Which Vitamin Deficiency Causes Hair Loss?

May 2, 2024
Minute Read

Are you struggling with hair loss? Does your hair seem thinner than normal? In some situations, hair loss comes from genetics, conditions that are passed down from one family member to the next. In other conditions, it comes from stress. However, one thing that people often overlook is the relationship between vitamin D3 and hair loss. So, can vitamin C deficiency cause hair loss? And if so, which vitamin deficiency leads to hair loss besides vitamin C?

Hair growth cycles

The hair growth cycle has three phases:

  1. Anagen: This is the active initial phase of the cycle where your hair follicles begin to grow, and the fiber starts to develop. It can take years for a single hair to grow during this phase. It's the longest phase-out of the three. In fact, studies show that 90% of all body hair at any time is in the anagen phase. 
  2. Catagen: This is the second phase once the growth of your hair has stopped. It's called a transitional phase because your hair follicles start to shrink, and the hair begins to separate from the follicle. This is a much shorter face lasting an average of 10 days. Studies indicate that only 5% of the hair on your body at any time is in this phase.
  3. Telogen: This is the third phase, which lasts an average of three months. During this time, no hair growth takes place, but new hairs begin to emerge from the hair follicle. As this happens, the hair that has already grown from that follicle through the antigen phase and been released from the follicle through the catagen phase can fall out, such as when you are brushing your hair. An average of 10% of all the hair on your head is in the telogen phase at any time.

Under normal circumstances, you can experience hair loss because the hair has already emerged beyond the anagen phase and is in the normal steps where it has detached from the follicle and is making way for new hair growth. But if you start to notice unexplained levels of hair loss that are more than normal, it could be a sign of things like:

  • Genetic conditions
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Stress
  • Vitamin deficiencies 

This article will review which vitamin deficiency causes hair loss and how you can treat it.

Which vitamin deficiency causes hair loss?

Vitamin intake has a direct impact on hair strength and thickness. Vitamins help develop keratin, which supports healthy hair growth. A balanced diet with balanced vitamins can improve hair strength and durability, as well as its silkiness and shine.

But the opposite is true as well. A poor diet with unbalanced vitamins can lead to vitamin deficiencies, which can result in hair loss due to vitamin deficiency. 

Vitamin A and hair loss

Vitamin A and hair loss are also common. This is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it gets stored in your body fat. Vitamin A is responsible for creating and repairing skin cells and helping to boost your hair's health. It plays an important role in many things, such as:

  1. Controlling eyesight
  2. Boosting immune health
  3. Fertility
  4. Skin
  5. Hair health

Vitamin A deficiency is one of the easier deficiencies to recognize because it almost immediately leads to dry skin and eczema.

Signs and symptoms of Vitamin A deficiency

  • Dry skin
  • Acne
  • Problems healing from wounds
  • Dry eyes
  • Infertility
  • Chest infections
  • Thinning hair

Vitamin B deficiency hair loss

There are several categories of vitamins under the B family, and vitamins B12 and B7 are among the top deficiencies that cause hair loss. 

Vitamin B7 is also called Biotin. It is a member of the B-vitamin complex responsible for breaking down the carbohydrates and fats you eat and, in exchange, producing energy. Vitamin B7 protects your blood sugar and LDL cholesterol, but it also produces keratin. Keratin is what keeps your hair and nails strong. When you have this vitamin B deficiency, hair loss and brittle nails are the first signs that you should see your doctor for evaluation. 

Signs and symptoms of vitamin B7 deficiency

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Appetite loss
  • Muscle pain
  • Rashes or dry skin
  • Depression
  • Brittle hair and hair loss

Vitamin B12 is another deficiency that impacts hair. This is more commonly called anemia or a folate deficiency, but it means the same thing. Without the right level of vitamin B12, your body makes red blood cells that are too big, which means they can't move the way they should in your body and you don't get enough oxygen. One of the results is problems with oxygen and nutrient delivery to the hair follicles, which can cause brittle hair or hair loss. 

