Mastering proper nutrition for optimum hair growth can be tricky. Beauty experts may tout selenium supplements as vital for growing healthy hair. But take too much selenium, and you run the risk of shedding extra hair. So what gives?
Read on to learn the pros and cons of selenium for hair growth, and how to make sure you’re getting just the right amount of this mineral in your diet.
What is Selenium?
Selenium is a trace mineral found in meats, seafood, nuts, mushrooms and grains that is believed to support a healthy immune system and promote a host of other benefits. However, you don’t need to take a lot of selenium to reap its benefits. The US recommended daily intake of selenium is only 55 micrograms for adults. To put this in perspective, one ounce of Brazil nuts contains 544 micrograms of selenium.
With the help of selenium, the body may be able to create antioxidant enzymes that protect cells from free radicals. Selenium may even help maintain a healthy thyroid.
Selenium & Hair Growth
So what does selenium do for hair? There are several benefits of selenium for hair growth. The antioxidant enzymes in selenium prevent damage to hair follicles from pollution, UV rays, and other forms of free radicals. Selenium also encourages regular hair growth by helping the body to convert necessary proteins to grow hair. Finally, selenium’s anti-inflammatory properties may also promote a healthy scalp.*
Selenium Deficiency and Hair Loss
There are many possible symptoms of a dietary deficiency in selenium, including low immunity, fatigue, brain fog and hypothyroidism. Chronic selenium deficiency can also cause hair loss.
However, selenium deficiencies are relatively uncommon. Most cases of selenium deficiencies in adults are in people with eating disorders or who use long-term nutritional support (like a feeding tube).
A study of selenium-deficient infants found that selenium supplementation can improve hair loss caused by selenium deficiency. This indicates that when hair loss is caused by selenium deficiency, it may be able to be reversed by taking a selenium supplement.
Is Selenium Good for Hair Loss?
On the other hand, taking too much selenium can have similar effects. Research by Margaret Rayman at the University of Surrey in the UK indicates that consuming too much selenium may actually contribute to hair loss.
When we take in too much selenium, the body may create too many antioxidant enzymes, which cause the body to attack its own hair follicles, causing hair loss.
Other Minerals That Benefit Hair Growth
The key, it seems, is to find the correct balance between too much and too little selenium.
However, selenium is not the only mineral that helps support regular hair growth. The body also needs iron and zinc to maintain hair follicles and promote healthy hair growth. Eating a healthy diet with plenty of protein, vegetables and whole grains will help provide you with the necessary minerals to help support hair growth.*
To fill in mineral gaps in your diet, take a nutritional supplement like Viviscal. Viviscal does not contain a significant amount of selenium, but Viviscal is a good source of zinc and iron, two other minerals that have been shown to support healthy hair. Viviscal is also formulated with the B vitamins biotin and niacin, vitamin C, and our proprietary marine complex AminoMar™, all of which have been shown to promote existing hair growth.*
How do you make sure you’re getting the right minerals for healthy hair growth? Let us know in the comments!