Extreme healthy eating can have an unexpected side effect: those embarking on drastic diet plans may be putting themselves at risk of hair loss. Whilst health trends like juicing, raw food and veganism have become popular in recent years, these diets can become anything but healthy if taken to extremes.
Developing Orthorexia nervosa
The desire for healthy food can develop into the eating disorder known as ‘Orthorexia nervosa’, a fixation with nutritional purity which can lead to malnourishment.
One example is American blogger Jordan Younger, pictured right, who used to write as ‘The Blonde Vegan’. Jordan explains: “Veganism turns to raw, turns to juicing addiction, turns to food fears, turns to Orthorexia, turns to a form of Anorexia and intense avoidance of everything from natural sugar to nightshade vegetables.”
“For some of us, it’s easy for those dietary labels to become a slippery slope into the more extreme,” Jordan said. She has now renamed her blog ‘The Balance Blonde’ and is now focusing on finding a more balanced and sustainable diet.
Resulting hair loss
Orthorexia often leads to the avoidance of certain food groups, which in turn results in important vitamins lacking in the diet. This means that, along with men and women suffering from other eating disorders such as Bulimia or Anorexia, Orthorexia sufferers can experience thinning hair as a result of key vitamins and nutrients necessary for hair health not reaching the follicles.
Rapid weight loss as a result of extreme dieting can also cause hair loss. A sudden lack of nutrients can cause the condition Telogen Effluvium, where some of the follicles shut down hair production prematurely and enter a ‘resting’ (telogen) phase. Follicles can remain in this phase for a few months before shedding hair, so if you undertake a short crash-diet, you may have resumed your normal diet before noticing the effects.
Dealing with diet-related shedding
Hair loss from Telogen Effluvium is temporary and hair will usually start to regrow after three to six months, as long as a healthy diet and lifestyle is resumed. Boosting your diet with a supplement such as Hair Vitalics can help to ensure your hair receives the nutrients it needs for healthy growth. If the underlying cause of the hair loss condition is not dealt with the condition could lead to Chronic Telogen Effluvium which can cause diffuse hair loss that lasts for more than six months.
Treatment for Telogen Effluvium and Chronic Telogen Effluvium is available to help spur on regrowth, but it is important to deal with the cause of your condition first. If you are concerned by any increased shedding or thinning, you can seek advice from a hair loss specialist. Consultations are free and will give you a full, professional diagnosis of your condition, advice on how to deal with it and, if needed, a bespoke hair loss treatment plan.
The Belgravia Centre
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.