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Premature Gray hair or hair loss? Nutrients responsible

Hair loss is a common problem that may be improved with vitamin and mineral supplementation. However, excessive intakes of nutritional supplements may actually cause hair loss and are not recommended in the absence of a proven deficiency.

Vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) are important for normal cell growth and function and key elements in the normal hair follicle cycle, playing a role in the cellular turnover of the matrix cells in the follicle bulb that are rapidly dividing. Thus, they may contribute to hair loss when they are deficient

It is a fact that the human scalp contains approximately 100,000 hair follicles. Of these, 90% are in the anagen phase, where there is no alopecia, requiring essential elements, such as proteins, vitamins, and minerals, to efficiently produce healthy hair.

Hair and Nutrients

  • Iron, vitamin D, folate, vitamin B12, and selenium are vitamins and minerals that may be involved in hair graying/whitening during childhood or early adulthood. Supplementing these deficient micronutrients can improve premature graying.

  • Vitamin A: Studies show that too much vitamin A can contribute to hair loss,

  • Selinium: too much selenium can contribute to hair loss, although more studies are needed

  • A severe reduction in carbohydrate intake results in hair loss

  • Vitamin C plays an essential role in the intestinal absorption of iron due to its chelating and reducing effect, assisting iron mobilization and intestinal absorption. Therefore, vitamin C intake is important in patients with hair loss associated with iron deficiency. Although vitamin C deficiency is typically associated to body hair abnormalities, there are no data correlating vitamin C levels and hair loss.

  • Iron/Ferritin: Most authors agree on iron supplementation in patients with iron or ferritin deficiency and hair loss. Iron deficiency is common in women with hair loss

  • A study reported that serum calcium, serum ferritin, and vitamin D3 levels may play a role in premature graying of the hair

  • Vitamin D: Study results are conflicting, but most authors agree on supplementing vitamin D in patients with hair loss and vitamin D deficiency

  • Riboflavin, biotin, folate, and vitamin B12 deficiencies have been associated with hair loss.

  • A caloric deprivation or deficiency of several components, such as proteins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and vitamins, caused by inborn errors or reduced uptake, can lead to structural abnormalities, pigmentation changes, or hair loss

Note that Genetics and other factors can also cause hair loss and premature hair graying


  • Almohanna HM, Ahmed AA, Tsatalis JP, Tosti A. The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Hair Loss: A Review. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2019 Mar;9(1):51-70. doi: 10.1007/s13555-018-0278-6. Epub 2018 Dec 13. PMID: 30547302; PMCID: PMC6380979.

  • Rushton DH. Nutritional factors and hair loss. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2002 Jul;27(5):396-404. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2230.2002.01076.x. PMID: 12190640.

  • Finner AM. Nutrition and hair: deficiencies and supplements. Dermatol Clin. 2013 Jan;31(1):167-72. doi: 10.1016/j.det.2012.08.015. Epub 2012 Oct 18. PMID: 23159185.

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