Reviewed by Vicky Davis, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
As you get older, it’s normal to notice the early signs of hair loss, from a bald patch at the crown of your scalp to a receding hairline.
Although the main causes of male pattern baldness are genetic and hormonal, factors such as your diet and lifestyle can have a significant impact on the health, appearance and thickness of your hair.
One important hair health factor that’s often forgotten is vitamin consumption. Just like vitamins strengthen your immune system and give you healthier skin, regular consumption of certain hair vitamins may have a positive impact on the shine, health and coverage of your hair.
If you’ve noticed your hair starting to thin, become weaker, or split apart towards the end, there’s a chance it could be due to insufficient vitamin consumption.
Luckily, hair vitamins are very affordable, making it easy for you to supplement your diet and get a full intake of the vitamins you need to keep your hair at its best.
Even without hair loss supplements, most vitamin or nutritional deficiencies that affect your hair can be fixed with some simple changes to your diet and lifestyle.
Below, we’ve listed the most important vitamins and minerals for healthy hair. We’ve also shared other ways you can stimulate optimal hair growth, prevent hair loss and maintain a healthy head of hair in your 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond.
The hair on your scalp grows through a multi-phase process that’s referred to as the hair growth cycle.
Throughout this cycle, your hair follicles produce new hairs that grow to their full length over the course of several years. Like your skin and nails, each of the approximately 100,000 follicles on your scalp requires vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients to grow effectively.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet that’s rich in these vitamins is an important part of keeping your hair strong, thick and healthy.
While vitamin and mineral deficiencies don’t directly cause male pattern baldness, they can play a role in other types of hair loss, such as telogen effluvium.
Some vitamin deficiencies may also cause your hair to gradually become brittle, increasing your risk of dealing with broken hairs while brushing, combing or styling it.
To prevent your hair from falling out, becoming overly brittle or failing to grow to its full potential, try to prioritize the following vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
Vitamin A is one of the most important and controversial vitamins for hair health. The reason for the controversy surrounding this vitamin is that while healthy amounts can stimulate hair growth, large doses of vitamin A can cause scalp oil issues that may result in hair shedding.
This means that balance is key with vitamin A -- you’ll want to consume enough to get all of the hair growth benefits, without overdoing it and causing thinning.
The recommended dietary allowance of Vitamin A is 900 micrograms (mcg) per day for men and 700 mcg per day for women.
By sticking to this dose, you can expect all of the benefits without any scalp oil problems or hair thinning.
Vitamin A is essential for optimal immune function, vision and cellular growth. It’s also a critical vitamin for the function and maintenance of your internal organs, including your heart, lungs and kidneys.
Because of its role in cellular growth, getting enough vitamin A is essential for the growth of your hair, skin and nails.
Since vitamin A deficiency is very uncommon in developed countries, there’s usually no need to supplement vitamin A if you haven’t noticed any of the effects of vitamin deficiency.
However, if you choose to top up your vitamin A, it’s best not to overdo it. Stick to the amount of vitamin A that’s included in most multivitamin supplements, as consuming too much could result in shedding.
Vitamin B12 is one of eight different B-complex vitamins. It’s found naturally in certain types of fish, red meat and fortified foods. Vitamin B12 plays a key role in your central nervous system function, DNA synthesis and numerous enzymatic reactions within your body.
Research has found that vitamin B12 is likely involved in many functions within the hair follicles, and that deficiencies of vitamin B12 are often associated with hair loss.
Vitamin B12 deficiencies are quite common, especially in older adults. In the US, between three and 43 percent of older adults have vitamin B12 deficiency, depending on the specific definition of deficiency that’s used.
Symptoms of insufficient vitamin B12 can include fatigue, palpitations, pale skin, numbness that affects your hands and feet, weight loss, infertility, dementia and megaloblastic anemia -- a type of anemia in which the body produces large, structurally abnormal red blood cells.
