Vitamin B12 for Hair - Sources, Benefits, Side Effects, Results

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Written by Hexahealth Care Team, last updated on 29 May 2023
Vitamin B12 for Hair - Sources, Benefits, Side Effects, Results

Are you dreaming of luscious, healthy hair that shines with vitality? Look no further than the power of vitamin B12 for hair! Yes, you read it right - this essential nutrient doesn't just boost your energy levels; it also plays a crucial role in maintaining hair quality. 

If you're wondering how vitamin B12 can transform your hair and unlock its full potential, you're in for a treat. Let's dive into the benefits, side effects, and remarkable results of incorporating vitamin B12 tablets for hair into your hair care routine.

Importance of Vitamin B12 for Hair

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin essential for various bodily functions, including the growth and health of your hair. 

A protein called keratin is mainly responsible for the generation and growth of your hair. The bulb or the bottom part of a hair follicle, comprises the fastest-growing cells, dividing every 23-72 hours. There is an element called papilla at the bulb's base, which contains blood vessels. It connects the follicles with blood vessels. 

Vitamin B12 works wonders by supporting the production of healthy red blood cells, which carry oxygen and nutrients to these hair follicles. This oxygenation process is vital for optimal hair growth and the prevention of hair loss.

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Vitamin B12 Benefits for Hair

Vitamin B12 has been proven effective for maintaining healthy hair. Here are some of the main vitamin b12 benefits for hair:

  1. Helps Prevent Hair Loss: Vitamin B12 can contribute to the prevention of hair fall for most people. 
    1. It stimulates the formation of red blood cells, which are, in turn, responsible for carrying oxygen to your hair follicles. 
    2. Without the presence of this vitamin, hair follicles will become weaker due to a lack of oxygen. As a result, you will notice more hair fall. 
  2. Encourages Hair Growth: Vitamin B12 enhances the oxygen supply to the hair follicles, which allows them to grow new hair faster. 
    1. They also become stronger and thereby prevent hair breakage. 
    2. As a result, your hair appears much healthy and thick, with stronger hair shafts. 
  3. Moisturises Hair: Research shows that Vitamin B12 is capable of moisturising hair and keeping them hydrated. 
    1. A deficiency of this vitamin often results in fragile, dry and frizzy hair. 
    2. Taking supplements of this vitamin helps to enhance moisture and reduce dryness from hair, making them appear healthier. 
  4. Strengthens Hair: As discussed earlier, Vitamin B12 ensures oxygen supply to the hair follicles and strengthens the hair shafts. 
    1. As they constantly receive the required oxygen, they will be able to hold the hair strands strongly and thereby avoid their breakage. 
  5. Prevents Premature Greying of Hair: Some research studies show that Vitamin B12 is capable of reversing premature greying of hair. 
    1. However, it only works if the cause of premature greying is a deficiency of Vitamin B12. 
    2. It reduces homocysteine levels, which contributes to reducing premature greying. 

Signs of Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Hair Loss

A deficiency of Vitamin B12 can have various negative consequences. The biggest problem is that your hair fails to grow at the right pace, and you start experiencing extreme hair loss. You can also experience hair thinning, untimely greying of hair and anaemia. 

Apart from that, you might notice the following symptoms if your body is facing a deficiency of Vitamin B12. 

  1. Feeling of nausea 
  2. Vomiting in certain cases
  3. A feeling of tingling sensation all over the body, especially in the hands
  4. Constant feelings of tiredness and lethargy
  5. Head pain
  6. Minor to severe itchiness in hands and feet
  7. Heart failure
  8. Thrombosis of veins inside the body
  9. Polycythemia vera - a rare and slow-growing cancer in the blood

If you notice such issues, it signifies that your body requires more Vitamin B12. Thus, you should consider taking this vitamin in some shape. 

Sources of Vitamin B12 for Hair Health

Now, you must be curious to know the right sources to consider for consuming Vitamin B12 for improving hair health.

Commonly, you can find Vitamin B12 in animal protein, which can be integrated easily into your daily diet. Here are some of the common sources:

  1. Animal-Based Sources: Animal-derived foods are the richest sources of vitamin B12. 
    1. Lean Meats: Beef, chicken, and turkey are excellent sources of vitamin B12.
    2. Seafood: Fish, especially salmon, trout, and tuna, are rich in vitamin B12.
    3. Dairy Products: Milk, cheese, and yoghurt contain vitamin B12.
    4. Eggs: The yolk of an egg is a good source of vitamin B12.
  2. Fortified Foods: Many plant-based foods are fortified with vitamin B12, making them suitable options for vegetarians and vegans. 
    1. Look for fortified plant-based milk (soy, almond, coconut), breakfast cereals, nutritional yeast, and meat substitutes that are enriched with vitamin B12.
  3. Spirulina and Seaweed: Some types of seaweed, such as nori, contain small amounts of vitamin B12.Additionally, spirulina, blue-green algae, is known to contain a biologically active form of vitamin B12, making it a potential source for vegetarians and vegans.

