When it comes to hair loss or hair thinning problem, many people believe that it can be due to zinc deficiency. It is true that zinc is essential for healthy hair growth as it helps in maintaining the moisture level of the scalp, solves the problem of dandruff and so on. Well, there is no doubt that there is a close link between zinc and hair growth.
What is zinc?
Zinc is an essential mineral having biologic and public health importance. This essential mineral is naturally present in some foods and can be taken as supplements too. It plays a key role in cell reproduction, maintaining hormone level, proper absorption of vitamins, and in protein synthesis. Human body needs zinc for making the immune system stronger, speeding by the healing process and for normal hair growth. There are many hair benefits of zinc such as promotion of cell reproduction, tissue growth and repairing of broken tissues. It also maintains the glands on the scalp responsible for oil secretion that helps hair follicles to become stronger. So, zinc is important for hair.
Signs and symptoms of Zinc deficiency:
Deficiency in zinc can contribute to hair shedding, because without zinc hair shafts will become weaker leading to hair breakage. It will also slow down the process of hair re-growth. Apart from hair loss, other signs and symptoms associated with zinc deficiency are loss of appetite, slow healing of wound, frequent infections, vision problems, hearing issues and skin lesions.
Zinc Deficiency and Hair Loss:
Zinc helps in the production of keratin. And we all know that hair is made of the protein named keratin. Thus, zinc is very helpful in maintaining healthy hair. It has been found that deficiency in zinc can be one of the leading reasons behind hair loss. When body does not get the required amount of zinc, it causes a change in hair protein structure which can finally lead to thinning of hair and baldness. This deficiency can be mostly seen in babies whose body cannot absorb zinc, and adults who are on intravenous feeding. Also pregnant and breast-feeding women pass can suffer from zinc deficiency.
Excess Zinc and hair loss:
Well, zinc deficiency can lead to hair loss but even more than the required level of zinc in the body can also be bad for hair. The recommended daily amount of zinc is only about 8-10 milligrams. When your body gets more than the required amount of zinc, it hampers the absorption level of other minerals such as copper, iron, magnesium and manganese which are important for healthy hair. For instance, copper play a big role in forming blood vessels and so its deficiency may cause scalp infection and no new hair growth. Also too much zinc lengthens the resting phase of hair growth process.
How much zinc is fine?
Both deficiency in zinc and excess amount of zinc can lead to hair related problems. A well balanced zinc intake promotes hair growth, and even helps in turning gray back to its original color. The average intake of zinc that you must have daily is 8-10 mg. Pregnant and breast-feeding women must include more zinc in their diet to maintain healthy zinc level. Women who are pregnant need 11 mg per day, and lactating women require 12 mg. However, the optimal amount is 15-50 mg zinc a day, depending on the amount of zinc you are losing on daily basis. Zinc comes out from the body through stool, urine and sweat. Also drinking coffee and alcohol, as well as smoking can reduce the zinc level in the body leading to its deficiency.
How to solve zinc deficiency:
When it comes to zinc deficiency, there is no need to take zinc supplements. Just take a well balanced diet and you body will get ample zinc required for hair growth. The best absorbed form of zinc is available from animal foods, particularly beef, pork, lamb, oysters, liver, shellfish like whelks and crabs, and red meat. Fish is a rich source, but it contains less zinc as compared to red meat. Other sources of zinc are wheat germ, pine nuts, lima beans, chickpeas, raw cashews, peanuts, peanut butter and almonds. Well, along with zinc your diet must have all the essential vitamins and minerals that are essential for hair growth. When it comes to zinc deficiency, there is no need to take zinc supplements.
To conclude, there is a close connection between zinc and hair loss. The bottom line is you need to give your body the required dose of zinc daily to enjoy healthy and beautiful hair.