Hair loss: The vitamin ‘intricately involved’ in growth – do you have enough?

Gemma Atkinson reveals her hair loss

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Nonetheless, the NHS says people should be wary of miracle cure claims. Hair loss is perfectly normal, with most people losing anywhere between 50 and 100 hairs a day, often without noticing. It’s estimated, for instance, that around 40 percent of women aged 70 years or over experience female-pattern baldness.

A review on hair loss and vitamin D, published in the National Library of Medicine, says: “Vitamin D, a vitamin and hormone, plays an important role in dermatology and dermatotherapeutics, due to its anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties, and regulation of keratinocyte differentiation and proliferation.

“It also affects the hair cycle, and its role in hair loss is under constant research.”

A PubMed literature search was performed to review relevant current literature and studies investigating the role of vitamin D in the etiopathogenesis, as a supplement and a potential therapeutic modality in hair loss.

It found vitamin D is “intricately involved” in various signalling pathways of growth and differentiation of hair follicles.

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It adds: “However, conclusive studies to demonstrate the benefit of vitamin D administration in correcting hair loss and managing these conditions are lacking”.

Another study published on Wiley Online Library says: “Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with various hair loss disorders, such as telogen effluvium, alopecia areata, and female pattern hair loss.

“However, previous studies have not found a correlation between serum vitamin D levels and the severity of androgenetic alopecia.”

It states: “Our study showed a significant correlation between vitamin D deficiency and the severity of androgenetic alopecia.

“This suggests that vitamin D may play a role in the premature onset of androgenetic alopecia.

“However, further studies on a larger population and the effect of vitamin D supplementation on the progression of androgenetic alopecia are required to validate the above findings.”

The Cleveland Clinic say a lack of vitamin D can have a number of signs and symptoms which might include:

  • Fatigue.
  • Bone pain.
  • Muscle weakness, muscle aches, or muscle cramps.
  • Mood changes, like depression.

In April 2020, the NHS issued a statement, based on recommendations from Public Health England (PHE), that we should all consider taking 10 mcg/day vitamin D as a supplement, to keep our bones and muscles healthy.

This advice was issued largely because of the restrictions imposed by quarantine and lockdown.

If you are spending a lot of time indoors, the NHS suggests you should take 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day to keep your bones and muscles healthy.

Dietary vitamin D is available in foods such as oily fish, cod liver oil, red meat, fortified cereals, fortified spreads and egg yolks.

Around 20 percent of adults may have low vitamin D status, and there are several main risk factors for vitamin D deficiency.

The NHS says risk factors include a lack of sunlight exposure, darker skin, being housebound, malabsorption, and being pregnant or breastfeeding.

Falling short of the required amount could weaken immune defences, but if low levels are left untreated, discomfort may also arise.

Over-supplementation of vitamin D, however, can be just as harmful and should be avoided.

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