Vitamin D3 Deficiency Causes Hair Loss: True or False?

Vitamin D helps our bodies maintain strong and healthy bones. It also helps with immune and cardiovascular function.

Vitamin D is the only vitamin our bodies can synthesize on their own, from sunlight. We also get vitamin D from supplements and foods.

Darker skinned people have more melanin in the skin, which can slow down Vitamin D absorption, and they require even more sun exposure to get enough Vitamin D.

What is Vitamin D3?

There are two kinds of Vitamin D:  D2 and D3.

  • D2 is the kind of Vitamin D found in foods like fatty fish, cheese, dairy products, beef liver, fermented soy, some grains and cereals, and egg yolks.
  • D3 is the kind of Vitamin D that we synthesize from the sunlight. This is why it’s so important that we spend time in the sun every day.

For anyone who’s seen that great movie 127 hours, remember how James Franco was stuck and wedged down in the rocks in the cave, and had about 10 minutes of sunlight every day on one of his legs?

Without that 10 minutes, and the Vitamin D3 he synthesized, he wouldn’t have had the strength to eventually get himself out of the situation (not gonna say anything else – spoilers!)

Vitamin D3 is significantly easier for our bodies to absorb than Vitamin D2. Vitamin D2 supplements don’t do much, and so it’s uncommon to see them.

What Does Vitamin D3 Do?

Most importantly, Vitamin D3 protects bones from softening, and helps us maintain healthy bone density. Vitamin D3 is also essential for good dental health and strong teeth.

Vitamin D plays a very important role in three cell functions that take place constantly: cell division, cell differentiation, and new cells taking over old cells that are no longer functional.

Lower levels of Vitamin D3 in the body are associated with digestive issues like Crohn’s and celiac disease.

Vitamin D3 also helps treat health conditions where the body produces low parathyroid hormone, or bodies that don’t respond to the parathyroid hormone.

Vitamin D also treats a more rare condition of low levels of phosphate in the blood.

Does Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Hair Loss?

Ok, now onto the good stuff.

The regulation of calcium and phosphate levels in the human body is the first and most important purpose of Vitamin D in the body.

This regulation ensures your bones, skin, nails and hair are well nourished and strong.

In the absence of vitamins and minerals, hair follicles shrink, and changes in the growth cycle occur. These changes can cause your hair to become brittle and thin.

To recap everything this superhero Vitamn D does for us:

  • Vitamin D activates the cells within the hair shaft
  • Vitamin D stimulates and nourishes hair follicles. Vitamin D receptors contribute to the follicle growth cycles. According to scientific research, inactive vitamin D receptors in mice always resulted in hair loss.
  • Vitamin D stimulates hair growth.
  • Vitamin D supplements reversed hair loss in mice, and cancer patients who underwent chemotherapy and lost hair from the chemotherapy reported significant improvements after the use of vitamin D supplements.
  • Vitamin D acts on keratinocytes (the cells found responsible for inactive vitamin D receptors) and stimulates hair growth.

 

Can’t I Just Spend More Time In The Sun?

No.

Many people are wary of spending time in the sun due to concerns about excessive exposure to UV light and the risk of coming down with sun cancer.

Most people wear sunblock on a regular basis, which also blocks the absorption of Vitamin D3.

Darker skinned people require even higher amounts of Vitamin D3, because the melanin naturally occurring in the skin slows the synthesis of Vitamin D3.

Today, with the combination of our sedentary lifestyles and risk of skin cancer from sunlight exposure keeping us indoors, very few people get the right amount of Vitamin D3 they need.

Therefore, supplementation is necessary to make sure you have enough for all of the vital functions it performs: cell health, bone health, dental health, immune health, digestive health, and skin and hair health.

If you are reading this blog, you are probably dealing with the stress and frustration of your own hair loss. I’ll get straight to the point: for you, Vitamin D3 supplementation is MANDATORY.

Not all Vitamin D is created equal.

Vitamin D3 is fat soluble, which means our bodies absorb it a lot better when it enters in combined with some kind of fat.

However, a lot of the Vitamin D3 supplements in the grocery store are not suspended in fat at all. Those tablets are a total waste of money.

OR, the grocery store Vitamin D3 softgels are suspended in oil, but or low-quality soy oil.

Not everyone can tolerate soy oil, and a lot of us dealing with hair loss also are dealing with thyroid issues, and people with thyroid disease should avoid soy at all cost.

