I can vividly remember my mom reminding me to take my Flintstones Chewable vitamins every morning. I think we all grew up hearing our parents talk about the importance of vitamins, but what do they really do? Vitamins and minerals boost the immune system, support normal growth and development, and help all cells and organs do their jobs; your follicles among them. Just like every cell in the body, hair follicles are alive and need support of vitamins to keep them healthy.
B vitamins, in particular are essential for creating the structure of hair, providing nutrition for hair follicles, reducing stress, preventing toxicity and providing essential oxygen to cells. B vitamins are commonly recognized as a group and often work in synergy in the body, but each of the B vitamins performs a unique and important function. This vitamin group includes: B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B5, B6, B7 (biotin), B9, and B12.
Energy – B1/Thiamine & B7/Biotin
Vitamin B1 and B7 (also known as thiamine and biotin, respectively) help break down food into energy. If these vitamins are deficient, the body conserves energy by diverting it to functions that are most vital for survival. This means that organs like your heart and lungs would be prioritized over hair follicles and hair production. By providing your body with the ability to create more energy, you are enabling it to do other tasks, like making sure your hair is growing healthy and strong.
Structure – B2
Hair is made out of two proteins – keratin and collagen. Structurally, it’s like a beaded necklace, where the string is made out of collagen that threads or binds keratin “beads” together. Following this analogy, B2 helps create the energy required to thread the string through the beads, creating a bond between the two proteins. Without B2, hair strands could not be built properly and hair would appear dry and brittle.
Nutrition – B3/Niacin
An essential part of hair health is making sure follicles receive the proper nutrition. A ‘starving’ follicle produces little or no hair. B3 helps feed follicles because it is a natural vasodilator (that’s a fancy word for dilating blood vessels), thereby increasing the amount of nutrients that can be delivered to the hair follicle. Imagine a traffic-heavy highway. More cars – or in this case, nutrients – can travel if more lanes are added. When follicles are well-nourished, they’re able to grow hair properly.
Stress – B5 & B9
When we are stressed long term – like so many of us are! – our adrenals go into over drive, releasing excess amounts of cortisol (aka stress hormone). This can have a negative effect on the body and the hair follicles. B5 and B9 help regulate cortisol levels, reducing stress on the follicles and encouraging healthy growth.
Toxicity – B6
It might be strange to think about, but liver function is actually directly tied to hair health. How? The liver acts as our main detoxifying organ. It breaks down toxic substances we regularly come into contact with; like mercury, pollutants and food preservatives. If these toxic substances build up, it can affect hair growth. Vitamin B6 supports healthy liver function, so it can detoxify our bodies and reduce hair-damaging mechanisms.
Circulation – B12
Red blood cells bring oxygen to every cell in our bodies. Follicle cells, like all cells, need a constant supply of oxygen to build the structure of hair. B12 is a vitamin that is essential for red blood cell production. Without this vitamin, we are unable to circulate oxygen properly to our follicles so they can grow hair.
B vitamins are not only essential to overall wellness, they are necessary for optimal hair health. B vitamins provide energy, structure, and nutrition to the hair follicle. They are also essential in rebalancing the aftermath of stress, toxicity, and providing essential oxygen to follicle cells. In an effort to help you meet your hair goals, we’ve made our very own B-Booster formula – specifically designed to augment your daily Nutrafol routine. It’s not available for sale quite yet, but please call us if you’d like to learn more.
Sources: You Can Find the B Vitamins in These Foods
B1: Eggs, fruit, whole grains, liver meat, and peas. B7: Egg yolks, cauliflower, avocado, raspberries, pork, liver, and salmon.
B2: Milk, eggs, rice, and vitamin fortified cereals.
B3: Turkey, chicken, peanuts, mushrooms, liver, and tuna.
B5: Chicken, beef, potatoes, eggs, broccoli, whole grains, and tomatoes.
B6: Eggs, milk, peanuts, pork, chicken, fish, whole grains, vegetables,
potatoes, soybeans, and fortified cereals.
B9: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, peas, asparagus, chickpeas,
fortified cereal, and liver meat.
B12: Salmon, cod, meat, milk, cheese, eggs, and fortified cereals.