Are there any nutrients that *actually* help prevent hair loss?Developers, dermatologists and trichologists tell it all

HHave you ever seen clumps of hair sitting by the drain when you jumped out of the shower, or run your fingers through your hair and accidentally pulled some hair out? If so, you probably know the (very real) fears that come with it. While hair (or the absence of hair) doesn’t keep us alive or affect our worth, it’s understandable that you might want hair to stay on your head.

Hair loss can be caused by a variety of reasons, from stress to hormonal changes to nutritional deficiencies and more. If you have nutritional concerns, what else might you need? Experts share what ingredients you should consider adding to your meals and snacks to get more hair loss-fighting nutrients from your diet.

7 Nutrients That Help Prevent Hair Loss

protein

What you might not have thought of in today’s list of fun facts is that hair is basically protein. “Our hair is primarily made up of a protein called keratin,” says Brea Lofton, RD, of Lumen.

Therefore, more protein makes hair healthier, stronger, and more elastic. “Protein is essential for hair health because it provides the structural foundation for hair formation and maintenance,” she explains.

In other words, it’s time to brainstorm some meal prep ideas that include protein-rich foods and snacks, but how many do you need? “Recommended daily protein intake can be based on an individual situation, so it may be helpful to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian who can provide you with valuable insights into the amount of protein that is right for you,” Lofton explain.

Vitamin A

It seems vitamin A supports more than just your vision and immune system! “Vitamin A, made in part from the retina, supports healthy hair growth; may help treat hair loss; promotes healthier, stronger hair;” Morgana Colombo, dermatologist and consultant for HYAESTIC (a line of advanced science-based skin care products) said Dr. M.D., FAAD.

People assigned female at birth (AFAB) need 700 micrograms, and people assigned male at birth (AMAB) need 900 micrograms, according to the Cleveland Clinic. To achieve this goal, Dr. Colombo encourages eating sweet potatoes, butternut squash, red peppers, carrots, spinach, kale, salmon, tuna, cheese, eggs, mango, grapefruit, watermelon or papaya.

green tea

Turns out, this herb is one of your hair’s favorites too! In fact, according to William Gaunitz, certified trichologist and founder of Advanced Trichology, it helps reduce hair loss culprits by two-thirds.

“Green tea has anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce inflammation that can lead to scalp problems, including dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis,” he explains. “It helps strengthen the immune system against microorganisms and reduces the effects of DHT on hair follicles, thereby minimizing the effects of male and female pattern hair loss.”

He recommends drinking green tea every day. Get out the kettle!

iron

Yes, according to Lofton, iron deficiency is a common cause of hair loss. “Iron is essential for hair health because it helps deliver oxygen to hair follicles and promotes hair cell growth and repair,” she explains.

To get more iron in your diet, include foods like lean red meat, poultry, fish, beans, lentils and fortified grains, she says. That’s not all she encourages. “Additionally, by pairing iron-rich foods with sources of vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, berries, and broccoli, you can enhance iron absorption and prevent potential hair loss.”

As with any nutrient that helps prevent hair loss, the amount you need varies, but the National Institutes of Health says adults need an average of 18 mg for AFAB and 8 mg for AMAB.

Vitamin D

Dr. Colombo said the vitamin “may aid in cell turnover and may aid in regeneration.”

To get the recommended daily intake of 600 international units (at least for people ages 1 to 70), consider foods like milk, salmon, eggs, mushrooms, orange juice and yogurt, she says.

Probiotics

Another interesting fact, according to Goenitz: Gut health directly affects hair loss. Antibiotics, eating foods you are allergic to, and certain medications can impair this, he added.

“This can be reduced or eliminated by eating foods rich in probiotics and prebiotics, including fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut, and raw milk. [kefir], and Icelandic yogurt,” he said. On average, adults need up to 20 billion CFU of probiotics per day, so this amount may be just the ticket!

Omega-3 fats

They’re not just important for mood! “Because omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, they play a role in nourishing hair follicles,” says Lofton. Plus, they help maintain scalp health, support the production of sebum (a substance that keeps your hair and scalp moisturized), and more, she adds.

For some omega-3-friendly foods, Lofton says, choose fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, flaxseeds, walnuts, avocados and olive oil.

“The typical recommended intake of omega-3 fats is 1.1 grams per day for women and 1.6 grams per day for men,” she adds. Three ounces of Atlantic mackerel meet about 93 percent and slightly less of what a person with AFAB needs, she adds. Above 60% of demand. For example, what does AMAB require.

But again, she stresses, each person’s daily needs will vary based on their medications, age, medical history, etc., so working with a nutrition expert or health care professional will help you ensure you’re getting the right amount of nutrients for what you need.


Well+Good articles reference scientific, reliable, up-to-date, and robust research to support the information we share. You can count on us on your health journey.

  1. Christine A. VanBuren and Helen B Everts. Vitamin A in Skin and Hair: Update. Nutrients roll. 14,14 2952. 19 July 2022, doi:10.3390/nu14142952


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