Patients with hair loss often ask if nutritional supplements can help restore hair growth or prevent further hair loss. In fact, many will start taking dietary supplements without consultation in the hope that the supplements will help. The unregulated supplement industry also capitalizes on the vulnerability of this population. While hair follicles are among the most metabolically active in the body, and hair growth can be affected by caloric and protein malnutrition, as well as micronutrient deficiency, the links are complex.
Numerous factors can influence hair loss, including genes (family history), medical conditions such as hormonal imbalance and immune disorders, emotional trauma, and more. However, what most people don't realize is that hair loss is related to their diet. For healthy hair growth, nutrients, vitamins and minerals are essential. If your body doesn't get any of these symptoms through your diet, you're likely to experience hair loss.
Like birthdays and taxes, one of the few constants in life is hair loss. However, not all hair loss is caused by aging. In fact, some eating habits can trigger hair loss. Here are six nutritional deficiencies that can negatively affect your locks.
Our genes, as well as certain health problems (such as hormonal imbalances and immune disorders), can greatly influence hair loss. For example, approximately 6.8 million Americans suffer or will suffer from alopecia, an autoimmune genetic disorder in which the immune system attacks hair follicles. Characterized by partial or total hair loss, which can occur in repetitive and unpredictable cycles. Some prescription medications (such as blood thinners and certain antidepressants) can also contribute to hair loss.
And although it's not permanent, extreme hair loss (called telogen effluvium) can occur due to stressors such as childbirth, surgery, or sudden weight loss. Like alopecia, this hair loss occurs suddenly, but tends to be temporary. Both antioxidants and vitamins C and E help prevent free radical damage to hair follicles. Vitamin C also supports iron absorption (learn more about why it's important in a minute).
According to the National Institutes of Health, the average adult needs 22.4 IU (15 milligrams) of vitamin E and 75 to 90 milligrams of vitamin C per day. In addition, vitamin D deficiencies have been associated with hair loss and are even implicated in the development of alopecia. FDA recommends that adults consume about 600 IU of D a day. Although rare, biotin deficiency can cause thinning and hair loss.
The recommended average daily intake of biotin for adults is 30 micrograms, and you'll find the vitamin in all kinds of supplements formulated to support hair, skin and nails. People with inherited conditions that influence hair loss can especially benefit from biotin supplementation, says Ploch. If you have a condition related to hair loss, talk to your doctor about adding a biotin supplement. Many of the health problems that cause hair loss and the resulting hair loss themselves are treatable, but it's important to evaluate them as quickly as possible, as changing patterns in hair loss and growth can take months.
Much of what is known about the effect of nutrients on hair loss is based on disease states that cause deficiency. Patients with hair loss should be evaluated using medical history, dietary history, and physical examination for risk factors for nutrient deficiency. In terms of other amino acids and proteins, no clear conclusions can be drawn about the role of supplementation in hair loss. Excessive supplementation of some nutrients can cause multiple toxicities, while over-supplementing certain nutrients, such as vitamin A, vitamin E and selenium, can actually cause hair loss.
There is little information in the literature on the benefits of vitamin E supplementation in hair loss. Improves immune health and counteracts inflammatory responses that can cause poor hair growth, including conditions such as alopecia areata and total alopecia. No clinical trial has demonstrated efficacy in treating hair loss with biotin supplements in the absence of deficiency. We assess the unique circumstances of your hair loss and recommend the best treatment plan for hair growth.
Certain vitamin deficiencies can cause hair loss, but correcting the deficiency can fix the problem. Vitamin E has antioxidant properties that combat oxidative stress and damage to cells and tissues in the body caused by free radicals, including damage to hair follicle cells. It is important to have them, as they reach both the hair shaft and the cell membranes of the scalp, nourishing follicles and promoting healthy hair growth while reversing hair loss. Iron deficiency (ID) is the world's most common nutritional deficiency and is a known cause of hair loss.
If you're worried that hair loss may be abnormal, see your doctor (either your dermatologist or primary care doctor). . .