Vitamin D Deficiency is Prevalent
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin produced when the sun converts a chemical in your skin into a form of vitamin D, which is then further converted into active vitamin D. Vitamin D is vital for human health and plays roles in bone health and the prevention of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other conditions. According to Harvard Medical School, vitamin D deficiencies used to be rare, when people got regular sun exposure. In today’s society, however, much of the work has shifted to indoor office jobs that allow for little sun exposure. As a result, vitamin D deficiencies are now very common in the U.S. Telogen effluvium is the loss of hair due to excessive shedding – about 100 to 200 hairs per day. Among the possible causes of TE include vitamin D deficiency, notes a 2011 paper published in “Clinical, Cosmetic Investigative Dermatology. “One study published in “Skin Pharmacology and Physiology” in 2013 examined the relationship between serum levels of vitamin D and ferritin – a protein found in cells that allow them to store iron – and TE and female-pattern hair loss, in 80 females. The study concluded that low ferritin and vitamin D levels were associated with both types of hair loss. The study suggested supplementation as a possible treatment course.
Vitamin D and Supplementation
Hair loss is phenomenon still not fully understood by science. While low levels of vitamin D have been associated with some types of hair loss in clinical research, this does not establish a direct cause and effect relationship. For individuals who lack regular sun exposure and dietary vitamin D from fatty fish and fortified foods, vitamin D supplements can serve as an alternative. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, as excessive vitamin D intake can cause side effects, including nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness, abnormal heart rhythms and mental confusion. (http://www.livestrong.com/article/285156-low-vitamin-d-hair-loss/)
Vitamin D and Your Hair
Though the evidence still isn’t clear, some studies suggest that vitamin D may play a role in the hair cycle. “We can get vitamin D from the sun,” Mirmirani says. “But dermatologists don’t recommend a lot of sun exposure.”
You can also get vitamin D from fortified foods such as milk, orange juice, and cereals. But, Mirmirani says, according to some studies, many Americans don’t get enough vitamin D, “and the actual recommended dosage is controversial.” She recommends talking with your doctor about your vitamin D needs and whether or not you should take a supplement.
Are Hair Supplements Necessary?
“Any vitamin deficiency will cause hair loss. All the vitamins are important — B, C, E,” says Carolyn Jacob, MD, founder and medical director of Chicago Cosmetic Surgery and Dermatology.
“The best source for the nutrients you need,” Jacob says, “is a true, well-balanced diet.”
Mirmirani says she is often asked about adding zinc or biotin supplements to a diet. “I don’t check the zinc or biotin levels in patients,” she says. “It’s very hard in an American diet for those things to become deficient. And there hasn’t been any good evidence that taking zinc or biotin supplements actually offers any benefits for hair.”
Extra biotin probably won’t hurt, “but it’s not clear it does much good, either,” Mirmirani says.
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