Benefits Of Vitamin B For Hair Growth & Its Side Effects

Improve the health of your mane by including an adequate amount of this vitamin in your diet.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Shruti Chavan, MBBS Dr. Shruti Chavan Dr. Shruti ChavanMBBS
Written by , Senior Editor Arshiya Syeda Senior Editor Experience: 7 years
Edited by , Associate Editor Eshna Das Associate Editor Experience: 3 years
Fact-checked by , Senior Beauty & Lifestyle Writer Swathi E Senior Beauty & Lifestyle Writer Experience: 2.5 years

Keeping your hair soft and silky requires external and internal nourishment and care. Vitamin B for hair growth plays a vital role in that. It helps to maintain hair health and improves its texture. Low maintenance and a hectic lifestyle negatively affect hair health. Here is where B vitamins come into the light. But one of the most common queries relates to the efficacy of these vitamins and how they work. This article will help you learn about these aspects and how vitamin B can benefit your hair. Continue reading further.

protip_icon Know Your Ingredient: Vitamin B

What Is It?
Water-soluble vitamin found in certain types of meat, poultry, fish, legumes, dairy products, seeds, and leafy greens.

What Are Its Benefits?
It encourages faster hair growth and improves metabolism for better hair health.

Who Can Use It?
Anyone can consume Vitamin B in moderation, especially older adults, vegans, vegetarians, and people with Vitamin B deficiency.

How Often?
It can be safely taken every day. However, consult your medical provider for the right dosage.

Some individuals might be allergic or sensitive to it. excess consumption may cause headache, fatigue or weakness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and a tingling sensation.

What Are B Vitamins?

B vitamins are a group of essential water-soluble vitamins that are crucial for converting the food we consume into energy, ensuring that our bodies have the necessary fuel to function optimally. Their involvement in DNA synthesis and repair is essential for maintaining healthy cells and facilitating growth (1). They are important for hair health as they support overall scalp well-being, thus promoting stronger and lustrous hair. B vitamins are water-soluble and not stored in the body, which means you must consume them regularly through food or supplements to ensure your body receives an adequate supply of these essential nutrients.

Know how these are vital for managing hair loss in the next section.

The Connection Between Vitamin B And Hair Loss

Vitamin B can aid in improving hair health if the cause for hair loss is a nutritional deficiency (2). Most research does not imply that the intake of vitamin B is directly related to hair growth. But in people with a pronounced deficiency of vitamin B, supplementation has shown an obvious improvement in hair quality (3). However, it is important to note that the study that proved so was conducted on children.

B-vitamins help DNA and RNA (the codes that make our cells) provide energy to cells, absorb proteins, and repair cells (4). So, while they may not directly help you grow your tresses, they are definitely working behind the scenes to make sure your hair remains healthy through other functions in the body.

But, it is not that simple. Each B-vitamin plays a different role in aiding the body. Learn more about the types of vitamin B needed for healthy hair and hair growth in the next section.

B-Vitamins For Hair Loss

You must have heard of vitamins B12, folate (B9), and biotin (B7), as these are commonly mentioned by dermatologists and hair growth supplement brands. But there are 8 kinds of B-vitamins, and each one affects your hair differently. Here is a little more information about these essential vitamins.

1. Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

Thiamine is crucial for the growth and function of various cells. One study found it to be helpful in improving metabolism and reducing hyperglycemia (high sugar levels) (5). This can be beneficial for your hair as high sugar levels can lead to hormonal imbalance (6). This, consequently, can lead to hair fall. Since the liver stores thiamine in small amounts, it must be taken daily via a balanced diet (7).

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The average American diet contains the recommended daily amount of thiamine (1.2 mg for men and 1.1 mg for women) (8).

2. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Riboflavin is an essential B-vitamin for hair growth that builds cells, produces energy, and breaks down fats, steroids, and medicine. Studies done on animals have found that a deficiency in vitamin B2 can result in alopeciai  XA condition when hair follicles are attacked by the immune system and result in sudden hair loss and sometimes nail changes. (9).

3. Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Niacin works to change nutrients into energy, produce fat, repair DNA, and provide antioxidant effects (10). It can also boost hair growth when applied topically (11). Internally, niacin has more of a cardiovascular effect, without much correlation to hair growth (12).

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Adult men should consume 16 mg of niacin daily, while women should consume 14 mg (8).

4. Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Pantothenic acid is used in hair treatments to promote hair growth (13). Within the body, this vitamin works to break down fat and regulate cholesterol. It is also claimed to promote antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits for maintaining healthy hair.

5. Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Pyridoxine is known to support the immune system and break down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. But, there is limited evidence to link this B-vitamin to hair growth. Though studies are underway to investigate its role in disease prevention, there is still much to be discovered about this vitamin (14).

6. Vitamin B7 (Biotin)

Biotin is a well-known vitamin that helps break down carbohydrates, proteins, and fatty acids. Although a biotin deficiency can cause hair loss, there is not enough evidence to prove that it helps with hair growth (15).  Hence, it is best to use biotin supplements only if you have a deficiency.

