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By Mary Wolff

We all want long, healthy hair. When it comes to generating new growth, it can feel like a slow, painful journey. Many naturals turn to supplements as a way to get the results they want with a little more speed. However, a lot of what you read online may just be hype or hearsay, neither of which really do you any good. When it comes to supplements, there are several which are touted as hair miracles. What about zinc? Does zinc help hair grow longer?

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Zinc is a nutrient the body uses in several ways. According to the National Institutes of Health fact sheet on zinc, “It helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses. The body also needs zinc to make proteins and DNA, the genetic material in all cells. During pregnancy, infancy, and childhood, the body needs zinc to grow and develop properly. Zinc also helps wounds heal and is important for proper senses of taste and smell.” While the correlation between this nutrient and health have been long established, the effect it has on helping hair growth is still under investigation. Studies are finding that it looks promising that zinc can help with hair growth. In fact, a pilot study was performed by researchers in Thailand to examine the effects of zinc for hair loss in women. The results were published in a journal called Hair Therapy and Transplantation with the researchers reporting that, “For the patient self-assessment, it showed that 55.5% of patients had significantly improved, 27.7% had moderately improved and 16.7% had minimally improved.” These women also showed signs of hair growth which makes the connection between zinc and hair growth. There are other studies currently being done to continue this line of investigation into the powers of zinc and hair health.

Regardless of the research, we all know a proper diet with all the essential nutrients is key to healthy hair. So, how do you make sure you are getting enough zinc? While everyone is quick to reach for a supplement, it may be smarter to look at your diet. Most nutrients are more powerful when absorbed through diet. Zinc can be found in foods such as beef, lobster, spinach, chickpeas, cashews, and more. Overloading on zinc can lead to health complications so you want to check with your doctor before making any sudden or drastic changes to your diet or adding a supplement to your routine. Getting too much, whether through diet or supplements, can lead to nausea, vomiting, headaches, and other side effects, so you want to be very careful with this one.
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