If you are not comfortable with animal products, you can consider Vitamin B12 supplements. However, it is important to consult your doctor before considering Vitamin B12 supplements. 

Safest Quantity of Vitamin B12

It is important to know the right and safe quantity of Vitamin B12 consumption to avoid any side effects. Here is the list showing average daily recommended amounts for different age groups:

Age Group  Recommended Dosage 
0 to 6 months  0.4 mcg 
7 to 12 months  0.5 mcg 
1 to 3 years  0.9 mcg 
4 to 8 years  1.2 mcg 
9 to 13 years  1.8 mcg   
14 to 18 years  2.4 mcg  
Above 18 (Adults) 2.4 mcg 
Pregnant teenagers and adult women            2.6 mcg  
Breastfeeding mothers (teenagers and adults)    2.8 mcg     

Side Effects of Incorrect Vitamin B12 Dosage

If you are looking for an answer to the question, “Can vitamin B12 cause hair loss?” no, it does not. Even when taken at high doses, it is considered safe.

Thus, there are no side effects from consuming an incorrect dosage of Vitamin B12. 

However, there are some major problems you can face if the dosage is lower than necessary. As discussed above, you will experience hair loss, hair thinning, anaemia and various other problems due to a deficiency of Vitamin B12

Other Nutrients for Hair Health

Having a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients is crucial for maintaining overall health, and this holds true for promoting healthy hair as well. 

While vitamin B12 plays a significant role in hair health, it is important to ensure that your diet includes a variety of other nutrients that contribute to the vitality of your locks. 

Here are some key nutrients that are essential for optimal hair health:

  1. Protein: Hair is primarily composed of a protein called keratin. Ensuring an adequate protein intake in your diet is essential for healthy hair growth and strength. 
    1. Good protein sources include lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, and nuts.
  2. Iron: Iron deficiency can lead to hair loss and thinning. 
    1. Including iron-rich foods in your diet, such as spinach, lentils, tofu, red meat, and fortified cereals, can help promote healthy hair growth and prevent iron-related hair problems.
  3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These healthy fats play a role in scalp health and hydration, which are vital for healthy hair follicles. 
    1. Incorporate omega-3-rich foods like fatty fish (salmon, mackerel), walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds into your diet.
  4. Biotin: Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is essential for hair health. It helps strengthen the hair shaft and promotes hair growth. 
    1. Foods like eggs, avocados, nuts, and seeds are good sources of biotin.
  5. Vitamin E: This antioxidant vitamin helps improve blood circulation to the scalp and promotes a healthy scalp environment. 
    1. Include foods rich in vitamin E, such as almonds, sunflower seeds, spinach, and avocados, in your diet.
  6. Vitamin C: Vitamin C aids in absorbing iron and collagen production, which is important for healthy hair. 
    1. Citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, and kiwi are excellent sources of vitamin C.

When to Seek Medical Help?

Experiencing hair loss can be distressing, and it's natural to wonder when it's time to seek medical help.

While some hair loss is considered normal, there are certain situations where it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional or a dermatologist. 

Here are some signs that indicate it may be time to seek medical assistance for hair loss:

  1. Sudden or severe hair loss
  2. Family history of hair loss
  3. Hair loss along with symptoms like itching, redness, scalp tenderness, or pain
  4. Sudden changes in hair texture or scalp

Takeaway

It is normal to shed hair, but excess of it can lead to many issues. In addition, premature greying is also a concern if the hair is not taken care of in the right manner. Here, Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, plays a vital role.

Vitamin B12 is required for the formation of red blood cells, which transport oxygen and other nutrients to your hair follicles, allowing them to grow.

Additionally, HexaHealth helps in providing the right solutions to hair loss and balding treatments. The surgeons and doctors with years of experience provide the right guidance to help treat hair issues effectively. 

Suggested Reads

Hair Fall Treatment in Hindi Dry Fruits Rich in Vitamins
Vitamin D Rich Foods Hair Transplant

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Vitamin B12 for hair beneficial?

Yes, Vitamin B12 for hair is one of the most important requirements to have healthy hair growth. It helps in increasing the oxygen level and in keeping the red blood cell count in the right proportion.

Doing so helps in maintaining healthy hair and increases hair growth.

Are Vitamin B12 tablets for hair effective for improving hair growth?

Taking the right dosage of vitamin B12 tablets for hair will help improve hair growth within a maximum of 6 months.

It revives the hair scalp, nourishes hair from the depth of its roots and increases the flow of red blood cells to hair. Hence, these supplements induce hair growth.

