Longing for a thicker or longer locks but find your hair is shedding faster than it used to? Hair loss, known as alopecia affects more than 80 percent of men and nearly half of women during their lifetime.
Androgenetic alopecia (also known as pattern hair loss) is the most common type of hair loss. In women, hair thins slowly all over the scalp, but the hairline doesn’t usually recede. Many women experience this type of hair loss as a natural part of aging, although hair loss may begin any time after puberty.
In men, hair loss can begin any time after puberty and progress over the lifetime. It starts above the temples and continues around the sides and the top of the head.
The second most common form of hair loss is called alopecia areata, an autoimmune condition, whereby the immune system attacks healthy hair follicles. This causes hair loss in small clumps, and stunts new growth.
The Role of Vitamin Deficiency in Hair Loss
While often caused by hormones and genetics, there is evidence that certain nutrient deficiencies play a key role in hair loss. In this article we look at whether hair loss could be a Vitamin D deficiency symptom.
Vitamin D is a is a fat-soluble vitamin that facilitates calcium absorption and plays an important role in immune health, bones, teeth and muscle function. Research has also found a strong link with hair loss.
Vitamin D binds to vitamin D receptors across a variety of cells in the body, including immune cells and hair follicles. The Vitamin D receptors on the follicular cells are present in larger amounts during the anagen phase of the hair cycle – this is the phase in which new hairs are actively growing from the follicle to their full length.
Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with two of the most common forms of hair loss: androgenetic alopecia and alopecia areata.
One study found that 91% of patients with alopecia areata had a Vitamin D deficiency, compared to only 33% of healthy controls.
A Vitamin D deficiency was also found in both women and men with pattern hair loss (androgenetic alopecia).
How does Vitamin D help with hair loss?
Vitamin D facilitates new hair follicles
One study found Vitamin D helped to create new hair follicles, increased the amount of outgrowing hair shafts and the rate of follicle maturation. “In other words, the hair grew thicker and lasted longer”, says the study's Author, Dr. Noriyuki Aoi.
Vitamin D stimulates keratin cells
Skin cells known as keratinocytes, produce keratin, a protein which keeps our skin, hair and nails strong and healthy. Vitamin D stimulates these keratin-producing cells, which helps them to facilitate hair growth. A Vitamin D deficiency therefore makes it difficult for the keratinocytes to do their job, and hair loss and increased shedding occur.
Recommendations to help with hair loss
Research suggests that hair loss could be a vitamin D deficiency symptom, so if your hair is thinning, Vitamin D supplements may be beneficial.
If you want to try Vitamin D for hair loss, we recommend a good quality, natural Vitamin D3 from a plant source. Multiple studies have found that Vitamin D3 is more bio-available and bio-active in the body than Vitamin D2.