As doctors, we often have patients coming in complaining about thinning hair or hair loss. “What can I do to stop my hair from falling out?” is a common question from both men and women. Many people are concerned that they are losing hair because of a medical condition. No matter, what the cause, no one wants to see their hair thinning. Upsetting… right?
So what can cause hair loss?
It turns out that there are some medical problems that can cause hair loss in women and men. These could be thyroid problems or some autoimmune conditions. However, this is rare. Most of the time we test for these issues and blood work is normal. So what is causing thinning hair?
It depends. In men, there is a natural process of hair loss. Men tend to lose hair around the crown of their heads and forehead as a part of typical aging. Women can also have this “male pattern hair loss” when they have excess testosterone or other changes in hormone balance (aka. menopause or taking certain hormones). There are certain prescription medications such as minoxidil that can be useful for this. However, they are both costly and have benefit only if you continue using them forever.
So, what else can cause hair loss? Actually, one of the most common causes for hair loss in women and in part for men, is vitamin deficiencies. It turns out that many of the people we see have vitamins deficiencies causing thinning hair or hair loss.
You ask, what vitamins cause hair loss? Typically iron and vitamin D are some of the culprits. Many of us are iron deficient and do not know it. We can have normal blood work that does not show anemia on a basic blood count, but still have low total body iron stores, to the point that we see thinning hair, fatigue, and brittle or cracking nails.
Vitamin D deficiency is very common today, with most of us being deficient to some extent depending on who we are, where we live and our lifestyle. Replacing vitamin D and iron in proper doses and forms can be part of the supplements to take for thinning hair.
So how do we know what are the best vitamins to take for hair loss in women or men?
It turns out that we all have individual needs. It is essential to get the right doses of iron in a form that is tolerable (some types of iron cause upset stomach or constipation). It is also important when taking vitamins for thinning hair that the iron is paired with a sensible amount of Vitamin C to ensure proper absorption.
Vitamin D should be taken in doses that are based on a persons individual needs. This can be determined based on where they live, sun exposure, skin color and health conditions among other things. In choosing hair loss vitamins recognize that vitamins for hair growth will vary from person to person in exact amounts. To find out what you might need take our vitamin quiz and get a personalized all in one vitamin that helps hair loss.
Other vitamins for hair loss in women in and men include biotin. This B vitamin is a building block for hair follicles and is a key supplement to take for hair thinning.
What about vitamins with collagen or various kinds of “cartilage”?
These are not vitamins to take for hair growth. There is little to no valid evidence that these products are helpful in hair growth and they may in fact have untoward effects. These products are fraught with issues in regards to safety and there is little medical data to suggest they really work.
Are there vitamins that may actually cause hair loss? Actually, there are. It turns out that people who take large amounts of Vitamin A can have hair loss from the vitamin A. This is one of the many reasons we do not generally suggest taking Vitamin A, including the fact that most of us are not deficient in vitamin A and taking it can cause more harm than good. How so? Read more here.
So how should you take vitamins for hair loss?
Simple. As with any vitamins you take, the best vitamins for hair loss should be tailored to your needs. Take our vitamin survey to get an all in one vitamin for hair growth and to address your other health needs. Personalized vitamins ensure you get exactly what you need. Make sure you take supplements for thinning hair that are safe and doctor created. Treating your unique nutritional needs is the best way to address hair loss. The best vitamins to take for thinning hair are the vitamins you need! Take your vitamin quiz here.
Romy Block specializes in Endocrinology and Metabolism and is mother to three active adolescent boys. Arielle Levitan is a Doctor of Internal Medicine with a special interest in Preventive Medicine and Women’s Health. She is a mother of three teen agers. As professional women with active family lives, they recognize that people often neglect their own health needs and are uncertain about what vitamins to take. Each person is different in her diet, exercise and health history, and will benefit from different nutrients. After years of advising their patients about the proper vitamins to take, Drs. Block and Levitan created Vous Vitamin® to provide people everywhere with quality vitamins that are suited to their individual needs. They are authors of the award winning The Vitamin Solution: Two Doctors Clear Confusion About Vitamins and Your Health (She Writes Press, 2015). Take your vitamin survey now to get exactly the right vitamins for your needs.
The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products offered by Vous Vitamin® are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Nothing contained herein is intended to be a diagnosis or constitute medical advice. The symptoms described in this Blog may be a result of a serious medical condition which requires medical treatment. You should consult with your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this Blog and before beginning any vitamin or supplement regimen.