Because some of these symptoms can be severe, it’s important to talk to your doctor if you think you’re affected by vitamin B12 deficiency.
Unlike most vitamins, which are quickly processed by your liver and excreted after consumption, your body can store excess vitamin B12 in your liver to use when it needs it.
This makes it easy to boost your vitamin B12 levels with a supplement, or by eating foods rich in natural vitamin B12.
While you might not think of it as an important vitamin for hair health, vitamin C plays a key role in scalp health and hair growth.
Your body uses vitamin C for a diverse range of essential functions, including producing certain neurotransmitters that are critical for optimal mental function and supporting the metabolization of protein your body needs for healthy skin and muscle tissue.
Clinical studies show that vitamin C plays an important role in collagen synthesis. Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, and a key source of proline, an amino acid that’s used to create keratin.
Because of its effects on collagen, vitamin C is also important for maintaining healthy skin and nails.
The good news is that getting your recommended daily intake of vitamin C is fairly easy, as it’s one of the most abundant vitamins in many foods.
You can find vitamin C in many fresh fruits, including oranges, grapefruit, cantaloupe, tomatoes, strawberries and kiwifruit. Lots of vegetables, including red pepper, green pepper, broccoli and brussels sprouts, are also rich sources of vitamin C.
If you find it difficult to add more fruits and vegetables to your regular diet, you can also increase your vitamin C intake by using a multivitamin supplement.
Vitamin D, or calciferol, is essential for healthy bone growth, muscle function and absorption of calcium.
Most people know of vitamin D as the "sun vitamin," as this vitamin is created as a byproduct of cholecalciferol synthesis when your skin is exposed to sunlight. It also occurs naturally in a few foods, including fatty fish, beef liver, cheese and egg yolks.
The results of telogen effluvium can be rapid and severe, with as many as 50% of your anagen hairs (hair follicles that are currently involved in active hair growth) falling out over the course of several months.
Research also suggests that low vitamin D levels may also play a role in other common forms of hair shedding, such as alopecia areata and the hair pulling disorder trichotillomania.
If you don’t get very much natural sun exposure and have recently noticed sudden, unusual hair shedding, there's a chance that low vitamin D levels could be the culprit.
Luckily, there are several potential ways to solve this problem. The first option, which is more of a temporary fix than a permanent solution, is to use a vitamin D supplement to bring your levels up to normal.
The Office of Dietary Supplements recommends consuming 15 micrograms of dietary vitamin D per day.
A better long-term approach is to increase your level of exposure to sunlight. An easy way to do this is to spend five to 30 minutes per day outdoors, preferably in an environment with moderate amounts of natural sunlight.
Remember not to overdo it, as excessive sun exposure can damage your skin and contribute to premature aging and an increased risk of skin cancer.
Vitamin E is a collective name that refers to several fat-soluble chemicals, many of which have powerful antioxidant properties.
Research suggests that some of the antioxidant compounds in vitamin E may play major roles in the process of growing and maintaining healthy hair.
For example, a 2010 study published in the journal Tropical Life Sciences Research found that use of tocotrienols, which are chemicals found in the vitamin E family, contributed to increased hair growth in men and women with hair loss.
Like many other vitamins, vitamin E is an antioxidant that’s important for building and repairing body tissue.
There are several ways to give your hairline a boost with vitamin E. The first is to add foods to your diet that are rich in vitamin E, such as spinach, broccoli and avocados.
You can also get vitamin E from almonds, peanuts and sunflower seeds. Another good option is to take a vitamin E supplement. You can find vitamin E in many multivitamin supplements, or on its own in capsule form.
Biotin is a B vitamin that plays a major role in promoting the growth of healthy hair. In fact, biotin is so closely related to the growth of hair that studies have found that 38 percent of women with hair loss issues have biotin deficiencies.
Most people get sufficient biotin from dietary sources. Common foods such as meat, fish, eggs, broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes, seeds and many nuts are rich in biotin.
