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Vitamin Deficiencies That Cause White Hair: How To Prevent Them


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No one likes white or grey hair sprouting in their early 20’s. Often when this happens, people tend to hide it off with colours or the new age blackening powders. In the bargain, they miss out on the fact that there is an issue inside the body that is causing this white hair to reflect at an early age. 90% of the time this white hair is because of some vitamin deficiency but along with that is accompanied by stress. Find out which are the vitamins responsible and how you can prevent them in this blog. 

Common Causes Of White Hair

Hair cells have something called pigment cells also known as melanin. This basically is responsible for giving colour to your hair, skin and nails. But with time, these pigment cells continue decreasing, especially due to ageing. It is ideally common for hair to turn grey or white with increasing age but as for young women especially in their early 20s, it's not a good sign. Some of the common reasons why hair turns white are listed below. 

  • Your Hereditary

Sure, Your genetic makeup has a big role to play when it comes to your hair quality, especially how soon you will see your hair cells ageing and turning white. If you notice white hair at an early age, it’s likely that your parents or grandparents also had hair whitening or hair greying or at a very early age. Although you can't change the way your genes are oriented, you sure can manage the other causes behind your hair turning grey and don't always have to rely on colouring your hair.

  • Severe Stress

Everyone deals with stress from time to time. But sometimes severe forms of stress can take a toll on your body. Chronic stress like the loss of a loved one or even career stress can cause depigmentation of hair follicles. Along with insomnia, anxiety, rise in blood pressure, even the hair tends to turn white and go all brittle. Studies have shown the connection between stress and the depletion of stem cells. This means that if you have noticed the number of your white hair strands go up, it is very likely that stress is the culprit for it.

  •  Hormonal Imbalance

Hormonal changes vary depending on your lifestyle, diet and more. Most hormonal issues are linked to hair loss resulting as a side effect. Be as PCOS, menopause in women or even thyroid and blood pressure issues in men. One such hormonal issue that leads to the whitening of hair follicles is the thyroid imbalance such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. This thyroid gland is butterfly-shaped and most of you might already know it's located at the base of your neck. The health of your thyroid hormone levels can also influence the colour of your hair. An overactive or underactive thyroid can cause your body to produce less melanin.

  • Vitamin Deficiency

Normally, it is seen mostly in the case of women that white or grey hair is mostly due to the deficiency of certain nutrients in the body but moreover it is Vitamin B-12 deficiency. This vitamin plays an important role in your body. It does not just give you energy, but it also contributes to healthy hair growth and hair colour. A deficiency of this particular vitamin is associated with a condition called pernicious anaemia, which is when your body can’t absorb enough of this vitamin. This is when it needs to be supplied with Vitamin B 12 externally since it is required for healthy red blood cells, which carry oxygen to cells in your body, including hair cells. A deficiency can weaken hair cells and affect melanin production leading to severe hair greying or turning white and greying issues. Sometimes it is also referred to as white hair vitamin deficiency. 

  • Smoking

There’s also a link between premature white hair and smoking. Studies have shown a connection between the early onset of grey hair before the age of 30 and cigarette smoking. Lung cancer and other disorders are commonly known when it comes to constant smoking. The long-term effects, however, can go beyond the heart and lungs and affect hair as well. Now, what smoking does is that it constricts blood vessels, which can reduce blood flow to hair follicles and cause hair loss but addition to this the toxins in cigarettes can damage parts of your body including your hair follicles, causing early white hair.

Importance Of Vitamins For Hair Health

Nutrient deficiency is one of the most important things to consider when it comes to hair health. Vitamins come under the class of micronutrients and these are very essential for the normal functioning of the hair cycle, playing a role in cellular turnover - meaning the frequent occurrence in the matrix cells in the follicle bulb which are rapidly dividing. Studies have shown that too much consumption of vitamins is also dangerous and can also contribute to hair loss however there is more research required for the latter confirmation. Biotin and its fellow class of Vitamin B are required as it helps in keratin production - the protein that makes up hair, skin and nails and is also used in melanocytes- cells that bring about color.