Is vitamin B12 good for hair?

Yes, vitamin B12 is essential for hair health. It plays a vital role in the production of healthy red blood cells, which carry oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles. Adequate vitamin B12 intake can promote hair growth and prevent hair loss.

Can vitamin B12 cause hair loss?

A deficiency in vitamin B12 can contribute to hair loss, but it is unlikely that excess intake of vitamin B12 would directly cause hair loss.

Maintaining a balanced and adequate level of vitamin B12 is important for healthy hair growth.

Does vitamin B12 deficiency cause hair loss?

Yes, vitamin B12 deficiency can contribute to hair loss. Since B12 plays a role in red blood cell production, a deficiency can lead to reduced oxygen supply to the hair follicles, affecting their growth and leading to hair thinning and loss.

What are the vitamin B12 benefits for hair?

Vitamin B12 primarily increases hair growth; thereafter, it prevents hair fall by strengthening it from the roots.

Further, it helps in giving more volume to the hair, increases melanin production and makes the hair scalp healthier. Also, it helps in nourishment and moisturisation of the hair scalp.

What are recommended vitamin B12 foods for hair?

The recommended vitamin B12 foods for hair that one must include in the diet are – fish, animal meat, dairy supplements, eggs, tuna and sardines. These are high-protein food diets.

Does low vitamin B12 cause hair loss?

If confused, does low vitamin B12 cause hair loss or not? The answer is yes. This is because a deficiency of vitamin B12 will not allow the scalp to induce hair growth.

Owing to a lack of proper oxygen supply, the follicles are unable to grow new hair. Thus, leading to a loss of hair and no healthy production of new hair.

How much is Vitamin B12 needed for healthy hair growth?

The ideal amount of B12 that is very essential for healthy and fuller hair growth is 2.4 mcg to 3 mcg.

While this is the bare minimum requirement to have healthy hair, excess of this vitamin will also not cause any harm (to a limit).

Can Vitamin B12 supplements cause any side effects?

An excess of vitamin B12 passes via urine from your body as waste. But, too much of anything (in this case, the vitamin B12) may cause indigestion, nausea, low level of diarrhoea, rashes in the skin, etc, in some cases.

Some of the major side effects could be heart failure and blood cancer. However, there is no prime evidence to prove that vitamin B12 supplements cause any major side effects.

How long does it take to see results from vitamin B12 supplements for hair growth?

It takes about a minimum of 3 to 6 months when a person will start to notice the positive changes in hair regrowth.

Vitamin B12 tablets for hair are another kind of supplement that effectively increases hair growth but can take a period of a maximum of 1 year.

Is taking high doses of Vitamin B12 for hair growth safe?

At present, there are no such clinically proven major side effects of taking high doses of vitamin B12 for hair.

But it is recommended not to surpass the amount as suggested by a nutritionist or a certified doctor. Taking the right amount leads to the desired results.

Can Vitamin B12 supplements help prevent premature greying of hair?

Yes. Apart from helping in increasing hair growth, vitamin B12 foods for hair helps to avoid premature greying of the hair.

One cannot stop premature greying, as it is natural or may be due to some underlying medical condition, but vitamin B12 certainly helps avoid greying before the right time.

How does Vitamin B12 deficiency affect the health of hair?

The health of hair reduces when the hair follicles do not receive the right amount of oxygen as they should.

When this happens, the lower level of oxygen increases hair nutrition deficiency, hence different types of hair issues crop up.

Is Vitamin B12 supplementation helpful for people with thinning hair?

One of the major results that develop with thinning hair is hair breakage and uprooting of hair or hair fall. Vitamin B12 helps in reducing the thinning of hair, thereby helping in the reduction of further hair-related issues.

It also induces anaemia, which is linked with low iron levels, hair loss and thinning.

What are the other benefits of taking Vitamin B12 supplements?

Other than helping hair grow in a healthy manner, some of the other vitamin B12 benefits are – preventing anaemia, uplifting mood, increasing energy levels, preventing heart-related diseases and boosting memory.

Can Vitamin B12 supplements help with hair loss due to stress?

Yes, in fact, doctors also suggest vitamin B12 for hair loss, which is caused due to increasing levels of stress.

This is because chronic stress levels reduce the oxygen level in the blood. However, with vitamin B12, the body can make more red blood cells that transport oxygen to hair follicles which ultimately increases the growth of hair.

Can Vitamin B12 supplements help with alopecia areata?

As of today, there isn’t enough evidence to prove that vitamin B12 supplements will help in the treatment of alopecia areata.

But, taking vitamin B12 foods for hair and vitamin B12 tablets for hair helps in having healthy hair and cures other major hair and skin diseases.