Although biotin deficiencies can result in hair shedding, biotin doesn’t have any role in hormonal forms of hair loss, such as androgenetic alopecia (male pattern baldness).
Some research has found that biotin may stimulate more rapid hair growth and promote thicker, healthier hair.
In one study published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, researchers found that people who used a biotin supplement for 180 days reported a reduction in hair loss and an increase in terminal hairs (the long, thick hairs that grow from the scalp).
Although research has limited, some small studies have also found that biotin may improve nail thickness and hardness.
If you’re concerned that you may have a biotin deficiency, the best course of action is to talk to your healthcare provider. A biotin deficiency is easy to detect with a quick blood test, and your healthcare provider will be able to help you with supplementation advice.
You can also increase your biotin consumption quickly and easily through supplementation with our Biotin Gummy Vitamins, which contain biotin and a range of other essential vitamins for hair, skin and nail health.
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Iron plays an essential role in many internal bodily functions, including producing hemoglobin -- a protein in your red blood cells that transports oxygen from the lungs to your organs and other tissue.
Low levels of iron can result in iron deficiency anemia -- a condition in which your body doesn’t have enough functional red blood cells to properly transport oxygen.
Iron deficiency anemia can cause a range of symptoms, including dizziness, heart palpitations and physical weakness. There’s also a link between iron deficiency anemia and hair shedding, with hair loss quite common among people with low iron levels.
Although the precise link between low iron intake and hair loss isn’t completely understood, it’s important to maintain good iron consumption for overall health.
You can increase your dietary iron intake by prioritizing iron-rich foods, such as oysters, beans, beef liver, lentils, tofu, spinach and fortified cereals. You can also boost your intake by adding an iron supplement or iron-rich multivitamin or multimineral capsule to your daily routine.
Zinc is an essential mineral that’s found in many seafoods and meats, including oysters, crab, beef, lobster, pork and chicken. It’s also abundant in certain types of beans, seeds and cereal products fortified with zinc and other minerals.
Your body uses zinc for numerous important functions, including cellular metabolism, synthesis of DNA, cell division and immune health. It’s also involved in the function of approximately 100 enzymes within your body.
Although zinc isn’t directly involved in male pattern hair loss, zinc deficiency is associated with temporary hair shedding. This type of shedding generally reverses when an affected person’s zinc intake returns to normal.
In addition to eating zinc-rich foods, you can increase your zinc intake by taking a supplement that contains zinc. If you take a supplement, make sure to check the label for elemental zinc -- the form of zinc that’s absorbed and used by your body.
Dietary proteins are the building block of your muscles, organs and every cell that’s found within your body. As such, it’s important to maintain a steady intake of protein to ensure your body can produce new cells and maintain existing ones.
Protein also plays a key role in keeping your hair healthy. If you don’t take in enough protein on a daily basis, you may have a higher risk of developing hair shedding disorders such as telogen effluvium.
Although there’s no one-size-fits-all amount of protein for everyone to consume, it’s best to take in 10 to 35 percent of your daily calories in the form of protein.
You can do this by eating plenty of poultry, fish or lean red meat, or increasing your consumption of eggs, lentils, beans, tofu, nuts, seeds and low fat dairy products.
You can also boost your protein intake by adding a protein supplement to your diet, such as our Collagen Protein Powder, which is formulated for healthy skin and muscle recovery.
Keratin is an important protein that forms cells both inside and outside your body, including your hair, nails and skin.
Your body produces most of the keratin it needs internally. However, using a keratin supplement to increase your keratin intake may help to promote healthy hair growth and prevent some forms of hair loss.
In one study published in the Scientific World Journal, researchers found that women who used a keratin, vitamin and mineral supplement displayed improvements in hair and nail growth over the course of 90 days.
However, there’s currently no scientific evidence to suggest that keratin deficiency is involved in permanent forms of hair loss, such as male pattern baldness.