Signs and symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency

  • Fatigue
  • Neuropathy in the extremities
  • Ulcers or red tongue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Vision problems
  • Memory problems
  • Depression
  • Hair loss

Vitamin C and hair loss

Can vitamin C deficiency cause hair loss? Yes. Vitamin C is responsible for collagen production, among other things. Collagen is a protein found throughout the body in the:

  1. Joints
  2. Bones
  3. Blood vessels
  4. Skin
  5. Hair 

This connective compound keeps the areas of the body strong and connected, but without it, people can experience a range of side effects. One of the most common signs of a deficiency relates to hair: the hair begins to grow in corkscrew or coiled shapes because the protein structures don't develop properly due to vitamin C loss. This makes the hair more brittle and likely to break. 

You can also notice a vitamin C deficiency because the hair follicles on the scalp or along the body turn bright red as the blood vessels break. 

Signs and symptoms of Vitamin C deficiency

  • Skin issues
  • Hair loss
  • Corkscrew hair growth
  • Red dots at hair follicles 
  • Slow wound healing

Vitamin D3 deficiency and hair loss

Vitamin D3 deficiency and hair loss are among the most common issues. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble essential vitamin that is responsible for maintaining things like:

  1. Healthy hair
  2. Good mental health
  3. Stable sleeping patterns
  4. Strong bones

Still, it is a very common deficiency around the world, with 1 in 4 adults noted as having low or deficient D3. 

Signs and symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency

  • Hair loss
  • Appetite loss
  • Sleeping issues
  • Fatigue
  • Bone pain
  • Depression
  • Muscle weakness

Vitamin E hair loss due to vitamin deficiency

Vitamin E is important in protecting your body. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that does things like:

  1. Boost your immune system
  2. Maintain blood vessel health
  3. Protect cells from free radicals
  4. Carry essential nutrients throughout the body

One reason this type of deficiency can lead to hair loss is that it means your blood vessels don't work properly and can't carry essential nutrients and oxygen-rich blood to your hair. As a result, your hair starts to get brittle, thin, and fall out.

Signs and symptoms of Vitamin E deficiency

  • Nerve damage and neuropathy
  • Muscle weakness
  • Vision weakness
  • Brittle hair

Other nutritional factors affecting hair health

Vitamins are not the only things that can contribute to hair loss. Other minerals and vitamins not on this list can affect the strength and thickness of your hair. In addition to nutritional factors, you have to be aware of hormonal changes, stress, and genetic conditions that might play a role as well.

Methods for diagnosing vitamin deficiencies

If you know which vitamin deficiency leads to hair loss and are worried you might have that deficiency, you can undergo methods to diagnose the issue. With most hair loss due to vitamin deficiency, the preliminary tests your doctor will perform include the following:

  1. Blood tests
  2. Medical history

Blood tests can determine whether your body has key factors that indicate low vitamins, while a medical history can help your doctor determine what other factors might indicate a deficiency. 

What matters most is that you seek a professional evaluation for accurate diagnosis and treatment. 

Treatment options for hair loss due to vitamin deficiency

In most cases, vitamin deficiencies that contribute to hair loss can be rectified by simply changing your diet to ensure that you get the right vitamins. After you get a diagnosis from your doctor, you might be given a list of food groups that naturally contain the vitamins you need. Getting those vitamins from whole, natural foods is best. 

Vitamin A naturally occurs in:

  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Meat

Vitamin B naturally occurs in:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Carrots
  • Egg yolks
  • Legumes
  • Lentils
  • Seafood
  • Whole grains

Vitamin C naturally occurs in:

  • Bell peppers 
  • Cherries
  • Oranges
  • Lemons
  • Jalapenos
  • Parsley
  • Broccoli

Vitamin D naturally occurs in:

  • Egg yolks
  • Canned fish such as sardines and herring
  • Fatty fish

Vitamin E naturally occurs in:

  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Fruit juices

However, in severe situations, you might need to improve your diet right away by taking supplements or IV infusions that are rich in the vitamins you need. 

Summing up

Can vitamin C deficiency cause hair loss? Yes, as can a myriad of other vitamins. Understanding which vitamin deficiency leads to hair loss can help you change your diet or utilize treatment options like IV vitamin therapy to get the needed resources. Dietary changes are the best way to make long-term improvements to your hair health, but supplements can also help manage deficiencies and hair loss. It's always important that you pay attention to your nutritional health for the sake of your hair.

It all starts with Yu.

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