The best Vitamin D3 supplement is, in my opinion, from Viva Naturals.  The internet basically agrees with me, with a 4.5 star rating in over 2,000 reviews on Amazon.com at this time.

Viva Naturals Vitamin D3 is suspended in organic, non-GMO coconut oil. The coconut oil’s medium-chain triglycerides make the vitamin D3 even easier to absorb

This brand is also made in the USA, and include no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives.

One year’s supply of 5000 IU daily sets you back just under $14. Not bad!

Yup, I take it too.

Have a comment or thought on this topic? Leave it in the comment box below.

40 thoughts on “Vitamin D3 Deficiency Causes Hair Loss: True or False?”

  1. Hi Penelope

    I never realised that vitamin D3 deficiency could lead to hair loss. I take it for my bones and usually 4000iu in liquid form. Is it better to take the capsules than liquid?

    It’s interesting to know that the vitamin D research stimulates hair growth in cancer patients. Thanks for sharing this post.

    • Is the liquid an oil? If it’s an oil, then it should be fine – the capsules are just the vitamin suspended in oil. thanks for the great question and thanks for reading!

  2. Thanks for this info! I am Vitamin D deficient due to my epilepsy. I have noticed my hair thinning around the edges but I didn’t think this could have something to possibly be due to Vitamin D levels. I am glad I read this because I will make sure I keep up with my vitamin D and invest in good quality vitamins. Great post!

    • thanks for chiming in! I do hope the Vitamin D helps you – just check with your doctor about what’s best to take with your epilepsy. It would be WONDERFUL if this were the key to resolving hair loss for so many people – it’s so affordable!

  3. Hi, I found this post really informative as I never knew about the link between hair loss and vitamin D.
    I don’t have any problems with hair loss myself but as a construction worker living in the UK, I get plenty of sun exposure during the summer months, (although I do wear sun block),but no so much in the winter.

    I was wondering whether I should be taking vitamin D supplements during the winter months to compensate?

    • Excellent question – you should definitely supplement in the winter when you don’t have as much exposure to “natural” D3. That way your body experiences consistency in the levels. You may not have issues with hair loss now, but much of the message on this site (and the products available) are all about protecting hair BEFORE you start losing it!

  4. I had never heard that a vitamin D deficiency can cause hair loss! I actually am needing vitamin D and calcium. Does Viva make the calcium too? I found a list of supplements that might help with my hearing loss, and vitamin D and Calcium are two supplements that I need. From what I read, vitamin D also stimulates the blood, which is suppose to be helpful for me 🙂 Let me know if Viva sells other supplements like the calcium 🙂

    • Viva doesn’t make calcium at this time (though they do offer Krill oil and other good stuff). THIS is an excellent calcium supplement and I recommend it. Our diets are just so dreadful, even when we eat healthy, because our food just doesn’t have the nutrient density it used to, due to poor big agriculture practices. I’m all about supplementation to fill in those gaps.

  5. Wow! What a informative and well put together article. I really wasn’t to sure about how vitamin D3 promotes hair growth.

  6. I find that most people have become very skeptical and afraid of going outside. Vitamin D deficiency and too little exposure to the sun can lead to many health problems including increased hair loss, like you mentioned.

    So this products looks and sounds great in combating and slowing down these effects.

    Great review.

    • I agree – the sun has become something of the enemy particularly for those at high risk for skin cancer. Such a shame, because nothing feels quite as good as the sun on our skin. Even with spending some time outside, though, we need this supplement because we’re still living in bodies that evolved to spend ALL the time outside. thanks for the comment!

  7. Hi Penelope,

    Thanks very much for this informative article about Vitamin D. I was not aware that the lack of Vitamin D can cause hair loss. I always knew that it was important to have a fair amount of sunshine on our bodies as this helps with strong bones. But, as you mention, now days too much sun can be the cause of skin cancer.

    I have been prescribed one Vitamin D capsule to be taken once a month. This is for osteoporosis. I don’t know if it is Vitamin D3 and I didn’t ask because I was not aware that are different Vitamins D.

    • Hmm…I don’t know about prescription Vitamin D, so this would be something to bring up with your physician. I’ve also never heard of a monthly (v. daily) supplement, but I’m not a medical doctor! It might not be a terrible idea for you to have additional supplementation, so I would encourage you to have that conversation with the doc. And hey, we all learn something new every day!

  8. Hey.
    I enjoyed reading this blog , as i am a Health fanatic myself!
    Thank you for sharing it with us, it is really worth reading.

