7 Essential Nutrients For Hair Growth + Healthy Foods List

Your hair care regime begins with the nutrients you are consuming through your diet.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Shruti Chavan, MBBS Dr. Shruti Chavan Dr. Shruti ChavanMBBS
Written by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Experience: 7 years
Edited by , BTech Anjali Sayee BTech Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Monomita Chakraborty MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Experience: 4 years

Like your body, you also need some essential nutrients for hair growth. Healthy hair necessitates a specific set of nutrients. Unfortunately, no hair care treatments or techniques can assist if the hair lacks its nutrients for growth. On the other hand, nutrients like vitamins, minerals, proteins, and polyunsaturated fats can help stimulate the hair follicles, boost hair growth, and improve hair density (1), (2), (3). This article outlines the seven nutrients that help maintain and protect your hair’s health. For more details, keep scrolling down!

7 Best Nutrients For Hair Growth (With Foods List)

1. Protein And Amino Acids

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Hair is made of keratin protein. And amino acids are the building blocks of proteins.  Sulfur amino acids, such as cysteine and methionine, are precursors to keratin hair protein synthesis. The rate of hair growth and the diameter of the hair shaft are dependent on cysteine. L-lysine, on the other hand, is present in the inner part of the hair root and is responsible for the shape and volume of hair (4).

Hence, consume 0.8-0.9 grams of protein per kg of your body weight to keep your hair healthy.

According to a meta-analysis conducted on 8107 elderly participants from the UK, USA, Netherlands, and Italy, a prevalence of lower protein intake amongst a high percentage of people was recorded. While the recommended protein dosage was 0.8 grams/kg body weight, about 21.5% were found to be below it. An even higher prevalence of low protein intake was found among women participants.

Here are some sources of protein:

  • Plant Protein Sources: Lentils, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, peas, broad beans, soybeans, edamame, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, sesame seed, buckwheat, hulled barley, barley groats, brown rice, graham bread, rye whole-meal bread, pistachio, almonds, walnuts, pecan, and peanuts.
  • Animal Protein Sources: Chicken, turkey, fish, veal, beef, eggs, cottage cheese, and yogurt.

2. Omega-3 PUFA

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Omega-3 PUFAs (Polyunsaturated fatty acids) (EPA and DHA) help reduce inflammation and improve the hair follicle growth cycle. A 2018 study found that mackerel-derived fish oil (rich in omega-3 fatty acids) could help promote hair growth by activating the anagen (growth)phase of the hair follicles (5). Another study showed that arachidonic acid (an omega-6 PUFA) helped promote hair growth by increasing the expression of growth factors and stimulating the hair follicles (6).

Omega-3 Sources: Salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, flax seeds, olive oil, walnuts, and wheat sprouts.

3. Antioxidants

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Inflammation, UV radiation, and an unhealthy lifestyle can lead to oxidative stressi  XAn imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to detoxify them with the help of antioxidants. (7). Antioxidants help reduce oxidative stress and its effect on hair growth and aging (8). Consume foods that contain vitamins A, C, and Ethat have antioxidant properties to help scavenge the harmful free oxygen radicals and reduce oxidative stress(7).

Antioxidant Sources: Pumpkin, carrot, beetroot, tomato, broccoli, eggs, oranges, lime, melon, watermelon, grapefruit, nuts, seeds, and olive oil.

4. Vitamins

Vitamins are essential nutrients for hair growth. They can help treat non-scarring alopecia or female pattern hair loss (2).

  • Biotin (Vitamin B7)
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Biotin is vitamin B7 and required for proper growth of the hair and nails(9). A study found 38% of women who complained of hair loss had biotin deficiency (10). Genetic factors, intestinal problems, smoking, and excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to biotin deficiency. Pregnancy and lactation can also reduce biotin levels.

Biotin Sources: Egg yolk, pork liver, beef, chicken, white mushroom, cheese, yogurt, cow milk, oats, wheat germ, tomato, lettuce, potato, spinach, carrot, and apple.

A blogger shared her personal experience of using biotin supplements for hair growth. She recounts in her blog post, “For the past month or so, I have been taking two biotin tablets a day (I take GNC’s Biotin 600) and been using minoxidil 3% on my scalp twice a day, once in the morning and once before bedtime (i).” She further shares, “However, there appears to be significant hair regrowth on my scalp. My hair is also becoming thicker, to my surprise.”

  • Vitamins B6 And B12

Studies show that vitamin B6 can help reduce alopecia or female pattern hair loss (11). And vitamin B12 deficiency might lead to hair loss (2). Hence, proper intake of vitamins B6 and B12 can help reduce hair fall and promote healthy hair growth.

