Vitamin D: why your hair needs it

You hear vitamin D, you think… what? Sunlight? That’s what most people would jump to. And when it comes to the question of whether you get enough vitamin D, your answer would probably be no. The UK isn’t known for its heatwaves and endless hours of sun, of course. You probably just shrug this off. A vitamin deficiency is the least of your worries, right? Well- no, not really. And it’s helpful to be educated on the subject whether you truly care about it or not.

Which is why we’ve done the hard work for you. We’ve researched, and we come bearing answers: how exactly does a vitamin D deficiency affect your hair? What are the symptoms? And what can you do about it? Read on to find out.

First off, a bit of background info: the biggest source of vitamin D is, unsurprisingly, sunlight. But it can also be found in the following:

·         oily fish

·         red meat

·         liver

·         egg yolks

·         fortified foods – such as most fat spreads and some breakfast cereals

In short, vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, which keep the teeth, muscles and bones healthy. During the autumn and winter, we are unlikely to get all the vitamin D we need from sunlight, which, if not acted on, can result in a vitamin D deficiency. Aside from impacting your muscles, teeth and bones, a lack of vitamin D can also negatively affect hair growth.

According to Express Online, the deficiency was linked to alopecia areata - an autoimmune condition which is caused by your immune system attacking your hair. Although more research is needed and the link isn’t entirely understood, the evidence is there.

Similarly- and less seriously- a deficiency in vitamin D can cause “an excessively sweaty head”, which is apparently a classic sign of the condition. We can’t imagine an excessively sweaty head would be fun to live with, so if you’re sweating up there for reasons unknown, it might be worth a visit to the doctor.

And that, on the whole, is that- hair loss and a sweaty head. It’s easy to forget just what a vitamin deficiency does to our body, and we should actively try and prevent this from happening where we can. Although hair loss can be a sign of many things- stress, pregnancy and ageing to name a few- it’s important that you consider all possibilities and get yourself checked out.

(Not so) fun fact: You’re more likely to become deficient in vitamin D if you’re over 50 years old, because the skin doesn’t produce as much vitamin D as people get older. So it’s all the more important that you make sure you’re getting enough of the vitamin if you fall into this age category.

If you are concerned about vitamin D deficiency, you can make sure to include the foods listed in this article in your diet, or you can take vitamin supplements. There are plenty to choose from, and 10mcg a day will be enough for most people.

Laura Shallcross