nails. This list of health benefits from pumpkin seeds could fill several pages, but when it comes to hair health, pumpkin seeds contain some of the best vitamins for hair growth. They are full of vitamins A, C, E, K, B6, thiamine, niacin, follate & choline, plus tons of minerals besides iron like calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper and selenium. The best way to consume pumpkin seeds is raw, but be careful if you are watching your weight. One cup of pumpkin seeds contains 326 total calories, 183 of which are from fat.
Like many natural hair growth supplements, gotu kola has been used for hundreds of years for ailments ranging from hepatitis to aging. Found in South African and the South Pacific, it is a known treatment for skins wounds and is used to treat hypertension and varicose veins. A 2011 study conducted in India showed that extract from the gotu kola plant did in fact improve hair length and density in laboratory animals. The dosage for hair growth in humans has not been scientifically calculated, but it is generally taken in 50 to 250 mg capsules three times a day. Side effects are usually mild but can include upset stomach and vertigo.
Magnesium is one of the best vitamins for hair and general health. As a hair growth supplement, magnesium blocks three different kinds of inflammatory markers: TNF-a, CRP and IL-6. Each of these markers is associated with hair loss. Most people do not get enough magnesium in their daily diet, so a supplement can be highly beneficial. Not only is it important for hair health, but it also helps relieve stress, assists with bone density and helps prevent insulin resistance. A lack of magnesium can also lead to weakness, irritability and hearth rhythm problems. Mayo Clinic recommends 270-400 mg daily for adult males and 280-300 mg daily for adult females. Pregnant and nursing mothers may benefit form slightly higher doses.
Vitamin B6 has been shown in several clinical studies to assist with hair growth. Testosterone, which is converted to DHT, shrinks hair follicles and shortens the hair growth cycle. This is one of the leading causes of hair loss. Vitamins for hair loss that include B6 bind to the testosterone receptors, blocking their effect on hair. Like magnesium, B vitamins help reduce stress by assisting in the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin. Vitamin B6 is found naturally in foods like avocados, bananas, meat, whole grains and nuts. The National Institute of Health suggests a daily intake of between 1.3 to 1.5 mg for adults.
Zinc is another of the recommended vitamins for healthy hair. Zinc helps keep hair conditioned and moisturized by assisting in the production of sebum, the scalp's natural oil. It also helps strengthen the hair shaft, preventing breakage. A zinc deficiency can result in early thinning, graying and hair loss. some good food sources for zinc are egg yolks, nuts, liver, oysters, muscles and soy. Unfortunately, the body doesn't absorb zinc very efficiently, so a supplement may be necessary. Adult females need about 8 mg daily and adult males need about 10 mg. Don't take more than the recommended dose of zinc, as too much can have the opposite effect and actually cause hair loss. Also, don't take it with calcium or foods that are high in fiber, as both will inhibit absorption by the body.
Eleuthero (Siberian Gensing)
Eleuthero is sometimes included as a supplement in hair loss products, but there have been no clinical trials or scientific evidence to suggest that it actually does help to regrow hair. Known as Siberian Ginseng in the past, it has no relation to ginseng and can no longer be labeled as Siberian Ginseng in the United States. It grows natively in Russia and China, with the dried roots of the plant being the most commonly used part. Anecdotal evidence does exist for it's use in treating hair loss, and it is also commonly used to treat diabetes, Alzheimer's and arthritis, and also as a mental enhancer. There is no recommended dose for hair loss treatment, but for other uses eleuthero extract is suggested at 200-400 mg daily, and up to 3,000 mg of the dried eleuthero root. Side effects can include dizziness, irregular heartbeat and headaches, and it can interact with blood thinners and sedatives.
Lavender oil has been shown in some studies to increase hair growth by up to 44% when used over several months. As an essential oil in combination with thyme, rosemary and cedarwood oils it is rubbed into the scalp nightly. WebMD suggests a mixture of 3 drops of lavender, 3 drops of rosemary, 2 drops of thyme and 2 drops of cedarwood, mixed in 20 mL of grapeseed oil and 3 mL of jojoba oil. This mixture can be rubbed into the scalp every night with a warm towel wrap used for about 2 minutes. Lavender has also been shown to help with mild depression, insomnia, dementia, toothaches, migraines and acne, and as an effective mosquito repellent. It has an strong odor that most people find to be very pleasant. It can sometimes cause skin irritation, and should not be given to prepubescent boys as it can cause hormonal side effects. Also, don't use lavender for at least two weeks before a major operation as it can slow down the nervous system during anesthesia.
There are dozens of natural supplements that claim to work for hair growth. The best vitamins for hair are the ones that are safe and effective for you. Never take anything without first knowing the side effects and possible interactions. Also, make sure that you trust the source of any supplements that you use. There have been cases of people unknowingly taking an incorrect or dangerous hair growth supplement simply because it was labeled wrong. With the proper combination and use of vitamins, minerals and other supplements, you can gain control of your hair and have the thick, healthy, better looking hair that you want.