Supplements for grey hair

Written by nicki wolf
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Supplements for grey hair
A folic acid deficiency may cause grey hair. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Many people develop grey hair as they age. This natural process usually occurs when hydrogen peroxide builds up in your body and interferes with melanin, the compound that colours your hair. You may opt to cover up grey hair with commercially available hair dyes, but there are also supplements you can take to prevent or treat gray hair. Always remember to consult your health care provider before you begin to take supplements.

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He Shou Wu

He shou wu, the herb long used in Chinese medicine, may help with grey hair. The Herbs2000 website notes that proponents believe this herbal supplement, also called fo-ti, protects you from greying hair as well as decreasing your risk of thinning hair. No research exists to prove that he shou wu may effectively prevent grey hair. This supplement can be taken raw in a dosage of 9g to 15g, according to, and Herbs2000 notes that it can also be made into a tea using 3g to 5g of the herb per 250mL(1/2 pint) of boiling water consumed at least three times daily. He shou wu tablets are also available. Use of he shou wu may cause a skin rash or diarrhoea. The Institute for Traditional Medicine also reports that it may result in liver reactions. Talk to your doctor to discuss your interest in taking this herb before you begin.

Vitamin B5

Include a vitamin B5 supplement in your diet to prevent premature grey hair. MedlinePlus notes that this vitamin, also called pantothenic acid, provides benefits when taken orally for grey hair, although there is insufficient evidence to confirm the effectiveness of vitamin B5 for this use. Adults need 5mg of this vitamin each day; supplements generally provide 5g to 10g. Taking high doses of vitamin B5 may cause diarrhoea. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that a vitamin B5 deficiency is rare -- most people get the amount they need from foods like corn, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, tomatoes, avocado, legumes, lentils, egg yolks and salmon.

Folic Acid

Women who intend to have children should take folic acid supplements to prevent some types of birth defects, but ensuring adequate amounts of this nutrient, a B vitamin, can prevent grey hair. MedlinePlus notes that a deficiency of folic acid may result in greying hair as well as a swollen tongue, mouth ulcers and diarrhoea. reveals that you need 400mcg per day of folic acid if you're over the age of 14. Folic acid may hide symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency and may result in central nervous system problems when taken in high dosages.

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