Vitamin D and hair growth are inextricably linked, according to research. Vitamin D, otherwise known as the sunshine vitamin, is composed of a group of fat-soluble compounds that mainly shapes the development and sustenance of bone health. It primarily regulates the gastric absorption of magnesium, calcium, zinc and other minerals that fortify bone density, strength and structure.
Recent studies have mapped out the connection between vitamin D deficiency and diseases of the skin, heart and premature aging. Said studies similarly reveal vitamin D traits that assist in the hair growth process. They pinpoint related problems such as hair loss and alopecia in children suffering from rickets, a childhood condition associated with impaired development of the bones caused by deficiency in vitamin D. Rickets cases in children contribute to increased risks of bone fracture and deformity, while at the same time accelerating hair loss.
Hair sheds naturally everyday and some amount of hair loss can be normal. But certain diseases such thyroid problems, diabetes and lupus can inevitably rush hair loss. Hereditary hair loss, commonly known as androgenetic alopecia, affects over 75 million in the U.S. or one in every four Americans.
On the other hand, individual lifestyle can overturn hair health and lead to pronounced hair damage. Poor dietary choices, stress, smoking, alcohol and pollution accumulate detrimental aftereffects to the health and hair. As a result, people get ill and are exposed to unwanted side effects of medications and chemotherapy, which cause deplorable hair loss. The key to vibrant hair health is managing or making adjustments to one’s lifestyle. In extreme cases, consult a dermatologist to stave off more hair loss and start regrowing hair.
Vitamin D deficiency phenomenon became prevalent due to environmental degradation. It used to be unheard of when people enjoyed regular sunlight exposure. But as ozone layer depletion increased the risk of skin cancer and warmed atmosphere temperature by five percent during the past decade, most people would rather stay indoors. Most work has also shifted from the field to indoor jobs, getting people lesser sun exposure than before.
Deficiency in vitamin D presents a serious health risk. Subtle bone pain and weakness in muscles as well as glucose intolerance can be symptoms of deficiency. Here are the health risks in vitamin D deficiency.
– Cardiovascular disease
– Asthma, especially in children
– Old age cognitive impairment
Causes of deficiency
Diet. Vegetarian diets that adhere strictly to plant-based food sources lead to depletion of vitamin D in the body. Most natural sources of vitamin D are animal-based.
Limited exposure to sunlight. Occupations, religious and cultural norms can prevent sunshine from helping you produce vitamin D naturally.
Gastric absorption disorder. Certain diseases like cystic fibrosis create problems for the intestines in absorbing vitamin D from diet.
Impaired kidney function. The kidneys are responsible for converting vitamin D to active form, complicating risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Dark skin. Melanin, the dark skin pigment, weakens the skin’s reaction in the production of vitamin D, causing this deficiency and health risk.
Sunscreen. Outdoor-loving beach goers, hikers and sun tanners frequent using sunscreen, while protecting skin from harsh UV rays from the sun, prevents vitamin D production.
Treatment for deficiency
Diet and supplements are the most basic approach in treatment of vitamin D deficiency. Lack of consensus on required levels of vitamin D for optimal health puts estimate of 20 to 30 nanograms per milliliter vitamin D bas adequate. To avoid risk factors, ask your doctor about vitamin D supplementation.
Sources of Vitamin D
Vitamin D can be consumed from food sources and supplements. Moreover, our body produces vitamin D photochemically in the skin in the form of vitamin D3 with plenty of exposure to the sun. Exposure to sunshine for 30 minutes provides about 10000 IU or more vitamin D3.
If you got less time to spare for a limited sun exposure, be sure to go for vitamin D rich food. They include plants, seafood and dairy such as mushroom, eggs, cod liver oil, oyster, sardines, salmon and tuna.
Of course, vitamin D alone does not cause hair to grow automatically, though it is a contributing element in mitigating thinning hair. The important thing is making that nutrient for hair a part of your diet.
Vitamin D does a lot of good things for the body. The other little known role played by vitamin D is helping reduce stress and depression. Stress has been related to hair loss and vitamin D serves as an effective shock absorber. Vitamin D makes use of magnesium, an element that aids the brain in controlling our emotions, thereby reducing stress.
Functions for hair growth
Although many different vitamins – and minerals – actively participate in hair health, vitamin D is largely responsible for making healthy hair happen. Studies have uncovered the existence of vitamin D receptors or VDR genes in the hair follicles, substantiating the leading physiological role vitamin D plays in the hair growth cycle and prevention of hair loss.
Particularly during hair growth cycle, vitamin D receptors needs to feed nutrients. In a complex chain of events, the VDR receptors utilize vitamin D binding protein to fasten with metabolites and convey them to undernourished follicles and tissues. This crucial biological activity awakens hair follicle to an energized state to kickstart hair production and turn around hair loss.
Alas, the studies are admittedly inconclusive, as we are just beginning to understand the interplay of vitamin D with its metabolic functions in the body. Perhaps more research are underway to provide us in the very near future a deeper knowledge of how this vitamin in question really work. Fortunately, at this stage, no one argues about the value of vitamin D. Some observations:
a) Vitamin D governs follicle life cycle. A deficiency in vitamin D disrupts the life span of the follicle.
b) Vitamin D regulates the digestion of calcium which affects health of hair.
c) The sunshine vitamin activates the hair receptor genes that manage hair growth.
Too much vitamin D
RDA for vitamin D is 600 IU. Too much vitamin D in the body can cause loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, constipation and weight loss. People who get 20 minutes of sunlight daily usually don’t need to take vitamin D supplements.
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