Zinc deficiency is a common reason for hair loss or gray hair. We can get the recommended daily intake from food or dietary supplements. Zinc plasma levels above 10 µmol/L are necessary for increased hair density & strong hair.
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. The body can’t generate it. We have to get it from food.
High levels of zinc are necessary for many functions in the body. Zinc is involved in the functions of more than 300 enzymes! For instance, zinc is necessary for healthy hair, skin, nails, increased libido, and athletic performance.
The recommended daily intake of zinc is 8 mg for women and 11 mg for men.
A healthy, well-balanced diet can provide adequate amounts of zinc. But, zinc deficiency is pretty common and can lead to premature hair loss or gray hair!
Why is zinc good for 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.
Zinc is necessary for healthy hair. According to studies, hair loss has been associated with low serum zinc levels. Zinc affects hair follicle cycling and helps hair grow.
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.
Actually, many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are necessary for strong hair. See the most necessary compounds for hair in this article.
Antioxidant properties of zinc protect hair
Smoking, stress, and exposure to sun radiation are common risk factors for hair loss, as they increase oxidative stress! We need compounds with antioxidant properties to neutralize it. Zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D, and selenium are necessary for increased antioxidant activity!
Can zinc prevent premature graying of hair?
Antioxidants also protect hair from premature graying. Copper, iron, calcium, and zinc affect hair pigmentation as well. In fact, zinc deficiency may be one of the reasons of gray hair.
Vitamin B12, biotin, and folic acid can also delay gray hair.
Eat foods rich in zinc to delay hair loss!
Most people who follow the standard American diet get zinc from red meat, poultry, fish and seafood.
But, there are plenty of plant-based foods rich in zinc. For instance, whole grains (e.g. oats), beans (e.g. soybeans, lentils, chickpeas), as well as nuts (e.g. almonds), and seeds are great vegan dietary sources of zinc.
Do I need zinc supplements for strong hair?
Acute zinc deficiency can cause hair loss. In acute zinc deficiency, zinc supplements could be beneficial for rejuvenating hair.
Actually, zinc supplementation can be an inexpensive way to stimulate hair growth, and even help other traditional therapeutic methods for hair regrowth.
You’ll find a wide variety of zinc supplements on iHerb.
Certainly, you shouldn’t consume more zinc than the maximum safe dose. Only your healthcare provider could prescribe you higher dosages. In fact, long-term zinc overdose may lead to hair loss. Too much zinc can be bad for your hair growth. For instance, high zinc doses inhibit iron absorption, which is also vital for hair growth.[1,2]