Hair follicles need certain vitamins and minerals in order to produce healthy hair. Many of these nutrients occur naturally in many healthy foods like eggs, fish, and vegetables. Eating a healthy diet is the best way to get a full range of vitamins, but there are really five essential nutrients you need for faster growing hair. These vitamins, minerals, and amino acids can also be found in some supplements and hair care products.
Biotin is a B Vitamin that works by stimulating follicles in the scalp to produce healthier, faster growing hair. Eggs are a good source of this vitamins, and it can also be found in some shampoos and conditioners. Most people, though, are more familiar with herbal biotin supplements. (Source: Hair Growth with Biotin)
An iron deficiency can significantly impact a body’s healthy and the health of hair. A lack of iron can lead to anemia, a condition that is marked by a low amount of red blood cells. This can cause weakness, headaches, and slow growing or thinning hair. Red meats and green vegetables are a good source of iron. A healthy supply of iron can also be found in some hair supplements.
Vitamin B-12 is well known for its energy-boosting properties and its health benefits for the brain and central nervous system. It is also another vitamin that is responsible for healthy hair growth. Like iron, a deficiency of this vitamin can lead to anemia and unhealthy hair. Shellfish and beef contain high amounts of this nutrient, and B-12 can also easily be taken as part of a B complex vitamin. (Source: National Institutes of Health Dietary Fact Sheet)
Amino acids are some of the most important nutrients we often forget we need. Amino acids synthesize proteins that help form hair, skin, and nail tissue. One amino acid that is especially important for faster growing hair is L-Cysteine. This amino acid strengthens hair and can increase the rate of growth during the active growing stage of hair. The body also benefits from this amino acid as it acts as an antioxidant for overall health. L-Cysteine and other amino acids can be found in protein-rich foods like salmon and in certain vitamins for hair. (Source: Health Library: Cysteine)
Healthy circulation is needed for the body to be able to properly absorb all of these nutrients. The B Vitamin Niacin helps these nutrients move along in the body by improving circulation in the scalp and throughout the body. This vitamin occurs naturally in vegetables such as tomatoes and broccoli and in some meats like chicken and beef. If you are not getting enough niacin in your daily diet, you can take a supplement that contains niacin as well as other B Vitamins.