Can Lack Of Vitamin B-12 Cause Hair Loss?

Dietary deficiency is not common in developed countries. Fortified foods and processed canned foods are enriched with a lot of vitamin supplements. In addition, multivitamin supplements are available in the form of pills and intramuscular injection. B12 or cobalamin is particularly more important among other eight vitamins which are actively involved in every cell metabolism of the human body. It is cofactor profoundly intricate the chromatin synthesis, enhances RBC maturation, and upholds the CNS function. The most common cause of vitamin B-12 deficiency is malabsorption, which is common in economically poor countries. It is because of loss of intrinsic factor which helps to absorb B-12 from a food source. This condition may cause pernicious anemia which is common in aged people. It is rare in the advanced country because they have access to fortified foods.

Can Lack Of Vitamin B-12 Cause Hair Loss?

Can Lack Of Vitamin B-12 Cause Hair Loss?

Vitamins and minerals are essential for hair growth, including iron, zinc, biotin, and niacin, vitamin C, and fish protein. Protein malnutrition can cause changes in hair growth like hair thinning and loss. Vitamin D has a significant role in hair follicle cycling. It is important for expression of keratinocytes during the growing phase of hair cycle. Vitamin A also has a significant part in activation of hair follicle stem cells. In case of B-12, there is no strong scientific proof or evidence associated with hair loss. It is essential for the synthesis of genetic material i.e. DNA in the cells. Hair growth depends on the genetic information but potential nutrient for hair growth than B-12 is protein. Protein deficiency can cause malnutrition, which could lead to hair loss. Many articles have been published on the internet stating the essential role of vitamin B-12 in hair growth.

Though the evidence lacks, however, some journals profoundly found no association between a deficit of this vitamin and hair loss. Some studies say that B-12 deficit can cause changes in hair, but not certainly hair loss. Hypopigmentation of the hair i.e. loss of hair color has been reported with a deficit of B-12.

What Other Nutrients Has Significance in Hair Growth?

Individuals with hair loss often inquire whether nutritional supplements can help restore hair growth or prevent further hair loss. Iron-rich nutrients have benefits in improving the function of hair follicle matrix cells. It is proved in a mouse model that hair growth was restored by reversing iron deficiency condition.

Zinc is an essential mineral required by hundreds of enzymes and multiple transcription factors that regulate gene expression. Zinc deficiency can cause hair brittle and hair changes such as acute telogen effluvium. A telogen effluvium is a reversible condition in which hair falls out after a stressful experience.

Hair changes also encounter occurs because of fatty acids deficiency, which includes loss of scalp hair and eyebrows as well as lightening of hair. Selenium is more important trace element that plays a role in protection from oxidative damage as well as hair follicle morphogenesis.

Protein malnutrition can cause kwashiorkor disorder, which can result in hair changes that include hair thinning and hair loss


Nutrient deficiencies may result in hair loss. But there is no potential scientific evidence exists regarding the benefit of B-12 on hair loss. Despite this, patients seek B-12 dietary supplements as a therapy for hair loss. Direct to customer advertising and sale of supplements for hair loss has increased. Clinician advice is must because some of these supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Moreover, excess supplements can result in multiple toxicities. For example, vitamin E (Tocopherols and tocotrienols) may result in hypervitaminosis E, which can lead to the adverse effect of hair growth.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 29, 2018

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