Nutrition and hair loss go hand in hand. While there's always more factors to consider such as stress, lifestyle and genetics; certain foods that promote hair growth can be integrated into the diet to minimise your chances of balding or patchy hair cropping up. Can poor diet cause hair loss? Of course - now let's figure out how to ensure you don't suffer from any more hair loss than you need to.
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What to Include:
One of the most important components in hair growth, sulfur is the third most common element in the body and plays an instrumental role in maintaining a healthy and strong head of hair.
Human hair is mainly made up of the protein Keratin, which requires high levels of sulfur for hair to have an ideal composition. Without getting too technical, sulfur extends the growing and resting phase of the hair cycle - leaving you with longer, healthier and generally stronger strands.
Why is sulfur important? Without it, hair can become brittle, dry and broken, and while the inclusion of sulfur won't reverse any damage done, it can certainly put you in a stronger position to avoid it in the first place.
Looking for the best food sources of sulfur for hair growth? Fish, beef, eggs, onions, garlic, broccoli and wheat germ are some of the best sources of naturally available sulfur, but these can also come from supplements if you're not feeling the options mentioned. One approach to implementing sulfur into your life is through the diverse range of sulfur 8 hair products.
Ranging from sulfur 8 hair grease to sulfur 8 oil and braid sprays; the product range is commonly used by guys and gals of African descent as it's effective at cleansing, conditioning and strengthening very textured hair. Aside from the obvious inclusion of sulfur, other sulfur 8 ingredients are controversial, to say the least, as additions like petrolatum, mineral oil and menthol are typically avoided by those looking to grow hair further.
Another essential mineral that keeps your hair cycle ticking over, zinc deficiency and hair loss have been linked due to the part it plays in the growth of new hair shafts. Those with low zinc levels run the risk of general hair loss alongside having a higher risk of conditions like telogen effluvium and alopecia areata.
Zincs link to hair loss has been solidified by several case studies involving both aforementioned conditions, with sufferers of both showing lower levels of the mineral in their blood stream.
So, how to avoid zinc deficiency? Several foods are rich in zinc for hair growth including; seafood, beef, spinach, pumpkin seeds, chocolate and white mushrooms. If these foods don't do it for you, then why not take a zinc supplement? While it's best to speak to a professional, the upper limit of zinc dosage for hair loss is 25mg daily.
While you should be keeping an eye on your iron levels for general health purposes, a deficiency in this important mineral can make really matters worse when it comes to maintaining your barnet. When stored, iron takes the form of ferritin; ferritin is an essential ingredient for keeping your hair's growth phase going as long as possible, which can really contribute to keeping your hair on your head growing to its upmost capability.
If deficient, iron will be pulled from non-essential parts of the body like your hair and channelled into more important areas such as vital organs. Best sources of iron? Red meat, green veggies, nuts and offal.
#4: Vitamin A
Another worthy vitamin for the healthy growth of hair is fat soluble Vitamin A. While this weighty vitamin bestows a host of general benefits for the body, when it comes to hair it helps with the cell growth and production as well as regulating healthy sebum production on the scalp - keeping hair nourished and moisturised.
Some of best foods to increase hair growth that contain vitamin A include; spinach, carrots, fish and lettuce.
#5: Amino Acids
So, what do amino acids do? Being one of the building blocks of protein, amino acids are essential for the general health, growth and repair of the body. It goes without saying, considering the importance amino acids for hair growth is pretty straightforward - we need em'.
What do amino acids make? The proteins that make up hair strands are mainly made up of keratin, which amino acids are responsible for creating. On top of this, amino acids are also fundamental in creating red blood cells which, among a plethora of other tasks, will carry oxygen and essential nutrients to hair follicles - supporting healthy growth.
In particular, the amino acids for hair loss prevention are arginine, cystine, cysteine, lysine and methionine. While arginine, cystine and cysteine can be produced in the body - lysine and methionine must be attained via your diet or supplements. Lysine can be naturally found in eggs, nuts, meats, cheese and legumes and methionine can be sourced from eggs, sesame seeds, fish and Brazil nuts.
As the body does not accumulate these vitamins, it's very important to include them in your daily diet or, at the very least, consider amino acid supplements to prevent hair loss from taking hold.
#6: Vitamin D
While there have been theories that Vitamin D and hair loss are intrinsically linked, possibly having the ability to reverse hair loss, there's little proof around this myth to allow it to be considered as a serious option. While Vitamin D and its associated properties have been proven to aid skin conditions such as psoriasis - there's no proof it'll do anything for your hair loss.
That being said, it goes without saying that practising a healthy lifestyle full of healthy vitamins and minerals, like the ones mentioned in this piece, will decrease your likelihood of hair loss.
What to Avoid:
On the flip side, there's also a number of foods that cause hair loss and generally affect men's hair health in a negative way.
- Sugar: Strangely, while researchers can't exactly pinpoint why sugar causes hair loss - there are several studies that have proven the link between a diet high in sugar and hair loss. One theory is that sugar makes it hard for the body to regulate the production of DHT - a hormone that can cause hair loss in excess.
- Simple/Refined Carbohydrates: Stemming back to the aforementioned sugar issues, refined carbohydrates found in bread, cakes and biscuits are high in sugar and low in fibre - not a good thing. Opt for complex, whole grain carbs instead, which will simultaneously provide fibre; aiding digestion and the body's ability to get nutrients to where there needed, in this case - the hair follicles.
- Food Additives: Despite being cited as safe by many food regulators; many additives contain harmful chemicals, sulphites and other nasties that'll likely set you back in your goals to grow as lustrous barnet. For example, many such additives contain ingredients that are linked to hair loss, as well as a plethora of other health-harming issues. While it's borderline impossible to avoid completely, try to keep a look out for and avoid anything that isn't as close to natural as possible.
- Fried Foods: Research has shown a profound link between monounsaturated/saturated fat and an increased production of testosterone - aka DHT. As you're probably aware by this point, DHT is the enemy when it comes to preventing hair loss so it's best avoided.
- Sugar/Fat-Free Foods: While sugar or fat-free options may be a little kinder on the waistline, the trade-off could leave you with a less than desirable hairline. One of the biggest culprits, aspartame, is widely known to be bad for the body. With bloating, depression, decreased libido as well as thinning hair among some of the side effects - it's best to avoid.
Food and Minerals for Hair Loss Prevention
- Sulfur: Important for creating keratin - a vital element in hair's composition.
- Zinc: Promotes a healthy hair growth cycle.
- Iron: Produces ferritin, an important component for keeping your growth phase going longer.
- Vitamin A: Regulates healthy sebum production on the scalp, keeping hair nourished.
- Amino Acids: Similar to sulfur, maintains healthy keratin production.
On That Note
So, what is the cause of hair loss? While there's an abundance of reasons for your sparsely filled mane, it's pretty evident that diet can be a substantial contributor that'll either help or hinder your cause. Your best bet? Stick to all things natural and avoid as many processed foods as possible. As you're probably aware, not only will this benefit you in terms of hair, but your general health also... god, I sound like your mother.