A deficiency in minerals can cause hair loss because hair production requires a wide variety of minerals and trace minerals. Numerous systems in the body participate in the production of hair. For instance, hormonal balance is needed in order for hair to grow, and the hair follicles where hair is produced rely on specific nutrients in order to be stimulated.
Selenium Helps Grow Hair
Selenium is a trace element used by the body in small but vital quantities. A deficiency of this mineral can lead to heart conditions and cancer, as well as to poor hair growth. Selenium is part of the metabolic pathway of iodine metabolism and also contributes to the synthesis of protein. Selenium is found in the soil, especially in the land around Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota, but food grown in other areas of the country may not absorb enough selenium from the soil. Fertilizers prevent the natural absorption of trace minerals from the soil as well; so organic food is likely to contain more of this mineral. Brazil nuts are a good source of selenium, along with brown rice and walnuts.
Iodine Prevents Hair Loss
The mineral iodine is used by the thyroid gland and iodine deficiency can lead to hair loss. Iodine is found in fish and especially in seaweeds, such as kelp. Iodine is found in sea salt, along with other trace minerals found in the sea. Adding seaweed to the diet can add the additional iodine needed to nourish the thyroid gland and prevent hair loss.
Zinc Stimulates the Hair Follicles
The cells of the hair follicle utilize zinc. Many Americans are deficient in this mineral as well. Zinc can be taken orally or it can also be applied by use of topical zinc creams designed to help prevent hair loss.
Calcium Needed for Hair Growth
Calcium and magnesium are both needed to grow hair, as well as to grow bones. The most abundant mineral in the body, calcium is stored in the bones and teeth. Adding sesame seeds to the diet can add much needed calcium. Another good source of calcium is found in cooked spinach, with 120 milligrams in a half-cup. Sardines provide a fish source of calcium with about 100 mg of calcium per ounce. Chinese cabbage and kale also provide a large amount of calcium- about 90 milligrams for each raw cup.
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