Individuals experiencing gray hair would do well to consider eating more healthfully. Vitamins C and E have antioxidant properties and can reduce the signs of aging, notes the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service. The USDA recommends focusing on whole-food sources for vitamins rather than supplementation, because excess doses of Vitamins C and E can actually encourage free radical damage. There are also other vitamins that can stop the development of gray hair.
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Vitamin B-6 may help hair return to its original color when the graying is due to illness or vitamin deficiency. Vitamin B-6 helps to maintain the health of the immune system by supporting the organs that create white blood cells, notes the National Institute of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Good sources of Vitamin B-6 include fortified cereals, potatoes, bananas, and chickpeas, as well as poultry, seafood, and sunflower seeds.
According to the National Institutes of Health, inadequate intake of Vitamin B-9, also known as folic acid, can lead to prematurely gray hair. Folic acid helps the body to metabolize, use, and create new proteins; helps cells to function; and enables tissue to grow. Food sources include beans and legumes, citrus fruits, wheat bran and other whole grain foods. Excess folic acid intake is rarely harmful, as the vitamin is excreted in urine, notes NIH.
Vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to premature gray hair, notes pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene. The deficiency may occur due to a strict vegan diet, being breast fed by mothers who are B-12-deficient or being unable to process adequate vitamin B-12 sources due to medical problems such as stomach or intestinal surgery or illness, thyroid problems, or anemia. A blood test can confirm Vitamin B-12 deficiency, which when resolved, can stop the development of gray hair.