Hair Loss

Can a Vitamin B12 Deficiency Cause Hair Loss?


June 26, 2018

Healthy hair follicles are amazingly productive. While the speed of hair growth varies by individual, on average, follicles can produce around six inches of hair per year.

To keep these tiny hair factories strong and active, it’s important to eat a well-balanced diet, full of the nutrients hair cells need to divide and grow. One of those vital nutrients is B12, also known as cobalamin. B12 promotes healthy hair growth by assisting in the production of oxygen-rich red blood cells, which feed hair follicles.

How Vitamin B12 and Hair Growth Are Connected

Your hair is made of a protein called keratin. This substance is dead, which is why it doesn’t hurt when you get your hair cut. But, your hair follicles, located just under the surface of your skin, are very much alive. In fact, the bulb, which is the bottom part of the follicle, is made up of the fastest growing cells in the human body, dividing every 23 to 72 hours. At the base of the bulb is the papilla, which contains blood vessels. Its main job is to connect your follicles to your body’s blood supply to deliver the oxygen and nutrients necessary for hair growth. Since B12 helps produce red blood cells, having enough of this vitamin is essential to the hair growth process.

Sources of Vitamin B12

Because the human body doesn’t produce vitamin B12, it’s important to get this nutrient from your diet. B12 can be found in animal-based foods such as fish, poultry, meat, dairy and eggs. The majority of Americans get enough B12 from these sources. But, this vitamin doesn’t exist in plant-based foods, so vegans and vegetarians should talk to their doctors about adding B12 supplements or B12-fortified foods to their diet.

Health Problems Due to a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 is essential for overall health, not just hair growth, so a deficiency could cause multiple problems including anemia. With a minor deficiency of B12, there may be no symptoms. But, if the deficiency isn’t addressed, it could have serious repercussions such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, nerve problems and depression. In addition, age, Crohn’s or celiac disease, immune system disorders, heavy drinking and weight loss surgery can make it harder for your body to absorb B12, which could lead to a deficiency.

Taking a B12 Supplement for Hair Loss

If you’re experiencing hair loss and suspect a B12 deficiency may be the culprit, talk to your doctor about ruling out any serious underlying health problems. Your doctor can also give you a blood test to check your B12 level and help you decide if a supplement is right for you. There are many different types of hair loss and only a medical professional can determine the exact cause.

What You Can Do About Hair Loss

At Hair Club, we understand the importance of hair and how losing it can affect your life. The good news is, no matter how much hair you’ve lost, we have a personalized solution that’s right for you. We’ve helped more than 600,000 men and women across North America restore their hair and transform their lives. And we can help you, too. Schedule your complimentary consultation with one of our hair loss experts today and learn what you can do to get your hair back.

For informational purposes only. The exact cause of hair loss can only be determined by a medical professional.

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