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May 24, 2011

Hair Vitamins 101- Natural Hair Info


By Dr. Phoenyx Austin

Most doctors know that a person’s hair, as well as their skin and nails, are a very good indicator of their nutritional state. Healthy hair is a direct reflection of proper nutrition- while deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals will result in stunted hair growth or even hair loss. And the most common vitamin deficiencies that lead to hair loss are deficiencies in B vitamins, especially B6, biotin, inositol and folic acid, as well as deficiencies in the minerals magnesium, sulfur and zinc.

These types of deficiencies are not uncommon because many of us live very busy lives where it’s often hard to eat a balanced diet that is inclusive of all the important vitamins and minerals. That’s why it’s important to take multivitamins and/or supplements.

Many women take supplements for the sole purpose of growing healthy hair, and that’s fine. But you shouldn’t overdo it. When it comes to vitamins and supplements, “more” is not always “better.” And sometimes when you exceed the recommended daily dosage for a vitamin/supplement, the result can be harmful. For example, taking large doses of vitamin A for an extended period of time can actually trigger hair loss!

So when it comes to hair health and vitamins, always take vitamins and supplements as directed. Here’s a list of vitamins and minerals for healthy hair, as well as the daily recommended allowance. Use this list as a reference guide:

B-Vitamins
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin) - Do not exceed 35mg per day.
  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) - Do not exceed manufacturer's dosage.
  • Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) - Do not exceed 100mg per day.
Biotin
  • Dosage: Do not exceed manufacturer's dosage.
Choline
  • Dosage: Do not exceed 3,500mg per day.
Vitamin C
  • Dosage: Do not exceed 2,000mg per day.
Vitamin E
  • Dosage: Do not exceed 1,000mg per day.
Zinc
  • Dosage: Do not exceed 40mg per day.


Dr. Phoenyx Austin is a physician, writer and media personality who discusses hair, love, and life. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.

"The medical information in this article is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions. Dr. Phoenyx Austin and CurlyNikki.com expressly disclaim responsibility, and shall have no liability, for any damages, loss, injury, or liability whatsoever suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this article."



What vitamins are you taking?

21 Chime in!:

vonnie said...

very good information to know, with a guideline for dosage :) thanks

Vonnie
http://www.socialitedreams.com/

sosoulful0125 said...

Great information, I have always heard prenatal vitamins are great to take also

Anonymous said...

Right now I'm taking "Nature's Bounty Hair, Skin & Nails" along with 1,000 to 2,000 mg of Omega 3 Fish Oil, daily. The Nature's Bounty has nearly all of the vitamins and minerals that you suggested in your article but the dosages are not nearly as much. For example, you said 50 mg of biotin 3 times a day. The Nature's Bounty contains 3,000 "mcg" (or 3 mg) per serving. Can you recommend a supplement that contains the dosages that you suggest, or would I need to just purchase them separately?

Anonymous said...

I am just taking women's multivitamin from the Target brand.
I love your hair Dr. Austin!....I got a few more years to go!

SOFnFREE said...

This is so helpful. Caution to not overdo vitamin supplements is just as important as advising what vitamins are helpful to hair health. Thanks for spelling it out so clearly.

mangomadness said...

I'm taking a multivitamin and an iron supplement for health, not hair growth. My hair will grow well on it's on accord.

Breanna said...

Hum zinc is fine but in smaller dosages, just wanted to share this info that I found concerning it. Source of this is found off of this article http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/zinc-000344.htm


You should not take high doses of zinc for more than a few days unless your doctor tells you to. Talk to your doctor before taking more than 40 mg of zinc per day. Your body doesn't need a large amount of zinc; the recommended daily allowance for adults is 8 - 11 mg.

Precautions:
Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, you should take dietary supplements only under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care provider.

Research has shown that less than 40 mg a day is a safe amount to take over time, but researchers are not sure what happens if more is taken over a long period.

Common side effects of zinc include stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, and a metallic taste in the mouth. High doses of zinc can cause dizziness, headache, drowsiness, increased sweating, loss of muscle coordination, alcohol intolerance, hallucinations, and anemia.