What are the natural sources of Vitamin B12 for healthy hair growth?

Food is one of the natural sources of vitamin B12 for healthy hair growth. These include vegetarian food like trout, fortified cereal and vegetables.

Non-vegetarian dishes include shellfish, oysters and meat, which are other wholesome sources of vitamin B12.

Can a vegan or vegetarian diet provide enough Vitamin B12 for healthy hair growth?

Just like there are multiple food choices in a non-vegetarian diet, so are options available in a vegan or vegetarian diet.

Vegetarians or vegans can have fortified foods, yeast, nori and shitake mushrooms to get vitamin B12. Hence, a vegetarian or vegan diet does provide enough vitamin B12 for healthy hair growth.

What are the potential side effects of taking Vitamin B12 supplements?

There are no risks or side effects of Vitamin B12 if taken in appropriate doses. Moreover, a study by the National Institute of Health shows no potential side effects of Vitamin B12, even when consumed in larger doses.

This is mainly because the body does not store the excess amount. However, its deficiency can cause side effects like headache, nausea, diarrhoea, fatigue, weakness, megaloblastic anaemia, neurological changes such as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, dementia, etc.

Can Vitamin B12 supplements interact with other medications?

Indeed so! Vitamin B12 supplements interact with the medicines, namely, Aminosalicylic acid, omeprazole, lansoprazole, Colcrys, Gloperba, Metformin, etc.

These medicines are usually taken to treat stomach and digestive issues and also diabetic problems of the body.

How often should one take Vitamin B12 supplements for hair growth?

The right dosage to take, as said by the National Institutes of Health, for vitamin B12 supplements for hair growth is 2.4 mcg (for adults) every day.

If required, a person can increase the dosage up to 3 mcg or 4.5 mcg (as required). However, it is advisable to take a doctor's advice as different individuals have different health structures.

Is Vitamin B12 supplementation recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women for hair growth?

Yes, if the pregnant woman lacks enough levels of vitamin B12, she must take the right dosage of vitamin B12 from food or supplements.

It is because if the mother lacks this vitamin, the child will have a deficiency as well. Therefore, a doctor may suggest a pregnant or breastfeeding woman include vitamin B12 in their diet.

Can Vitamin B12 supplements help with hair growth in men?

Yes! By taking Vitamin B12 for hair, men can also improve their hair growth. Apart from any underlying hereditary condition, there isn’t any such difference between the problems of hair growth caused due to an imbalance in the oxygen levels in a male or female’s body.

Therefore, it functions similarly by providing oxygen to hair follicles and promoting hair growth (in both men and women).

References

All the articles on HexaHealth are supported by verified medically-recognized sources such as; peer-reviewed academic research papers, research institutions, and medical journals. Our medical reviewers also check references of the articles to prioritize accuracy and relevance. Refer to our detailed editorial policy for more information.


  1. Duggan C, Srinivasan K, Thomas T, Samuel T, Rajendran R, Muthayya S, Finkelstein JL, Lukose A, Fawzi W, Allen LH, Bosch RJ. Vitamin B-12 supplementation during pregnancy and early lactation increases maternal, breast milk, and infant measures of vitamin B-12 status. The Journal of nutrition. 2014 Malink
  2. Almohanna HM, Ahmed AA, Tsatalis JP, Tosti A. The role of vitamins and minerals in hair loss: a review. Dermatology and therapy. 2019 Mar;9(1):51-70.link
  3. Hever J. Plant-based diets: A physician’s guide. The permanente journal. 2016;20(3).link
  4. Bito T, Bito M, Hirooka T, Okamoto N, Harada N, Yamaji R, Nakano Y, Inui H, Watanabe F. Biological activity of pseudovitamin B12 on cobalamin-dependent methylmalonyl-CoA mutase and methionine synthase in mammalian cultured COS-7 Cells. Molecules. 2020 Jul 17;25(14):3268.link
  5. Peng HY, Man CF, Xu J, Fan Y. Elevated homocysteine levels and risk of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. Journal of Zhejiang University. Science. B. 2015 Jan;16(1):78.link
  6. Tayebi A, Biniaz V, Savari S, Ebadi A, Shermeh MS, Einollahi B, Rahimi A. Effect of Vitamin B 12 supplementation on serum homocysteine in patients undergoing hemodialysis: A randomized controlled trial. Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation. 2016;27(2):256-62.link
  7. Javid P, Christensen E. Vegetarians are at high risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. Ugeskrift for Laeger. 2016 Jan 1;178(1):V06150484-.link

Updated on : 29 May 2023

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HexaHealth Care Team

HexaHealth Care Team brings you medical content covering many important conditions, procedures falling under different medical specialities. The content published is thoroughly reviewed by our panel of qualified doctors for its accuracy and relevance.

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