Vitamins B6 And B12 Sources: Eggs, fish, chicken, turkey, milk, cereals, beans, spinach, and potato.

  • Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)

Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) plays a crucial role in hair growth. It has anti-inflammatory properties, protects and regulates the sebum glands, moisturizes the hair strands, and accelerates melanini  XNatural skin pigment produced by melanocytes, i.e., cells responsible for the color of the hair, skin, and eyes. creation (4). ). Research shows that the combination of calcium pantothenate(calcium salt of vitamin B5)and zinc sulfate helps control hair loss in women (12). It also helps in the prevention and treatment of graying hair (13).

Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) Sources: Eggs, liver, soya, mushroom, milk, beans, whole grains, and leafy vegetables.
[SC_PROTIP type=”trivia”]Dr R J Williams discovered pantothenic acid in 1933. Its name is derived from the Greek word pantos, meaning “everywhere”.[/SC_PROTIP]

  • Vitamins B1, B2, And B3

Deficiency in vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), and B3 (niacin) can lead to hair fall (1). The hair follicles need a healthy dose of these vitamins to grow and prevent premature hair fall.

Vitamins B1, B2, And B3 Sources: Pork, beef, chicken, turkey, fish, liver, soy products, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and cereals.

  • Folic Acid (Vitamin B9)

Folic acid or folate deficiency is common in people with alopecia areatai  XA condition in which the immune system attacks hair follicles and causes hair loss from the scalp and everywhere else on the body. (14). Consumption of foods rich in folic acid or dietary supplements can help reduce hair fall.

Folic Acid (Vitamin B9) Sources: Spinach, lettuce, turnip, broccoli, asparagus, edamame, lentils, avocado, mango, oranges, and nuts.

  • Vitamin E

Vitamin E, an antioxidant, supports hair growth by fighting off harmful free radicals. Research shows that taking a vitamin E supplement over 8 months may lead to an increase in hair growth in people with hair loss (15). Additionally, vitamin E protects the scalp from oxidative stress, safeguarding against potential damage (16), (17). This is important because damaged scalp skin can harm hair quality and reduce healthy hair follicles. Therefore, incorporating vitamin E into your diet or hair care routine may promote healthier hair growth.

Vitamin E Sources: Wheat germ oil, sunflower, avocados, safflower, collard greens, soybean oil, sunflower seeds, almonds, beet greens, spinach, pumpkin, peanuts, red bell pepper, asparagus, mangoes.

5. Minerals

Healthy hair growth and reduced hair fall require a proper dose of minerals that play a role in the hair’s growth cycle.

  • Iron

Iron deficiency is very common in women. It is also linked to hair loss. However, iron-rich foods and iron supplements can help treat this condition(18).

Iron Sources: Beef, pork, beans, prunes, dates, apricots, dark leafy vegetables, and iron-fortified cereals.

  • Selenium, Magnesium, And Copper

Selenium, magnesium, and copper  may help reduce the risk of alopecia areata (14). These minerals are also required to synthesize thyroid hormones and prevent hypothyroidism, which is linked to hair loss (19).

Selenium, Magnesium, Copper Sources: Meat, liver, cod, tuna, shellfish, eggs, milk, spinach, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and chocolate.

  • Zinc
Image: Shutterstock

Zinc levels are found to be lower in people with alopecia areata (14). Zinc is an enzyme activator and influences the hair cycle. Its deficiency may lead to slow hair growth, brittleness, and hair fall (4).

Zinc Sources: Meat, crab, lobster, poultry, beans, nuts, milk, cheese, whole grains, and cereals.

protip_icon Did You Know?
The world’s first pills, discovered on a Roman cargo ship which was wrecked in 140 BC, contained zinc.

6. Trace Elements

Trace elements like calcium and iodine also play a vital role in hair growth. Calcium is required for stimulating the hair follicles, and iodine helps in the proper functioning of the thyroid gland (4), (17).

Calcium And Iodine Sources: Fish, seaweed, shrimp, yogurt, milk, cheese, green leafy vegetables, calcium-fortified juice, cereals, and iodized salt.

7. Liquids

Fluid consumption also affects hair growth. Consume at least 1.5 liters of water per day. You can also up your fluid intake by consuming juice, soup, tea, and coffee (4).

Consuming these vital nutrients can help improve your hair health, prevent hair fall, and stimulate hair growth. However, can the hair supplements do the same? Let’s find out in the next section.

Should You Take Hair Supplements?

Yes. If you have a busy lifestyle or nutritional deficiency, consult a dermatologist, and take hair supplements. Iron, folic acid, omega-3, and multivitamins are common nutritional supplements that can be taken as per the prescribed dosage.

