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  5. How To Treat Vitamin B12 Deficiency Naturally For Hair Growth?

One of our acquaintances had started experiencing extensive hair loss a few months ago! She was neither using any chemical-based hair products, nor blow-drying her hair. When she got a health check-up done, she discovered that she had a major vitamin b12 deficiency.

If you're wondering whether the two are connected, let's tell you that they very much are. Hair loss is the earliest visible sign of vitamin b12 deficiency. Thus, if you want thick and voluminous hair, your diet needs to have enough vitamin b12.

Read on to find out how b12 and your hair are related, and how to get vitamin b12 naturally through foods.

Our Ayurvedic Doctor Speaks

“B12 absorption in the body is a long tedious process. Any disruption at the different levels of digestion, right from chewing to the end of the colon can affect the absorption of B12.”

Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedix

Even though the protein keratin, which is the main ingredient in your hair, is dead, hair follicles beneath it are quite alive and need nutrition. The hair follicles need oxygen and nutrients to grow which can only be supplied through blood.

A new hair strand grows when your hair cells divide and multiply. Your hair bulb base consists of blood vessels that connect your hair follicles to your body's blood supply.

Vitamin b12 assists the production of oxygen-rich red blood cells, which carry oxygen to your hair follicles. It is a biological process to produce new hair cells and promote hair growth.

The vitamin plays a significant role in cell division, cellular metabolism, and DNA replication. Whenever a hair cell reproduces, it makes a copy of its DNA. Thus, hair growth is dependent on the synthesis of DNA and absorption of vitamin b12. [1]

Can Lack Of Vitamin B12 Cause Hair Loss?

If there is no sufficient vitamin b12 in your body, cells throughout your body struggle to replicate. If the hair cells stop reproducing within the hair follicle, it means your hair growth is stunted.

The development and maturation of a good number of red blood cells require vitamin b12. Lack of red blood cells means less oxygen is delivered to your scalp. Unlike other organs, low oxygen levels can weaken your hair follicles and eventually turn them into dormant follicles. Therefore, b12 deficiency contributes to hair loss. [2]

Does low vitamin b12 also cause hair thinning? Well, it can. Cobalamin or vitamin b12 produces red blood cells in your bloodstream. The decreased number of red blood cells reflects anemia associated with iron deficiency in your body. One of the typical visible symptoms of iron deficiency is diffuse hair loss or thinning from your scalp.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms

  • Unreasonable tiredness & mental weakness
  • Loss of appetite, weight loss, and lack of energy
  • Anemia
  • Breathlessness
  • Tingling sensation in your hands and feet
  • Memory loss, brain fog, and cognitive decline
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Depression, confusion, and disorientation
  • Insomnia or sleeplessness
  • Dry skin
  • Hair fall, diffuse hair loss or hair thinning, and premature greying of your hair
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Constipation

If the vitamin B12 deficiency isn’t attended soon, it could have serious repercussions such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, nerve problems and depression.

As you age, your body requires more b12. But your capacity to absorb adequate amounts of the vitamin also reduces. Generally your body stores 1,000 to 2,000 times as much vitamin B12 compared to your food intake in a day, so the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency can take several years to appear.

woman upset with hair loss

How To Treat Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

Most non-vegetarian foods are rich in vitamin b12 - egg, beef, pork, turkey, liver, kidney, fish, oyster, crab, sushi, shrimp, prawn, squid, chicken and lamb. Thus, non-vegetarians may rarely be deficient in vitamin b12. In most cases, vegetarians and vegans have vitamin b12 deficiency, which can be fought with enough intake of the right foods.

Look at the following tables to know how to get vitamin b12 naturally through your food: [3]





Almond milk - fortified with vitamin B12

1 cup

Three mcg

Coconut milk - fortified with vitamin B12

1 cup

Three mcg

Nutritional Yeast - original

One tablespoon

Two mcg

Soymilk - original

1 cup

1.2 mcg

Ready-to-eat cereal - fortified with vitamin B12

½ to ¾ cup

0.6 to 6 mcg





B12 (MCG)

Plain low-fat yogurt

8 ounces

1.15 mcg

Low-fat milk

8 ounces

Three mcg

Cottage cheese

¾ cup

1.07 mcg

Swiss cheese

1 ounce

0.95 mcg

Vanilla Ice Cream

½ cup

0.26 mcg

How To Treat Hair Loss Caused By Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

1. Supplements

According to Ayurveda, your body is a product of what you eat, including your hair. Having a diet rich in b12 is the right way to fight hair loss caused by b12 deficiency. However, if you face excess hair loss and the underlying condition is b12 deficiency, it is better to take b12 supplements. [4]

A. Many store-bought multivitamins contain high amounts of b12. Check with your doctor to determine the right dosage amount because high doses may interact with certain medications.

B. If you take a b12 supplement, it is recommended to take the natural form (methylcobalamin), and not the synthetic way (cyanocobalamin). Cyanocobalamin may impair kidney function in people with kidney problems.

C. Some people may have reduced stomach acid. In supplement form, b12 isn't bound to the food. Thus, you don't need stomach acid to extract it.

D. Few people suffer from a rare condition called pernicious anemia. In this condition, people have great trouble absorbing b12 from the intestine. For people with this problem, b12 pills may not work, and injections of b12 may be required.

E. If you don't eat animal products, then a minimum supplementation is warranted even if you're not deficient.

2. Diet Rich In Iron

As we discussed earlier, b12 deficiency is associated with iron deficiency. Intake of food rich in iron content helps you prevent hair thinning.

