Can nutrient deficiency result in hair loss?
Hair loss is a very common challenge that can affect both men and women. Research has shown that at least 80% of men and 50% of women will experience hair loss. Thinning hair and bald spots can seriously impact a person’s self-esteem, self-image, and mental health.
Hair loss can be caused by a wide range of factors, but the most common cause is a genetic condition caused by androgenic alopecia. Androgenetic alopecia is also known as male pattern hair loss and female pattern baldness.
Another cause of hair loss is poor diet and nutrition. Your body needs a certain level of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to stay healthy and to function at its best. When you deprive your body of these nutrients, your body will start to show it in several ways. You’ll have lower energy levels, paler skin, have reduced immunity, and develop weaker bones. You can also start to lose your hair.
Some of the best vitamins and minerals for thick, healthy hair are lean proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, b-complex vitamins, iron, and fat-soluble vitamins. You can find these in abundance in a Mediterranean style diet that’s packed with whole grains, healthy fats, and fibre-filled produce. Aim to have as many colours on your plate as you can to get a wide variety of nutrients.
A vitamin deficiency that causes hair loss is thankfully very easy to course correct. By enacting a better diet, you can reverse the effects of malnutrition and improve your health.
Types of Vitamin Deficiencies that Cause Hair Loss
Iron deficiency is one of the biggest causes of hair loss linked to vitamin deficiencies. Iron contributes to haemoglobin production, which helps with carrying nutrients and oxygen to your hair follicles. If you don’t have enough iron in your system your hair won’t have enough strength to grow, and you’ll experience thinning hair, low energy, and weak nails.
People with hair loss related to a deficiency may not just lose hair on their scalp. Hair on the eyebrows and eyelashes might also fall out.
An iron deficiency can be caused by poor diet, anaemia, hormonal shifts during menopause, by taking certain medications, and by heavy menstrual periods. Blood loss from ulcers and certain cancers can also cause an iron deficiency.
Other vitamin deficiencies linked to hair loss are:
- Zinc: Zinc deficiency is much like an iron deficiency because it can stop the hair from growing. It can also damage remaining hair by making it brittle and prone to breakage. Zinc assists with cell and immune function as well as protein synthesis.
- Selenium: This is a very important nutrient to hair growth. Selenium is a trace mineral that plays a big part throughout the body including hair growth. A deficiency in selenium is rare, but when it happens it can interfere with thyroid function and hormone levels. Thyroid disorders and hormonal shifts can lead to several symptoms including hair loss.
- Fatty acids: Omega-3 and Omega-6 are essential fatty acids that help with hair growth and reduce inflammation in the body. If you don’t have enough fatty acids you can lose hair from the scalp and eyebrows. Your hair may also become lighter.
- Niacin: Also known as vitamin B3, niacin is essential to thick, lustrous hair. It can also boost energy and increase blood flow to the scalp.
- Biotin: Biotin, or vitamin B7, enriches the keratin structure of the hair.
- Vitamin E: Vitamin E is an antioxidant that reduces stress and damage caused by free radicals. Without enough vitamin E, you won’t get enough oxygen circulation to the scalp.
- Vitamin A: Vitamin A helps with healthy bones, skin, and teeth as well as stimulates hair follicles to boost hair growth. It also creates sebum, a naturally occurring oil that moisturises your hair and scalp.
- Vitamin D: This vitamin stimulates hair growth and creates stronger bones and healthier skin. Vitamin D also enhances immune health and fights off inflammation that can reduce hair growth. Without enough vitamin D, your hair will thin out or stop growing altogether.
- Folic Acid: Folic acid assists with cell growth in the hair and nails.
- Amino acids and Proteins: Amino acids help with body functions like tissue repair, hormone regulations, and hair growth. Protein is essential for strong, healthy hair.
Treating Hair Loss and Vitamin Deficiency
It’s always beneficial to eat a healthy and balanced diet that’s packed with vitamins and nutrients. However, you shouldn’t self diagnose any vitamin deficiencies. Make an appointment with your GP so they can do diagnostic testing like blood tests to determine the source of your symptoms. The more accurate your diagnosis is, the more effective any proposed treatment will be.
If you do need to improve your diet, here are some foods you should add to your diet to prevent hair loss:
- Chia seeds
- Sweet potatoes
- Sweet peppers
- Red meat
In addition to eating a better diet, moderate exercise can improve your overall blood flow including to your scalp. Exercise also reduces stress, another cause of hair loss.
Treating Hair Loss
Any treatment for hair loss will depend on the reason your hair is falling out. If it’s due to a medical condition or psychological issue, your GP can advise you in ways to manage your condition. If it’s related to a vitamin deficiency, a diet full of nutrients and vitamins can help you get back to feeling proud of your hair.
There are also medications you can take to slow down any hair loss. One of the most commonly prescribed hair loss treatments for men are Propecia/finasteride tablets. For years, countless men have found success in preventing any further hair loss. In some instances, some hair may actually grow back.
While Propecia/finasteride tablets can be prescribed to women, it is not suitable in all situations and isn’t often recommended. Women should speak with their GP or dermatologist about other approved hair loss treatments.
Get a healthy head of hair again by buying Propecia/Finasteride Tablets online in the UK from Pharmacy Planet.