Often overlooked, vitamin D is a critical component in living a happy and healthy life. This is not our first timing highlighting the importance of vitamin D, as there are many reasons it’s important yo keep vitamin D levels up and plenty of concern regarding the widespread insufficiencies that are present both nationally and internationally in this respect.
And now, on top of all these reasons to double-check that you’re getting enough vitamin D, there is growing evidence that inadequate levels may be associated with hair loss.
Vitamin D and Hair Loss
Admittedly, hair loss is not the primary concern when it comes to insufficient levels of vitamin D. As deficiencies in vitamin D have been associated with a wide range of maladies — from more frequent injuries, slower healing, weakness and fatigue, and infertility to behavioral health issues, just to name some symptoms of deficiency — there are greater risks at stake. However, that being said, different people find different motivations for embarking on change, and perhaps combating hair loss is the best avenue toward an overall healthier life for some people.
We’re still learning about the specific relationship between hair loss and vitamin D insufficiency (remember our article 3 Nutrient Deficiencies That May Cause Hair Loss?), but as we learn more and more, the evidence supporting this condition playing a role in the matter continues to grow. For one, we know that vitamin D impacts the health of most every part of the body, including not just our bones and muscles, but also our skin and hair.
More specifically, vitamin D stimulates the creation of new hair follicles, which help to maintain the thickness of our hair as well as keeping it from falling out prematurely. It follows that making sure we have enough vitamin D will aid this process. Moreover, vitamin D deficiency has been observed in people diagnosed with an autoimmune condition known as alopecia areata, which often causes patchy hair loss. People with this condition, who may be both men and women, as well as those with the more common alopecia itself, are therefore likely affected.
How to Get More Vitamin D
Whether you’re concerned about hair loss, have a disease — such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease — that has been associated with lower levels of vitamin D, or simply think that you might need a boost, there are plenty of ways to increase your intake.
For starters, the best way to increase your vitamin D levels might simply be to spend more time outside on sunny days, absorbing the sun’s UVB rays that aid in its production. As summer draws near, there will be more opportunities to safely pursue sun exposure, as a mere 15 to 20 minutes may be beneficial. In addition, there are plenty of foods that are helpful in boosting levels of vitamin D, especially fatty fish, cheese, eggs, some nuts, and a few other high-fat goods.
Finally, taking a good vitamin D supplement is worth consideration if you feel that your levels are still too low (just make sure you’re getting enough additional magnesium with it).
Derek is a researcher, presenter and community liaison at the Behavioral Health & Wellness Program at the University of Colorado, specializing in promoting health systems change and combating health disparities. With his background as a technical writer and editor, he has over 15 years of experience working in the health care field. His experience includes serving as a contributing author on several textbooks in the medical field, running a nuclear cardiology licensing course, and writing a variety of other pieces ranging from online training courses to medical software manuals. Derek pursues his personal passion for health and wellness by playing multiple sports, hiking and running marathons, and travels extensively, having visited or lived in over 60 countries.