January is traditionally a time when people take stock of their health and wellness, often making resolutions to help improve it.
Whilst for some this involves exercising more, eating better and getting those niggling aches and pains properly checked out, for others it can be as simple as remembering to take a suitable food supplement.
New findings from global market research firm Mintel show that 59 per cent of UK adults have taken food supplements. Just over one in three – 34 per cent – take a daily vitamin and/or mineral supplement, with women leading the way (38 per cent v 28 per cent of men).
Although multivitamins make up more than half of all food supplements taken in the UK, at 56 per cent, according to Mintel’s findings, a number of individual vitamins and minerals enjoyed individual popularity.
Whilst sales of calcium (29 per cent) and iron (28 per cent) supplements rose, thanks to the trend towards vegan, vegetarian and ‘flexitarian’ diets, five most-purchased single vitamins have been dubbed ‘the UK’s favourites’.
Here we look at the UK’s Top 5 Favourite Vitamins and explain how each may be beneficial to the maintenance of normal healthy hair growth…
1. Vitamin D
With 33 per cent of single-supplement users taking vitamin D, the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’ tops the nation’s favourite poll.
Benefits include promoting bone health, supporting the immune system, brain and nervous system, as well as cardiovascular health. Additionally, it can help in preventing hair loss from a vitamin D deficiency.
There are a number of vitamins and minerals which, if healthy levels are not maintained – whether through lack of dietary consumption or due to malabsorption – side effects may occur, including temporarily thinning hair. In some cases the same may happen if there is an excess of the nutrient, iron being a classic example, so it is important to ensure a well-balanced diet, including any elements taken as supplements.
Whilst food supplements are not designed to replace a healthy and balanced diet, in some instances, such as vitamin D intake, the UK government does in fact recommend supplementation.
2. Vitamin C
Second place goes to vitamin C with 27 per cent of people taking this as a standalone supplement.
This anti-oxidant may be the first thing some people reach for when they have a cold, but vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, has many benefits all year round. These include protecting cells and promoting the maintenance of healthy skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage.
A deficiency can also lead to scurvy, which has reportedly been making a comeback in the UK since 2016 due to increasing poverty levels and nutrient-deficient diets (source: National Health and Social Care Information Centre).
3. Vitamin B complex
Vitamin B complex takes the half-way point with 15 per cent.
There are many B vitamins and the specific mix is not stated but these can include thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, biotin (vitamin B7 or vitamin H) vitamin B12, folate (vitamin B9) and folic acid.
Currently biotin is one of only three nutrients that, when taken as a supplement, is officially recognised by the UK’s medical regulatory board, the MHRA, as playing a role in the maintenance of normal healthy hair growth. This is due to biotin supporting keratin’s structure, keratin being the simple protein which makes up our hair, nails and skin.
4. Vitamin A
Also known as retinol, vitamin A bags fourth place with a 12 per cent share of UK users. It is used to support the immune system and is the reasoning behind the advice that ‘carrots can help you see in the dark’; carrots are rich in vitamin A (beta-carotene) and vitamin A is known to support eye health, including vision in dim lighting.
Although it helps to prevent dry hair by maintaining scalp health via regular sebum production, too much vitamin A can cause hair loss so it is crucial to get the balance right.
Caution is advised, however, given an October 2018 study published in the Journal of Endocrinology found that taking vitamin A supplements could affect bone strength, increasing a person’s risk of bone fractures.
It is always wise to consult your doctor or healthcare professional before starting a new supplement regimen. Some vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements are contraindicated against certain medications or may be generally unsuitable based upon your medical profile.
5. Vitamin E
Taking the last spot with 10 per cent of sales, is vitamin E. Often associated with skincare due to its ability to maintain healthy skin, it can also protect the body’s immune system, helping to fight off infection.
Another antioxidant, vitamin E also helps to reduce oxidative stress levels – a potential trigger of premature Male Pattern Baldness; furthermore its involvement in increasing oxygen helps to maintain solid blood flow, with good circulation benefiting hair growth by ensuring nutrients are delivered to the follicles.
Hair supplements are not hair loss treatments
Vitamins C, D3, B6, and iron are crucial components of Belgravia’s highly-targeted formulation for Hair Vitalics food supplements. These include key, premium vitamins, minerals, amino acids and botanical extracts – tailored to men’s and women’s individual needs – both including selenium, biotin and zinc for the maintenance of normal healthy hair growth.
Although having a healthy diet and lifestyle plays an important role in good hair condition, there are a number of hair loss conditions which will prevail regardless.
In these cases, dedicated hair loss treatment may be required, under the advice and guidance of a specialist, as food supplements – whilst they may be used alongside pharmaceutical medications – are not designed to treat or prevent any disease or medical condition, including forms of alopecia.
Anyone worried about losing more hairs than normal, thinning hair, a drop in volume or sudden hair loss, should consult a hair loss specialist for a timely diagnosis and advice.
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.