Categorized | Prevention

Vitamins in food or in pills: Do we really have to choose?

It’s no secret that vitamins are essential for our body and, of course, for our hair.  But how do you know whether you have a vitamin deficiency or not and how does it affects your hair? Do you get enough vitamins and minerals with your food or is there a need for some multivitamin supplements? Let’s figure that out.

Is it enough just to eat normally?

eat-food-enoughThere is an opinion that it is almost impossible to get all the required nutrients with food. Whether or not this is true, we should leave it to dietitians. The following are some facts to be considered:

  • A significant amount of vitamins is destroyed when food is heat-treated.  A lot of vitamins in fruit and vegetables are destroyed during storing, particularly while storing in the fridge; many vitamins are destroyed by the chemicals used to treat fruit and vegetables.
  • Even if your food comes directly from your own garden and you do not store it or process it, it would be difficult to obtain the amount of nutrients needed.
  • Antioxidants are necessary for the normal chemical reactions in your body.  Free radicals from polluted air, water and soil can cause cell damage and deplete your body of a lot of antioxidants. Every particle of free radicals entering your body reduces a certain amount of antioxidants.  Antioxidants have to then neutralize the free radicals incoming from the environment and the resulting deficiency of antioxidants harms the natural processes in the body.
  • Vitamins contained in food are not 100% absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, and almost nothing is absorbed if there are serious problems with GIT.
  • Drinking alcohol has a negative impact on the absorption of vitamins in the body. Constant and abundant consumption of coffee and black tea reduces the absorption of vitamins and minerals as well.
  • Both types of stress, short-term (during workouts) and constant (which is experienced by citizens of any big city), greatly increase the need for vitamins (especially vitamins C and B-complex).

Consider everything you eat.  Do you have a well-balanced diet?  Depending on the answer, it would seem quite easy to determine if your hair gets enough nutrients.

Studies show that most diets of Americans lack many nutrients.  In an ideal world, the best thing you can do for your hair is to consult a doctor and be tested to determine if your daily diet meets the requirements for the daily consumption of vitamins and minerals.  Together with a dietitian, work out a balanced diet that could supply you with all the required nutrients.  If there is any nutrient deficiency, it’s most likely that you’ll be advised to take a supplement to fill in the nutrient gaps and then develop a dietary plan which includes the supplement.

How to choose multivitamins for your hair.

how-to-choose-vitaminsThere are vitamins and minerals which are important for the care of healthy hair and it is important to know which multivitamin supplement to choose and why.

Normal hair growth requires sufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals: B-complex vitamins, vitamins A, C, D, and E, omega fatty acids, zinc, selenium, iron, etc.  But are these “sufficient” amounts the same as “daily doses”?  Not at all.  On one hand, if you have a deficiency of a certain vitamin/mineral or a group of vitamins/minerals, you should be taking doses exceeding the recommended daily dose.  On the other hand, in some cases (iron, for example) you should not be adjusting recommended doses because the deficiency of such elements is less harmful for the body than the excess. The level of iron in the blood should be determined and thoroughly controlled by periodic blood tests.  Daily doses for particular nutrients are designed to meet the needs of a normal lifestyle.  The recommended daily dose does not take into account the stress of an active or stressful lifestyle. Therefore, one cannot focus only on the daily dose when choosing a multivitamin supplement. If you live a healthy lifestyle, eat only healthy food and do not suffer from any stress, then it’s likely that any standard multi-vitamin and mineral complex recommended daily dose will work for you.  But if your life is a constant rat race and the condition of your hair is already causing concern, then you should consider more serious supplements.

When choosing supplements, always pay attention to the manufacturers. It’s better to choose products produced by trusted and well-known manufacturers for one simple and sad reason – some manufacturers cheat. Those manufacturers that control the market are closely watched by their competitors and their customers, many of whom have an invincible passion for suing. If some try cheating on ingredients, it will be immediately revealed, brought to light and literally published in every single newspaper. And manufacturers do realize that!   You should never buy supplements distributed via multi-level marketing as prohibited or restricted ingredients are regularly found in such products.  Various scandals break out almost on a daily basis but the sales continue because it’s a very profitable business.

In addition, a few words should be said about ‘hair-growing’ supplements. Supplements that claim to promote hair growth will include omega fatty acids, B-complex vitamins, vitamins C, A, E and amino acids which are the basic components found in most multivitamin supplements including prenatal vitamins.  Therefore there is no need to get these nutrients from special ‘hair-growing’ pills.

One more recommendation – if you have a choice between multivitamins to be taken once a day and those that require three intakes during a day, then it’s better to make an unusual choice – choose three pills a day.  Water-soluble vitamins are flushed out of the body within several hours, so the more often you take them and the lower the dose is of each intake, the more benefit you will receive.