Can Vitamin B Stop Hair From Growing Gray?

Person's ear
Gray hair is a natural part of the aging process. (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

One of the first remarkable effects I witnessed, as a young woman interested in holistic health care, was the benefit of a Vitamin B complex on slowing the graying of my mother's hair. Inspired by nutritional best-sellers, such as Adele Davis's, "You Can Get Well," I suggested she try Vitamin B complex daily. As Vitamin B benefits the nervous system, the concept was that by easing the body's reaction to stress – which accelerates aging – this sign of the aging process would be delayed. The results were inspiring; not only did the graying of her hair reverse – her stamina and mood improved.

Research on Vitamin B deficiency

Mature woman with long grey hair looking aside, close-up
Prematurely gray hair caused by Vitamin B12 deficiency is rare. (Image: Noel Hendrickson/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Researchers have since found that prematurely gray hair may indeed be caused by a Vitamin B deficiency, specifically that of Vitamin B12. A patient with prematurely gray hair, and a Vitamin B12 deficiency due to pernicious anemia, enjoyed the return of his original hair color following Cobalamin (B12) injections (Noppakun et al). Further, a 1994 study found prematurely gray hair may be a risk marker for osteopenia (Rosen et al), though a 2007 study found no such link. So although hair naturally grays due to aging, and generally needs to be taken in stride, prematurely gray hair may be indicator of serious conditions, which require specific medical treatments.

Although a B12 deficiency is the root in only a small percentage of those with graying hair, it is reasonable to ask your doctor whether that may be a cause for you. Whether my mother's salt and pepper hair returned to its darker hue for some years due to the benefit of Vitamin B on her nervous system, or even blood health, is unknown, but she was pleased with its effect on her overall health.

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