Folic Acid And It's Role In Hair Growth
The human body requires a number of macro and micro-nutrients to function optimally. One such important micro nutrient is Folic Acid.
It is the synthetic or man-made form of folate, which is a naturally occurring type of B vitamin. Folate, also known as Vitamin B9, occurs naturally in some kinds of food. Folic acid is the form of folate which is used to fortify food items and as a vitamin supplement because it is more stable during processing and storage. It is also better absorbed in this form than from food sources. Folic acid is a water-soluble vitamin and since humans cannot make it, it is required in the diet, thereby making it an essential nutrient.
Folic acid (Vitamin C) is needed for a large number of vital processes in the human body.
It helps in the formation of genetic material i.e. DNA and RNA and is also involved in cell division. Due to this, adequate levels of folic acid are vital during periods of rapid growth like pregnancy and fetal development. It plays an important role in protein metabolism. Producing new, healthy red blood cells is one of the most important roles of folic acid, without which, there can be anemia. Folic acid is also instrumental in breaking down homocysteine, an amino acid that, in high levels, can have adverse effects. It prevents premature greying of hair and helps boost hair growth as well.
Folic acid for hair growth
The complex process of hair growth involves a lot of hormones, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients working together in sync. When it comes to hair care, there are a number of treatments, vitamins, and minerals out there that claim to do miracles. While what works best is having a healthy lifestyle and a well-balanced diet, additional help to get that thick, bouncy and shiny hair can be taken from the correct supplementation. One such supplement is folic acid. Folic acid for hair is known to have a number of benefits:
- Folic Acid for Hair Growth: Since folic acid helps in increasing the production of healthy, new red blood cells and also assists in cell division, it promotes healthy and lustrous hair growth. It also helps in the keratinization of hair, making it strong and thick.
- Folic Acid for Hair Grey Delay: Folic acid has the valuable ability to keep red blood cells in a normal and stable state. Without folic acid, these cells could overproduce and lead to loss of hair pigment causing premature greying of hair.
- Folic Acid for Hair loss Prevention: When there isn’t enough folic acid, the body prioritizes sending vital nutrients to other organs, making the hair dull and thin. Adequate levels of folic acid ensure essential nutrients and oxygen are distributed throughout the body and to the hair, giving you a thick and glossy mane.
- Folic Acid for Hair Thickness: Folic acid helps in cell division and also improves blood circulation to the scalp, thereby preventing hair loss and promoting healthier, thicker hair.
Sources of folic acid and daily requirement
Folic acid is found in small amounts in a variety of foods. Some of the food sources of folic acid are:
- Leafy green vegetables such as cabbage, kale, spring greens, spinach, turnip greens, asparagus, brussel sprouts, romaine lettuce, broccoli and beets.
- Fresh fruits like papaya, banana, avocado, strawberries, cantaloupe as well as citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes.
- Legumes such as kidney beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils.
- Eggs, beef, liver and seafood.
- Nuts and seeds like walnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds and flax seeds.
- Whole grains and fortified foods like cereals, breads and pasta.
Daily requirement: There are no long-term stores of folic acid in the body. Hence, you need to eat folate-containing foods frequently. The daily requirement value varies for men and women and also for pregnant or lactating women.
- In general, men and women over the age of 19 years should aim at getting 400 mcg daily.
- Pregnant or lactating women require between 500-600 mcg daily.
- People consuming alcohol should aim at approx. 600 mcg daily.
- The upper tolerable limit is 1000 mcg.
Folic acid supplements
Folic acid supplements may come in different forms such as L-methylfolate, levomefolate and methyltetrahydrofolate.
A wide range of over-the-counter folic acid supplements are available in the form of pills or tablets. They can be taken orally with or without food, usually once a day or as advised by your doctor.
When taken as advised within the tolerable range, folic acid supplements are generally safe. When taken in very high doses, side effects like stomach upset, nausea, diarrhea, irritability, confusion, behavior changes, skin reactions and seizures can be seen.
Ideally, when taking any hair growth supplements, ensure you make a well-informed decision and use supplements that are authentic and have natural ingredients. One such extremely effective and reliable hair supplement is Traya’s Hair Vitamin. Its optimum dosage and combination of essential vitamins and Ayurvedic herbs work wonders to make your hair strong, shiny and voluminous.
Folic acid deficiency and its symptoms
Folic acid deficiency occurs when there isn’t enough folate in the body. Usually, most people get enough folate from their diet. Not eating enough folate can lead to folic acid deficiency within a few weeks. Deficiency may also occur if you have a disease (like Celiac disease or Chron’s disease) or genetic mutation that prevents your body from absorbing or converting folate into its usable form. Excessive consumption of alcohol also leads to a folic acid deficiency. Certain medications also block the absorption of folic acid. Nowadays, a lot of food items are fortified with folic acid. Overcooking vegetables or fruits destroys the heat-sensitive folate.
Folic acid helps the body make healthy red blood cells. In case of folic acid deficiency, there are not enough red blood cells, resulting in anemia. The oxygenation of tissues is impaired leading to symptoms like tiredness, fatigue, breathlessness, headaches, pale skin, palpitations and weight loss.
Other symptoms of folic acid deficiency include thinning and greying of hair, mouth sores, reduced sense of taste, pins and needles sensation or numbness of hands and feet and muscle weakness.
Folic acid deficiency in pregnant women may affect the growth of the foetus and can also cause neural tube defects.
Benefits of having a folic acid-rich diet
Folic acid is an essential micro nutrient that plays a vital role in various important body functions. The benefits of having a folic acid-rich diet cannot be over-emphasized. It improves your blood circulation and keeps you full of energy. This is a magical supplement for your hair and skin. It keeps your hair healthy, voluminous and shiny while keeping grey hair at bay. It helps keep your skin young and glowing. Hence, including simple foods that are rich in folic acid will do wonders for your overall health.
Folic acid, the synthetic form of folate and a naturally occurring C vitamin, is extremely crucial for your general health. While no one single nutrient works for maintaining good health or good hair, it is the time-tested method of having a balance of all nutrients that really does the magic. This is easily achieved by consuming a wholesome, nutritious, and diversified diet. Furthermore, if there are deficiencies, they should be supplemented correctly. So, now that you know, go rectify those deficiencies, stay healthy and get that hair shining more than ever! Get your Vitamins Now.
Does folic acid help with hair loss?
Folic acid for hair helps boost growth by ramping up the cell division and cell production process. It also improves blood circulation and oxygenation to the scalp, helping hair grow thicker.
Is it OK to take folic acid every day?
Folic acid can be taken every day if recommended by your doctor in case you have a deficiency or any other reason which prevents absorption of enough folic acid from the diet. It should be taken in the appropriate dosage for the advised amount of time only.
Which is better for hair growth, biotin or folic acid?
Optimum levels of both, biotin and folic acid, are required for good hair growth. If you are deficient in either of them, it should be correctly supplemented. No single nutrient boosts hair growth. It requires a combination of vitamins and minerals in optimum levels to do the trick.
How much folic acid to take for hair growth?
The daily recommended dose, in general, is 400 mcg. Overdoing it will not help.
How long does it take for folic acid to grow hair?
There is no such stipulated time frame. Generally, when all vitamin deficiencies are corrected and a healthy lifestyle is maintained, you shall see a difference in your hair health.
Dr. Moyna Vakil, B.H.M.S
Nutrionist & Dietetician
Translating her love for healthy and delicious food into a professional career. With a degree in Nutrition & Dietetics, Dr. Moyna truly believes that eating healthy is the perfect recipe for a lifetime of wellness.