Foods for Healthy Hair Growth: The Diet & Hair Connection Explained

by Viviscal Hair Expert on July 23rd, 2014
Mango for healthy hair

You know there are foods for hair growth and foods that increase hair growth. Here, we explain the links between diet and hair growth.

According to the Mayo Clinic, hair loss can often be a sign of nutritional insufficiency. With grueling work schedules, fast food and crash diets becoming the norm, our bodies are constantly focused on survival; so it feeds the vital organs first, with hair and nails last on the list to receive nutrients.

A diet that is severely deficient in essential nutrients over an extended period of time can cause malfunction in cells, including the cells in hair follicles. When this occurs, it can result in the interruption of the normal hair cycle, the inability of follicles to produce new hair and even hair loss. But by optimizing nutrient intake through a healthy, balanced diet and hair vitamin dietary supplements like Viviscal, and by minimizing negative impacts on the body caused by stress and other factors, you can help nourish your hair.

The type of hair loss experienced due to a nutritional deficit is called telogen effluvium, an abnormality of the hair cycle, which causes hair roots that would normally be in the anagen (growth) phase to be prematurely pushed into the telogen (resting) phase. The affected hairs then fall out. Hair loss due to telogen effuvium is usually temporary if the cause of the condition is treated, such as with the introduction of a more nutrient-rich diet. It may take several months, in line with the telogen phase of the hair growth cycle, for hair to return to normal. After all, the vitamins and minerals you eat does not affect your hair instantly.

Signs of Nutritional Deficiency that lead to thinning hair

If you notice hair loss or slowed hair growth, you should consult your doctor to rule out any more serious underlying causes. If you and your doctor determine that nutritional deficiency is the cause, he or she can test your nutrient levels to help guide your diet choices.

The most common nutritional deficiencies that can lead to thinning hair are:

  • Zinc – Examine nails for white lines, a sign of zinc deficiency. Oysters, nuts, sweet potatoes and seaweed are all good sources of zinc.
  • Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) – Examine your elbows and skin for dryness, which can be a sign of EFA deficiency. Get more EFAs in your diet by eating salmon and nuts.
  • Iron deficiency – Get a blood test to check for levels of serum ferritin. Low serum ferritin can impair hair growth as the body seeks to conserve iron. Eat more eggs, spinach, chickpeas and blueberries.
  • Protein – A protein deficiency that causes hair loss also may lead to frequent colds, fatigue, poor immune function, poor recovery from workouts and anemia, according to Harvard University Health Sciences. Eat lean beef, chicken and fish. Going veggie or vegan? Be sure to get a balanced diet complete with beans, whole grains, fruit and vegetables.