Which Vitamin Deficiency Causes Hair Loss?

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Written by Hexahealth Care Team, last updated on 20 May 2023| min read
Which Vitamin Deficiency Causes Hair Loss?

Quick Summary

  • Vitamin deficiencies can cause hair loss in both men and women.
  • Some of the most common vitamin deficiencies that can lead to hair loss include vitamin B12, iron, and zinc.
  • Eating a healthy diet that is rich in these vitamins can help to prevent hair loss and promote healthy hair growth.

“Which vitamin deficiency causes hair loss?” and “Is there a solution?” are the most common questions among people suffering from gradual and persistent hair fall. Notably, studies have shown that some specific vitamin deficiencies cause various hair problems including hair thinning and hair loss. 

In this blog, we will discuss which deficiency causes hair fall in both males and females and highlight the food sources to eliminate vitamin deficiency. In addition, it discusses when you need to be alert and see a doctor. So, read on to have all the solutions to your hair fall issues caused by vitamin deficiencies.

Role of Vitamins in Hair Growth

Vitamins are essential nutrients that are required by our body for proper functioning. When it comes to hair growth, certain vitamins play a vital role in promoting healthy and luscious locks. Hair comprises a protein called keratin, which requires various vitamins and minerals to grow and maintain its strength.

  1. Supporting the health of hair follicles: Hair follicles need an array of vitamins, such as A, B, C, D, and E, to function effectively. These vitamins provide the necessary nutrients to nourish hair follicles, promoting their optimal functioning and health.
  2. Preventing oxidative stress: Oxidative stress can negatively impact hair follicles and impede hair growth. To counteract this, certain vitamins, such as E, can function as antioxidants, reducing oxidative stress and promoting healthy hair growth.
  3. Improving blood flow to the scalp: Vitamin E along with B-complex vitamins, including biotin, are beneficial for enhancing blood flow to the scalp. This improved blood circulation facilitates the delivery of more oxygen and nutrients to hair follicles, promoting healthy hair growth.
  4. Promoting collagen production: Collagen is a pivotal protein for maintaining healthy hair growth. Vitamins like C contribute to the production of collagen, enhancing hair growth and strength.
  5. Regulating the hair growth cycle: Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for regulating the hair growth cycle. When there is a deficiency of vitamin D, it can lead to hair loss. This emphasises the crucial role of this nutrient in promoting healthy hair growth.
  6. Preventing hair loss: Hair loss can be prevented by strengthening hair follicles and reducing oxidative stress, which the intake of vitamins can facilitate. Vitamin C promotes collagen production and enhances hair strength, whereas vitamin E serves as an antioxidant and prevents harm caused by free radicals.
  7. Promoting scalp health: Vitamins such as A and D aid in maintaining a healthy scalp, which is integral to promoting healthy hair growth. Vitamin A is involved in the production of sebum, a natural oil that moisturises the scalp and prevents dryness and flakiness. Vitamin D, on the other hand, regulates the immune system and reduces inflammation in the scalp, both of which contribute to healthy hair growth.

It is essential to have a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals to promote healthy hair growth. Foods such as eggs, leafy greens, nuts, and fatty fish can provide the necessary vitamins for healthy hair.

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Common Vitamins Associated With Hair Loss

Hair loss can have many different causes and vitamin deficiency is just one potential factor. Knowing which vitamin deficiency causes hair loss is essential to treating it. Some common vitamin deficiencies associated with hair loss are:

  1. Vitamin D: Which deficiency causes hair fall? Notably, vitamin D deficiency is related to hair loss in both men and women. This nutrient helps to regulate the growth and cycling of hair follicles and its deficiency can cause hair thinning and hair loss. Foods like red meat, some fish (salmon and sardines), cheese, egg yolks, mushrooms, etc., can help increase your vitamin D intake sufficiently.
  2. Vitamin B6, B7 and B12: If you want to know the deficiency of which B vitamins cause hair loss, then they are chiefly B7 (biotin), B12 and B6. 
    1. Adequate levels of vitamin B12 are necessary for producing red blood cells that carry oxygen to hair follicles. A deficiency of this vitamin can result in insufficient oxygen supply to hair follicles, leading to hair loss. 
    2. Besides, vitamin B7 is a crucial nutrient for maintaining healthy hair growth and getting rid of hair loss. It promotes the production of keratin, strengthens hair strands, and increases hair elasticity. 
    3. Moreover, vitamin B6 is a vital nutrient for hair health, as it helps create red blood cells that transport nutrients and oxygen to the hair follicles and scalp. It is also involved in the production of melanin, a pigment that gives hair its colour. Deficiencies in vitamin B6 can lead to serious issues like hair loss and thinning. You can consume foods like meat, eggs, dairy products, fish, etc., to fight your vitamin B12 deficiency.
  3. Vitamin C: Curious about what deficiency causes hair fall? Vitamin C has antioxidants that help protect hair follicles from any damage by free radicals. A vitamin C deficiency can lead to weak and brittle hair that becomes prone to breakage. Fruits and vegetables like blackcurrant, broccoli, guava, oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, potatoes, brussels sprouts, etc., are good sources of vitamin C. Add them to your daily diet to improve your hair health. 
  4. Vitamin A: It plays a significant role in producing sebum, an oily substance that keeps the scalp and hair hydrated. Without enough vitamin A, the scalp may become dry and the hair may become brittle, which can cause hair to break and fall out. To increase the intake of vitamin A, you can add meat, fish, eggs, carrot, sweet potato, broccoli, spinach, guava, tangerine, papaya, mango, watermelon, and dairy products like butter, cheese, etc., to your regular diet.
  5. Vitamin E: Although more scientific research is necessary to fully understand if vitamin E prevents hair loss, a study with a few participants has proven that vitamin E is helpful in hair loss prevention. Vitamin E is found in nuts like almonds and peanuts, plant-based oil such as sunflower and soya bean oils, and fruits and vegetables including avocado, mango, pumpkin, and more. Include them in your diet to support your overall hair health.
Moreover, if you want to know which vitamin deficiency causes female hair loss, it is chiefly vitamins D and B12.

Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin Deficiency

Vitamins are essential nutrients the body requires to maintain overall health and prevent diseases. However, a deficiency of specific vitamins can lead to many health problems. Here are some common signs and symptoms that indicate vitamin deficiency:

  1. Fatigue: A vitamin deficiency, particularly of vitamin B12, may cause persistent fatigue and lack of energy.
  2. Dry Skin: Vitamin A and E deficiencies can manifest in dry, flaking skin. Rough and dry skin can also indicate low vitamin C.
  3. Slow Healing: A lack of vitamin C, which is critical for the immune system's proper functioning, could cause slow healing of wounds or repeated infections.
  4. Hair loss: Thinning and fragile hair can arise from a deficiency of biotin.
  5. Depression: Mood swings and depression have been connected to vitamin D deficiency.
  6. Muscle weakness: Muscle weakness, cramping, and soreness can be the result of the deficiency of vitamins D and E.
  7. Night blindness: Vitamin A deficiency can be the cause of night blindness and other vision problems.
  8. Numbness and tingling: Numbness and tingling in hands and feet could result from a vitamin B6 and B12 deficiency.

It is crucial to bear in mind that dependent factors may also contribute to these signs, hence a special health diagnosis is suggested. Further, in order to guarantee that the body receives all the necessary vitamins, it is essential to eat a balanced and healthy diet.

Prevention of Hair Loss Due to Vitamin Deficiency

For many people, losing their hair can be a painful process. While there are several reasons behind hair loss, vitamin deficiency is one common issue. Notably, hair loss caused by vitamin deficiency can be prevented and treated in a number of ways.

  1. Making sure your diet is full of vitamins, especially vitamins D and B, constitutes the fundamental step. These vitamins are found in foods such as eggs, almonds, leafy green vegetables, and fatty fish.
  2. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is yet another approach to stop hair loss based on vitamin deficiency. Stress can lead to hair loss, so regular exercise and enough sleep might help. Potentially, avoid smoking and consuming a lot of alcohol as these temptations can also cause hair loss.
  3. There are remedies accessible if vitamin deficiency has already caused hair loss in you. A topical medication called minoxidil might promote hair growth. For those seeking a more long-lasting remedy, there are also scalp micropigmentation and hair transplantation choices.

All in all, maintaining a nutritious diet and active lifestyle are necessary to avoid hair loss caused by vitamin deficiency. Also, if you are currently suffering from hair loss, then there are efficient treatment options that can help you regain your hair.

Minerals that can Affect Hair Health

Besides vitamin deficiencies, you can also experience hair thinning and hair loss if you lack important minerals like iron, zinc and selenium. Studies have shown that they are crucial for the body to function naturally including maintaining healthy hair. Mineral deficiencies can be overcome by following a healthy diet in addition to taking supplements. 

  1. Iron: Iron deficiency can lead to hair problems like hair loss, as it plays an important role in the production of haemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen to the body's tissues. 
    1. When iron levels in the body are insufficient, the body prioritises supplying oxygen to vital organs, resulting in reduced oxygen flow to hair follicles. This can cause hair to become fragile, brittle, and more likely to break, ultimately leading to hair loss. 
    2. Moreover, iron has a vital function in creating keratin, which is a protein that builds the foundational structure of hair. 
    3. Consuming iron-rich foods such as red meat, poultry, fish, beans, and leafy green vegetables can help maintain the required iron levels to ensure healthy hair.
  2. Zinc: It is an essential nutrient for maintaining healthy hair, as it is involved in DNA and RNA synthesis, cell division, and protein metabolism. 
    1. Zinc deficiency can also affect the immune system, leading to a greater risk of infections that can contribute to hair loss. 
    2. A zinc deficiency can not only lead to hair loss and thinning, but also dry skin, brittle nails, and a weakened immune system. 
    3. Including zinc-rich foods, such as meat, seafood, nuts, and seeds, in your daily diet can help ensure adequate zinc intake.
  3. Selenium: A deficiency of selenium can lead to hair loss, as it contributes to weakened hair follicles and slowed hair growth. 
    1. Insufficient levels of selenium can cause a flaky scalp and dandruff, which may contribute to hair loss. 
    2. To fight this condition, consume selenium-rich foods, such as Brazil nuts, seafood and whole grains.

