Vitamin D and Hair

Vitamin D is a type of soluble fat that plays an important role in the maintenance of bone health by virtue of its role in regulating calcium absorption. Latest research on vitamin D points to a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and various disorders such as melanoma, cardiac disease and premature aging.

In addition to this, research indicates that vitamin D may also be good for hair growth. Vitamin deficiencies have been implicated in various hair related problems including alopecia or hair loss. The different vitamins that play a role in the maintaining healthy hair include vitamins A, B, C, D, E and H. Of these vitamins, vitamin D plays a particularly important role in the maintenance of healthy hair.

Although there are few foods that are good sources of vitamin D, exposure to sunlight, specifically UV-B light, can help the body to synthesize it. Exposure to sunlight for about 10 to 30 minutes is usually sufficient to provide the body with its required dose of vitamin D.

Many scientists and dermatologists believe that vitamin D can play a big role in preventing hair loss as well as fostering hair growth. Research shows that hair follicles contain vitamin D receptors that play an important role in the hair follicle cycle. This was first apparent during the studies of patients with a type of vitamin D dependent rickets who developed alopecia. The exact manner in which these vitamin D receptors function remains unknown, but studies in animals have found that consumption of vitamin D3 and its analogs can stimulate hair growth. These results have however, not been duplicated in human trials, but that may be because stronger analogs were used in the animal tests˟.

Anecdotal evidence does suggest that vitamin D can stimulate hair growth or even slow down hair loss. And while research in this regard does remain inconclusive, no one disputes the importance of vitamin D in maintaining hair health. The ways in which vitamin D benefit hair include:
  • The life cycles of hair follicles may be regulated by vitamin D. Deficiency in vitamin D may promote hair loss because of a shorter life span of hair follicles.
  • Vitamin D plays an important role in the absorption of calcium, another mineral that is essential for hair health.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids contained in vitamin D help to protect the scalp from bacteria and other microorganisms and promote blood circulation in the scalp.
  • Vitamin D may also be responsible for stimulating the genes that regulate hair growth.
One must remember that part from vitamin D, there are a lot of other factors involved in the maintenance of healthy hair. Hair loss can be triggered by a variety of reasons that include stress, pollution, poor dietary habits, smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol, lack of sleep, side effect of medications and medical treatments and the use of too many chemicals in hair treatments. More often than not, hair loss is usually caused by a combination of factors and will not be remedied by vitamin D supplementation alone. For example, hair loss may be caused by chemotherapy for cancer treatment and no amount of vitamin D supplementation will prevent it. The amount of hair loss can however, be decreased. You will need to consult a doctor to ascertain the causes of your hair loss.

Be warned, too much vitamin D can have some serious consequences including nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss and constipation. For this reason it is recommended that you do not exceed the recommended daily allowance for vitamin D which for most people is at least 1000 IU per day. Those who get 15 to 20 minutes of sunlight every day usually do not require vitamin D supplementation.