B12, the Vital Vitamin
Kicking off our ‘Ingredients in the Spotlight’ series is the mighty Vitamin B12. For such an intrinsically vital vitamin, which supports all-round health, B12 does not always get the attention that it deserves. However, as Trichologists, we know how important B12 is. It’s a major player in many of the body’s processes of growth and renewal – including those of your hair cells. Ready to learn more? Here’s what you need to know…
What Vitamin B12 Does
Vitamin B12 is an essential water-soluble vitamin that is involved in the metabolism of every single cell in the human body. It helps keep your nervous system healthy. It is essential in the formation of red blood cells. It aids in cell division. And it supports detoxification.
Why B12 is so important for your hair?
First of all, having good levels of B12 helps your body make enough red blood cells, which are used to transport oxygen to your tissues. When your body is short of red blood cells, it channels its available supply to your vital organs to keep them alive, rather than to your hair follicles. Without adequate oxygen, your hair follicles stop functioning properly. This can cause your hair to fall out.
Vitamin B12 is also an integral factor in the conversion of food into energy for the body. In particular, it helps your body absorb and metabolise amino acids, which are the building blocks of hair.
Finally, B12 plays an essential role in cell division and growth. Because hair cells are the second fastest growing cells in the body (after intestinal cells), they need a good supply of B12 in order to function at their best, ensuring your hair can grow long, strong and healthy.
Ensuring your diet contains enough Vitamin B12
Eating as varied a diet as possible is really important to make sure your B12 levels are boosted. The main food sources of Vitamin B12 include animal products, such as poultry, meat, fish and shellfish, dairy and eggs. Many plant-based foods are fortified with Vitamin B12, such as mylks and spreads, breakfast cereals, breads, and soy products. These are a great option for vegans and vegetarians, as are B12 supplements. The Vegan Society has some excellent guidelines should you need more information.
Vitamin B12 deficiency
A lack of B12 is called Vitamin B12 Deficiency Anaemia. Because B12 is absorbed via the stomach, certain stomach and gut conditions can lower your levels. These include coeliac disease and Crohn’s disease. Heartburn medication can also interfere with your ability to absorb Vitamin B12.
B12 Deficiency Anaemia can make you feel easily tired and lacking in vitality. It can also cause you to feel depressed, forgetful or disoriented.
In our Clinics, our Trichologists often see clients experiencing different hair loss due to B12 deficiency. If you are worried that you may have a deficiency, it is easy to have your blood tested. In fact, when clients come for a Consultation at the Philip Kingsley Clinics, B12 levels are one of the first things that we check if we send you for a blood test.
Read more about Vitamin B12 in the Hair Guide.
You can also support optimum B12 levels with our Tricho Complex or Biotin Boost Nutritional Supplements, which both contain Vitamin B12.