There are many reasons why people start to show gray hair sooner than others, and one of these culprits has to do with the repercussions of a vitamin B-12 deficiency. Your family doctor can diagnose this problem through a simple blood test, and you should never take it upon yourself to start using B-12 supplements without first having a thorough examination. In order to help you understand the importance of B-12 in maintaining healthy hair and preventing premature graying, you must first learn the basics when it comes to this vital nutrient.
Vitamin B-12: The Facts
Vitamin B-12 is most often found in supplements, certain medications, and food. Many people get the daily-recommended requirement of vitamin B-12 by consuming animal and dairy products, and this vitamin is crucial for proper red blood cell formation and brain function. When an individual’s body is lacking in B-12, this will result in a medical condition known as anemia, which can cause headaches, irregular heartbeat, constipation, lapse in memory – and yes, even premature graying in hair.
Even though some graying is expected when we grow older, a vast depletion of B-12 can further exacerbate the graying process. Researchers in Sweden discovered that vitamin B-12 and folic acid could aid in the re-pigmentation (or natural coloring) of the hair and skin. Patients suffering from vitiligo – a condition that involves the loss of pigmentation – were treated with healthy doses of B-12 and folic acid, and re-pigmentation was noted in over 60% of those patients after a six-month period.
So, at these studies have shown, re-pigmentation is in fact a possibility, but the proper amount of nutrients must be attained for the process to be a success. According to leading dietary health professionals, one of the best ways to achieve the right amount of B-12 is to indulge in a diet rich in shellfish, liver, and other organ meats. Poultry, milk, red meats, eggs, and dairy products are also great sources of B-12. Although plant based foods are wonderful for optimum health, they do not absorb B-12 into the body as readily as animal products do.
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