When to See a Doctor for Hair Loss?

Besides being distressing and embarrassing, hair loss can be a sign of an underlying health condition. If you are experiencing unexplained hair loss or hair loss accompanied by pain, it's essential to see a doctor. 

The signs below are some of the reasons to visit a doctor for hair loss:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Itching or burning sensation on the scalp
  3. Fever
  4. Sudden weight loss
  5. Hair loss that occurred after treatment or surgery

Visiting a medical expert will help determine the root cause of your hair loss and appropriate treatment.

Takeaway

Following a good hair care routine and adopting healthy lifestyle habits can help prevent damage and hair loss alongside promoting healthy hair growth. It is important to discuss your issues with a healthcare professional if you are experiencing heavy or painful hair loss to identify any underlying medical conditions and plan the course of treatment needed. 

HexaHealth is an all-in-one online healthcare platform that helps you with all your medical needs, from doctor appointments and surgeries to medications and follow-ups. You will find the top hair specialists in your city for PRP or platelet-rich plasma hair treatment, a unique procedure that can potentially reverse hair loss by using your own blood platelets.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Knowing what deficiency causes hair loss is necessary for treating it. When your body lacks certain vitamins, it can affect the health of your hair follicles and disrupt their normal growth pattern.
Want to learn which vitamin deficiency can cause hair loss? Vitamin A, the B vitamins, including biotin (B7), B12, folate (B9), vitamin C, vitamin D and vitamin E, are necessary for hair growth.  
If you want to know which vitamin deficiency causes hair loss, vitamin D deficiency is one potential culprit. This vitamin is essential for proper hair follicle cycling, and research has shown that low levels of Vitamin D may be linked to hair loss. 
A deficiency in vitamin B12 can contribute to hair loss, as this vitamin is essential for the growth and preservation of robust, thick hair. Insufficient levels of this vitamin can trigger telogen effluvium, a condition that causes hair loss.
Knowing which vitamin deficiency causes hair loss can help you prevent it properly. Low levels of vitamin A can be responsible for hair loss. Vitamin A is crucial for maintaining healthy hair development and growth. It helps the body produce natural oil, sebum, that moisturises the scalp and keeps hair healthy.
Vitamin E can be an answer to the question, “Which vitamin deficiency causes hair loss?” Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that helps protect the cells in our body, including those in the scalp, from damage by any free radicals. Notably, these radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to hair loss.
Taking too much of a particular vitamin can cause hair loss. This is because excessive intake of certain vitamins can be toxic to the body, leading to a condition known as vitamin toxicity or hypervitaminosis.
Vitamin deficiencies can affect hair follicles leading to hair loss. Notably, the symptoms of vitamin deficiency in females suffering hair loss include changes in hair texture, hair colour or nail health.
Preventing vitamin deficiency-related hair loss involves ensuring you get enough minerals and vitamins in your diet. Some ways include eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, avoiding crash diets, managing stress, etc.
If hair loss is caused by a vitamin deficiency, then dietary supplements may effectively treat it. However, the effectiveness of dietary supplements depends on the cause and severity of hair loss and the individual's overall health and nutritional status.
The time it takes for vitamin supplements to show results in preventing hair loss can vary depending on several factors, including the cause and severity of hair loss, the individual's overall health and nutritional status, and the supplement.
While vitamins and minerals are important for hair health, taking a large number of certain vitamins can be harmful. They may negatively affect overall health or be toxic and cause further hair loss.
A balanced diet can help ensure you get all the minerals and vitamins needed by your body for optimal hair health. It includes various fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
In many cases, hair loss caused by a vitamin deficiency can be corrected with appropriate vitamin supplementation or dietary changes. However, the treatment may take several weeks or months to see improvements in hair growth.
Yes, there are many other causes of hair loss besides vitamin deficiency. Genetics, hormonal imbalance, autoimmune disorders, medications, stress, age, and other scalp infections and skin disorders, can cause hair loss.

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. Almohanna HM, Ahmed AA, Tsatalis JP, Tosti A. The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Hair Loss: A Review. Dermatology and therapy. 2019;9(1):51–70.link
  2. Guo EL, Katta R. Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use. Dermatology practical & conceptual. 2017;7(1):1–10.link
  3. Best vitamins for hair growth: Vitamin D, B complex, biotin, and more. 2020.link
  4. The Best Vitamins, Supplements and Products for Healthier Hair. Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic. 2020.link
  5. McDonell K. The 5 Best Vitamins for Hair Growth (+3 Other Nutrients). Healthline Media; 2016.link

Updated on : 20 May 2023

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational and learning purposes only. It doesn't cover every medical condition and might not be relevant to your personal situation. This information isn't medical advice, isn't meant for diagnosing any condition, and shouldn't replace talking to a certified medical or healthcare professional.

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