Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Vitamin (or 5) A Day… Helps Your Hair Grow Long & Pretty (read: |pritā|)

“Take your vitamins” and “drink lots of water” are words of advice often given to those trying to achieve optimum health, skin, hair, and nails. I have found that my vitamin regimen is at its best the weeks leading up to my annual appointment with my doctor (aka my eat meat, take your vitamins, get on birth control, nope too late you better have a baby now, iron supplement pushing medical professional).
Dr. Angela and I have had our share of battles… When she recommended I take a pre-natal in lieu of a traditional multi-vitamin I asked her if she was aware how awkward of a position I would be in when the bottle was spotted by potential suitors. When she suggested I begin eating meat to combat my anemia I respectfully declined but agreed to make a conscious effort to load up on iron rich veggies. When she encouraged me to begin taking birth control I confessed that I was not getting it in frequently enough to justify the potential side effects including: mood swings/weight-gain/hormone imbalance/blood clots/cancer/and “in some cases death”. During my last visit Dr. Angela dropped the “use them or lose them” egg bomb on me. How we went from “take this pill/get this shot/insert this ring down there” hard sell to “use them or lose them” I may never know. But I wasn’t ready to have the “your eggs are getting old so it's time to freeze them” conversation with my Doc so I agreed to the iron supplements and the "anybody want to go half on a baby" pre-natal vitamins. I probably would have eaten a cheeseburger right then and there if it would have kept Dr. Angela’s mind (and mouth) off my aging eggs.
It’s been 9 months since I last saw Dr. Angela. After our appointment I got on my supplement game pretty tough. I trekked down to Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck) and stocked up on the goods, I bought a pretty pink pill case, and I set a daily alarm on the iPhone to remind me that it was vitamin time (a tip I learned from one of my birth-control pill popping friends). For the first month or two, I was militarily regimented but as time has passed I’ve been less than consistent. These days, the only reminder of the commitment I made to Dr. Angela is the muffled sound of a few pills jingling in a pill case at the bottom of my handbag... Suffice to say, I’ve moved on. These days healthy hair experiments and this blog consume my thoughts and free time. But today that muffled pill box at the bottom of my bag called out to me louder than any biological clock ever has. I had a revelation: If the pills in this box are good for my body, they just might be good for my hair.
I got together with my good friend Google and researched the potential benefits the pills in my stash could/should/would have on my mane. Here’s what I found:
·         Vitamin A –Aids in sebum production which works to keep the scalp and hair hydrated from the inside out. Curly girl rule #1: hydrated curls are happy curls.
·         Vitamin D – Assists with the absorption of calcium, which is essential in the maintenance of healthy hair follicles. Happy follicle = happy new hair growth.
·         Vitamin E – Works as an antioxidant and protects hair from free radicals. Aids in the production of red blood cells that help with blood circulation. I've also heard that vitamin E contributes to shiny hair and glowing skin.
·         Folic Acid – An essential component of cell function and tissue growth. This vitamin is the main reason Dr. Angela pushed for a pre-natal over a regular women’s multi-vitamin. Apparently the body is able to build up stores of folic acid over time (translation: you don’t pee it out). So, when I do decide to have a baby the folic acid I’ve accumulated over the years will give him a super strength baby brain (What that means for my 2nd born who won’t have access to all these years of folic acid build up is a mystery.)
·         Vitamin B3 (Niacin) – Improves circulation to the scalp. Circulation is a key component of cell regeneration and is believed to be integral in stimulating hair growth.
·         Biotin – A deficiency can cause the hair to grow thin and lead to breakage. A supplement regimen that incorporates biotin assists in keeping healthy hair strong.
·         Zinc – Aids in cell regeneration, sebum production, and protein synthesis.  Translation: stimulates growth, activates hydration, and aides in the composition of hair's building block
·         Vitamin C – Aids in the absorption of other vitamins and nutrients and stimulates blood circulation.
·         Iron – Key to the production of red blood cells which transport oxygen throughout the body. Deficiencies in iron have been linked to hair loss. If keeping my iron levels in check will help keep my hair on my head, sign me up.
·         Omega-3 – As an anti-inflammatory omega-3 promotes healthy hair follicles thereby preventing damage and facilitating healthy hair growth.  
I have always believed and known that what we see on the outside is a direct reflection of what is going on on the inside. If a commitment to the supplement regimen of my past may help me in my quest for healthy, thick, bouncy, long, curly hair in the future, I vow to rededicate myself to the cause. Dr. Angela is going to be so proud when we meet again in a few months… Even though my eggs are still aging and I haven’t changed my mind about putting any on ice.
What vitamins, supplements, and/or nutrients are staples in your healthy hair regimen?
The statements in this post have not been evaluated by a physician (or my lawyer for that matter), so if you have questions about your personal supplement regimen, aging eggs, or baby stopper options, you should contact your personal physician. While your doctor may not share my sense of humor, he or she is a professional and knows way more about this stuff than I do.
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1 comment:

  1. womens one a day and fish oil (2 capsules) daily. the rest I drink in the form of a green smoothie daily. when i was in my late 30s I took lots of supplements and ended up with a headache...seems i was overloading. i also learned your body can only absorb a certain amount, so i stopped. i took prenatals when pregnant, but i wont take them just for hair growth.