How does zinc protect your hair?

Actually, zinc deficiency is a common reason for fragile hair, hair loss, and even hair graying! Consuming foods with zinc is good for your hair. In severe cases, you could prevent hair loss with zinc supplements!

How much zinc do we need?

Zinc is the second most abundant trace metal in the human body after iron! It’s an essential metal, as the body can’t generate it on its own. We have to get it from food.

The recommended daily zinc intake for women is 8 mg and 11 mg for men. A well-balanced diet can provide more zinc than we actually need. But, zinc deficiency is pretty common and can lead to premature hair loss!

High levels of zinc are necessary for many functions of the body. Zinc is a structural component of more than 1,000 zinc-associated factors, including many proteins, and is required in more than 300 enzymes! For instance, zinc is necessary for thick hair, glowing skin, increased libido, and athletic performance.

Why is zinc good for my hair?

Up to 30% of men are going to loss their hair by the age of 30 years, up to 50% by 50 years, and 80% by 70 years.[1]

Zinc is necessary for healthy and thick hair. According to studies, many people with hair loss had low serum zinc levels. It seems that zinc deficiency may be a key reason for premature hair loss.

Zinc affects hair follicle cycling and helps hair grow.[2]

Most noteworthy, scientists found that we should have zinc plasma levels above 10 µmol/L, in order, to increase hair density and hair diameter. Lower zinc levels may impair other traditional treatments for hair loss, as well. The normal plasma range is 9–20 µmol/L.[3]

Moreover, we should have high serum copper concentrations to prevent premature hair loss. Additionally, regular intake of L-Carnitine is also beneficial as an alternative treatment for hair loss.[1]

Healthy hair needs many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. See the most necessary compounds for thick and shiny hair here.

Zinc protects hair, as it’s a powerful antioxidant!

Moreover, smoking, stress, and exposure to sun radiation are common risk factors which can cause weak hair and even hair loss! Smoking, stress, and exposure to sunlight increase reactive oxygen species in the body which are dangerous highly reactive chemical molecules. They can cause oxidative stress which leads to many diseases. Hair loss, as well.

We need compounds with antioxidant properties to neutralize these dangerous molecules. Zinc is such a powerful antioxidant. Zinc deficiency may promote oxidative stress. So, we must get enough zinc every day to decrease the risk of premature hair loss!

There are many other compounds that fight oxidative stress. For instance, high levels of vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D, and selenium are necessary for increased antioxidant activity! In other words, zinc, selenium and vitamins B12, C, D, E protect hair and prevent hair loss.

Brazil nuts are the best source of selenium. 1 Brazil nut a day is enough. Don’t eat more than 2 Brazil nuts a day because too much selenium can cause hair loss!

Additionally, vitamins have complementary action. For instance, high levels of zinc can increase vitamin E levels, as zinc plays a key role in lipid metabolism. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin. So, zinc helps the body absorb more vitamin E.

Therefore, you better eat foods high in antioxidants, instead of taking supplements. Foods contain many vitamins and antioxidants. For instance, tomato is rich in vitamin C and lycopene. Both are powerful antioxidants that protect our hair!

Can zinc prevent premature graying of hair?

Antioxidants protect hair from premature graying.

Copper, iron, calcium, and zinc influence hair pigmentation. So, high levels of these nutrients can prevent premature graying of hair.[4]

Moreover, other compounds with antioxidants properties are good for preserving the natural color of your hair. Vitamin B12biotin, and folic acid can also delay gray hair.[5]

Eat foods rich in zinc to prevent premature hair loss!

Most people get zinc from meat and fish. But, there are plenty of plant-based foods rich in zinc, as well. For instance, oats, soybeans, lentilschickpeasalmonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds are great dietary sources of zinc.

See the whole list of common plant-based foods with zinc here.

Do I need zinc supplements?

Acute zinc deficiency can cause hair loss. As a rule of thumb, we need zinc supplements in more severe cases.[6]

In case of zinc deficiency, zinc supplementation can help hair regrow! Researchers showed that zinc supplementation can be an inexpensive way to stimulate hair growth, and even help other traditional therapeutic methods.[7]

Above all, you shouldn’t take a daily zinc dose above 40 mg! It’s the upper tolerable dose for zinc. Only your health care provider could prescribe higher doses.

Too much zinc may cause hair loss!

Huge doses of zinc for an extended time period can significantly inhibit hair growth. For instance, huge zinc doses inhibit iron absorption which is also vital for hair growth.[1,2]