Folic Acid For Hair: What Is It, Benefits & How To Use 2023
When it comes to achieving beautiful hair, our first thought may be to turn to the beauty aisle.
In particular, research suggests folic acid may play a role in keeping your strands healthy and preventing hair loss.
This article explores the benefits of folic acid for hair health. It also discusses how to take folic acid for hair growth and other essential nutrients for healthy hair.
Is Folic Acid Good For Hair Growth?
Folic acid is a B vitamin that generates new cells, including hair follicles.
A deficiency in folic acid has been associated with hair loss and premature graying. Supplementing with folic acid may improve hair growth in cases of deficiency.
However, it’s not a guaranteed solution for hair loss, especially when deficiency is not the underlying cause.
To support healthy hair, consume a nutrient-rich diet with B vitamins, iron, vitamin D, and protein. If you’re losing significant amounts of hair, consult your healthcare provider for an appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
What Is Folic Acid?
Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate or vitamin B9. It’s the form found in most dietary supplements and fortified foods such as bread, rice, and some breakfast cereals.
Folic acid is used by your body to make new, healthy cells. These include the cells found inside your skin, hair, and nails.
Furthermore, folic acid is necessary to keep your red blood cells circulating in healthy numbers. This ensures a steady flow of oxygen to your hair follicles.
Folic acid supplementation is commonly recommended before and during pregnancy. It helps form the neural tube in developing babies and can protect against spine and brain birth defects.
Benefits Of Taking Folic Acid For Hair
So, does folic acid help with hair loss?
While research suggesting the benefits of folic acid for hair is limited, it shows promising potential.
Although relatively uncommon, folate deficiencies have been associated with hair loss and changes in hair, skin, and nails.
People with poor diet, alcoholism, and conditions that interfere with nutrient absorption are at a greater risk of deficiency.
In addition, there is limited evidence that folate levels may impact the progression of alopecia areata and premature graying. Alopecia areata is a condition where the immune system attacks hair follicles, causing hair loss.
Remember, though, that further human studies are needed to confirm folic acid’s specific role in hair loss. There isn’t enough evidence to routinely recommend folic acid supplements without a confirmed deficiency.
How To Take Folic Acid For Hair Growth
Before taking folic acid for hair loss and thinning hair, it’s important to know how much folic acid to take.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance for folate is 400 micrograms for men and women aged 19 years and older. Pregnant women need 600 micrograms, while lactating women require 500 micrograms.
In addition to hair, skin, and nail changes, folic acid deficiency can lead to the following symptoms:
- Ulcers in the mouth or tongue.
- Gastrointestinal issues.
- Shortness of breath.
- Difficulty concentrating.
If you have a folate deficiency and increase your folic acid consumption, you may notice improvements in hair loss.
However, if you are not deficient in folate, taking a folic acid supplement is unlikely to be beneficial. In fact, it may actually lead to adverse health concerns.
High intakes of folic acid supplements and foods fortified with folic acid may worsen symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Too much folic acid may also increase the risk of certain types of cancer, especially colorectal cancer in some individuals.
These effects are unlikely to occur with the consumption of naturally high-folate foods.
The National Institutes of Health recommends adults keep daily folic acid consumption to less than 1,000 micrograms.
What To Eat
The best way to ensure your folate needs are met is to consume a balanced diet with folate-rich foods, including:
- Green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, turnip greens, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.
- Fortified breakfast cereals, rice, and pasta.
- Beef liver.
- Beans and legumes.
If you don’t get enough folic acid in your diet from food, you may consider adding a folic acid supplement.
Other Key Nutrients For Healthy Hair
In addition to folic acid, several other nutrients are important for healthy, strong hair.
Dietary protein is important for hair growth and health. This is because hair is made primarily of keratin.
Keratin is a protein that maintains the strength and health of your hair, skin, and nails.
When we consume enough protein in the diet, it breaks down into amino acids. The hair follicle can use these amino acids to build up keratin.
Other B Vitamins
Like folic acid, B vitamins support healthy hair and hair growth by improving blood supply to the scalp.
Deficiencies in riboflavin, biotin, and vitamin B12 have been associated with hair loss.
One 2016 study of 541 females found a biotin deficiency in 38% of women who complained of hair loss.
However, no evidence supports using vitamin supplementation to improve hair growth in those without vitamin deficiencies.
Iron is important for producing hemoglobin, a protein in your red blood cells. Hemoglobin delivers oxygen to repair and grow cells, including your hair follicles responsible for hair growth.
Current studies have produced conflicting evidence about the relationship between iron deficiency and hair health. However, most experts agree that inadequate iron intake can lead to hair loss.
Moreover, vitamin C is important in those with hair loss caused by iron deficiency. This is because it helps promote iron absorption in the gastrointestinal tract.
Vitamin D plays an important role in the growth and development of hair follicles. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to several common types of hair loss. A vitamin D deficiency may damage hair follicles permanently and cause premature graying.
More research is needed before regularly recommending vitamin D as a treatment for hair loss without a confirmed deficiency.
Folic acid is one of many nutrients needed for healthy hair.
A folic acid deficiency may lead to hair loss and premature graying. However, there is no evidence that folic acid alone is effective at promoting hair health.
To support hair health, prioritize a well-balanced diet with whole grains, vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, and fruit. Using quality hair products to prevent breakage and maintain your strands is also a good idea.
If you are noticing large amounts of hair loss, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider.
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