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Vitamins for Postpartum Hair Loss: Get Your Hair Back on Track

 What is Postpartum Hair Loss

Hair loss after childbirth is a common problem that can affect up to 50% of women. This type of hair loss is called postpartum hair loss and it occurs because of the hormonal changes that occur after giving birth.

Postpartum hair loss usually begins about 3-4 months after giving birth and may last for up to 12 months. Some of the most common symptoms of postpartum hair loss include hair thinning, hair shedding, and excessive hair in the brush or on the floor.

Stages of normal hair growth cycle

Your hair goes through three stages of growth: the anagen, catagen, and telogen phases. The anagen phase is the growth stage, and it lasts anywhere from two to eight years. During this phase, your hair grows around 1 cm every 28 days.

The catagen phase is the transitional stage, and it only lasts for two to three weeks. This is when your hair follicle shrinks as it prepares to go into the telogen phase.

The telogen phase is the resting stage, and it lasts for about 100 days. This is when your hair falls out and new hair begins to grow in its place.

How you can prevent postpartum hair loss

There is no cure for postpartum hair loss, but there are a few things that you can do to help manage the symptoms. One of the best things that you can do is to make sure that you are getting enough vitamins, specifically vitamins B and C.

Other things you can do include avoiding stress, getting plenty of sleep, and using a hair loss shampoo in between hair washes.

 

10 Top vitamins for postpartum hair loss

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is mainly present in animal-based foods such as liver, eggs, and butter. It is also found in some plant-based foods such as carrots and dark leafy greens. This essential nutrient is important for many bodily functions including vision, reproduction, and immunity.

Vitamin A deficiency can lead to serious health problems such as blindness and even death. Symptoms of deficiency can include dry skin, night blindness, poor growth, and diarrhea.

The recommended intake of vitamin A varies depending on age and sex. Males between the ages of 9 and 13 need 900 micrograms (mcg) per day while females need 700 mcg per day. Adults need around 700 mcg per day as well. There are several forms of this vitamin:

Retinol

This is the active form of vitamin A and can be found in animal foods such as eggs, dairy products, and liver. It is also present in supplements and fortified cereals.

Carotenoids

These are precursors to vitamin A that can be found in fruits and vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, and mangoes.

Beta-Carotene

It is a red/orange pigment that can be found in fruits and vegetables such as carrots and dark leafy greens.

Other types of this vitamin include retinal, retinoic acid, and calciferol (vitamin D) Isomers.

Vitamin B

B vitamins are a group of water-soluble vitamins that play important roles in the body. They include thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), and cobalamin (vitamin B12).

These vitamins are essential for energy production, nerve function, and cell growth. They also help the body to use other nutrients from food.

A deficiency in one or more of these vitamins can cause a variety of health problems. Symptoms of a vitamin B deficiency can vary depending on the specific vitamin that is lacking. However, common symptoms include fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, weight loss, and hair fall.

Vitamin B-rich foods

1. Meats such as beef, pork, lamb, and poultry

2. Fish such as salmon, tuna, and trout

3. Beans and legumes

4. Nuts and seeds

5. Fortified breakfast cereals

6. Organic produce

Vitamin C

Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is a water-soluble vitamin. The role of Vitamin C in postpartum hair loss recovery is multi-faceted. It helps to remove copper from the bloodstream, preventing damage to protein structures, which would support healthy hair growth.

Additionally, it aids in healing injuries, which can help to recover hair loss. Finally, it reverses airway irritation caused by inflammation in the throat, which can help to improve hair health overall.

Vitamin C-rich foods

1. Bell peppers

2. Broccoli

3. Brussel sprouts

4. Cauliflower

5. Kale

6. Kiwi fruit, Strawberries

7. Oranges, Grapefruit, Lemons

8. Papaya

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a nutrient that helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus from food. It is important for strong bones and teeth, as well as for muscle and nerve function.

New mothers often experience hair loss after giving birth. This is due to the hormonal changes that occur during and after pregnancy.

While there are many different vitamins that can help promote healthy hair growth, Vitamin D is one of the most important for postpartum hair loss recovery.

Vitamin D-rich foods

1. Cod liver oil

2. Swordfish

3. Tuna

4. Salmon

5. Mackerel

6. Beef liver

7. Egg yolks

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin E can be found in many foods, including wheat germ, soybean oils, nuts, and seeds—for example, walnuts and flaxseed. Vitamin E helps to protect cells from damage and is important for the growth and development of the embryo and fetus.