Although vitamins play a key role in promoting healthy hair growth, they’re not the only options available for growing thick and healthy hair, nor is increasing your vitamin intake necessarily an effective way to treat male pattern baldness.
If you’re starting to develop a receding hairline, bald spot around your crown, diffuse thinning or other signs of pattern hair loss, it’s important to take action as soon as you can.
Acting quickly can help you to reduce the severity of your hair loss and, in some cases, regrow hair that you’ve “lost” around your hairline and crown.
We’ve gone into more detail about your options for preventing hair loss and stimulating healthy hair growth below, covering everything from FDA-approved hair loss medications to daily habits for thicker, healthier hair.
Currently, the most effective way to prevent, slow down and reverse male pattern baldness is by using medication such as finasteride and minoxidil.
Finasteride is an oral prescription medication. It works by preventing your body from converting testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the hormone that’s responsible for damaging your hair follicles and causing male pattern baldness.
Minoxidil is a topical medication that’s available over the counter. Although it doesn’t block DHT, it stimulates hair growth by increasing blood flow to your scalp and moving hairs into the anagen phase of the hair cycle.
Although finasteride and minoxidil are both effective when they’re used on their own, they work particularly well to treat hair loss when used together.
For example, in a study published in the journal Dermatologic Therapy, researchers found that more than 94 percent of men with visible hair loss showed improvements after using minoxidil and finasteride for 12 months.
In comparison, just 59 percent of men who used minoxidil on its own and 80.5 percent of men who used only finasteride showed improvements.
We offer finasteride online, following a consultation with a licensed healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate. We also offer minoxidil liquid and minoxidil foam, with both finasteride and minoxidil available in our Hair Power Pack.
While hair loss medications like minoxidil and finasteride are the best option for preventing hair loss from male pattern baldness, making a few changes to your hair care habits can also make a big difference.
Try the following habits and lifestyle changes to promote growth and improve your hair strength:
Use a hair loss prevention shampoo. Look for a shampoo that contains saw palmetto or ketoconazole, which are ingredients that may help to limit hair loss and stimulate hair hair growth.
Our Hair Thickening Shampoo, which contains ketoconazole, is designed to target DHT buildup on the scalp and promote healthier, fuller hair.
Avoid tight hairstyles or “strong hold” styling products. Although these don’t cause male pattern baldness, they can pull on the roots of your hair and contribute to a form of hair loss called traction alopecia.
Eat a balanced diet. Many foods are rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that promote the growth of thicker hair. Our full guide to what you should eat for healthy hair shares foods and ingredients to prioritize for optimal hair growth.
If you smoke, make an effort to quit. As we’ve discussed in our guide to smoking and hair loss, smoking can reduce the flow of blood to your hair follicles, potentially affecting your hair growth.
Generic for Rogaine®, this FDA-approved over-the-counter version of topical minoxidil is used for regrowth on the crown of the head.
This is the FDA-approved dynamic duo. When used together, men saw better results in clinical trials compared to using either alone.
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.
Clinically proven to regrow hair in 3-6 months, no pills required.
Vitamins are essential for just about every aspect of your health, from cellular metabolism and immune protection to the growth and maintenance of your skin, hair and nails.
For healthy hair growth, try to eat a balanced diet that includes all of the vitamins and minerals listed above.
If you’re starting to lose your hair, it’s important to act quickly to prevent it from worsening. Our range of hair loss treatment products includes FDA-approved medications, shampoos and hair supplements formulated to prevent shedding and promote sustainable hair growth.
Worried about losing your hair? You can get started by taking part in an online consultation for treating hair loss, or learn more about your options in our detailed guide to the best treatments for thinning hair.
Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!
Dr. Vicky Davis is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with over 20 years of experience in clinical practice, leadership and education.
Dr. Davis' expertise include direct patient care and many years working in clinical research to bring evidence-based care to patients and their families.
She is also an active member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.