Vitamin D Promotes Growth After Hair Loss — Are You Getting Enough?
Whether we're talking collagen powder or vitamin C, there's no doubt certain supplements can help bolster your beauty and give you a healthy glow.
And while vitamin D is fairly well known for its skin benefits in the beauty realm, many don't realize that the essential vitamin is critical for hair growth as well.
The connection between vitamin D & hair loss
Vitamin D delivers myriad health benefits, including supporting healthy, long hair. As it turns out, vitamin D3 is involved in various signaling pathways in the hair follicle and has a direct (and critical) role in the hair growth (aka anagen) phase.
It goes the other way, as well: According to a 2021 review from the 1Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology1, individuals with the following non-scarring alopecia conditions are more likely to have insufficient vitamin D levels:
- Telogen effluvium: Temporary and reversible hair thinning that occurs after periods of severe stress or a change to the body
- Androgenetic alopecia (aka male-pattern baldness): Genetically predetermined hair loss that causes permanent balding
- Alopecia areata (aka patchy baldness): A disease in which the immune system attacks hair follicles, causing sudden hair loss in patches
- Trichotillomania: A disorder that causes recurrent, irresistible urges to pull out hair on the head and other places (e.g., eyebrows, eyelashes)
In one case report published in Annals of Dermatology, a 7-year-old boy with reduced vitamin D receptor (VDR) expression in alopecia areata had new hair growth after six weeks2 of applying a topical vitamin D analog (calcipotriol) daily. Complete regrowth was found after three months of application and no hair loss was observed for the next six months.
"Vitamin D3 directly interacts with hair follicles, and when D3 levels aren't optimal, it can decrease the volume of hair on the scalp and throughout the body," FWTS-certified trichologist and founder of Advanced Trichology William Gaunitz previously told mindbodygreen.
Considering 41% of U.S. adults3 are insufficient in vitamin D and approximately 29%3 are straight-up deficient in the sunshine vitamin, a large chunk of the population would benefit from getting more vitamin D if they're looking to grow out their locks (especially following periods of hair shedding).
How to achieve vitamin D sufficiency
The thing is, getting enough vitamin D from diet and sunlight alone is absurdly difficult (read: practically impossible). If you're looking to promote (and maintain) healthy vitamin D levels, high-quality vitamin D supplementation is your best bet.
To net the greatest health benefits, prioritize these features in a vitamin D supplement:
- Always choose vitamin D3, rather than D2, to make sure you're getting the most effective form.
- Take an efficacious dose—i.e., 5,000 IU of vitamin D daily. (Experts agree this is the dosage you need to achieve truly optimal levels.)
- Choose a vitamin D with built-in fat to optimize absorption. If your supplement doesn't have fats included, make sure you take it with a meal each day to bolster its bioavailability.
(Hint: mindbodygreen has already put together a comprehensive list of premium vitamin D supplements that include these incredible features.)
Research shows that vitamin D is critically important to the hair follicles' growth phase, especially in cases of hair loss. To promote vitamin D sufficiency, consider taking a high-quality vitamin D supplement daily.
Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition. Chamberlain believes in taking small steps to improve your well-being—whether that means eating more plant-based foods, checking in with a therapist weekly, or spending quality time with your closest friends. When she isn’t typing away furiously at her keyboard, you can find her cooking in the kitchen, hanging outside, or doing a vinyasa flow.