These are the Top Nutrients Your Hair Needs
Who doesn’t want long, lustrous locks? It seems like every minute there’s a new miracle product that claims to transform your hair from dull to dynamite in a matter of minutes. So let’s get a few facts straight and cover what you can do to make a real difference in how your hair looks and feels!
What Are You Made Of?
Each strand of hair is comprised of three layers from the inside-out: the medulla, the cortex, and the cuticle. The most impactful parts of the hair strand are the cortex and the cuticle, responsible for the texture and shine respectively. Overall, hair is made up of over 95% keratin, a specialized protein that keeps the structure strong yet flexible.
On average, hair grows six inches per year, and for many people, that’s not fast enough! The best way to support hair growth is to focus on the root (a.k.a. the bulb) of the hair. This is where all the nutrients pool to feed the hair. It’s important to remember the ends of our strands are essentially ‘dead’ protein so all the growth is happening at the scalp level. So to get stronger and longer hair we need to get back to the root!
By giving your body the right nutrients AND improving circulation to the scalp we can encourage longer locks. Here are some of the most important things to consider!
This is essential for new cell growth and powerful for kickstarting the hair re-growth cycle. Keep in mind high doses of this fat-soluble vitamin can be toxic so I suggest increasing your intake of beta-carotene (the non-toxic precursor to vitamin A) through a quality multivitamin or orange and yellow produce.
Stress leads to thinning and slow growing hair. But don’t worry – B vitamins can help! Look for the activated forms of these nutrients (often contain the word ‘methyl’ in the label) for better absorption and results. Don’t forget, biotin is also considering a B vitamin (B7) and is often part of many hair nutrient formulas.
In case you missed it, our hair is 95% protein. If you’re eating a low protein diet or have digestive issues (bloating, indigestion, etc.) you may not be giving your body enough of the building blocks for new hair. It has been suggested that most adults need about 0.8-1.0g/kg of protein. If you find it difficult to reach your daily goals, try a vegan protein powder in your breakfast or post-workout shake!
Now that we have longer, stronger hair, what about getting that shine?
To improve the ‘reflectiveness’ of your hair and prevent dullness we want to hydrate from the inside out! Making sure you consume enough omega-3 fatty acids can help support the new hair that grows out is smoother & shinier. Consistency see is key, so aim to make a high-quality fish oil part of your daily routine for at least 6 months.
What about those dead ends? It’s true that we can’t eat our way to less split ends (unless we trim them off and start fresh), but we can support healthy strands by using precious plant oils to seal in moisture and add shine. You can also try to limit heat styling to twice a week at most.
Do you have healthy hair tip you’re dying to share? Let us know in the comments below!
Dr. Laura Belus is a Naturopathic Doctor that focuses on detoxification and hormone balance for weight loss, stress management, and greater energy. She believes in making simple, yet powerful, changes to diet & lifestyle habits that create lasting results. She practices in Mississauga and Toronto.