Relationship between micronutrients and hair growth

Influence of diet

A study has shown that there is a link between hair loss and dietary factors. In 200 women with unexplained intractable hair loss but with normal scalp hair density, blood variables obtained showed positive results which are thought to be influenced by diet (haemoglobin, ferritin, vitamin B12, folic acid and zinc).

Micronutrients and hair loss

Micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals play an important role in normal hair follicle development and immune cell function. Deficiencies in such micronutrients may represent a modifiable risk factor related to the development, prevention, and treatment of alopecia.

The role of folate and vitamin B12 in the production of nucleic acids (collective terms for DNA and RNA) suggests that they play a role in the rapid growth of hair follicles.

Vitamin D modulates the growth and differentiation of keratinocytes (=horn-forming cells) by binding to a specific vitamin D receptor (VDR). The role of vitamin D in the hair follicle is evidenced by hair loss in patients with vitamin D-dependent type II rickets. These patients have alterations in this gene, leading to vitamin D resistance and sparse body hair, often including all of the scalp and body hair.

Further results showed a clear connection between zinc deficiency and hair loss. Another study found a strong association between zinc deficiency and the severity of patchy hair loss.

Micronutrient deficiencies may represent a modifiable risk factor associated with the development, prevention, and treatment of alopecia (hair loss).

The role of antioxidants

Antioxidants are compounds that are able to neutralize aggressive oxygen molecules (ROS) and prevent oxidative damage. Many substances can be classified as antioxidants, including zinc, selenium, and vitamins A and E, as well as vitamin C and polyphenols

Oxidative stress has been linked to hair loss. Laboratory studies on specific skin cells from male hair loss patients have shown that oxidative stress can play an important role in balding and hair loss development. In addition, a study on antioxidant enzymes and oxidation of fatty acids in the cell membrane of the scalp of patients with alopecia areata revealed excessive free radical generation in the scalp, accompanied by high levels of antioxidant enzymes that were unable to advance protect against oxidative stress.

Multiple nutrient deficiencies can lead to hair loss. Surveys for such defects must be guided by living conditions and physical examination. Nutrient deficiencies can also be caused by genetic disorders, various diseases or unbalanced nutritional practices.

Selection of literature:

Rushton,D. Clinical Dermatology (2002)

Almohanna, H.M., et al. Dermatology and Therapy (2019)

Guo, E.L.and R Katta Dermatology Practical and Conceptual (2017)