Vitamin B-6 plays a number of important roles in the body, including helping turn food into energy and assisting with red blood cell production. But some evidence suggests that this B vitamin may be important for hair health and may help promote its growth. Consult your doctor if you're concerned about your hair before adding a dietary supplement to your daily regimen.
Vitamin B-6 and Hair
In addition to energy and red blood cell production, vitamin B-6, along with the other B-vitamins, also help keep hair healthy. Vitamin B-6 is also important for skin health, which is necessary for good hair. While nutrition is an essential factor in promoting hair health and preventing loss, a 2002 article published in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology reports that it's usually only beneficial if there's a deficiency.
Vitamin B-6 Hair Studies
While nutritional deficiencies may lead to hair loss, some studies indicate that supplementation with vitamin B-6 promotes hair growth, even if it's not caused by a deficiency. A 2013 study published in the Archives of Dermatological Research found that high-doses of vitamin B-6 along with L-cysteine helped prevent hair loss during chemotherapy treatment in mice. A Polish study published in 2001 in Wiadomosci Lekarskie found that intravenous vitamin B-6 helped improve hair condition and prevented hair loss in a group of women dealing with diffuse alopecia, or hair loss.
Things to Consider
In addition to vitamin B-6, the 2013 study on mice also included L-cysteine supplements, so it's impossible to tell how much of the benefit came from B-6. While both studies on vitamin B-6 and hair seem to indicate that the B-vitamin may be helpful in preventing and possibly regrowing hair in those dealing with hair loss, more clinical research is necessary before claims can be made.
Adding supplements you don't need in excessive amounts may cause you to lose more hair, according to the authors of the article in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology. Not to mention that high doses of vitamin B-6, more than 200 milligrams, can cause neurological problems such as loss of balance or loss of feelings in the legs, reports the University of Maryland Medical Clinic.
Getting Your B-6
Instead of taking a dietary supplement to get vitamin B-6, eat foods rich in the nutrient to increase your intake. Many of these foods are also rich in other nutrients that support hair health, including L-lysine and iron. Food sources of vitamin B-6 include poultry, fish, shrimp, milk, cheese, lentils, beans, sunflower seeds, whole-wheat products, wheat germ, spinach, carrots and bananas. Adults need 1.3 milligrams to 1.7 milligrams of vitamin B-6 a day for good health.