It is also important for skin health. Many women experience excessive hair loss after giving birth. This can be due to a number of factors, including stress, changes in hormone levels, and vitamin deficiency. Vitamin E is often recommended for postpartum hair loss recovery.

Due to the body's inability to store it effectively, deficiency symptoms may occur through an extended period of not consuming adequate amounts of Vitamin E or taking anti-coagulant medication such as warfarin (Coumadin).

The first sign often observed will be abnormalities in damaged hair follicles with patchy balding spots appearing all over the head where the follicles are no longer capable of producing hair. Vitamin E can be taken as a supplement or found in food sources.

Vitamin E-rich foods

1. Almonds

2. Hazelnuts

3. Spinach

4. Broccoli

5. Sweet potatoes

6. Sunflower seeds

7. Avocado

Iron

Iron is an essential mineral that helps to carry oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. It is also necessary for stimulating keratin production. A deficiency in iron can lead to fatigue, shortness of breath, and a pale complexion.

Pregnant women and those who are vegetarian or have low-iron diets are particularly at risk for deficiencies. Iron supplements are available both over-the-counter and by prescription.

Iron-rich foods

1. Roasted Beef

2. Red Kidney Beans

3. Spinach

4. Chickpeas

5. Dried Apricots

Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that is involved in more than 100 biological processes, including enzyme function and gene expression. Zinc deficiency can lead to hair loss, delayed wound healing, high cholesterol levels decreased immune system performance, and poor appetite.

One of the challenges faced by those with zinc deficiency is maintaining consistent intake of this nutrient due to increased need during stressful periods or on a low-meat diet.

However, zinc is also important for postpartum hair loss recovery. A lack of zinc can impede the body's ability to produce baby hairs and regenerate hair follicles. In addition, zinc helps to maintain scalp health by fighting off bacteria and fungi that can cause scalp problems such as dandruff and hair loss.

Zinc-rich foods

1. Oysters

2. Pumpkin Seeds

3. Cashews

4. Chickpeas

5. Fortified Cereals

6. Garlic

7. Dark Chocolate

Protein

Protein is a macronutrient essential for building and repairing the human body. Proteins are composed of chains of smaller molecules called Amino Acids, which are joined together to form polymers.

Sources of protein are both animal-based products such as meat, poultry, or dairy; and plant-based sources like legumes (dry beans), nuts, and soybeans.

Protein is not only important for supporting muscular health, but also can help with weight management by balancing hunger hormones and reducing cravings throughout the day.

Protein-rich foods

1. Tofu

2. Salmon

3. Shrimp

4. Beef Steak

5. Eggs

6. Greek Yoghurt

7. Chicken Breast

8. Quinoa

Selenium

Selenium is a mineral that protects the human immune system and helps reduce inflammation. It also aids in optimal blood sugar control, metabolizing fats, and producing antibodies.

Studies show that Selenium supplementation optimizes glucose regulation as well as protection from diabetes-related complications such as neuropathy and retinopathy.

When selenium levels are low, fat metabolism slows down to conserve energy which can cause weight gain and mood disorders like depression - resulting in a vicious cycle of further selenium deficiency.

Selenium deficiency can cause hair loss, so it is important to make sure you are getting enough of this nutrient if you are experiencing hair loss after giving birth. Selenium can be found in supplement form, and there are also many selenium-rich foods that you can eat to help boost your intake.

Selenium-rich foods

1. Seaweed

2. Meat

3. Mushrooms

4. Green leafy vegetables

5. Mushrooms

6. Sunflower seeds

7. Fish (cod, flounder, halibut, haddock, lobster, mussels, salmon, sardines (and other fish), scallops)

8. Brazil nuts

Calcium

Calcium is a nutrient that hardens bones. One of the most important organs in the body with regards to calcium-provisioning are bones, for this reason, failure to receive adequate amounts can lead to weak bones and an increased risk of osteoporosis.

If you are breastfeeding, it is especially important to make sure you're getting enough calcium. Not only does calcium help your body heal after giving birth, but it's also essential for stronger bones and making hair healthy.

A deficiency in calcium can lead to hair loss post-pregnancy, so be sure to include plenty of dairy and leafy green vegetables in your diet.

Calcium-rich foods

1. Milk

2. Yogurt

3. Cheese

4. Sardines

5. Salmon

6. Tofu

Closing thoughts

Postpartum hair loss is a very common occurrence. The good news is that there are natural, holistic remedies to help you restore your beautiful locks and regain some of the lost luster in your locks after the baby comes.

One of the most common causes of postpartum hair loss is a deficiency in nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and iron. However, taking the right supplements can help your body regain those essential nutrients that were lost after giving birth.

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