Losing one’s hair is one of the most common fears regarding physical appearance nowadays. It makes us perceive ourselves as less healthy, less attractive, and older. However, this problem can solved by taking care of yourself and making sure you are consuming the right foods and nutrients.

In fact, getting the proper nutrients (and at enough dosage) is essential to both keeping your hair and growing new strands. Here’s a look at six of the most important nutrients for preventing hair loss:

1. Iron

Research published in the Acta Dermatovenerologica Croatica back in 2009 found that lacking iron is directly connected to being at risk of losing hair.

The research proved that levels of iron in blood were a lot lower in those patients with diffuse loss of telogen hair (inactive hair strands that do not grow) than in those people who experienced no hair loss.

In addition, the capacity for binding ingested iron was a lot higher in those with hair loss, than in the control group. Out of nine tested patients with iron deficiency anemia, eight had telogen hair loss.

This means that if levels of iron in your blood fall below or are equal to 30 ng/mL you are most likely going to start experiencing telogen hair loss.

2. Zinc

Zinc in and of itself is an incredibly important nutrient. It is needed for the functioning of hundreds of enzymes.

However, until recently, there was no evidence to suggest it also helps with hair loss aside for a single case study of a child who suffered diffuse alopecia because of the lack of zinc in his system. Once he started taking zinc his hair loss stopped in 3 weeks and within 4 months his hair was back to normal.

But then, in 2013 a study was published after being carried out with three hundred and twelve patients who had alopecia areata, pattern hair loss (both male and female) and telogen effluvium. Again, the research proved that levels of zinc in blood are related to hair loss.

During the study they noticed that zinc in blood was a lot lower in patients with hair loss than it was in the control group. Also, they stated that concentrations of copper had no effect, while zinc is apparently linked to hair loss as much as iron.

In other words, the research basically tells us that alopecia areata or spot baldness indeed is connected to lower levels of zinc in one’s body.

3. Vitamin D

When people think of a lack of vitamin D, the most common assumption is that a person is deficient because of a lack of exposure to sunlight. This assumption is usually correct, as most people in today’s society work indoor office jobs and therefore do not get as much exposure to the sun compared to their ancestors.

Vitamin D is essential for your health and is responsible for keeping a wide host of medical conditions, including diabetes and heart disease, at bay. A lack of vitamin D has also been linked to hair loss, specifically, telogen effluvium or female pattern hair loss.

In a research study carried out in 2013 and published in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, women with TE or pattern hair loss were tested to check their vitamin D levels, and even though female pattern hair loss is considered hereditary, levels of vitamin D were lower than the levels of women from the control group.

4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Healthy fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 have a wide range of benefits for the body, including improving your eyesight, fighting inflammation, and preventing anxiety. In fact, fatty acids can even help you fall asleep!

Anecdotal evidence has also been showing that Omega-3s are connected to hair loss, but the lack of high- quality research took away the significance of it.

However, in March 2015 a study was published in the issue of the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology that found that supplements of omega- 3 and omega- 6 fatty acids prevented continued hair loss in women.

The study was conducted on one hundred and twenty women between 18 and 65 years of age that suffered from losing their hair but were healthy.

The results were amazing. In the end of the trial that lasted for six months, 92.4% of women expressed their satisfaction with it and there were no serious side effects.

5. Protein

Protein has been called the ‘building blocks of the body’ for good reason. The human body needs the varying types of amino acids found in protein to build, repair, and maintain itself.

That’s the reason why bodybuilders and athletes in general love protein so much: because it is essential for building muscle as well as repair and recovery from strenuous physical activities.

To create hair, your body also needs protein. In fact, basic elements of creating hair for your body are standard value proteins that contain cysteine and methionine. These sulfur amino acids are precursors to keratin. Lacking protein will lead to weakened hair synthesis, hair weakness, and hair loss.

6. Folic Acid

Folic acid, which is also known as Vitamin B9 or folate, is a very important nutrient that helps keep various parts of your body functioning.

A drop in the amount of folic acid in your body is capable of decreasing cell division and growth of hair follicle cells, which, in turns leads to your hair growing less. Another sign of the lack of folic acid in your body that is connected to hair is graying hair.

Regular consumption of folic acid ensures that the cells in your body run more smoothly, and that your body is able to repair and build tissue easily. Unhindered growth of tissues in the body is very important when it comes to hair growth, as well as the condition of your skin and your nails.

Perhaps the most popular uses for folic acid are preventing male pattern baldness as well as stimulating hair growth in both men and women.