If you notice changes in the texture and appearance of your hair, it could indicate low B12 levels in the body – have you experienced any of these symptoms?
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Vitamin B12 is essential for optimal health, but our bodies cannot make it on their own.
The nutrient, which plays a key role in the formation of red blood cells and DNA, also plays a vital role in the function and development of brain and nerve cells.
Deficiency in vegans is especially common and causes changes in skin, mouth and even hair. Since vitamin B12 aids in the production of red blood cells, having enough is essential for hair growth and general health.
So what specifically happens to our hair when we can’t get enough of it?
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The lack of the nutrient can even affect our DNA, says health site Medical News Today.
DNA is the information in every cell that contains the instructions for growth, development and functioning of all body cells, tissues and organs.
“When the cell reproduces, it must first make a copy of its DNA. Hair growth relies on the synthesis of DNA and adequate vitamin B12, among other nutrients,” the site says.
When there is a serious lack of it, this process is stopped, which can lead to hair loss. This can also happen due to the reduction of red blood cells that carry oxygen to the hair follicles.
Vitamin B12 is essential in making red blood cells.
“If vitamin B12 levels are low, your hair follicles may not be able to grow new hair as efficiently, resulting in hair loss,” says Indian health site Skin Kraft Laboratories.
Nutrient deficiency can also cause symptoms of anemia, which is associated with low iron levels, hair thinning and hair loss.
If you are young and notice your hair is turning gray, it could be due to a vitamin B12 deficiency.
In fact, the lack of sufficient vitamin B12 is one of the most common causes of premature graying of hair.
“Early graying can only be reversed with vitamin B12 supplementation if vitamin B12 deficiency is the cause,” Medicine.net says.
The site added, “If you go gray due to other factors, such as genetics, zinc deficiency, or medications, then your gray hair cannot be reversed.”
Vitamin B12 supplements are available but also occur naturally in fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and other dairy products.
Some of the best sources of vitamin B12 can be found in clams and beef liver.
Several breakfast cereals, nutritional yeasts and other food products are also fortified with the nutrient.