How much does a proper diet affect hair growth?
To answer this question, we asked the opinion of Dr. Francesca de Blasio, nutrition biologist and PhD in Public Health and Preventive Medicine.
Here's what she explained to us!
Hair growth involves three distinct phases: anagen (or growth phase), catagen (or involution phase) and telogen (or stasis phase). It may happen that some conditions such as stress, nutritional deficiencies or some pathological conditions interfere with the normal growth cycle of the hair: in these cases, the anagen phase is shortened and consequently the hair appears shorter and thinner, even reaching lead to alopecia if there is also a delay in the growth of new hair.
Therefore, hair is a living component of the human organism and, as such, it needs a continuous supply of nutrients (introduced through the diet) that contribute to its growth and maintenance. In fact, one of the first visible consequences of a prolonged low protein-energy intake with the diet is hair thinning (for example in people with anorexia nervosa).
But which nutrients should we pay more attention to to ensure the health of our hair?
Proteins and, more particularly amino acids (the units that constitute them), are essential for the synthesis of KERATIN, the structural protein of the hair. These amino acids are particularly abundant in cereal proteins (wheat, barley, spelled, rice, oats, corn, rye).
Vitamins are another group of nutrients that are particularly important for maintaining the hair in a state of good health. Among the most important are vitamin B5 (or pantothenic acid, present almost everywhere in nature, but particularly abundant in legumes, offal, egg yolk, dried mushrooms, brewer's yeast and liver of pigs, cattle and sheep) , vitamin B6 (or pyridoxine, present in many foods, including meats, especially white, fish, spinach, potatoes, legumes and fruit, excluding citrus fruits), vitamin H (or biotin, present in a more assimilable form in foods of animal origin such as meat and eggs), vitamin B 3 (or niacin, found in white meats, spinach, peanuts, beef liver, brewer's yeast and in some fish such as salmon, swordfish and tuna) and vitamin C (or ascorbic acid, present in foods of plant origin, especially citrus fruits, peppers, chilli and parsley).
Ultimately, it's hard to say for sure which foods are beneficial for hair health. The advice is always to follow a diet as varied as possible, rich in fruit and vegetables, sufficiently protein, and which satisfies (except for special conditions such as overweight or obesity, in which a low-calorie slimming diet is required) the energy requirement individual daily in order to avoid and prevent any form of deficiency or sub-deficiency.
And you already follow these tips?
Dott.ssa Francesca de Blasio
PhD in Public Health and Preventive Medicine