Hair growth is a topic of intrigue for many, young and old. Whether due to a haircut gone wrong or the appeal of glossy ads in magazines, many pine for long, shiny hair and peruse the market for products and supplements to aid in hair growth. While a healthy diet and certain vitamins can help the hair maintain strength and good condition, you should avoid falling for expensive traps that lure consumers to believe that a pill can result in rapid hair growth. No supplement is likely to cause drastic or rapid hair growth.
Biotin is a B-complex vitamin that aids in many bodily processes. While no significant research shows that increased biotin causes hair growth, the Linus Pauling Institute has found that severe biotin deficiency can cause rapid hair loss. In order to receive enough of the B-complex vitamin through nutrition, a varied diet is important. The institute reports that the following foods contain healthy levels: whole wheat bread, eggs, pork, salmon, avocado, raspberries and raw cauliflower. These foods supply healthy fats, fiber, protein and other crucial vitamins that will aid in the overall health of the body and hair.
According to Holistic Hair Care, B vitamins such as B-3 (niacin), B-5 (pantothenic acid), B-6 (pyroxidine) and B-12 can aid in the growth of hair, but these vitamins will not cause rapid, drastic growth. According to salon owner and hair expert Paul Miller, most hair grows at a rate of a half-inch per month. While good conditioning and proper diet will ensure the health of the roots, there is little you can do to speed growth past this particular rate. Miller says that all hair growth stems from the root, which is nourished by the nutrients and vitamins in the blood. You can feed your scalp and roots these nutrients by following a proper diet. Therefore, shampoos and conditioners that tout growth-components are ineffective, as hair growth comes from beneath the scalp, not from the external strand or hair shaft. Consult your physician or a registered dietitian to find out exactly how to incorporate nutrient-rich foods into your daily eating habits.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
According to Andrea Giancoli, M.P.H, R.D., omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and albacore tuna, support the health of the scalp. A healthy scalp produces healthy hair growth, so including these essential fatty acids in your diet is necessary for a healthy head of hair. Plus, omega-3 fatty acids have other benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, keeping blood cholesterol levels stable and improving the overall condition of your heart.
According to Natural News, vitamin E increases the amount of blood capillaries in the scalp. While this won't speed the growth of the hair already present, it will promote a healthier scalp with better blood circulation, which has shown to aid in the prevention of hair loss. Vitamin E also is an important ingredient in many conditioners and shampoos designed to moisturize dry hair.
Before adding vitamins or nutrients to your diet, it is important to consult a physician about your needs, conditions and possible drug interactions. While certain vitamins will contribute to the health of your hair and scalp, there is no such thing as a "miracle vitamin" that causes rapid hair growth. According to stylist Paul Miller, who has owned and operated salons for more than a decade, most hair growth issues come from improper haircuts. "Most people think their hair isn't growing because often, when they ask a hairstylist for a "trim," the stylist will take off the half-inch they just gained." Miller says it's important to find a stylist who will simply trim split ends, which usually account for only a centimeter or two, and help you achieve your hair growth goals.