Vitamin D is an important nutrient that is essential to our health. It boosts immunity, keeps bones strong and skin healthy, stimulates cell growth, and helps create new hair follicles. You absorb vitamin D through sun exposure primarily, but you can take dietary supplements and eat certain foods to up your intake of the nutrient.
A number of symptoms, such as hair loss, can occur when your body lacks the recommended amount of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to alopecia, also known as spot baldness, and
Recommended doses of vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to alopecia, the autoimmune condition that causes bald patches on the scalp and other areas of the body. Both men and women can experience alopecia.
Reasons for insufficient vitamin D levels include spending more time indoors, wearing a lot of sunscreen, and not eating foods packed with the nutrient.
Vitamin D supplements
Multivitamins typically include only 400 IU of vitamin D, which is below the recommended daily allowance. You should also receive some vitamin D in your diet. Your doctor can check blood levels of vitamin D and decide the dose of supplementation. If levels are very low, high prescription doses might be recommended by your doctor. Make sure to take the supplement during mealtime so your body can absorb the fat-soluble vitamin properly. Breast-fed babies receive their nutrients through their mother’s milk. If a breast-feeding mother doesn’t have an adequate amount of vitamin D in her diet, her baby will likely need a vitamin D supplement.
Most people get the bulk of their vitamin D from basking in the sun. Not spending enough time in the sun or using too much sunblock limits your exposure, which can lead to a deficit of vitamin D. If you can, take a 15-minute tour of your neighborhood on a sunny day. There is a fine balance between protecting our skin from sun exposure and absorbing vitamin D. If you can’t stay in the sun for long, try to spend some extra time near a window where sunlight is shining through.
Foods with vitamin D
Eating a healthy diet of foods naturally containing or fortified with vitamin D can improve your levels. Some foods are naturally rich with the nutrient. Salmon, mackerel and other fatty fish, fish liver oils, and animal fats are great sources. In fact, one tablespoon of cod liver oil provides
Studies shows that vitamin D receptors, rather than the nutrient itself, can help produce new hair follicles and restore hair growth. A 2014 study published in Molecular Endocrinology found that hair regrew in mice two weeks after introducing vitamin D receptors in the VDR null rodents. But scientific research is scarce on how long it will take for hair to grow back — and if there is a significant amount of hair regrowth — after upping your vitamin D intake and improving your levels. Anecdotal evidence, though, suggests hair may stop shedding and regenerate in as little as two months after treatment.
A lack of vitamin D can lead to a number of symptoms, including hair loss. You can start to boost your nutrient levels by spending an extra hour in the sun or by taking vitamin D supplements, which you can buy at your local supermarket or pharmacy for $10 or less. But make sure to consult your doctor first about your best treatment options for hair loss caused by vitamin D deficiency.