Grow a thicker, shinier mane with the healthiest hair foods! Find out which are the best vitamins for faster hair growth and what foods are the richest sources in essential nutrients.

Although we look to the strands of our hair to try to determine our hair health, the true action is going on at the hair's originating point – the follicle. The old myth that giving your hair a trim will make it grow faster is a huge misconception. It may look healthier because you've removed the frayed split ends, but if you really want faster hair growth, put your attention to your scalp.

Like your skin elsewhere on your body, your scalp needs nutrients to perform at its best. Here are the six best vitamins for faster hair growth:

Vitamin A

Perhaps this vitamin plays the most essential role in growing hair faster because it effects the genes that control the keratinization process in the hair growth cycle. This process starts when you eat foods (particularly protein) that eventually carry amino acids to the hair follicle, which is where healthy hair growth begins. Try adding more spinach, kale, broccoli, mangos, sweet potatoes and mellon to your diet.

Vitamin B

This vitamin comes in a variety of forms like B2, B6 or B12, and all of these are key in faster hair growth because they deliver the nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles that will make the hair stronger in its earliest stages. You can get more vitamin B through daily “B complex” supplements or in seafood like salmon or shrimp.

Biotin

This is another form of vitamin B (and sometimes referred to as vitamin H) that is believed to protect hair from drying out, slow hair from turning gray, strengthen the hair at its core to stop breakage and even slow troubling hair loss that occurs in about 50 percent of all women. Swiss chard is the best source of biotin, but you can also buy it relatively inexpensively in supplement form in doses that are about 30 mcg a day.

Vitamin C

You already know that vitamin C – particularly from citrus – is great for boosting your immune system, but it also plays an important role in regulating the amount of sebum (the natural oil produced from the sebaceous glands in our skin), which acts as a natural moisturizer in the hair. This natural hydration plays a role in faster hair growth because it stops the hair from drying out and eventually splitting. Taking 75 milligrams a day is plenty for most adult women, but you might need more if you drink or smoke, both of which deplete your vitamin C levels.

Vitamin E

This is a vital nutrient for both the hair and the skin because it boosts the body's circulation and gives the immune system a boost – both of which are important for good health, glowing skin and keeping the hair shiny as it grows out. Vitamin E is most easily consumed through supplements. Start out with about 400 IU daily.

Selenium

Selenium is a protective mineral that works to fight off free radicals and toxins that can cause damage to your hair. Selenium also improves your body's immune system, another important factor in keeping hair healthy and shiny as it grows, and it actually works to metabolize the other vitamins in your diet. Get more selenium by eating more seafood, wheat germ, poultry, garlic, whole grains and sunflower seeds.

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