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Essential Vitamins For Hair Growth

Vicky Davis

Medically reviewed by Vicky Davis, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 8/11/2021

Although the main causes of male pattern baldness are genetic and hormonal, diet and lifestyle factors can also have a huge effect on the health 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 thickness, shine and health 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 shared the most important vitamins for healthy hair. We’ve also shared other ways that you can stimulate optimal hair growth, prevent hair loss and maintain a healthy head of hair in your 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond. 

Top Vitamins For Hair Growth

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 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 become brittle, increasing the risk of it breaking off when you style or comb it. 

Vitamin A

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 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

Vitamin B12 is one of eight different vitamin B complex supplements. It’s found naturally in fish, red meat and certain fortified foods and plays an important role in your central nervous system function, DNA synthesis and numerous enzymatic reactions.

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 United States, six percent of adults below the age of 60 and almost 20 percent of adults 60 and up are estimated to suffer from some level of vitamin B12 deficiency.

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.

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Vitamin C

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.

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 numerous fruits and vegetables, including oranges, grapefruits, green and red peppers, tomatoes, spinach and broccoli. 

Vitamin C is also found in most multivitamin supplements. 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, or calciferol, is essential for healthy bone growth, muscle function and absorption of calcium. 

People deficient in vitamin D often experience health issues, including fatigue, mood changes, muscle weakness and hair shedding.

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.

Technically, vitamin D is a collection of vitamins, all of which play an important role in promoting strong overall health.

Vitamin D deficiency is one of several causes of telogen effluvium -- a stress-related hair loss condition that can cause you to rapidly shed hair

The results are rapid and severe, with as much as 70% of your anagen hairs (hairs involved in active growth) falling out over the course of two months.

If you don’t get a lot of sunlight and have noticed rapid 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 10 to 15 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

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 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

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 of women with hair loss issues have biotin deficiencies.

Most people get 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 male pattern baldness. 

Some research has found that biotin may stimulate more rapid hair growth and promote thicker, healthier hair. 

In one recent study, researchers found that people who used a biotin supplement reported less 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

Other Ways to Grow a Healthy Head of Hair

Although vitamins play a key role in promoting healthy hair growth, they’re not the only options available for growing thick and healthy hair.

Hair Loss Medications

If you’re starting to notice the early signs of hair loss, the best options for maintaining your hair and promoting healthy, sustainable growth are medications such as minoxidil and finasteride. 

Minoxidil is a topical hair loss medication that treats hair loss by moving hairs into the anagen, or growth, phase of the hair growth cycle. It also helps to stimulate blood flow to your scalp.

We offer minoxidil liquid and minoxidil foam online. Our guide to applying minoxidil covers how you can use minoxidil to combat hair loss and promote healthy hair growth. 

Finasteride is an oral medication. It works by blocking the production of dihydrotestosterone, or DHT -- the main hormone involved in male pattern baldness.

We offer finasteride online, following a consultation with a licensed healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate. 

Hair Care Habits

While hair loss medications like minoxidil and finasteride are the best option for preventing hair loss, making a few changes to your hair care habits can also make a big difference:

  • Use a hair loss prevention shampoo. Look for a shampoo that contains saw palmetto or ketoconazole -- ingredients that may help to reduce hair fall and stimulate healthy 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 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 damage your hair cells and reduce the flow of blood to your hair follicles, potentially affecting your hair growth.

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The Bottom Line on Essential Vitamins for Hair Growth

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.

If you’re starting to lose your hair, it’s important to act quickly to prevent it from worsening. Our range of hair loss treatments includes FDA-approved medications, shampoos and hair growth vitamins formulated to prevent shedding and promote healthy hair growth.

Worried about losing your hair? Our guide to the most common types of hair loss explains the factors that can cause you to lose hair, from temporary forms of hair shedding to male pattern baldness and more.

17 Sources

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.

  1. Hughes, E.C. & Saleh, D. (2021, June 8). Telogen Effluvium. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430848/
  2. Almohanna, H.M., Ahmed, A.A., Tsatalis, J.P. & Tosti, A. (2019, March). The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Hair Loss: A Review. Dermatology and Therapy. 9 (1), 51–70. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6380979/
  3. Vitamin A. (2021, March 26). Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/
  4. Vitamin B12. (2021, April 6). Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/
  5. Boyera, N., Galey, I. & Bernard, B.A. (1998, June). Effect of vitamin C and its derivatives on collagen synthesis and cross-linking by normal human fibroblasts. International Journal of Cosmetic Science. 20 (3). 151-8. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18505499/
  6. Karna, E., Szoka, L., Huynh, T.Y. & Palka, J.A. (2020). Proline-dependent regulation of collagen metabolism. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences. 77 (10), 1911–1918. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7228914/
  7. Vitamin C. (2021, March 26). Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
  8. Khan, Q.J. & Fabian, C.J. (2010, March). How I Treat Vitamin D Deficiency. Journal of Oncology Practice. 6 (2), 97–101. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2835491/
  9. Vitamin D. (2021, March 26). Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
  10. Hughes, E.C. & Saleh, D. (2021, June 8). Telogen Effluvium. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430848/
  11. Vitamin E. (2021, March 26). Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/
  12. Beoy, L.A., Woei, W.J. & Hay, Y.K. (2010, December). Effects of Tocotrienol Supplementation on Hair Growth in Human Volunteers. Tropical Life Sciences Research. 21 (2), 91–99. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3819075/
  13. Trüeb, R.M. (2016, April-June). Serum Biotin Levels in Women Complaining of Hair Loss. International Journal of Trichology. 8 (2), 73–77. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4989391/
  14. Biotin. (2021, January 15). Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Biotin-Consumer/
  15. Ablon, G. (2015). A 3-Month, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study Evaluating the Ability of an Extra-Strength Marine Protein Supplement to Promote Hair Growth and Decrease Shedding in Women with Self-Perceived Thinning Hair. Dermatology Research and Practice. 841570. Retrieved from https://www.hindawi.com/journals/drp/2015/841570/
  16. Badri, T., Nessel, T.A. & Kumar, D.D. (2021, April 13). Minoxidil. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482378/
  17. Zito, P.M., Bistas, K.G. & Syed, K. (2021, March 27). Finasteride. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513329/

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

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