B Complex & Hair Loss

The B complex is a group of eight vitamins your body needs in small amounts. While they help metabolize the macronutrients, which include carbs, protein and fat, into energy, they also help regulate your appetite, support eye health, assist in making red blood cells and keep your skin healthy. Although the B-vitamins do not directly affect hair health, a deficiency in some of them may lead to hair loss. Consult your doctor to discuss diet and hair loss.

Eat a variety of healthy foods to get your B vitamins and all the nutrients you need for healthy hair. Credit: Design Pics/Design Pics/Getty Images

Riboflavin Deficiency

Riboflavin is needed to help keep your skin healthy and strong. Hair loss may occur in people deficient in riboflavin. Although rare, a deficiency in the B-vitamin may occur in alcoholics, people with a malignancy or hyperthyroidism or the elderly. Eggs, leafy greens, legumes such as lentils and chickpeas, milk and enriched grain products are all good source of riboflavin. Making sure you include these foods in your diet may reduce the risk of deficiency and hair loss.

Biotin Deficiency

One of the symptoms of a deficiency in biotin is loss of hair. A deficiency of this B-vitamin, however, is very rare and occurs in people on long-term intravenous, or parenteral, nutrition or in people who consume raw egg whites for an extended period of time, weeks to years, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. This is due to a protein in the raw egg white that binds with biotin and prevents its absorption. To meet your biotin needs and prevent a deficiency, include egg yolks, milk, vegetables, cereals and yeast breads in your diet.

Vitamin B-6 Deficiency

A deficiency in vitamin B-6 can also cause skin problems, including dermatitis, which may lead to hair loss. Like the other B-vitamins, deficiency is not common but may occur in people with kidney disease, autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, malabsorption issues or alcoholism. Including whole grains, leafy greens, legumes and meat in your diet can help make sure you get enough vitamin B-6 to reduce your risk of deficiency.

Don't Overdo It With Supplements

While the B-vitamins are important for health, more is not necessarily better, especially if your goal is to reduce hair loss. A 2002 article published in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology reports that taking too many nutrition supplements in general may cause you to lose even more hair, and it's recommended that you not use supplements unless a deficiency in a vitamin is determined. Eating a balanced diet that is adequate in calories and protein is necessary for good health and good hair.

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