There are many different vitamins that your hair needs to grow thick and healthy. One good thing about vitamins for your hair is that they benefit your whole body. More than that, vitamins don’t come with any of those long lists of side effects.
Vitamin A is one of the many vitamins that can help boost your hair growth both directly and indirectly. As such, Vitamin A can sometimes be seen in hair loss treatments of all kinds.
What Vitamin A Does For You
Vitamin A is one of the countless things that your body needs in order to function properly.
Specifically, this vitamin goes into supporting, maintaining, and replacing the cells all over your body. This includes the cells that go into your skin, teeth, hair, bones, and some of your most important internal organs.
One of the most important things that the A Vitamin helps with is your eyes.
In fact, children in third world countries where people do not get enough Vitamin A often go blind without treatment. It has been classed as a leading cause of preventable blindness.
The first sign of the Vitamin A deficiency affecting you, however, often has the same symptoms of night blindness.
Toxicity and anemia are also things that you might notice if you are low on Vitamin A; lack of this vitamin can even affect your mood, making you more irritable.
Back to the point, virtually all of your cells need Vitamin A in order to grow. More than that, Vitamin A is also a powerful antioxidant and has many other properties that help your health.
Antioxidants are vital to staying healthy and fighting off any colds or bugs that are going around.
Antioxidants also help with the ever-present fight against free radicals. Free radicals do all sorts of bad things if let loose in your body. These things range from cancer to harmless but unsightly growths on top of negatively impacting your internal functions.
Finally, one of the last things about Vitamin A is that it is one of the fat-soluble vitamins. This means that, when you intake more than enough Vitamin A, your body can store up the extra for later. It chooses your liver as the best place to do this at.
How Vitamin A Helps Your Hair
As mentioned, all cells need some amount of Vitamin A in order to grow properly. This includes the cells that go into making your hair.
In addition, Vitamin A also goes into making sebum, which is the oil your scalp makes to keep itself moisturized.
Without enough sebum, your scalp and hair will dry out, and your hair will then get damaged and become slightly brittle. Dry hair looks dull and brittle hair gets more split ends and eventually makes your hair thin due to breakage.
If you have researched about hair loss, you no doubt at least have an idea of how good antioxidants are.
First, any help with your health and in avoiding illnesses is an indirect help to your hair growth. Simply put, staying healthy gives your body one less thing that it has to deal with; this allows it to focus more on growing that lush, thick hair you are trying to get.
Second, those free radicals that can cause cancer can also get into your scalp and create buildup in those cells. This blocks the circulation to your scalp, blockage like this being one of the most common causes of hair loss.
Therefore, Vitamin A getting rid of these free for you helps improve your circulation and, thereby, your hair growth.
While these are the main ways that Vitamin A helps your hair, there are other smaller ways it helps.
All of this adds up to a variety of very good reasons why Vitamin A is used in many hair loss treatments.
Even if your hair grew without enough Vitamin A, it could still absorb what it is missing to some degree by applying something with Vitamin A directly on your hair; this helps to a small degree with heat damage.
How To Get Vitamin A
One of the best ways to get any vitamin is through the foods you eat. For Vitamin A, you need foods that have beta-carotene in them since this is what your body turns into it.
Some of the more popular food with this in them are yellow and orange vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin.
However, other foods have some Vitamin A as well, including eggs and milk products. Dark green vegetables such as spinach, collards, swiss chard, and kale also have notable amounts.
A couple of other things that are less enjoyable are ones like cod liver oil and beef liver.
Another way to get Vitamin A is by taking some form of a supplement. This type of supplement can be either in pill or powder form and is available in most stores with the other vitamins.
There is even Vitamin A available in liquid drop form.
Most, but not all, Vitamin A supplements are vegan, and most Vitamin A supplements have a few other vitamins too. In cases where Vitamin A is the only ingredient, it will most likely be labeled as Beta Carotene.
Since cod liver oil is so high in Vitamin A, you can take this in any form as a supplement. This is frequently a liquid but can also be gotten in soft-gel capsules. Though easier to swallow, these will still smell like cod liver oil.
Finally, if you are taking Vitamin A for your hair, you can get a little of it through absorption. This means that putting a hair mask on your hair that has Vitamin A in it is good. This will get some of this vitamin in your scalp.
Though the same is true for shampoos and conditioners, these don’t stay on you long enough to absorb properly.
Too Much Vitamin A?
Getting plenty of Vitamin A is important, but it is equally important not to overdo it. Too much Vitamin A can cause a variety of problems, just like not getting enough.
These problems can both directly and indirectly contribute to hair loss and other health problems that you obviously don’t want.
Like only a handful of other vitamins, it is entirely possible to overdose on Vitamin A. Overdosing yourself on this vitamin can have some pretty detrimental effects.
For starters, Vitamin A can literally put your hair follicles in overdrive mode.
What this means is that your hair follicles will speed through their growth phase in a rush.
At first, you may think that your hair is growing better but, in reality, this isn’t something you want. This is because your hair is essentially running all the way to the falling out phase as quickly as it can.
Unless your hair follicles are going through the rest phase equally fast, you won’t be replacing hairs that quickly. Therefore, that rush of growth will be inevitably followed by thinning hair as your hair falls out.
In severe cases, overdosing Vitamin A can lead to literal bald patches on your scalp because your hair fell out.
Besides that, you have to remember that Vitamin A is one of the vitamins that can be stored. While this is great in some cases, your body can ‘overstock’ Vitamin A.
Since your body stores this in your liver, it is your liver that is going to be most affected by your overdosing this vitamin.
The result is that your liver will have a hard time functioning and will cause problems throughout the rest of your body. If this goes on for too long, internal organ damage can occur due to this.
The Right Amount Of Vitamin A
Though you now know how important it is to not overdose on Vitamin A, you can rest at ease knowing that you would find it hard to do so. To overdose on Vitamin A, you would have to intake around double the recommended daily dose of it.
This amount of Vitamin A is virtually impossible to take just by eating foods that are high in it. Even if you eat exclusively foods that are high in Vitamin A, it will be quite difficult to overdose on it.
Keep in mind that getting a little more Vitamin A than the recommended amount is alright, just not for long periods of time.
The government recommended amount of Vitamin A is around 10,000 IU daily. In certain cases, a doctor can recommend that you try to intake a little more than this amount. However, that is usually only after a blood test has shown that you are depleted.
If you are severely depleted in Vitamin A, you may safely take more than the recommended dose until you are back within normal levels. Even then, it is safer to take less than the daily recommended amount as a supplement because you will be getting some Vitamin A from the foods you eat.
You can take a supplement that has all the Vitamin A you need. However, doing this in addition to eating foods with Vitamin A will gradually cause a buildup of this vitamin. You can solve this, though, by taking the supplement irregularly instead of daily to prevent too much buildup.
If you think you are too low or too high on Vitamin A, then talk with your doctor. They will be able to tell you with a simple blood test if you are getting the right amount.
As you can see, Vitamin A can be quite good for your hair but should be used with care. If you overdo taking this vitamin and worsen your hair loss because of it, it will take time to fix.
Even after you stop taking Vitamin A, your body will have to use up what it has stored up.
Therefore, going down to taking just the correct daily dose of Vitamin A isn’t going to cut it. You will have to take less than your body’s daily recommended amount to force your body to use its reserves.
You may even want to cut the foods that have Vitamin A out of your diet for a while too.
Once you have used up the excess Vitamin A in your system, your hair growth should return to normal. At that point, you should start taking Vitamin A again.
Stick with only the recommended daily amount, and it will even benefit your hair as it grows back in.