7. Vitamin B9 (Folate/Folic Acid)

Folate helps form DNA and RNA, the building blocks of life and the carriers of genes. It is necessary for all ages or periods of growth. But, no link has been found between folate and hair growth. Thus, supplementation makes sense only if you have a deficiency (16).

8. Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

Vitamin B12 is another crucial vitamin for DNA and improving brain function. A B12 deficiency is shown to alter hair health (17). Therefore, you must ensure that your diet hits the required amount of vitamin B12. However, there is no evidence that it improves hair growth.

If you experience unexplained alopecia, it is possible that your body is lacking in B-complex vitamins. Let us check out some common signs of a vitamin B deficiency below.

How To Recognize A Vitamin B Deficiency

Woman with a sore throat due to vitamin B2 deficiency
Image: Shutterstock

Pregnant women and older people are more likely to suffer from a deficiency of B-vitamins. Underlying diseases like gastritisi  XA group of conditions in which the stomach lining is inflamed, which can cause upper abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. , alcoholism, and immune system disorders may also cause a vitamin B deficiency alongside other nutritional deficiencies.

Here are some symptoms to look for when trying to spot a vitamin B deficiency.

  • B1 (Thiamine): Weight loss, confusion, memory loss, and muscle weakness.
  • B2 (Riboflavin): Cracked lips, sore throat, swelling of the mouth and throat, swollen tongue, hair loss, and skin rashes.
  • B3 (Niacin): Depression, headache, fatigue, memory loss, and hallucinations.
  • B5 (Pantothenic Acid): Headache, fatigue, irritability, restlessness, disturbed sleep, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, numbness or burning sensation in hands or feet, and muscle cramps.
  • B6 (Pyridoxine): Skin conditions, depression, confusion, and lowered immunity.
  • B7 (Biotin): Skin conditions, depression, confusion, and lowered immunity.
  • B9 (Folate/Folic Acid): Weakness, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, difficulty concentrating, hair loss, pale skin, and mouth sores.
  • B12 (Cobalamin): Nerve damage with numbness, tingling in the hands and legs, memory loss, confusion, dementiai  XA group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking, and social abilities severely enough to interfere with your daily life. , and depression.

If you have noticed these signs lately, you may be suffering from a deficiency of B-vitamins. But, these symptoms alone are not indicative of a vitamin B deficiency. The only way to be sure is to contact a doctor and get tested for the same.

Next up, we explain whether a vitamin B12 deficiency can cause hair loss.

Does A Vitamin B12 Deficiency Cause Hair Loss?

Woman experiencing hair loss due to vitamin B12 deficiency
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Yes, vitamin B12 can indirectly cause hair loss and alter hair health (2). Low vitamin B12 hampers other critical functions in the body, resulting in excessive hair fall. Vitamin B12 is primarily found in animal products, leaving vegetarians and vegans at risk of deficiency.

Vitamin B12 supplements can increase hair follicles with better growth (18). But there is not enough scientific evidence supporting this claim. If you suspect that you have a deficiency of B-vitamins, read on to find out how to take vitamin B for hair loss prevention.

How To Treat A Vitamin B Deficiency

It is necessary to talk to your doctor before you begin any B-vitamin supplementation. Once your doctor has confirmed a deficiency of vitamin B, they may suggest the following treatment methods:

1. Change In Diet

Adding meat and spinach to your diet may help treat vitamin B deficiency
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If the deficiency is minor, you may have to change your diet. Depending on the type of vitamin B your body lacks, specific foods might be added. The most common foods rich in B-vitamins are meat, dairy products, and spinach.

2. Oral Supplements

If dietary sources are not enough to eliminate the deficiency, you may need to take vitamin B-complex tablets for hair strength and hair growth. These range from regular multivitamins to type-specific ones. Make sure to follow the course and dosage properly. If your symptoms still persist, do not self-medicate; visit your doctor for proper help.

Addressing your vitamin B deficiency can improve your overall health and may even make your hair grow faster. However, hair loss may be caused by a combination of reasons, and another underlying condition may cause poor hair health to persist.

Keren, a Youtuber, shared her experience of taking vitamins and supplements to boost hair health and prevent hair loss, stating, “… They say that if you just eat healthy, there’s no need for supplements and partly, I do believe that. But, however, if I’m just gonna be honest, I’m pretty sure that I’m not eating all of the essential vitamins and nutrients every single day. I’m pretty sure that I’m not getting a huge amount of, like biotin on my food, or a huge amount of vitamin E on my food, especially vitamin b12 or iron. So that’s why I do supplements. For me, I have just observed that ever since that I’ve incorporated my healthy eating with vitamins and supplements, I noticed that my hair grew long fast (i).”

While supplementation of vitamin B for hair thickness and growth may help, is there any harm in taking too many of them? Let us find out.

What Are The Side Effects Of Excess Vitamin B For Hair?

