Vitamin D has received more and more attention lately and for a good reason.
Despite the fortification of some popular foods such as whole milk, many people still aren’t getting enough vitamin D.
It may be that we’re just not getting as much sun as we used to with all the office jobs and fear of skin cancers, or maybe we’re just not aware of how much we need.
The US Institute of Medicine (IOM) has set the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) at 600 International Units (IU), but many others have speculated that their recommendations are set at the bare minimum to suppress rickets and a few other complications proven to be caused by lack of vitamin D.
While the evidence isn’t conclusive yet, there seems to be a strong correlation between low vitamin D levels and a host of different diseases.
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Vitamin D Deficiency and Hair Loss
While vitamin D deficiency is most commonly associated with bone-related diseases like rickets and a general inability to properly absorb calcium, it has also been found to play a role in hair loss.
Hair growth is regulated by a process called hair-follicle cycling. Each individual hair follicle (the skin organs that produce hair) goes through three basic phases that regulate hair growth.
In the anagen phase, the cells in the hair follicle are dividing rapidly which leads to hair growth.
In the categen phase, the hair follicle goes through a brief transition period and stops growing.
Finally, in the telogen phase, the hair follicle becomes a club hair, which is essentially dead. Once in the telogen stage, these hairs will dislodge themselves over a period of time.
The average human scalp sheds fifty to one hundred club hairs each day.
So how does vitamin D play into this? I’m glad you asked.
Vitamin D deficiency has been found to influence these hair follicle cycles, leading to changes in the body’s tendency to grow or shed hair.
For instance, changes to the hair-follicle cycle could lead to shorter anagen (growth) phases and earlier categen and telogen phases, promoting hair loss.
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So Should I Supplement Vitamin D?
The short answer is that it probably can’t hurt.
Vitamin D deficiency and hair loss seem to be closely linked, and vitamin D is associated with lower rates of various diseases and illnesses.
The Upper Limit (or UL) is relatively high, so you don’t have to worry about overdose unless you really go overboard.
The body can produce up to 20,000 UI of vitamin D from sun exposure and no one has ever experienced overdose symptoms from sun, so it’s likely that anything under 20,000 is safe for healthy people.
Try experimenting with doses between 4,000 and 10,000 UI and see if you notice any improvements.
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