Health & Nutrition for the Hair


As printed in The Beauty of Ethnic Hair, Volume 1.

Start eating a balanced diet incorporating lean proteins, fish, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains and start enjoying beautiful, healthy hair!

“Living in Colorado’s dry climate can pose some challenges to growing and maintaining healthy hair.” According to Regina Topelson, MBA, RD, owner of Life Well Lived in Denver, Colorado, there are things you can do to support and promote a healthy head of hair.

Many things can affect the health of your hair including hormones, medications, stress, and, of course, nutrition. Your hair is a good gauge of your overall nutritional status.

When a person is missing nutrients or is stressed, it shows up in their hair. Signs that you hair needs some extra loving care include weak, brittle hair with split ends, shedding, hair thinning, dullness, and fading color of natural hair. Fading hair color and dullness shows up in crosswise bands indicating periods of time when he body had enough nutrients, when it didn’t, and when it started getting healthier.

Signs of stress may show up as increased shedding. The scalp, just like your skin, is full of follicles, tiny pores which hair grows out of. When a person becomes stressed, the follicles loosen their hold on the hair and a person can start to see more than usual hair loss. Some hair loss is natural as this is the body’s way of replacing old hair with new hair. This does not account for female or male pattern baldness.

For strong, shiny locks, whole food nutrition is always a great place to start. Eating foods in their whole form allows you to incorporate all the good things that food has to offer. It is also more difficult to reach toxic levels of certain nutrients, which can backfire and have the opposite effect that you are trying to achieve.

Supplement use has proven beneficial when the diet is lacking certain foods; for example, calcium in people who have a dairy allergy, or, when medications interfere with nutrient absorption. However, too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. It is possible to reach toxic levels of some nutrients by taking too high a dose. If you decide to take a supplement, make sure the dose of vitamin A is not more than 5,000 IU (International Units), vitamin B6 is not more than 100 mg, and selenium is not more than 400 µg. Vitamin A is safe to consume as B-carotene, a precursor of the active form of vitamin A, which is converted the active form by the body, when needed.

Start eating a balanced diet incorporating lean proteins, fish, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains, and start enjoying beautiful, healthy hair!