Blurred vision is a side effect of excess vitamin B
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Since vitamin B is water-soluble, you are unlikely to suffer from the effects of excess B-vitamins. Excess vitamin B is excreted by the body through urine. When taking vitamin B supplements, if you notice odd reactions, like blurred vision, diarrhea, nausea, or skin rashes, contact your doctor immediately.

People taking biotin-containing supplements and patients who are given biotin are causing an increase in reports of biotin interference in biotin-streptavidin-based immunoassays. A study conducted on 524 patient samples found that about 7.4% and 0.8% of patient samples taken from emergency rooms in the USA and Australia had high serum biotin concentrations (>10 g/L).

Since there is not enough evidence that vitamin B promotes hair growth, it is best to consume supplements for hair nourishment only if you suffer from a deficiency. Still, if you want to prevent a deficiency, you can eat certain vitamin B foods for hair growth. Take a look at which foods are rich in B-vitamins below.

Preventing A Vitamin B Deficiency

Nuts and seeds prevent vitamin B deficiency
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Maintaining healthy levels of vitamin B for your hair and the rest of your body is necessary. If you want to increase your intake of vitamin B for hair loss prevention, it is best to follow a balanced diet. Make sure that it includes foods like (19):

  • Banana
  • Yogurt
  • Meat
  • Dairy
  • Spinach
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Avocado
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes
  • Potatoes
  • Broccoli

Infographic: 5 Vitamins That Boost Hair Health

A good diet is essential for keeping your skin and hair healthy. Along with the B vitamins, a diet rich in protein, iron, zinc, and other key vitamins is important for hair care. Learn from the infographic below about these vitamins and how they can help improve your hair health.

vitamins that boost hair health (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Get the high-quality PDF version of this infographic.

Download Infographic in PDF version

If a nutritional deficiency is the cause of hair loss, vitamin B can help to improve hair health. Otherwise, there isn’t much evidence that vitamin B can help you grow your hair. If you want stronger, healthier tresses, you will need to determine what is causing your hair loss and cure it.

Consult your doctor to check for nutritional deficiencies. You may use vitamin B for hair growth only if you have a deficiency. Once the underlying causes are treated, you may see improvement in your hair health. Until then, be aware of any hair growth supplements you come across and do your research before taking them!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I take biotin and vitamin B complex together?

Yes. These two vitamins are water-soluble, and taking biotin and vitamin B complex together is safe.

Can you take too much B12?

Yes, it is possible. Intake of high doses of vitamin B12 may cause anaphylaxis, fever, shortness of breath, rapid weight gain, itching or rash, and tingling or numbness of the joints (21).

Does vitamin B affect hair color?

It plays a vital role in maintaining healthy hair, but it does not directly affect hair color. According to a study, deficiencies in certain B vitamins, such as biotin and folate, can lead to hair loss or premature graying (22).

Can too much vitamin B complex cause hair loss?

Maintaining optimal hair health requires a minimum daily intake of vitamin B complex. However, overindulging in B vitamins can trigger hair loss, nullifying the benefits of a healthy diet, so it’s essential to strike the right balance.

Key Takeaways

  • Vitamin B helps promote hair growth by absorbing important proteins and repairing cells.
  • Its supplementation may also help reverse hair loss caused due to deficiency.
  • Yogurt, banana, meat, nuts, seeds, and grains are important sources of vitamin B.

Unlock the secrets of Vitamin B for luscious locks! This video explores the benefits of different B vitamins and how they nourish your hair from within. Watch now to elevate your hair care game!

Personal Experience: Source


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. B Vitamins: Functions and Uses in Medicine
  2. The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Hair Loss: A Review
  3. Dermatological findings of vitamin B12 deficiency and resolving time of these symptoms
  4. The Nutrition Source: B Vitamins
  5. Metabolic Benefits of Six-month Thiamine Supplementation in Patients with and without Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
  6. High-Fat, High-Sugar Diet Disrupts the Preovulatory Hormone Surge and Induces Cystic Ovaries in Cycling Female Rats
  7. The Nutrition Source: Thiamin Vitamin B1
  8. Vitamin B
  9. Riboflavin Deficiency
  10. Niacin Vitamin B3
  11. A pilot study evaluating the efficacy of topically applied niacin derivatives for treatment of female pattern alopecia
  12. Does nicotinic acid (niacin) lower blood pressure?
  13. Pantothenic acid promotes dermal papilla cell proliferation in hair follicles of American minks via inhibitor of DNA Binding 3/Notch signaling pathway
  14. Vitamin B6
  15. Biotin Vitamin B7
  16. Folate (Folic Acid) Vitamin B9
  17. A Review of Vitamin B12 in Dermatology
  18. Vitamin B12 Activates the Wnt-Pathway in Human Hair Follicle Cells by Induction of β-Catenin and Inhibition of Glycogensynthase Kinase-3 Transcription
  19. B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy€”A Review
  20. Premature Graying of Hair: Review with Updates
  21. Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
  22. Prospective analytical controlled study evaluating serum biotin, vitamin b12, and folic acid in patients with premature canities
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