Reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Calcium: the thing that makes your bones and teeth strong. You probably learned about the most popular benefits of this necessary mineral at an early age, but how much do you know about its other benefits?
Does calcium help hair growth, for instance?
If you’re worried about hair loss or are starting to see signs of it, questions about calcium and other minerals and how they might affect your hair growth are important ones to be asking.
After all, who wouldn’t want to stop a problem like hair loss at the source with a simple multivitamin or a healthy diet rich in calcium content?
Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple. Your daily calcium intake indeed plays an important role in the health of your hair and its continued, healthy growth. But as to what extent your personal hair loss could be related to your calcium intake is an entirely different conversation.
To put it simply, calcium may not be the cause of or solution to your current hair loss, but its role in healthy hair production can’t be ignored. So if you’re deficient, you may be seeing signs of diffuse or patchy hair loss on your scalp.
Want to know more? Let’s start at the beginning.
Nutrition and dietary intake are foundational elements of hair growth. And to have healthy hair, we need to avoid everything from an iron deficiency to a lack of vitamin C.
In other words, you need key nutrients and a balanced diet to prevent certain types of hair loss.
Many vitamins and minerals are associated with healthy hair growth. But in a comprehensive 2018 review of research into these nutrients, calcium was mentioned only three times.
No mentions of how dairy products affect your daily intake of calcium — even as the likes of vitamin B were mentioned over 30 times.
That’s not by accident.
According to most experts, the exact role of calcium in hair growth is unclear. Some experts point to its vital role in enzyme production and function, while others simply leave its qualifications as a question mark.
There are some theories, though. A review of studies found that lower levels of dietary calcium retention and calcium deficiency overall could be a contributing factor to reduced hair health as people age.
The study pointed out that women are more susceptible to a deficiency as they age due to the impacts of both menstrual cycles and menopause on calcium levels.
(Even women who aren’t going through menopause will still see gradual reductions over the course of their lives).
So calcium definitely has some kind of job in your hair follicles, but the research cannot point to what that role is exactly. Anything more at this point is conjecture.
We’re willing to give calcium the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes, very important jobs aren’t so obvious when they’re being done well. Like a middle-aged father from New Jersey with anxiety, it could be that he might live a double work life — if you catch our drift.
Here’s a simple fact we can share with you: calcium is essential for healthy hair growth, even if it isn’t clear how.
We know this mostly because research suggests that an absence of calcium has negative effects on your hair — and that’s not including the study about calcium and hair age we mentioned earlier.
It’s easy to see the role of calcium in people and animals who are deficient.
For instance, one 2016 study found that mice who nursed from a mother with a highly deficient diet lacking calcium and vitamin D developed alopecia (hair loss) at statistically significant rates and began growing hair normally once the mother’s diet had been corrected.
But not everything points to the essentialness of calcium in hair growth. One review looked at a vitamin D deficiency and low calcium levels in people with autoimmune hair loss, also known as alopecia areata.
They found that while vitamin D levels did show a correlation with hair loss, calcium levels didn’t appear to be relevant data.
Part of the role of calcium might even be in the formation of pigment. Interestingly enough, a small study looked at calcium as one of several essential nutrients for hair and found that low levels of calcium could be associated with early graying.
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Hair loss may be reversible with calcium if the cause was a pretty bad calcium deficiency — but realistically, most people won’t be in that position. There’s just no science to say otherwise.
For most guys, there are only a few ways to prevent severe hair loss, especially if it’s the most common type of hair loss: male pattern baldness.
One way to prevent hair loss or reduce some of its effects is to use the FDA-approved vasodilator minoxidil. This medication increases blood flow to your hair follicles, and it can even bring dormant follicles out of the telogen phase and back into production.
For alopecia types like telogen effluvium and androgenetic alopecia, this can lead to an increase in hair volume after you’ve seen some loss. It can’t undo long-term damage, though, so the sooner you get to treatment, the better.
You can also take a preventative approach by using FDA-approved hair loss treatments like finasteride. Finasteride combats androgenetic alopecia at the source: the androgens.
When you take finasteride, it blocks the formation of DHT, a compound derived from testosterone. Blocking the formation of DHT stops it from killing off your hair over time, which even a calcium supplement would agree is impressive.
It can’t prevent it all, but it can drastically reduce the amount and therefore, the symptoms.
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If you’re looking for something effective but don’t want too many steps in your routine, this once-a-day pill could be right for you.
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Calcium deficiency has the potential to be connected to hair loss. But the likelihood that the hair loss you’re seeing right now is due to insufficient calcium isn’t very high.
There are plenty of other genetic and individualized factors for hair loss that are important to consider before jumping to calcium-related conclusions. And guess what? These are exactly the factors a healthcare professional should help you understand.
That’s not to say that you can’t learn about things like telogen effluvium or androgenetic alopecia on your own — you absolutely should, and if you want, our blog is a great place to start.
But to get help with hair loss, you shouldn’t be focused on the supplement store as a source of calcium — at least not yet.
If you’re ready to do something about hair loss, contact a healthcare professional to get answers.
They may identify another type of hair loss with an entirely different plan of treatment that — while it won’t improve bone health — could protect the hair you have from being lost to the ether.
Your bones should be the only thing with high density. Be smart — get help from a healthcare professional today, or explore treatments and supplements for hair growth from Hims.