Click here for the list of hair supplements that help reduce hair fall and stimulate hair growth.

Minerals, vitamins, proteins, and polyunsaturated fats are some of the major nutrients for hair growth. Also, the intake of antioxidants, minerals, trace elements, and liquid also plays a major role in hair growth. These nutrients can be obtained from food like lentils, sunflower seeds, brown rice, walnuts, peanuts, chicken, fish, beef, salmon, tuna, olive oil, grapefruit, watermelon, white mushroom, and egg yolk. Including these foods regularly in your diet helps promote hair growth. Hair supplements may also be prescribed to some people. However, do not take them on your own.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most important nutrients for hair growth?

The most important nutrients for hair growth are omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Can stress cause hair loss?

Yes, stress can cause hair loss and slow down hair growth. Exercise, a healthy diet, and sound sleep can help reduce stress and stress-related hair loss.

Which hair masks are best for hair growth?

Coconut oil hair mask, green tea hair mask, and yogurt hair mask are great for hair growth.

How can I make my hair grow faster?

Follow these tips to make your hair grow faster:

  • Consume 0.8 g protein per kg of your body weight.
  • Consume iron-rich foods like dates and prunes.
  • Avoid crash diets.
  • Drink 3 liters of water per day.
  • Brush your hair regularly.
  • Shampoo your hair twice a week.
  • Massage coconut oil onto your scalp for at least 10 minutes.
  • Take essential vitamins and mineral supplements.
  • De-stress yourself.
  • Exercise regularly.

How long does it take to see results from taking hair growth vitamins?

It can take several months to see noticeable results from taking hair growth vitamins. However, it depends on age, the reason for hair loss, and diet pattern.

Are hair growth supplements safe for everyone?

No, hair growth supplements are not safe for everyone. The high micronutrient content in hair growth supplements may interfere with other medications when taken in excess quantities. In some cases, they may also increase cancer risk (18).

Can hair growth supplements be combined with other hair loss treatments?

Some hair growth supplements may interact with other hair loss medications or treatments. Hence, consult your healthcare professional for advice on their usage.

What role does vitamin C play in hair growth?

Vitamin C plays a key role in hair growth. The antioxidant properties of vitamin C may help protect hair follicles from radical damage. In addition, this vitamin may promote collagen production which helps strengthen hair strands and promote hair growth.

Key Takeaways

  • Consumption of plant proteins and animal proteins increase hair growth.
  • Consumption of omega-3 PUFA reduces inflammation issues and improves the growth of hair follicles.
  • Consumption of vitamins strengthen hair, improve hair follicles, and reduce alopecia.
  • Consumption of minerals aid in maintaining oxygen levels of hair follicles, help cell division, and promote hair growth.
Nutrients For Hair Growth

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Learn about the 7 most beneficial foods for healthy hair growth! Click on the video below to find out which foods will help you achieve luscious locks and a healthy scalp.

Personal Experience: Source


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Hair Loss: A Review
  2. Growing evidence of the beneficial effects of a marine protein-based dietary supplement for treating hair loss
  3. Effect of a nutritional supplement on hair loss in women
  4. Nutrition of women with hair loss problem during the period of menopause.
  5. Mackerel-Derived Fermented Fish Oil Promotes Hair Growth by Anagen-Stimulating Pathways
  6. Role of Arachidonic Acid in Promoting Hair Growth.
  7. Oxidative Stress: Harms and Benefits for Human Health
  8. Oxidative Stress in Ageing of Hair.
  9. Biotin
  10. Serum Biotin Levels in Women Complaining of Hair Loss.
  11. Evaluation of vitamin B6 and calcium pantothenate effectiveness on hair growth from clinical and trichographic aspects for treatment of diffuse alopecia in women
  12. Comparing the Effects of Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Their Combination and Minoxidil Solution Regimens on Controlling Hair Loss in Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial
  13. Effect of Grey Hair Evulsion on the Response to Calcium Pantothenate in Premature Grey Hairs
  14. The role of micronutrients in alopecia areata: A Review
  15. Effects of tocotrienol supplementation on hair growth in human volunteers
  16. Oxidative stress and its impact on skin scalp and hair
  17. Vitamin E in dermatology
  18. The diagnosis and treatment of iron deficiency and its potential relationship to hair loss
  19. Zinc Deficiency Associated with Hypothyroidism: An Overlooked Cause of Severe Alopecia
  20. Hair Iodine for Human Iodine Status Assessment.
  21. Risks of Skin, Hair, and Nail Supplements
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