    P.S Keep it up!

  9. Even though it is too late for me to keep my hair looking like it used to 20 years ago, I have just shown this article to my sons as unfortunately for them they have inherited their dads hairline, lol. They are a bit too young to be worrying about losing their hair but would this product do any harm to them if they were to use it so young?

    • No, it’s actually a great idea to get your kids on Vitamin D3 supplements. The same observations about sedentary lifestyle apply to them, too! And parents are always slathering their kids with sunscreen, which keeps them from getting all the Vitamin D3 they need from the sun.

  10. Hi, and thanks for a very informative article. How interesting to find out vitamin D3 can cause hair loss. I guess it can come down to the culmination of so many things, but keeping the body in balance by taking vital nutrients such as this can help. I was just looking at some D3 supplements today at work funnily enough (the ones in olive oil) so reading your article has now prompted me to purchase some, especially as we have a long, cold winter ahead here in Britain. Thanks

    • Yeah, the scourge of winter should have us all stocking up on things we need. Glad I could prompt you to get some Vitamin D for the long dark months ahead. thanks for reading 🙂

  11. My grandmother has been taking vitamin D3 Supplments for years on top of getting the proper sunlight. She has both beautiful skin and long flowing black hair.

    She’s 90 and looks excellent.

  12. Very interesting. I know Vitamin D is essential but I never knew it could affect hair loss! I also never knew about Vitamin D3 compared to D2 and the differences, benefits, and how to acquire each. Glad I found this article. I use a lot of sunblock. I thought that wouldn’t make a difference with getting enough sunlight but it makes sense it would be more difficult to absorb the Vitamin D. I guess I should get the supplement! Thanks for this!

    • Thanks for the feedback, Rob! Sunblock definitely slows down our absorption of Vitamin D and so it’s a good idea to piggy back that with a supplement. You’ll probably notice a difference really soon.

  13. I take Vitamin D3, and didn’t know the difference until now, and didn’t know a deficiency could cause hair loss. Great article…thanks for the clarification!

  14. Another very informative post Penelope. I’d never thought till now the co-relation of Vitamin D to Hair loss. I am actually taking multivitamins which says has Vitamin D. But I guess that’s not enough. I’ll consider your advice. Thanks again =)

  15. Penelope, where have you been these past few months? I have been writing about my hair loss due to Lupus and I didn’t know you had all of these answers just sitting here waiting for me. I love your site. Does Photoworx really work? I mean do you take the supplement and use the shampoo? I am excited to even begin to hope this might be the answer I have been searching for. Lupus is a bad enough disease on its on but even worse when you start loosing your hair. I ordered the supplement from Amazon and I hope it works. I will keep you posted. Great article and fascinating research.
    Thank you so much.

    • Hi Deborah, thanks so much for the great comment. Yes, Lupus is another autoaimmune bugabear that makes us lose our hair…and do come let us know how the Phytoworx products work out for you. I’m a big supporter of the two-pronged approach to solving hair loss – you’ve gotta supplement AND use topical treatments or shampoos designed to solve hair loss issues. I haven’t yet tried the Phytoworx products, but after my research, I will probably give them a go. My go-to supplement is Nutrafol, which is full of cartilage and other goodies.

  16. Thank you so much for sharing such a great and useful Information about how hair loss can also be linked with vit D3 deficiency, a problem that not every person knows. I will definitely share this useful info with others…?

  17. Hi Penelope, I didn’t realize lack of vitamin D could cause hair loss. I take it twice a day to avoid SAD, the winter blues (even living in San Diego, I need it)…just had some blood work done and doc says my vit D is great! After reading your post, I’ll be sure to take it year round. Thanks for this great information!

    • Thanks for leaving your thoughts – and yes, it’s funny how we’re deficient even in sunny places. I live in the desert! Taking it year round is an easy shift, luckily.

  18. Hi, this is such a useful and amazing article. We usually think that vitamin D is good for bones but a very few people know that it has amazing effects on hair growth and thickness. Penelope I thank you for your wonderful read and it will spread awareness in other people as well.

  19. Ho Penelope!

    Thanks for reinforcing my firm beliefs as it pertains to using Vitamin D3. I supplement with D3 and K2 nd I have seen noticable differences in my overall mood and body functions. I think speaking for the men here that you should DEFINITELY be taking D3 as part of your daily regime.

    Great article Penelope!

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