Very high doses of zinc may actually weaken immune function. High doses of zinc may also lower HDL ("good") cholesterol and raise LDL ("bad") cholesterol.

Anonymous said...

I think I may have "overdone" it with the biotin tablets. The sad part is I've noticed my hair isn't as dense as it was before. I'm wondering if eventually my body will return back to normal levels or if I've completely screwed myself by taking too much biotin. Also, the biotin tablets gave me really bad cystic acne and after a couple of months of not taking them, my skin begin to clear. Weird. Now I just take a multivitamin and try to make sure I'm getting the right amount of nutrients through the food I eat.

Breanna said...

@anon 1:49am
When taking biotin you must also take Vitamins B-12 or vitamin C to counterbalance the breakout of acne. Also up the intake of water and you should be good to go, but also start at the lower dosage of 1000mg and gradually up it to 5,000mg if you're good etx.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous @ 11:49. This is a very common side effect and it's recommended that if you take biotin supplements to drink LOTS of water to combat it and depending on the dosage you may want to consider only taking half a pill each day. I did this and carried around a jug of water everyday (which was kind of annoying), but I never had a problem with acne while I was taking them.

Angelique said...

I use Stuart's Prenatal Vitamins. Not for hair growth, but for the overall health of me and my future child(ren)(It's said that a woman of child bearing age (and desire) should take prenatal vitamins BEFORE she conceives). I think just like you can't and shouldn't do specific exercises for one part of the body, you shouldn't nourish just one part of your body either. If you are healthy overall, your hair, nails, skin, teeth, bones, etc will follow.

Anonymous said...

Are those the right amounts? Isn't 5mg of Biotin already over 10x the daily recommended allowance? 150mg a day seems high, same as the others.

Anonymous said...

Nope 5,000 mcg of biotin is good to take because you're just taking 1 pill a day total. Where as in the 1,000mcg you're taking 3 to 5 daily depending on which bottle brand that you buy. You can start at the smallest dosage of whatever brand they have available, and then go up on the dosage as you feel that your body can handle the dosage. Some people feel as though they see better results in the higher amounts vs the smaller amounts, but it's up to you and what you feel works for you. Me personally I've taken the 1000mcg, and got tired of taken so many in a day, so I got the 5,000mcg and this worked much better for me. Yes the hair does grow wit this product just make sure to take the other vitamins and water so that you won't have problems with acne.

Tawni F. said...

I take GNC's Hair, Skin, and Nail vitamins along with their Active Women's multi - vitamins and I am pleased with the results. At one point I was only taking the hair, skin, and nails one but my hair grew like crazy and skin improved. I know since being natural my hair grows (or I retain more length) but when I was relaxed and took that vitamin I had to stop because my relaxer grew too fast. Vitamins are important period but I feel especially for us who go natural and are looking for even healthier and longer hair.

Anonymous said...

SUGGESTION:
It may be a good idea to discuss any vitamin supplementation with you personal family physician. Each person's general requirements may differ depending on their medical history and personal health situation.

integratedmemoirs said...

I take a liquid multi vitamin, but I also take MSM powder daily. This helps to absorb the vitamins.

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Anonymous said...

The vitamin doses listed in the article appear to be quite high. Most Americans will never be subject to becoming vitamin deficient in basic vitamins and elements due to the rich variety of food sources available. Exceptions would include people who suffer from malabsorption syndromes or illnesses which prevent or inhibit eating.
I agree with the posters who mentioned checking with your physician before embarking on a supplement regimen.

Anonymous said...

Angelique that is definitely. It is recommended that women of child bearing age take prenatal before, during, and after pregnancy. :)
I take Stuart Prenatals as well with orange juice to help with the iron absorption (I am smidge anemic).

~Nefertiti~

Anonymous said...

*Angelique that is definitely RIGHT
Sorry for the typo

~Nefertiti~

Anonymous said...

I was wondering about the dosages too. 50mg of biotin? I know that 1mg = 1000mcg...

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