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  5. How To Treat Your Vitamin B12 Deficiency For Hair Growth Naturally?
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Are you experiencing severe hair loss? It could be a symptom of Vitamin B12 deficiency. B12 is one of those rare vitamins that your body cannot generate naturally. Hence, it must be obtained from external food sources.

Read on to find out how vitamin B12 and your hair health are related, and how to get enough vitamin B12 naturally through foods.

Our Ayurvedic Doctor Speaks

“Vitamin B12 absorption in the body is a long and 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 and cause deficiency.”

Dr. Zeel Gandhi, (Bachelor Of Ayurveda, Medicine & Surgery), Chief Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedix.

Even though the protein keratin, which constructs your hair is dead, your hair follicles beneath it are quite alive and require oxygen and nutrition. This is supplied through blood.

Vitamin B12 or Cobalamin [1] assists in 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.

A new hair strand grows when your hair cells divide and multiply. Vitamin B12 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. [2]

Can Lack Of Vitamin B12 Cause Hair Loss?

If you have a vitamin B12 deficiency, cells throughout your body will struggle to replicate. If the hair cells stop reproducing within the hair follicle, your hair growth is likely to be stunted.

Vitamin B12 is required for the development and maturation of red blood cells, which deliver oxygenated blood to your scalp. A low supply can weaken your hair follicles and eventually make them dormant. Therefore, B12 deficiency causes hair loss. [3]

Vitamin B12 Deficiency And Hair Thinning

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

1. Symptoms Of Hair Loss Due To Vitamin B12 Deficiency

  • Excessive hair fall [5]
  • Diffused hair loss on the scalp
  • Hair thinning
  • Premature hair greying
  • Hair follicle death/dormancy

2. Other Symptoms Of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

  • 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
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Constipation

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

As you age, your body requires more vitamin 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?

According to a research named Vitamin B12, about 15% of the human population suffers from vitamin B12 deficiency. Amongst them vegetarians and vegans are more at risk since the main sources of vitamin B12 are non-vegetarian foods.

Here are the most common food sources of Vitamin B12:


  • Egg
  • Red Meat
  • Liver
  • Fish, shrimp, prawn
  • Squid
  • Oyster
  • Crab
  • Chicken
  • Dairy product

If you don’t consume non vegetarian foods, look at the following tables to know how to get vitamin B12 naturally from your diet: [6]





Almond milk - fortified with vitamin B12

1 cup

3 mcg

Coconut milk - fortified with vitamin B12

1 cup

3 mcg

Nutritional Yeast - original

One tablespoon

2 mcg

Soy milk fortified with vitamin B12

1 cup

1.2 mcg

Ready-to-eat cereal - fortified with vitamin B12

½ to ¾ cup

0.6 to 6 mcg

SVegan butter - fortified with vitamin B12

300 grams

1 mcg

Nori (seaweed)

1 sheet

1.9 mcg





B12 (MCG)

Plain low-fat yogurt

8 ounces

1.15 mcg

Low-fat milk

8 ounces

3 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 Vitamin B12 is the right way to fight hair loss caused by its deficiency. However, if you face excess hair loss, it is better to take vitamin B12 supplements. [7]

A. Many store-bought multivitamins contain high amounts of vitamin B12. Check with your doctor to determine the right dosage because high doses may interact with certain medications.

B. If you take a vitamin 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. Few people suffer from a rare condition called pernicious anemia. In this condition, people have great trouble absorbing vitamin B12 from the intestine. For people with this problem, vitamin B12 pills may not work, instead injections of vitamin B12 may be required.

D. If you don't eat any animal products including dairy, then a minimum supplementation is warranted even if you're not deficient currently.

2. Diet Rich In Iron

As we discussed earlier, vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with iron deficiency. Intake of food rich in iron content helps you prevent hair thinning.

YIron is needed to process hemoglobin, a part of red blood cells that carries oxygen to various tissues, including your scalp. [8]

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.[9]

3. Ayurvedic Treatment

Improving blood flow on your scalp through an Ayurvedic head massage can slow down the process of hair loss due to Vitamin B12 deficiency.

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

A. Shirodhara

1. 'Shiro' (head) 'Dhara' (flow) 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 and massage with your fingertips for a few minutes.

4. Leave the oil for an hour or overnight. Have a head bath with a herbal shampoo to prevent damage to your hair follicles. Repeat once a week.

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 supported by a nurturing lifestyle that prevents digestive disruptions aids Vitamin B12 absorption and assimilation,” she adds.

Help your body absorb Vitamin B12 properly by detoxifying your digestive tract with Basti, Vaman, and Virechan treatments of Ayurveda. These are similar to an enema, but done with herbal oils and decoctions.

Vitamin B12 foods also need to be taken with folic acid for better absorption. Consult your doctor for the right folic acid dosage as per your body type.

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

While a minimum level of vitamin B12 deficiency is typical in pregnancy, according to a medical article named Vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia, it increases the risk of the baby being born with a fatal birth defect known as neural tube defect.

Other complications include:

  • Infertility
  • Placental abruption
  • Premature birth

Thus, most gynecologists recommend vitamin B12 supplements during the pregnancy period.

FAQs On Vitamin B12 Deficiency & Hair Growth

1. Will Hair Grow Back From B12 Deficiency?

Yes! Your hair will grow back as soon as you treat the deficiency. On 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 B12 deficiency hair loss.

How Much Vitamin B12 Is Needed Per Day?

The average daily requirement of vitamin B12 in a healthy adult is 2.4 micrograms. If you intake vitamin 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 amount needs to be increased to 2.6 and 2.8 mcg during pregnancy and lactation respectively [10].

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

While you can make a full recovery from vitamin B12 deficiency, the condition can recur due to improper dietary practices. You should start to notice improvements within 6 months to a year through the intake of supplements and vitamin B12 rich foods.

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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