Hair loss and thinning hair are common symptoms of menopause. As estrogen levels decline during menopause, this can trigger changes in the hair growth cycle that lead to excessive shedding and hair thinning. The good news is that certain vitamins and supplements may help reduce hair loss and promote healthier hair growth during menopause.
What causes hair loss during menopause?
During menopause, declining estrogen levels disrupt the hair growth cycle. Each hair follicle on the scalp goes through three phases:
- Anagen (growth) phase – lasts 2-7 years
- Catagen (transitional) phase – lasts 2-3 weeks
- Telogen (resting) phase – lasts 2-3 months
Estrogen helps keep hair follicles in the anagen phase longer. With lower estrogen, hair follicles spend less time growing and more time in the telogen phase. This leads to increased shedding and gradual thinning of hair over time.
Other factors can also contribute to menopausal hair loss like:
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Medical conditions
How do vitamins help with hair loss?
Getting adequate vitamins and minerals is important for healthy hair growth. Deficiencies in certain nutrients can lead to hair thinning, dryness, and breakage. Vitamins that are especially important for hair health include:
Vitamin A helps produce sebum, which conditions the scalp and keeps hair hydrated. It also stimulates hair growth. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to dry, dull hair that is prone to breakage and loss.
The B vitamins help carry oxygen and nutrients to hair follicles. Low levels of B vitamins like biotin, niacin, and B12 can impair hair growth. Getting enough of these vitamins may reduce shedding and hair thinning.
Vitamin C aids collagen production, which is vital for healthy hair structure. It also helps absorb iron, a mineral important for hair growth. People with vitamin C deficiency are more prone to hair loss.
Research shows vitamin D may stimulate new and faster hair growth. Getting sufficient vitamin D improves overall scalp health, which reduces shedding and hair loss.
A powerful antioxidant, vitamin E improves blood circulation in the scalp to nourish hair follicles. It also repairs damage to hair fibers caused by free radicals and UV rays. Vitamin E supplements may reduce oxidative stress that contributes to hair loss.
What are the best vitamins for menopausal hair loss?
The following vitamins and supplements are most beneficial for reducing hair shedding and promoting thicker, fuller hair growth during menopause:
Also known as vitamin B7, biotin is involved in metabolizing amino acids, fats, and carbohydrates. It is one of the most important vitamins for hair health. Taking biotin supplements helps strengthen brittle hair and prevent excessive hair shedding.
Many women are deficient in vitamin D, which can trigger hair loss. Getting adequate vitamin D improves scalp health and encourages new hair follicles. Taking vitamin D supplements or getting more sun exposure can raise vitamin D status.
Iron deficiency is a common cause of hair loss in women. Iron carries oxygen to follicles, which is needed for growth. Taking iron supplements replenishes iron stores to prevent excess shedding.
Zinc is involved in cell division and protein synthesis for hair growth. It also regulates hormone levels, including testosterone which influences hair loss. Zinc supplements help prevent deficiencies that can lead to telogen effluvium.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3s nourish the scalp and reduce inflammation that can impair follicles. High quality fish oil supplements provide anti-inflammatory omega-3s EPA and DHA to boost scalp health.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a sulfur compound that may block the hormone DHT, which causes hair follicles to shrink. By regulating DHT, MSM supplements may reduce hair thinning in hormonal hair loss.
Collagen provides the building blocks of keratin, the protein that makes up 90% of hair. Taking collagen protein supplements can strengthen hair strands and enhance elasticity to reduce breakage.
What are the recommended doses for hair loss vitamins?
The recommended daily doses of key vitamins and supplements for treating menopausal hair loss include:
|Recommended Daily Dose
|2,500 – 5,000 mcg
|600 – 800 IU
|45 – 60 mg
|8 – 11 mg
|1,000 mg EPA/DHA
|400 – 500 mg
|2,500 – 5,000 mg
It’s best to speak with your healthcare provider to determine the optimal doses of hair loss vitamins based on your individual nutritional needs and deficiencies.
What foods provide hair healthy vitamins?
Along with supplements, getting enough vitamins for hair growth through food sources is important. Here are the top food sources of vitamins that combat menopausal hair loss:
- Sweet potatoes
- Fortified cereals
- Beef liver
- Red meat
- Dark leafy greens
- Dried fruit
- Red meat
- Whole grains
- Chia seeds
Are there any risks or side effects?
Vitamin supplements are generally safe when taken at the recommended doses. However, very high doses may have adverse side effects including:
- Nausea, diarrhea – iron, zinc
- Constipation – iron
- Skin irritation – vitamin E
- Hypervitaminosis – vitamin A, D
- Interactions with medications – vitamin K, iron
To avoid side effects, stick to the standard daily doses provided by your healthcare provider. Certain medical conditions may require adjusted doses, so consult your doctor before taking any new supplements.
When should I see results from vitamins?
It takes time for vitamin supplements to take effect and improve hair growth. You may start seeing less shedding after 2-3 months. However, it can take 6 months or longer to see significant hair thickening, increased volume, and regrowth of lost hair.
Be patient and consistent when taking hair vitamins. Combining supplements with a healthy diet, proper hair care, and stress management will maximize their benefits for hair health.
Menopause-related hormonal shifts often lead to unwanted hair loss and thinning hair. Getting adequate vitamins including biotin, iron, vitamin D, zinc, and omega-3s can nourish hair follicles to reduce shedding. Taking supplements at the recommended doses and eating vitamin-rich foods provides the optimal mix of nutrients to combat hair loss. Along with vitamins, practicing gentle hair care, managing stress, and allowing time for regrowth helps treat hair thinning during menopause.