Hair fall is one of the most common problems in most people and just like any problem related to nutrition, hair growth depends on the diet consumed. Vitamin B12 is touted to help with hair growth along with other B complex vitamins.
There are many reasons for hair fall or slower hair growth. These include genetic or hereditary factors, environmental factors such as water pollution and air pollution, stress, chemicals in hair treatment, deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals and also side effects of certain drugs and treatments.
What Is The Role Of Vitamin B12 In The Body?
Vitamin B12 falls under vitamin B complex group and is one of the eight B vitamins, which is also known as cobalamin. It is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a crucial role in red cell formation in the bone marrow. Deficiency of vitamin B12 could lead to immature, large and abnormal red blood cells and may cause difficulty in their movement from bone marrow to the blood, thus leading to anemia. Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in DNA synthesis and production along with cell growth. It is also important in the formation of myelin sheath around the nerves and also in the transmission of nerve impulses. It also helps in the conversion of homocysteine to methionine. It is also necessary for the maintenance of normal gastrointestinal lining and is absorbed in the body with the help of hydrochloric acid and intrinsic factor in the stomach.
Can Vitamin B12 Help Hair Growth?
What is the role of vitamin b12 in hair growth? As noted above vitamin B12 helps with cell growth and DNA synthesis, thus it is needed in hair follicle growth and replication. Although, there are other vitamins and minerals required for healthy hair, vitamin B12 plays an important role in its growth. It is also responsible in formation and maturation of red blood cells, therefore, its deficiency can lead to reduced red blood cells in the blood whose main function is to carry oxygen to different cells. Decreased red blood cells will lead to decreased oxygen as well as lack of nutrition for the hair follicles, which could result in hair fall, brittle hair and stunted hair growth.
Sources Of Vitamin B12
As vitamin B12 is not produced in the human body and is essential for various functions in the body. It is absorbed from various food sources, mostly being animal or dairy sources such as fish, eggs, meat, poultry, milk, cheese and milk products. It is present in beef liver, beef steak, ground beef, oysters, shellfish, clams, trout, salmon, yogurt, tuna, haddock, milk, cheese, eggs, chicken, ham and other pork products.
Strict vegetarians and vegans are at a greater risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency, as natural sources of vitamin B12 are limited to animal foods. Thus, vegetarians should take diet and foods fortified with vitamin B12 such as vecon veg stock, textured veg protein, veggie burger mixes, soya milk, veg and sunflower margarines and breakfast cereals.
Complications Related To Absorption Of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is easily absorbed and processed by a healthy body in the absence of any medical condition. Its deficiency is seen in people with poor nutrition, infection, cancer, surgery, alcohol, pernicious anemia, medications (PPIs or other acid-suppressing drugs), exposure to nitrous oxide (during surgery or recreational use), stomach/intestinal problems such as intestinal dysbiosis, leaky gut or gut inflammation, atrophic gastritis or hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid) and/or nerve damage. Diet that is rich in low fat animal products supplies a generous amount of vitamin B12 and is sufficient without the need of any supplement.
Considerations for Hair Growth
People who have severe deficiency of vitamin B12 can take supplements in the form of injections, orally, sublingually or nasal preparations prescribed by a medical practitioner. The deficiency of this vitamin could lead to brittle hair and stunted hair growth. Since vitamin B12 works in conjunction with other B complex vitamins, it is necessary to take a diet that is rich in all nutrients and vitamins for healthy hair growth.
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