What Vitamin Deficiency Causes Dandruff?

Are you wondering what vitamin deficiency can cause dandruff? If yes, then you are in the right place! Let’s first understand what vitamins are.

Vitamins are organic compounds that are considered essential nutrients. These nutrients are vital, as they enable effective cell functioning. Essentially, our body requires vitamins to grow, develop an maintain itself [1]. This means that vitamins also have a direct effect on our skin and scalp.

A good vitamin balance can ensure proper skin health. Conversely, a vitamin deficiency can cause or worsen a dry scalp or even your dandruff. With the exception of a few vitamins, our body is not able to produce vitamins by itself.

There are 13 vitamins that are essential for our body’s cells to function effectively. This means that we need to acquire vitamins either through food or supplements.

Maintaining good vitamin levels can help you to keep dandruff at bay.

I have compiled a list of vitamins, that highlight what type of vitamin deficiency can cause or worsen dandruff.

Vitamins that are good for dandruff

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a group of retinoids and is classified as a fat-soluble vitamin. Generally speaking, vitamin A is essential for us as it affects our metabolic processes, as well as our immune system.

It is also known that vitamin A helps with healing tissue and is required to maintain healthy skin [2]. This means that a vitamin A deficiency can hinder healthy skin cell production. As we have come to learn that dandruff is dry and dead skin that is peeling off your scalp, it is important to consume the right amount of vitamin A.

A good way to provide our body with vitamin A is through beta-carotene. They are mainly found in plants, which our body then converts so it can be absorbed.

Top 5 vitamin A foods for dandruff:

  • Carrots (334% of RDA)
  • Sweet potato (174% of RDA)
  • Spinach (188% of RDA)
  • Broccoli (12% of RDA)
  • Eggs (11% of RDA)
Vitamin A foods that are good for dandruff

Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2 is also called riboflavin and is a crucial vitamin, as it facilitates oxygen flow to our body tissue. Maintaining good vitamin B2 levels has a good effect on the skin, nails, and hair.

This means that a vitamin B2 deficiency can lead to poor scalp skin and even lead to dandruff [3].

Top 5 vitamin B2 foods for dandruff:

  • Milk (21% of RDA)
  • Almonds (67% RDA)
  • Salmon (12% RDA)
  • Eggs (27% RDA)
  • Mushrooms (12% RDA)
Vitamin B2 foods that are good for dandruff

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is also known as pyridoxine. Having dandruff could be a sign of a vitamin B6 deficiency. Studies suggest that people with dandruff usually have low vitamin B6 levels.

A deficiency of vitamin B6 makes the scalp skin dry and flaky [4]. To reduce excessive flaking of the scalp, take vitamin B6 supplements or eat foods that contain this vitamin such as fish, organ meat, and starchy vegetables.

Another reason why vitamin B6 is important for dandruff is that it’s required for zinc absorption. The absorption takes place in the small intestine where vitamin B6 acts as a synergist to zinc and magnesium.

Top 5 vitamin B6 foods for dandruff:

  • Chickpeas (27% RDA)
  • Tuna (47% RDA)
  • Salmon (16% RDA)
  • Potatoes (15% RDA)
  • Bananas (18% RDA)
Vitamin B6 foods that are good for dandruff

Vitamin B7

A deficiency of vitamin B7 (biotin), a member of the vitamin B family, can also lead to dandruff. Biotin supports healthy cell growth. It is also suggested that biotin regulates the functioning of our oil glands (seborrheic glands), which produce sebum on our scalp.

Biotin supplements can help to boost your vitamin B7 to normal levels. This vitamin is also required for the metabolism of amino acids, fatty acid, and glucose. Additionally, biotin is also known for promoting healthy hair, skins, and nails. So, make sure that you include enough biotin in your diet or use certain supplements to boost biotin levels.

Top 5 vitamin B7 foods for dandruff:

  • Egg yolk (27% of RDA)
  • Cauliflower (5% of RDA)
  • Salmon (15% of RDA)
  • Avocados (15% of RDA)
  • Sweet potatoes (26% of RDA)
List of Vitamin B7 foods that are good for dandruff

Vitamin B12

Having a deficiency in vitamin B12 (cobalamin) can make the scalp dry and increase scaling of the skin on your scalp. Vitamin B12 is primarily found in meats. This means that if you are a vegetarian or vegan, you may not be consuming enough of this vitamin.

In this case, it may be beneficial to consume some foods that are fortified with vitamin B12, such as soy products. You can also opt for vitamin B12 supplements which will also help. It’s been reported that a lack of vitamin B12 is commonly associated with dandruff. Make sure that your cobalamin levels are appropriate.

Top 5 vitamin B12 foods for dandruff:

  • Milk (12% of RDA)
  • Soy Milk (15% of RDA)
  • Cheese (26% of RDA)
  • Poultry (4% of RDA)
  • Eggs (15% of RDA)
Vitamin B12 foods that are good for dandruff

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is famous for being referred to as the sunshine vitamin. When sunlight hits your skin, it naturally produces vitamin D through synthesis from cholesterol. You are also able to increase your vitamin D levels by consuming certain types of food.

According to research, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids are good for skin health. This means that if your diet contains a sufficient amount of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, it may help in reducing the severity of your dandruff. Make sure that you have an adequate amount of vitamin D in your diet.

Top 5 vitamin E foods for dandruff:

  • Salmon (190% of RDA)
  • Crimini mushrooms (1% of RDA)
  • Fortified tofu (20% of RDA)
  • Fortified orange juice (12% of RDA)
  • Eggs (20% % of RDA)
Vitamin D foods that are good for dandruff

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which means that it protects the body from free radicals. This vitamin is also known to ensure healthy blood circulation and has healing properties. All these aspects help in getting rid of dandruff.

Vitamin E can also be used topically on your scalp to reduce the dryness. It also reduces the scaling and itching, by providing a soothing effect [5].

Top 5 vitamin E foods for dandruff:

  • Almonds (85% of RDA)
  • Avocado (7% of RDA)
  • Spinach (7% of RDA)
  • Sunflower Seeds (117% of RDA)
  • Broccoli (3% of RDA)
Vitamin E foods that are good for dandruff


This article has given you an idea of how a deficiency of vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin B7, vitamin B12, vitamin D and vitamin E, can cause dandruff. Make sure that you are always consuming enough of these vitamins to optimize your body’s functioning. I suggest that you try to incorporate some of these foods into your diet if you can.

Before making any radical changes to your diet, you may want to consult with your physician or doctor.

All RDA values have been taken from NutritionValue. The RDA percentages are calculated on 100g of each food and are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Feel free to share your diet in the comment section below.

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