Vitamin Deficiencies That Cause White Hair

Although the cause behind white hair can differ from person to person, in most cases the cause is accompanied by a white hair vitamin deficiency. The 2 major vitamins responsible for premature white hair vitamin deficiency are as follows

  • Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B-12 deficiency is one of the most common causes of premature hair turning white. Researchers have noted that vitamin B-12 deficiencies are often concurrent with folic acid and biotin deficiencies in those people whose hair has begun to turn grey at an early age. Studies also reveal among people who are nutrient deficient, supplements with vitamin B-5, high-dose para-aminobenzoic acid, iron, or vitamin B-12 are. This may help to manage early grey hair. However, these vitamins are unlikely to be beneficial among people with adequate levels. Also even before you do so, it’s best to consult your doctor.

  • Vitamin D3 Deficiency

As mentioned earlier, if the body is lacking any of the vitamins B-6, B-12, biotin, vitamin D, or vitamin E can contribute to premature greying. You do have to make note that consuming vitamins simply cannot reverse white hair but can help to slow down the process. But yes, consuming a diet that is rich in vitamins D, B5, and B12, iron, and calcium can prevent your existing hair from turning white. Although calcium is not a vitamin, a deficiency of this too can affect healthy hair from turning white. Consuming vitamin D also helps the body to absorb calcium better which in turn will reflect on bone and hair health.

How To Prevent White Hair Due To Vitamin Deficiencies

The obvious thing to do is consume foods that are rich in the vitamins that you are lacking. Alternatively, if your deficiency levels are high, it's best to consult a doctor and get the right supplements to get the vitamin deficiencies back to normal.

In cases of Vitamin B12 deficiency - adults aged 19-64 should be consuming 1.5 micrograms of B12 a day. This B12 is not commonly found in natural foods like fruits, veggies, and grains, so it is possible that vegans might not get enough. Some good sources of B12 are meat, fish, dairy and fortified breakfast cereals.

In cases of Vitamin D deficiency - One can opt for oily fish like salmon, mackerel, mushrooms, chickpeas, liver, red meat, egg yolks and more.

Takeaway

It is no lie that the young adult Indian population’s hair is turning white soon and it turns out that these adults who lie in the average age of 25 are deficient in Vitamins B12, D, Iron and Calcium. So rather than these young adults trying to hide the white hair with temporary solutions, they should focus on first identifying the root cause behind their white hair take the Traya hair test and target it effectively.

FAQs

Q1 - What Vitamins Get Rid Of White Hair?

Ans - Although the cause behind white hair can differ from person to person, in most cases the cause is accompanied by a white hair vitamin deficiency. The 2 major vitamins responsible for premature white hair vitamin deficiency are vitamin B12 and vitamin D3

Q2 - Does Vitamin B-12 Help With White Hair?

Ans - Vitamin B-12 deficiency is one of the most common causes of premature hair turning white. Researchers have noted that vitamin B-12 deficiencies are often concurrent with folic acid and biotin deficiencies in those people whose hair has begun to turn grey at an early age.

Q3 - Can White Hair Turn Black Again?

Ans - The melanocytes - cells that are responsible for the colour of hair, skin and nails have a life cycle too. Once they die, the cells are regenerated. So although you can’t reverse the white hair and turn them black, you can wait for it to fall off and in the meanwhile focus on the deficiency that is causing these cells to lose colour in the first place. What you also can do is prevent the other hair follicles from turning white.

Q4 - What Foods Stop Grey Hair?

Ans - In cases of Vitamin B12 deficiency - adults aged 19-64 should be consuming 1.5 micrograms of B12 a day. This B12 is not commonly found in natural foods like fruits, veggies, and grains, so it is possible that vegans might not get enough. Some good sources of B12 are meat, fish, dairy and fortified breakfast cereals. In cases of Vitamin D deficiency - One can opt for oily fish like salmon, mackerel, mushrooms, chickpeas, liver, red meat, egg yolks and more. However, if you are sure that there is a deficiency, just consuming these foods won’t help. You might need the relevant supplementation too. To do that it is best to consult your doctor by taking blood reports along with you.

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Zahra Lokhandwala

Hair Coach

Zahra is the hair coach-in-chief at Traya. She works closely with the doctors to monitor all cases. She is a fitness freak and has not touched sugar in years!

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