As a matter of fact, hair growth is never found to be uniform in different individuals. During the course of your lifetime, the quality and quantity of your hair will certainly change. Usually, hair growth seems to be more rapid when you are young and have better health. It begins to slow down once you become old. This is mainly because as you age, your metabolism gets slower and this affects the health of your hair follicles and your hair growth.
In fact, having healthy hair has a lot to do with nutrition. Your internal organs need nutrients for keeping them healthy. Similarly, your hair also needs nutrients to support its growth. One of such nutrients essential for healthy hair growth, when taken as recommended on a daily basis, is folic acid or vitamin B-9.
How does folic acid promote your hair growth?
Folic acid is an essential nutrient we require for the growth of healthy cells found in various parts of the body such as our hair, nail, and skin. In addition to this, folic acid also helps to keep our red blood cells healthy. It is basically a synthetic form of a type B vitamin known as folate. When found in natural foods it’s called folate and when found in enriched foods and supplements, it is called folic acid. Basically, both of them has the same way of functioning.
Results of researches in this field
Researches which were done to establish the relationship between folic acid and hair-growth only yields minimal information. In a study published in 2017, about 52 adults with premature graying were observed. The research came to the conclusion that all these participants had deficiencies not only in folic acid but also in vitamins B-12 and B-7. Therefore, additional studies are required in order to determine whether a folic acid deficiency alone can cause premature graying.
Recommended dosage of folic acid
The recommended dosage of folic acid is generally 400 mcg. You may need to take this if your daily diet is not having enough folate which your body needs for hair growth and various other functions. If you have too little folate in your body, you may suffer from folate-deficiency anemia. This condition may cause symptoms, like irritability, headaches, severe fatigue, pale skin, mouth soreness, pigmentation changes on nails and hairs along with thinning of hair.
In case you don’t have any folate deficiency, there is no need for you to take a folic acid supplement and remember, taking more than 400 mcg of folic acid per day is not going to make your hair grow any faster and it is unsafe to take too much folic acid. This may lead to a folic acid overdose. It is equally dangerous to take a high amount of fortified foods in an effort to increase your folic acid. At the same time, folate in natural foods is safe to take. Keep in mind that taking more than 1,000 mcg of folic acid per day can even lead to nerve damages.
Although folic acid is theoretically a B vitamin, most of vitamin B complex supplements don’t have it as a component. Instead, it is found in multivitamins or as a separate supplement. Before buying, make sure you will get your recommended dose of folic acid from it on a daily basis.
Folic acid is a very important nutrient for pregnant women. According to the CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pregnant women should consume 400 mcg of folic acid per day. They also suggest starting folic acid supplements one month before conception, if possible.
Have you ever noticed the increased hair growth in pregnant women? People think pregnancy causes this while, in reality, the increased intake of folic acid is causing it. Usually, while pregnant, your doctor prescribes you a prenatal vitamin with folic acid so as to keep both the mother and baby healthy and to prevent any possible neurological birth defects.
Some foods which are rich in folic acid
You need to take folic acid supplements only if you have a folic acid deficiency. In fact, getting enough folic acid is relatively easy if you follow a healthy, balanced diet. Here are some whole foods which contain folate:
- citrus fruits
- green leafy vegetables
- wheat germ
It is to be noted that processed foods contain relatively low amounts of folate and other nutrients. However, if you aim at getting more folic acid through your diet, there are some fortified foods which can provide you the complete daily value you require such as fortified cereals, bread, and white rice. Orange juice is also another option for increasing your folic acid intake, but it has a lot of natural sugar in it.
Folic acid is one of the essential nutrients your body needs for making new cells all over your body, not only hair cells. Therefore, make sure to have enough folic acid for improving your overall health which in turn will nourish your hair cells too.
Always make sure to consult your doctor if you experience any specific hair growth concerns such as bald spots or you suddenly start losing large volumes of hair. This is very important because such symptoms may indicate some underlying medical condition such as a hormonal imbalance or alopecia which cannot be treated with folic acid.