There’s no doubt about it: the winter season is tough on hair. Dry air, friction from winter layers, and static can all wreak havoc on your locks. But there’s one surprising thing that could be causing hair loss in winter: a vitamin D deficiency. Keep reading to learn how vitamin D deficiency and hair loss are related. Plus, see tips on how to get enough vitamin D this winter.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient that our bodies can normally produce when our skin is exposed to sunlight. Unfortunately, working indoors, and living far from the equator with short winter days mean that it can be difficult to get enough sunlight to produce adequate vitamin D levels. The effect is compounded in the winter, when the sun’s rays are weaker and the days are shorter.
Vitamin D plays a vital role in our bodies, but most people do not get enough of the vitamin. According to a 2011 study, 46% of American adults are vitamin D-deficient. Symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency can vary from person to person, but they can include:
- Low moods or depressive feelings
- Muscle pain and weakness
- High blood pressure
If left untreated, a vitamin D deficiency can have serious consequences. In recent studies, scientists have found linkes between several diseases and chronic vitamin D deficiency, including dementia, prostate cancer, and mental illness.
Vitamin D Deficiency and Hair Loss
While the exact link between low vitamin D levels and hair loss is not known, this study suggests that maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D could help with some types of hair loss. Vitamin D will also help with overall health. So regardless of your hair loss status, it’s wise to make sure you get enough vitamin D during the winter months.
Vitamin D and Hair Growth
Even if you don’t have thinning hair or hair loss, there is some evidence that vitamin D may help to grow hair more efficiently. A 2012 Japanese study suggested that vitamin D supplementation can help to create new hair follicles. Furthermore, in a 2007 Harvard study, researchers discovered that vitamin D actually can seem to “wake up” dormant hair follicles, leading to thicker hair growth.
How Do You Know If You’re Not Getting Enough Vitamin D?
If you think you may be vitamin D-deficient, visit your doctor for a blood test to check your vitamin D levels. Your doctor can diagnose the cause of your deficiency, and help you devise a regimen to get enough vitamin D. Whether through sun exposure, diet, supplements, or a combination of all three, you can up your vitamin D levels even in the winter.
How to Get Enough Vitamin D in Winter
1. Get outside!
Luckily, getting enough vitamin D is as easy as going outside. The body produces vitamin D through sunlight absorption. Unfortunately, shorter days and colder temperatures may keep us indoors most of the winter.
Even when it’s cold, try to go outside for 10-15 minutes of sun exposure every day. Just be sure to wear sunscreen, which will block the harmful radiation from the sun while still allowing sufficient vitamin D production. And of course, minimize time outside in dangerously cold sub-zero temperatures.
2. Eat More Vitamin D
Incorporating more vitamin D-rich foods into your diet will help you to get enough vitamin D during the dark winter months. Foods that are high in vitamin D include:
- Cod liver oil
- Portobello mushrooms
- Fatty fish like salmon
- Eggs yolks
- Almond milk
- Fortified dairy products
Add one or more of these foods to your diet to help you get enough vitamin D during the winter.
3. Take a Vitamin D Supplement
You may be considering taking a vitamin D supplement to optimize hair growth especially during the winter. If you go that route, the American Institute of Medicine suggests taking 400-800 IU’s of vitamin D each day. However, some experts warn that may not be enough depending on your levels. If you have a vitamin D deficiency, ask your doctor how much vitamin D you should take.
The Benefits of a Hair Nourishment Supplement
If you’re considering taking a vitamin D supplement to improve your hair, do even more by taking a comprehensive supplement that’s specially formulated to support healthy, thick hair. Viviscal supplements contain an exclusive marine complex called AminoMar C™, an ingredient found only in Viviscal, plus a blend of vitamins and minerals that nourish hair from within. The Viviscal formula is proven to help maintain normal, healthy hair and to help reduce hair shedding. Your hair will thank you!