I am a 27 year old woman. Over the past year, my hair has been looking very dull. I mean am not losing my hair or anything, but it lacks sheen. What is the best nutrient or supplement that I can take?
It is hard to tell what the cause is because there are so many reasons why this happens. I would look at this systematically and try to track down what may be the underlying cause. Have you changed shampoo or hair products? Have you added chemicals to your hair (treatment, salon, etc.). Have you moved? Is the water quality the same (high chlorine, hard water, etc.). Have you been spending more time in the sun? Blow drying your hair more? These are just some the questions I think of when looking at external factors that could damage hair.
However, there may be internal causes as well. Our hair needs some important raw materials to be healthy. Some main components of healthy hair are proteins (amino acids), keratin and melanin. When one or more of these components are not being produced, it affects the quality of the hair. To make the components of healthy hair, the body needs to have the nutrients, vitamin and mineral co-factors which we take in through our diet. When people have nutrient deficiencies, it is because they are not getting the needed nutrient, it is not being absorbed, or it is not being utilized. All can cause lack of sheen in the hair (as well as a host of problems). So the question is- which one(s) is best? Simply put, it would be the those that you are deficient in.
If you have been tested and have been found to have a nutrient deficiency, you will want to replace the depleted nutrients through your diet and/or supplementation. It is important to also remember that the endocrine system has a lot to do with the health of our hair, skin, nails, etc. Looking at thyroid and adrenal function as well as sex hormones (Progesterone, Estrogens, Testosterone, DHEA, etc.) can also reveal more systemic causes. If you want to make sure that you are getting the necessary nutrients for your hair to shine again. Be sure you are getting the following in your diet:
- Protein: Good sources of protein include dairy, eggs, fish, meat and poultry. Some non-animal sources are nuts, beans & rice, quinoia seeds.
- Iron: Good sources of Iron can be found in dried fruit, egg yolks, potatoes, clams, nuts, avocados, brewer’s yeast, lentils, dried prunes, raisins, sesame seeds, legumes, meat, leafy greens and whole grains.
- Omega-3s: Essential fatty acids can prevent dryness and/or brittleness as well as adding moisture to the hair. Good sources are flax seeds, sardines, soybeans, walnuts and wild salmon.
- Silica: Is a mineral that strengthens the hair cuticle, and enhances elasticity. Silica is found in cabbage, celery and oats (steel cut).
- Vitamin A: Good sources are leafy greens, carrots, carrots-raw & juiced, pumpkins, yams, tuna, mangoes, turnip, beet greens, butternut squash, spinach, fish, capsicums and sweet potatoes.
- Biotin: Vitamin B7 helps to maintain hair growth and is beneficial for hair loss. Good sources are eggs, dried fruit and molasses.
- Zinc: Is exceptional for your hair. Good food sources are meat, eggs, poultry, crab, whole grains, legumes, lima beans, mushrooms, pecans, pumpkin & sunflower seeds, soybeans, oysters, brazil nuts and soybeans.
*Last, but not least. If you are under acute or chronic stress, this must be the first thing that is addressed. Too much stress can use up (deplete) the nutrients needed to maintain healthy hair. So rest, relax and breath. And if your are so inclined, scalp massages are excellent for distressing and bring oxygen to the scalp and hair follicles. Enjoy.