Nutrition and Hair: Aloe Vera For Hair Growth and Maintenance


Aloe Vera is a shrubby plant found mainly in the dry regions of Africa, Asia, Europe, America, and certain parts of India. For centuries it has been used as a beauty, health, skin, and hair product because of it nutrient content and ability to promote wellness.

Recently Aloe Vera gained popularity in the natural hair queendom after Whitney (@Naptural85) introduced the plant as a prepoo product. Today, Black women across the globe use the plant to prepoo, shampoo, condition, and moisturize their crown.

Aloe vera is triangular in shape with a clear gel-like substance inside. This gel contain most of the beneficial nutrients the plant has to offer. The nutrients include: amino acids (proteins), vitamin A, C, E, B12, and folic acid, calcium, chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium and zinc, and proteolytic enzymes.

Amino Acids: The Building Block of Proteins.
Amino Acids are the building block of proteins. Without amino acids proteins will not be produced. In total there are twenty two amino acids that occur naturally. Out of the 22, aloe vera contains 20 amino acids in where two (Lysine and Methionine) are necessary for the production of keratin and collagen, the structural proteins in the skin and hair.

Vitamins.
The vitamins (A,C,E) in aloe vera acts as antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent oxidation, a reaction that destroys cells in the body. Additionally, vitamin A promotes skin maintenance and cell differentiation. It aids in skin maintenance by inducing the secretion of sebum which lubricates internal portions of the skin including the skin (the scalp) covering the head. When the skin is left unlubricated, dry and flaky skin arises. Along with folic acid and vitamin B12, vitamin A promote hair growth by inducing cell division of hair follicles. This will lead to the production of new hair or hair growth.

Minerals.
Often times vitamins and proteins are the go-to nutrients for hair growth. This is because of their strong bioavailability and the friendly cost to obtain food rich in these nutrients. Unfortunately minerals are overlooked as hair-stimulating nutrients. Minerals such as zinc, magnesium, sodium, and selenium which are provided by aloe vera, promote hair growth.

Zinc nourishes hair from the inside out. Zinc deficiency may lead to the deterioration of keratin and collagen. Zinc is also believed to play a crucial role in DNA and RNA production. These two processes are required for the normal division of hair follicle cells and protein synthesis.

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), magnesium is needed for up to 300 biochemical reactions including hair production. Research reveal hair loss may be the result of magnesium deficiency.

Selenium is a trace element that can stimulate hair follicles. This stimulus can encourage new hair growth.

Pac Man: Proteolytic enzymes.
Aloe Vera contains proteolytic enzymes that breakdown sugars, fats, and other substances that can build up in the scalp or pores.

As you can see Aloe Vera contains nutrients vital to our crown's health. This is why the plant is used in various hair care products. To use Aloe vera for prepooing, check out this tutorial produced by @Natuptural85. For other ways to use aloe vera on your crown, read this crown-care DIY article from naturallycurly.com.


Thanks for reading. Like and follow Embrace The Crown on Facebook. Also join our Facebook support group thecurlhoodcircle in where the Embrace The Crown Community can interact with fellow supporters and our founder on issues related to our natural crown journey.

References
Surjushe, A., Vasani, R., & Saple, D. G. (2008). ALOE VERA: A SHORT REVIEW. Indian Journal of Dermatology, 53(4), 163–166. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763764/
NaturallyCurly. "6 Ways to Use Aloe Vera Gel." NaturallyCurly. N.p., 04 Aug. 2015. Web. 18 June 2017.

Credibility: This article was written by Onyinyechi Anyanwu who hold a Bachelors degree in Nutrition and Dietetics

Announcement: Did you know Embrace The Crown recently created a support group on Facebook? Join it today. In this group members can engage in discussions related to natural hair and bond with fellow women in the natural hair community. Search for The Queendom on Facebook or join the group here.

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