Supporting Hair Health: Hair Vitamins for Men
You aren’t alone if you take pride in your hair. Many men take pride in their healthy hair and love to keep it well-styled. However, before reaching for specialized hair products, know that essential nutrients play a critical role in the health of hair, but often fall short in the diet.
To help you learn more about how to nourish your hair, we’re discussing everything from the structure of the hair to the nutrients that can support healthy hair. Get ready to learn more about these vitamins.
A quick look at the structure of hair
Before we start talking about the best hair vitamins for men, let’s take a deeper look at hair itself. As you know, there are different types of hair. There are shorter, thinner hairs on the body.1 Many people call this hair peach fuzz, but its scientific name is vellus hair. However, vellus hair isn’t what most men focus on when it comes to hair health.
The type of hair that most people want to nourish are the longer, thicker hairs known as terminal hairs.1 The terminal hairs that most men focus on include the hair on the head and facial hair.
First, we’ll focus on the hair shaft and root.1 The hair shaft is what people envision when they think of hair. As for the hair root in the skin, a hair follicle and a sebaceous gland surround it.
It doesn’t stop with the hair follicle, though. An arrector pili is attached to each follicle.1 When you feel your hair stand up, it’s the arrector pili at work. There are also nerves1, which is why we can feel everything from the wind blowing through our hair, to pain when our hair gets pulled.
Finally, there’s a hair bulb where new hair cells form.1 It also contains the hair papilla, which ensures that the hair root receives blood.1
Clearly, hair is more complex than most people realize. Because hair is biological, it can’t be maintained properly without certain nutrients from the body. You can think of these nutrients as healthy hair vitamins.
Vitamins to help support healthy hair in men
Because hair is complex, several essential vitamins and minerals work together with your body to help nourish it.
Every cell in the body, including each hair cell, can benefit from vitamin A. In addition to supporting hair cells, vitamin A also helps moisturize the scalp and skin.2 It accomplishes this by helping the skin glands produce sebum, which is an oily substance.
A special type of B vitamin known as biotin, or vitamin B7, can also be critical for maintaining normal hair.3 Although rare, a biotin deficiency can impact the health of hair. In addition to biotin, other B vitamins like vitamin B12, are important for supporting healthy hair, as it assists with the creation of red blood cells.4 These cells then bring oxygen to the hair root to support a healthy scalp and hair.
Vitamin C and vitamin E are powerful antioxidants needed to help neutralize free radicals in cells throughout the body, including hair follicles. On top of that, vitamin C also supports the formation of collagen, which is important for the normal function of blood vessels that provide nourishment to the hair follicle.5
Finally, most people don’t get enough vitamin D. Vitamin D receptors are found in hair follicles, so the lack of vitamin D may play a role in hair health, although more research is needed around this nutrient.6
Knowing which vitamins you need in your diet can help support a healthy head of hair. Now you know of some key nutrients to think about when it comes to hair health.
This information is only for educational purposes and is not medical advice or intended as a recommendation of any specific products. Consult your health care provider for more information.
- InformedHealth.org . Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2019. What is the structure of hair and how does it grow? Accessed on: February 17, 2021. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK546248/
- Everts HB. Endogenous retinoids in the hair follicle and sebaceous gland. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 Jan;1821(1):222-9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21914489/
- Zempleni J, et al. Biotin and biotinidase deficiency. Expert Rev Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Nov 1;3(6):715-724. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19727438/
- Oregon State University. “Vitamin B12.” 2015. Linus Pauling Institute, Micronutrient Information Center. Accessed on: February 17, 2021. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-B12
- Abdullah M, et al. Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) [Updated 2020 Nov 30]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499877/
- Demay MB, et al. Role of the vitamin D receptor in hair follicle biology. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2007;103(3-5):344-346. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1876678/