The skin is the largest living, breathing organ in the body. As such, it has the remarkable ability to convert sunlight into Vitamin D, which is vital for healthy skin and hair. In fact, Vitamin D deficiency is thought to be directly linked to alopecia, otherwise known as hair loss.
Thousands of people in the U.S. are said to be lacking in Vitamin D as a result of poor diet or sedentary lifestyles that keep them indoors and away from the sun’s nourishing rays in moderation. The further north one lives, moreover, the more likely he or she is Vitamin D deficient. Studies also show that women with thinning hair have lower levels of Vitamin D in the bloodstream.
Vitamin D is essential to the normal functioning of hair follicles and hair cycling. This three-stage process begins with the anagen, or growth phase. The catagen phase is when the hair stops growing and the telegen phase is when the hair is considered “dead.” Vitamin D stimulates not just normal hair growth but the regeneration of strong, healthy, colorful shafts of hair. Of course, hair loss also happens as a normal playing out of family genetics and can be addressed through skillful hair transplant surgery or the process can be slowed down with the use of topical chemicals such as Rogaine.
A simple blood test at the doctor’s office will determine if you are lacking Vitamin D. There are many excellent food sources which contain large amounts of Vitamin D, for example salmon (450 IUs per 3-ounce serving), cod liver oil, milk, orange juice, eggs, and tuna. Some nutritionists recommend 2,000 IUs of Vitamin D per day in the form of supplements which are readily obtained at the health food store. In order for the body to absorb and metabolize Vitamin D efficiently you will need to add to your diet foods that are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. This will ensure that the Vitamin D your body produces – and your follicles need – is in abundant supply.
Discuss your concerns and options with a doctor or qualified hair transplant specialist. Dr. Kyle S. Choe is a board certified facial plastic surgeon located in Virginia Beach. He can be reached at The Choe Center for Facial Plastic Surgery at (757) 389-5850 for a personal consultation.