Hair growth can take forever. But did you know that you could speed up the process? Instead of waiting and trying to measure how many inches your hair seems to have grown (or not grown) in the past couple of months, there are proactive measures you can take to boost hair growth. One way is to use ingredients and supplements that provide your hair with the right nutrients it needs to grow. Folic acid is one such vitamin. In this article, we will discuss how you can use folic acid to aid hair growth.
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What Is Folic Acid?
Vitamin B9 or folate is an essential nutrient vital for the efficient functioning of the human body (1). It is a water-soluble vitamin whose deficiency can lead to a host of health problems, which may include hair loss and stunted hair growth (2), (1).
It is found in plenty of foods and green leafy vegetables and is an easy nutrient to come by when looking for natural solutions for hair loss. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate and is available only as supplements and fortified foods.
Is Folic Acid Good For Hair Growth?
Regular consumption of folate or folic acid facilitates tissue growth and also allows cells to function smoothly (1). The unhindered growth of tissues is essential when concerned with skin, nail, and hair growth.
The vitamin has been shown to boost healthy cell generation, and therefore, it can stimulate natural hair growth in both men and women. A recent study has established that folate levels tend to be low in people with alopecia areata (3).
Here are the different ways in which folate can benefit your hair:
- Folate helps in metabolizing protein, fat, and carbohydrates (1). It helps to cater to the absorption of different nutrients within the human body. In this way, the hair follicles receive their required nutrition from the consumed foods.
- It helps in the proper synthesis of DNA nucleotides and amino acids (4). These help in nourishing the follicles and add shine and volume to your hair.
- The deficiency of folic acid may cause premature graying (5). Hair discoloration happens as a result of a process called megaloblastic anemia, where the production of red blood cells increases abnormally. Regular consumption of folic acid helps to normalize this overproduction of the red blood cells.
- As folic acid speeds up cell division, it can help boost hair growth.
To know the overall benefits of folic acid, check out this article!
How To Use Folic Acid For Hair Growth
While folate (and folic acid) is good for your hair, it alone cannot help stimulate hair growth.
1. Folic Acid And Biotin For Hair Growth
Most hair care supplements boast of having biotin in them. But what does science say about it? While a few cases of biotin deficiency has resulted in hair loss, there isn’t enough research to support that it helps with hair growth. It does help in improving hair quality.
A study showed that when supplied with biotin, hair and nails had improved quality, which they lacked due to a biotin deficiency. In the same study, people with alopecia were treated with biotin, which improved it (2).
While there isn’t much research that suggests folic acid and biotin work together, they are often used together in vitamin B complex tablets. These vitamins are hair food that will boost the rate at which your hair grows. You will notice a visible improvement in hair quality within a couple of months of starting the supplements.
However, it is vital that you consult a healthcare professional before you start taking any vitamin supplements. Eggs, nuts, whole grains, meat, and legumes are food sources that are rich in biotin (6).
2. Food Sources Of Folate
If you are skeptical about supplements, you can always turn to natural food sources of the vitamin. Not only will you be consuming healthier foods, but you will also be less likely to incur side effects that come with supplements.
The best sources for folate are usually fruits and green leafy vegetables (7). These include citrus fruits, dried beans, and leafy green vegetables like spinach. Capsicum, French beans, broccoli, and chilies are also rich sources of folic acid (7). Some other foods fortified with this essential nutrient include bread, cereals, rice, pasta, flours, and other multigrain products. Check out this article to see which foods contain folate.
3. Folic Acid And Zinc For Hair Growth
If you have a hair loss problem that is stemming from the deficiency of zinc, increasing your intake of zinc may boost hair growth (2). The use of pyrithione zinc showed an increase in hair growth (8). However, you must always get a proper diagnosis before you start taking any supplements.
Eggs, nuts, oysters, spinach, chickpeas, and sweet potatoes are some great natural food sources of zinc that you can add to your diet (9).
Hair that grows at a snail’s pace is no reason for worry as there are vitamins like folic acid that can help solve the problem. Have you used folic acid for hair growth? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Should I take folic acid as a prenatal vitamin for hair growth?
Folic acid not only improves hair health, but it also serves as an amazing prenatal vitamin. Having folate in your system before and during pregnancy can help ensure that the baby develops without any defects.
Studies also show that taking the vitamin for a year before conceiving can also reduce the chances of preterm delivery by 50% (10). A regular intake of 400 micrograms of folic acid can go a long way in ensuring your offspring’s health (11). But you must make it a point to consult a doctor before you start taking any supplements.
What much folic acid should I take?
For adults, the ideal dosage of folic acid is 400 mg a day. The consumption limit should not exceed the limit of 1000 mcg a day (11) However, an expecting mother or a lactating mother may intake 600 mg to 800 mg folic acid every day for overall well-being.
It is always safe and best to opt for the natural food ingredients to fulfill the deficiency of folic acid. If it is not possible, one should seek advice from an expert about the daily recommended dose of folate.
Can I get enough folic acid by changing my diet?
Yes, by consuming foods rich in folate, you can get enough folic acid. Since the ideal dosage of folate is 400 micrograms per day, including foods like bagels, rice, spinach, and asparagus in your meals on a daily basis can help you meet your recommended daily folate intake.
- Folate, Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline, US National Library Of Medicine, National Institutes Of Health.
- The Role Of Vitamins And Mineral In Hair Loss: A Review, Dermatology And Therapy,US National Library Of Medicine, National Institutes Of Health
- The Role Of Micronutrients In Alopecia Areata: A Review, American Journal Of Clinical Dermatology, US National Library Of Medicine, National Institutes Of Health
- The Essentiality Of Folate For The Maintenance Of Deoxynucleotide Precursor Pools, Dna Synthesis, And Cell Cycle Progression In Pha-stimulated Lymphocytes, Environmental Health Perspectives, US National Library Of Medicine, National Institutes Of Health.
- Prospective Analytical Controlled Study Evaluating Serum Biotin, Vitamin B12, and Folic Acid in Patients with Premature Canities, International Journal Of Trichology, US National Library Of Medicine.
- Biotin, Office Of Dietary Supplements, US Department Of Health And Human Services, National Institutes Of Health.
- Folate, Office Of Dietary Supplements, US Department Of Health And Human Services, National Institutes Of Health.
- The Effects Of Minoxidil, 1% Pyrithione Zinc And A Combination Of Both On Hair Density: A Randomized Controlled Trial, British Journal Of Dermatology, ResearchGate.
- Zinc, Office Of Dietary Supplements, US Department Of Health And Human Services, National Institutes Of Health.
- Preconceptional Folate Supplementation and the Risk of Spontaneous Preterm Birth: A Cohort Study, PLOS Medicine.
- Folic Acid, Centers For Disease Control And Prevention,