Your body pumps iron consistently through the bloodstream. Iron is needed to process hemoglobin, a part of red blood cells that carries oxygen. It picks up oxygen in your lungs, drives it through the bloodstream, and delivers it to tissues, including your scalp's tissues. [5]

Here is a list of foods rich in iron.

A. Sprouts, beans, and lentils

B. Potatoes, carrots, and beetroots

C. Dates

D. Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach

E. Cereals

F. Whole-grain and b12-enriched breads

G. Lean beef

H. Oysters

I. Chicken

J. Turkey

Vitamin B12 is combined with protein rich food items but it needs to be released as an individual nutrient for the body to absorb it. This detachment process starts in the mouth when food is mixed with saliva.[6]

3. Ayurvedic Treatment

The main reason behind b12 deficiency hair loss is the reduction of red blood cells that carry oxygen to your hair follicles. If you try to circulate blood flow topically by a head massage, you can slow down the process of hair loss. Head massage with Ayurvedic herbs and essential oils help you curb hair loss by stimulating blood circulation to the nerve ends.

Below are Ayurvedic hair loss treatments that target blood circulation in your scalp.

A. Shirodhara

1. 'Shiro' meaning the head, and 'Dhara' is flow. It is a hot oil head massage.

2. Heat peppermint essential oil for 30 seconds. Mix it with a carrier oil like coconut oil.

3. Pour the warm oil onto your scalp.

4. Massage your scalp with your fingertips for a few minutes.

5. Leave the oil for an hour or overnight.

6. Have a head bath with a herbal shampoo to prevent damage to your hair follicles.

7. Do it once a week.

B. Shiro Abhyanga

1. Shiro Abhyanga is a cold oil head massage.

2. Bringamalakadi Taila, coconut and sesame seed oil are used to massage your scalp.

3. Leave it overnight until your head bath in the morning.

4. It supports your hair follicles and nourishes nerve endings to prevent premature greying.

5. Do it twice a week.

C. Shiro Lepa

1. Shiro Lepa is a hair pack in which you can mix ingredients suitable for your hair issues.

2. Soak Methi seeds for one whole night in warm rice water. Blend it into a paste and gently massage your scalp with it and rinse your hair after 30 minutes.

3. You can replace it with besan, lemon, coconut water; Amla, reetha, shikakai; walnut, amla, curd or water.

4. Soak the amlas in curd for one day to bind them into a paste. Add reetha, shikakai, neem, or fenugreek to it for the best results.

Vedix Tip : Don’t remove tangles when your hair is damp. As the b12 deficiency weakens your hair follicles, they easily lose hair strands.

4. Enhancing B12 Absorption

Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix, says, "B12 absorption in the body is a long tedious process. Any disruption at the different levels of digestion, right from chewing to the end of the colon can affect the absorption of B12. Good dietary practices, healthy food choices supported by a nurturing lifestyle that prevents digestive disruptions aids Vitamin B12 absorption and assimilation.”

Help your body absorb b12 properly by detoxifying your digestive tract. Your digestive system can be cleaned with Basti, Vaman, and Virechan treatments of Ayurveda. The process is similar to an enema. But in Ayurveda, it is done with herbal oils and decoctions.

Doctors can tell you if you need to undergo detoxification or not. Anema procedure must be done under the guidance of a doctor.

To enhance the absorption of vitamin B12 it should be taken in conjunction with folic acid. Although you should always consult your doctor regarding the amount of folic acid you can intake.

Vedix Tip : Yoga enhances blood circulation in all your body parts, including the scalp. It maintains the delivery of oxygen to your hair follicles, reducing hair loss.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency In Pregnancy

Again the most significant route to treat deficiency is the intake of food that contains b12. If you are a vegan or a vegetarian, it is advisable to ingest b12 supplements.

However, a minimum level of vitamin b12 deficiency is typical in pregnancy. Most gynecologists recommend the intake of b12 tablets during pregnancy as the deficiency is associated with neural tube defects in the fetus. Women who have a deficiency of vitamin B12 during pregnancy, may have a higher risk of giving birth to a baby with a potentially disabling or fatal birth defect.

natural sources of vitamin b12

Will Hair Grow Back From B12 Deficiency?

Yes! Your hair will grow back as soon as you treat the deficiency. On the restoration of vitamin b12 in your body, your hair cells will replicate adequately and support your hair follicles to grow healthy hair. It just takes a few months of following a systematic diet plan to reverse vitamin deficiency hair loss.

How Much Vitamin B12 Is Needed Per Day?

The average daily requirement of b12 vitamin in a healthy adult is 2.4 micrograms. If you intake b12 naturally, the amount can be more than 2.4 mcg as it is water-soluble. Your kidneys dissolve the excess amount of b12 and excrete it through urine.

The Last Word

Vitamin B12 is the magic nutrient that helps to keep the blood and nerve cells in your body healthy. B12 deficiency is related to the blood circulation to your hair follicles. It also reflects iron deficiency and diffuse hair loss on your scalp. The problem with b12 is that it is not adequately available in vegetarian foods. Doctor-prescribed dosage of supplementation is the best option to restore vitamin b12 in your body.

Head massage with Ayurvedic essential oils and herbs help circulate blood flow in your scalp. Washing your hair with herbal shampoo protects your weak hair. However, the best way to reverse B12 deficiency hair loss is to get adequate B12 in your diet.

Know Your Dosha Now

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